About My Books

One Degree of Freedom

Fifteen-year-old Adriana Nicu lives in the sheltered world of Bucharest, Romania, in the year 1987. Under the rule of Communist president Nicolae Ceausescu, citizens of Bucharest live with the eyes and ears of the government ever present. Adriana’s future, which will involve becoming an engineer, is locked in against her will.

During a visit to her aunt’s apartment, Adriana walks through a wardrobe into a hidden room filled with stacks of forbidden novels. Stories bring light into the darkest of circumstances as her family begins to unravel and her life strangely parallels those of her novels’ heroines. Adriana’s childhood loyalties and her belief that God doesn’t exist are called into question as her circumstances force her to rethink things she once believed were certain.


A fierce heroine who reads banned books—my favorite kind of hero! And for book nerds like me, literary references abound in One Degree of Freedom, by Taryn Hutchison. Brilliantly conceptualized and beautifully written, and a coming-of-age tale set in the Cold War era, with characters you fall in love with and root (and cry) for. Adriana comes to understand her family’s place in the world around her and makes incredibly difficult decisions as she recognizes and stands for her own beliefs. Meticulous research and excellent writing immerse readers in the setting and show life during the times, as Adriana and her friends travel on their journey.

~Kim Childress, Book Editor, Girls’ Life Magazine

Taryn Hutchison has vividly brought to life one of our modern world’s most challenging decades, set in a country so few of us learn about or experience. Through the eyes of teenagers Adriana, Gabi and their friends, readers are plunged into Cold War-era Romania in this compelling narrative that grabs you from its first pages. Government spies, family bonds, hidden rooms, fierce friendships, the search for faith, childhood rebellion … it’s a book that will draw in and enlighten YA readers while reviving nostalgia and longing among older generations. Hutchison deftly weaves hope among darkness, reminding us that all we have to do is return to the stories where our heroes exist, so that we can become the heroes of our own lives.

~Catherine Campbell, author, editor & essayist (Writer’s Digest, NYT)

Rich with Romanian culture and vibrant imagination, One Degree of Freedom explores the liberation found in books and how fiction often reflects its readers. Hutchison crafts an immersive read perfect for fans of historical and classic literature, seamlessly blending nostalgia with relevant truths, not to mention an abundance of secret tunnels, wardrobes, and dusty reading nooks. This novel is sure to captivate booklovers of all ages.

~Caroline George, author of award-winning Dearest Josephine

From the beginning, I felt like I was immersed in a classical tale. The voice is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis, with Hutchison’s own flair. I immediately fell in love with the detailing, and I’m certain readers are going to feel completely that they’ve traveled back in time to 1980s Romania, a time which I’m certain we all wish we knew more about. Luckily for us Hutchison fills us in, and we cannot help but fall in love with Adriana and her curiosity and imagination. She reminds me of a 1980s Lucy Pevensie. I can’t wait to see what else this author writes, and she’s definitely one to watch.

~Hope Bolinger, author of the Blaze trilogy and the Dear Hero duology

Enchanting and captivating, One Degree of Freedom is a novel I could not put down. Taryn R. Hutchison transports readers into 1980s Romania with visceral clarity and hope-filled resonance. Fans of classic authors like Louisa May Alcott and current YA historical greats, like Stephanie Morrill, will fall in love with Hutchison’s honest and sincere voice.

~Tara K. Ross, author of Fade to White, and cohost of The Hope Prose Podcast

As an avid reader of historical fiction and particularly little-known tales of female heroines, I was delighted to meet Adriana in One Degree of Freedom by Taryn Hutchison. The strong characters, references to classic children’s literature, detailed historical research, and smooth writing made me feel a part of Adriana’s world. This book will appeal to readers of all ages and has excellent potential for use in the classroom.

~Peggy Wirgau, author of The Stars in April, historical fiction

Taryn Hutchison has crafted a compelling story about a young girl coming of age in the tightly controlled government state of Romania when it was under Communist rule. She immediately drew me in with her strong characters and authentic details. Hutchison allowed me a glimpse of a world I had heard of but had never experienced. Because of her vivid storytelling, I got to feel what it was like to live under such a repressive state. Yet, her story is full of hope, courage, and even joy. It’s the kind of story I’d like to read again, just to be reminded of how circumstances don’t have to determine our trajectory. And I can’t wait for my teenage granddaughter to read it!

~JoHannah Reardon, author of The Blackberry County Chronicles

Set in 1980s communist Romania, One Degree of Freedom is a tale of bravery perfect for those who grew up with a love for literature. By the time I finished reading the first chapter, I completely fell in love with it (there were several audible gasps of excitement). The voice! The references! The suspense!

~Alea Harper, YA author and graphic designer

In One Degree of Freedom, Taryn Hutchison displays her gift of capturing the atmosphere of the time and place. Taryn understands what the day-to-day life was like for the ordinary person living under Communism. I can easily identify with Adriana because I was a Romanian teenager in the 1980s. From the very start of One Degree of Freedom, the names Taryn chooses for her characters, the sensory details, the accuracy of events mentioned from our history, take me all the way back to that era, where each of us had to find our own degree of freedom. Her story evokes many memories I have from a time where access to information was “classified” and there was no way to really know what was going on in our country. I can’t wait for my three children to read this book.

~Dana Alupei Dove, Global Ministry Rep, Central & Eastern Europe

Poetic, empathetic, emotionally riveting! One Degree of Freedom demands to be read as a true depiction of communism at its height, written by a brilliant author who witnessed the final demise of such a sad era. The story of 15-year-old Adriana will capture young readers and teach an important history lesson. Older readers will remember the cold war and the terror they felt as the Eastern Block finally fell. Taryn Hutchison is an author whose appeal requires attention. 

 ~Madelyn Bennett Edwards, author of The Catfish Trilogy

We Wait YouAbout Me

“We waited 45 years for you to come and set us free. Why did you take so long?”

Inspiring and with humorous moments, We Wait You is the real-life story of hearts transformed after the 1989 revolutions that forever changed Eastern Europe, as told by one woman who made a difference.

History and faith will come alive as you take this riveting journey with Taryn Hutchison behind the Iron Curtain, encountering Cold War informants, Russian mafia, and persecuted believers. Relive the unforgettable drama of historic events that changed Eastern Europe – against all hope.



“[Taryn Hutchison] writes with humor and affection about her experiences in lands emerging from decades of Communist imprisonment.”

NAMED TO United Methodist Women National Reading Program Book List

GIVEN 5 STARS FROM Readers’ Favorite Review


“Taryn Hutchison is a fresh voice of those who continue to break new ground telling the old story … What Elisabeth Elliot’s writing accomplished a generation ago in opening the eyes of the world to tribal missions, Taryn Hutchison skillfully accomplishes in opening the eyes of the world today to global missions … Within the covers of this book are run-ins with the Russian mafia, joyous celebrations in the street, intrigue, hidden microphones, faith, and adventure lived out by Taryn and her sea of friends who said ‘Yes’ to God. Woven through the subtext of the book is a hope-filled love story that only God could orchestrate … We Wait You is a ‘must-read’ not only for short-term mission teams, missionaries and their supporters, but for every person who desires to live missionally and make an impact for the Kingdom of God.”

~Dr. Eric Swanson, Leadership Network
Co-author of several books, including The Externally Focused Church

We Wait You is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It really is that good. It is a well-written, transparent memoir of Taryn’s leadership with Campus Crusade in Eastern Europe.”

~Dr. Jeff Iorg, President, Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary
Author of several books, including of The Character of Leadership

“Exciting … life-changing … challenging to the eternally-minded … encouraging to those who long to make a difference in the world.”

~Kay Marshall Strom, author of more than 40 books, including Daughters of Hope: Stories of Witness and Courage in the Face of Persecution

We Wait You is in my all time top ten list. Some books speak to the brain.  Some speak to the heart.  Others speak to the soul.  Your book makes strong connections in all those ways.  I cried a lot when I read it.  Tears of joy.  Tears of sadness.  Tears of love.”

~Dr. Dale Burnside, Professor of Biology, Lenoir-Rhyne University

“I want to express my thankfulness and appreciation for the book that Terena wrote. I just finished the book and I am thrilled. I have some tears in my eyes and I also laughed at some chapters. It was awesome!”

~Pastor Ioan Brisc, Romanian Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon
(Second-largest Romanian church in U.S.)

“It’s refreshing to read a book … about real people doing real missions with real struggles and accomplishments … The book is spiritual, genuine, and practical.”

—Dr. Eddie Pate, Professor of Missions, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary

“Taryn’s story is true, breathtaking, miraculous, and well worth reading.”

~Ney Bailey, Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) International Speaker
Author of Faith is Not a Feeling

“As a full-blooded Eastern European follower of the Messiah, I admit a healthy dose of skepticism upon hearing about this book … Page by page, layer by layer, I was disarmed, thawed and drawn into this beautifully transparent, hilarious story, re-living many of the cathartic moments which marked the continent’s turbulent decade, laughing and crying with this unlikely heroine and falling deeper in love with her and this crazy God whom she so faithfully, wholeheartedly trusts.”

~Gordana Miletic Sjostedt, Cru staff, “Second Cup of Coffee” blogger

We Wait You, by Taryn R. Hutchison, is a fascinating account of one woman’s experiences in Romania shortly after Communism fell. You’re guaranteed to gain a broader understanding of the oppression under which the Romanian people lived for years, and of the hope they gained through the Gospel.”

~Grace Fox, Author of several books, including the 10-Minute Time Outs for Women series

“I read We Wait You all at one sitting. I laughed and cried . . . I couldn’t put it down.”

~Patricia Clement, Pastor’s wife

“She will make you smile, cry, laugh out loud, even hide under the covers at times.”

~Kelly Summers, International representative, Corsica, France