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Archive for Christian fiction

Gone South by Meg Moseley

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Gone South by Meg Moseley is contemporary Christian fiction from Multnomah Books. I read this book for ACFW book club last month and enjoyed it in a lot of aspects, considering, as you all know by now, women's fiction is not my favorite.

Tish McComb was a delightful character and she carried this book for me.  I wanted to see her find happiness and acceptance and contentment. The male lead, George Zorbas, grew on me as he stepped out and challenged himself to live out his faith. The heart-breaker character was young Mel, homeless, sincere, and in desperate need of help from someone who could forgive her past choices. But as the story progresses, the reader realizes that Mel was simply doing the best she could in a world that didn't live by the same code she did.

I wanted to mother and mentor Mel, and perhaps that made me dislike Mel's parents all the more. Truly nasty characters, though I did dredge up some compassion for the mom.

This book was a lot about life in the south, ancestors, expectations, misunderstandings, slander, appearances, hoping for something different but finding your same self in the new place.  It was about prodigals and God's amazing love. It was about trusting God in uncontrollable situations.

I would have liked to have seen characters play out their faith on the page a little more than this story offered, but the spiritual truths lie in the storyline if you're game to seek them out.

 

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Against the Tide is historical fiction from Bethany House. It's a well written, engaging story. I loved the female lead, Lydia Pallas, from the moment she stepped on the page as a child.

This story may have been categorized as historical romance because the romantic thread played a huge role throughout the story, but the historical aspects, particularly Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup added depth to an exciting storyline.  I enjoy learning historical facts and the legality of opium in children's "over the counter" drugs wasn't something I was aware of.

Lydia works for the Department of the Navy as a translator in an office of men. Her boss, Admiral Fontaine, appears first on the page larger-than-life as her protector and guide, but Elizabeth Camden reveals him later as human as the rest of us in his weaknesses.

Bane (Alexander Banebridge) has some bad boy mystique when he shows up, tweaking Lydia's need for order and preciseness, and because the Admiral was so admirable I wasn't immediately sure who the romantic lead was going to turn out to be. Just as a fun aside — the moment I knew Bane was going to win Lydia's heart was when I found out Bane's heart already belonged to the Lord.

What I liked about Against the Tide: all the flirting scenes between Bane and Lydia, the bad guy creepiness, the Mrs. Winslow opium aspect, the translation work, the spy parts, the Notorious moment near the end.

About the only thing I didn't like was how long it took Bane to make contact with Lydia when she was undercover.

I recommend this book for all readers of Seek Truth. Read fiction. I'm sure you'll find something delightful within its pages.

 

Hidden in the Heart by Catherine West

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Women's fiction, ACFW book club book, Hidden in the Heart by Catherine West focuses on a number of topics — adoption, addiction, depression, divorce, and a bunch of other relational issues in families.

Protagonist, Claire Ferguson was hard to like at first, but seeing her at her lowest, gave me greater joy in her rise. My favorite secondary characters were, of course, Claire's husband, a man of tender patience, Claire's grandparents, though I knew they wouldn't come out stainless, and Darcie, living out her faith with courage.

There is a lot going on in this book, plot-wise and spiritually. Cathy did a good job of engaging my emotions, and I think I cried every time Claire's husband stepped on the page for at least the first 150 pages.

I don't want to talk about the plot too much and give away the tangled ending, so I'll just say, if you like women's fiction, if you like to see the needy and broken rise and win, if you like to have hope that God works in all things, and you like to see God glorified, you will like Hidden in the Heart.
 

Chasing Christmas by Steven Hunt

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Chasing Christmas from Harbourlight Books is an issue book (which I would call women's fiction except that the protagonist is male). The issue: suicidal depression. The cure: try to kill yourself and then let God take over your life.

This story opens with a bang as Teddy Whitaker guns his classic sports car into Dead Man's Curve. But God has other plans for Teddy. Instead of dying, he begins a fantastical journey, e.g. A Christmas Carol or The Shack, to learn the lessons God has planned for him.

Short bits of this book read more like a report on depression than a story, but I liked Teddy's wife and wanted to see him succeed for her sake. The daughter grew on me. Teddy was still pretty much a whiner even after his amazing experiences, but I don't know how much of that was his personality or his depression.

I liked the clever word play at the end. I was okay with the spiritual lessons. I'm not sure I was convinced Teddy had experienced them and truly made them his own, but I would think such an experience would stick with a person and he would revisit it often enough to continue learning the lessons until they settled deep, so I bought the happy ending.

I liked the ambiguity of the title, Chasing Christmas. I give this a thumbs up for creativity and teaching.