All posts filed under: Christian Fiction

Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon Jr., and Cindy Kelley (Mercy Medallion #1)

From the director and screenwriters who brought Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly to life comes this exciting, original series set in Reconstruction-era St. Louis. Christened “Mercy” after the medallion she was found wearing, a young woman awakens from a bad accident with no memory of her true name or her past, only a yearning to discover the truth. Mercy begins to build a new life for herself as a local bachelor pursues her. Mercy is hesitant to commit lest any dark secrets emerge from a past she’s forgotten. A chance encounter with a stranger from her old life now threatens to unravel all of her dreams. More than a name, mercy is the underlying theme, with examples of times when we show kindness to those in need to the rarer occasions when we must show mercy to our enemies. Mother Helena is a wonderful Christ-like example in the book. Her wisdom and daily reliance on God are a costly perfume that permeates the lives of those around her and provides an absentee parental role in …

Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith (Wives of the Patriarchs #2)

The story of Rebekah, found in the book of Genesis, is one known to multiple faiths. Rebekah, the young woman at the well, shows an act of charity to strangers and is richly rewarded with a marriage. Almost fairytale-like in its simplicity, the story of enigmatic Rebekah continues throughout her marriage to Isaac as she makes a significant impact on her family members’ lives. In this second of the Wives of the Patriarchs series, bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith attempts to reconstruct the gaps in Rebekah’s life by shedding light on her relationships with her family. The character of Rebekah’s brother, Laban, is prominent and well-constructed, and readers get a sense of his motivations and cunning, an important factor for his future dealings. Abraham deals with the family politics of multiple wives and children, including a strained relationship with one of his sons. Rebekah’s willfulness puts a strain on the delicate balance of power in their complicated family. Interwoven with source material, Rebekah is a heartbreaking journey of faith and betrayal chronicling the story of …

A Love Surrendered by Julie Lessman (Winds of Change #3)

It’s 1932, and small-town girl Annie Kennedy has lost her parents, her faith in God, and her home. Starting over in Boston, Annie is determined to run in the same fast circles as her older sister, Maggie. Weekends spent at Ocean Pier and a local speakeasy provide plenty of boys, Dr. Pepper, and repeat encounters with Steven O’Connor, a handsome officer who sees Annie as an innocent. Steven’s perceptions of Annie may not be the greatest obstacle to their happiness if a family secret comes to light. Lessman continues the Winds of Change series by exploring faith and the dangerous impact of secrets in courtship and in marriage. Annie and the O’Connor women struggle with issues of truth and temptation in a real way that builds empathy near the climax in a heart-rending plot twist. Lessman jazzes up the romantic subplot with moments of passion and temptation but keeps it aboveboard for inspirational fiction readers. This review first appeared in the February 2013 issue of HNR. I was provided with a copy of this book …

Love In Disguise by Carol Cox

Ellie portrays two roles: elderly widow Lavinia Stewart, and her vivacious younger niece, Jessie Monroe. Steven Pierce is one of a group of mine owners local to Pickford whose shipments of silver have fallen prey to thieves. Someone knows the system too well so it can only be an inside job. When Steven meets Ms. Lavinia Stewart, her interest in investing in his enterprise seems like a godsend. That flirtatious redheaded niece of hers, however, insists on toying with the emotions of every man in town and provides Steven with a pleasant distraction. But Jessie and Lavinia never seem to be in the same place at the same time… As Ellie earns the trust of the townspeople and falls for Steven, she earns the ire of the men behind the silver job and is endangered no matter which persona she portrays. Can Ellie solve the mystery? Will Stephen still love her when he discovers she is neither Lavinia or Jessie? This charming story from Carol Cox sweeps us away to the frontier of 1880’s Arizona. …

A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther by Joan Wolf

This was a quick read at only 372 pages, and the cover, for all its Eastern beauty, is deceptive, portraying a adult heroine whom we meet at only fifteen years (and after her marriage, she grows in maturity I quickly forget to picture her at such a tender age). Some of the highlights of the book were the details of Persian culture and the sub-plot of the life of the palace servants, such as Luara and Hathach (a name clearly modelled from Jesse’s Persian name ‘Hatack’ in the 2006 film, “One Night with the King”). The author takes some liberties with the story, splitting the Ahasuerus/Xerxes character into two, making them brothers instead.  She also creates some background for Haman’s character, explaining the source of the enmity between him and Mordecai.  Responsibly, Joan Wolf does include an author’s note detailing her rationalization of the changes in the book as well as a reader’s guide to discuss plot points in the book.