Thursday, June 28, 2012

Amazing Book: My Stubborn Heart

Oftentimes, Christian fiction can fall into a rut where beautiful, pious Christian woman meets handsome but backsliding single man, is attracted to him but repulsed by his profane ways, prays that God will restore his Christian heart, and winds up marrying the man of her dreams. Becky Wade's My Stubborn Heart defies this pattern.

A first book for Becky, My Stubborn Heart counts the tale of a young career woman who has everything in her life figured out: a perfect career, a consuming hobby, a condo, a faith, and a style. When she moves to Pennsylvania for a six month project to restore her ancestor's home, she expects to spend time bonding with her grandmother and poring over antiques. So why does her grandmother insist that she'd be the perfect match the reticent, bitter handyman who comes over every day?

I love Wade's storytelling style as she captures the nuances of each character's personality and thoughts. There's a wonderful passage where Kate joins a Sunday School class and laments that being 30 and single is akin to being labeled a loser. Why is it that singles 30 and older are always separated from younger singles? Is it because their labeled as hopelessly stymied in love? She muses that any group is better than the hopeless singles group. The grieving group, the divorcee group, even the janitor's group would be better than the group God's placed her in.

Throughout the story, Wade paints vivids pictures of characters struggling in everyday life. Unlike much of Christian fiction, My Stubborn Heart contains some very compelling minor characters as well. A young mother of two who can never maintain order, a widower desperate to gain the good graces of a divorced woman, a group of grandmothers intent on marrying off all the single men and women around them, and even young people struggling with abusive pasts.

I've already lent my copy of My Stubborn Heart to a dear friend to read. And I'm eagerly anticipating Becky Wade's next book. I'm sure you'll want to add her to your list of new favorite authors as well.

I received a free review copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: A Heart of Gold

Robin Lee Hatcher's A Heart of God captures the story of a young woman torn by wartime loyalties on the gold rush frontier. It combines the thrill of the Civil War with the trials of frontier life and unpredictability. As each character is forced to make choices to maintain their own livelihood, how can they remain true to God, to their own person, and to their calling? What happens when all these people interact and their chemistry gets entangled?

Hatcher does a fantastic job of portraying the complexity of frontier life particularly as a bloodly civil war rages in the distance. While she does use stereotypes of the freespirited Western man and the domesticated lady, she weaves them together in a way that is compelling and fresh.

I received a free review copy from the publisher; the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own.