As I thought about which book to review for today’s blog, I began to reflect on the all Christian fiction I’ve read over the course of my life. The very first Christian Fiction I read was published in 1980 – A Truckload of Trouble by Patricia Kershaw. It’s a story about kids on a ranch and well . . . how they deal with a heap o’ trouble. I did not know the book was written from a Christian perspective, so when I encountered my worldview in the story, it swept me up. It was almost like discovering Oreo’s for the first time. A true wow! experience. I was ten years old.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Christian Fiction - the ones that stick
Later in life, I discovered Madeleine L’Engle, one of my all time favorite authors. She writes from a distinctly Christian perspective, but it was also distinctly different from me. Very artsy. Very thought provoking. The book, Certain Women struck me in a very powerful way. First of all, she parallels a contemporary character with King David. They both had many wives and made serious parenting errors, but the juxtaposition was a wonderful thing, causing me to grapple with many modern issues from a Christian standpoint. Excellent, thought provoking, and entertaining to boot!
The Pawn by Steven James again, completely challenged me as a reader of Christian fiction. By the time I read this story, I’d read lots of Christian fiction, but nothing like this. The villain is truly pure evil, and I’d never really seen a Christian author dig into that side of things before. It’s a fabulous read, but shocking in parts – especially one scene at the beginning. And dark. Steven James can spin a yarn . . . he actually has a master’s degree in storytelling. He’s brilliant. The story is the first in a series about an FBI agent who reminds me of a modern day Sherlock Holmes, but less sure of himself. Highly suspenseful. This was the first Christian book that rivaled the secular suspense novels I was addicted to.
Lastly, I land on books written by Charles Martin. My favorite is Water from my Heart. Martin started his publishing career with Thomas Nelson and is now with a general market publisher, but his novels still communicate his deeply rooted faith. In Water from my Heart, Martin’s main character is a drug runner in and around Florida. I never in my wildest dreams expected to read and enjoy a story about a drug runner, but Charles Martin writes highly flawed characters who are worth rooting for. He writes about honor and screwing up and redemption. I can highly recommend anything written by him.
So there you have it, sign posts on the path of my Christian fiction experience. I’ve read loads of Christian fiction. I still read loads of secular fiction. But looking back on the growth of this industry, it was fun to see which Christian authors/books really stuck with me.