When college student Maria Lynn Thomas was chillingly date raped by her boyfriend and only college friend, she did the unthinkable. She married him. This defining moment, largely put into motion by a childhood of shame and low self-worth, rendered her a prisoner in her own life. Now, her moving, candid memoir, To Set A Prisoner Free, shares her deeply personal journey from being an emotionally paralyzed victim of abuse to emerging as an empowered, independent woman in charge of her own destiny. Anyone who struggles with feeling ashamed or unworthy will benefit greatly from this compelling, compassionate story of personal freedom. After finding herself isolated at college, Ms. Thomas grew completely reliant on a towering young man who was studying engineering. However, one night his sexual advances were relentless, and her resistance proved futile. With one to turn to, Thomas found herself accepting his perfunctory marriage proposal, and trapped in a seven-year relationship laden with humiliation, degradation, and control. When she finally found an opportunity at a local university, she slowly regained her bearings, reclaimed her existence, and started a new life of self-reliance. In sharing her story of pain and recovery, the author offers a lifeline to young adults, women, and individuals suffering in silence who are seeking the pathways to break from the imprisonment of past demons and destructive relationships. At once heartbreaking and heartening, it's a stunning testament to the healing power of forgiveness.
Maria Lynn Thomas is an instructor at California State University in the School of Business. It was there that she began giving motivational speeches to her students based on her own traumatic past experiences, and discovered that her stories helped inspire them to do their best in spite of their difficult circumstances. She now shares her story with a larger audience in her memoir, To Set A Prisoner Free, in order to offer hope and inspiration to anyone feeling ashamed, guilty, or unworthy. Ms. Thomas is an overcomer. She has battled emotional and physical abuse, low self-worth, shame, fear, and reoccurring depression. But no one would suspect her past trauma. She is a positive, peaceful person, beaming with hope and an intense commitment to personal excellence. Ms. Thomas holds a bachelor degree in advertising and an MBA in human resources and management. She has enjoyed a 20+ year career in human resources and is currently a management consultant, as well as an author and inspirational speaker. In her speaking engagements, she professes the importance of being the best you can be, the wisdom of following your inner voice, and the healing power of forgiveness.