Edgy Christian Fiction: Books For Summer Reading

Posted at 04:59am on 16th August 2011

If you're anything like me, a book will be essential packing for your summer hols, the perfect partner for a picnic lunch, a bonus for the beach and a relaxing read for bedtime.  So here are four book reviews for sensational summer reads, all with a Christian world view that mixes romance with realism, and fear with faith.

THE SHACK by William Young

Originally self-published, this debut novel courted controversy by representing God as female and black.  Heretical, shouted one segment of the church.  Inspirational, breathed another.  The underlying theme is: Where is God when things go wrong, and in a scenario which all parents secretly dread, we are taken into the life of Mack whose little girl disappears without trace.  Faith is tested to the limit.  But in removing the "old man with a beard" image of God, the author cleverly and – yes, inspirationally, in my view – wraps the readers' and characters' fears in the comforting arms of a mother figure: God's alter ego when he refers to himself as a hen (female) longing to gather her brood under her wings.  Definitely a book for our time.

ALL THE TEA IN CHINA  By Jane Orcutt

All the Tea in China couldn't be a more different type of book.  A rollicking Regency romp, it is quite outside my normal reading these days, though historical novels once formed the backbone of my book purchases.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it, however.  With a feisty Jane Austen style heroine rebelling against the mores of her time – "The good young Englishwoman knows that her destiny depends upon a good marriage match," – Isabella finds herself a stowaway on a ship bound for China.  As if that were not enough, she continues the journey sharing a cabin with a young man.  The rest, as they say, is history.

A PAINFUL POST MORTEM by Mel Menzies

Similar in content to The Shack, my own novel might be likened to Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper in style.  A Prodigal Son story based on my own experience, it asks the questions all parents ask when they lose a child to drugs.  "Where did I go wrong?"  "Could I – should I – have done things differently?"  Following a quest of "who dunnit", the protagonist, Claire, is determined to prove that God did not release her daughter from drugs only to see her back on them again.  Can it be that the two people arrested by the police are in some way implicated?  Can God's promises to redeem Katya be trusted?
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EDEN HALL by Veronica Heley

My last summer read has been written by author, Veronica Heley, and is one of her crime and romance series.  With memories of Aunt Agnes scolding her and telling her that she will come to a bad end "just like your mother", Minty is summoned to the bedside of the father from whom she has been estranged for years.  A Cinderella tale of rags to riches, Minty's eventual rapprochement with her lost family is the driving force of a journey that takes her back in time, and forward in trust.

Apologies for the lack of book cover photos.  Reading on Kindle, as I do, I was unable to add these.  I hope, however, that the book reviews I've written above will inspire you to expand your summer reading with the best of what edgy Christian fiction has to offer.

Agree?  Disagree?  Please leave your comments in the box below.
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Your Comments:

16th August 2011
at 3:42am
You've got some interesting picks here. Can you believe I haven't read THE SHACK yet? I must be the only person I know who hasn't ... Of course, it is definitely worthy of all the acclaim, but when I started reading I couldn't get into it. I'm going to try again someday.

Thanks for the great suggestions
21st August 2011
at 3:22am
Great article. Interesting picks.


Great blog.
21st August 2011
at 5:21am
Hum: The Shack. I like the idea behind this book: good ones. Creative thought. My friend described it as "Pilgrims' Progress for our time" Like Tracey I couldn't get into it: so, do try it, see what you think. I kind of wished I could've found it living up more to the inspirational ideas - maybe the author is just too good at describing the deadening effect of grief to write about it...? Mel's Painful Post Mortem covering similar ground spoke more to me. But maybe that's just a personal taste thing.
23rd August 2011
at 5:12pm
Thanks for your comment, Tracy. I can quite understand why you found it difficult to get into The Shack. I think I did, too. It was only because I had to read it for the Book Club I lead that I persevered. I'm glad I did because I enjoyed it, on the whole. Although the style was not always to my taste, the concepts it raised were mind-broadening.
23rd August 2011
at 5:16pm
Thank you Nike. And thank you for introducing me to Edgy Christian Fiction.
23rd August 2011
at 5:18pm
What a brilliant comment on The Shack, Clare; I like that: "Pilgrim's Progress for our time." See my comments to Tracy in respect of getting into the book.


Thank you for your kind comments about A Painful Post Mortem. Glad to hear that it spoke to you. Any chance you could put that up on Amazon? :)
26th August 2011
at 4:53am
I've done you a review onAmazon - sadly some typos due to the size of the typing in that rectangle they offer, and to pressing publish when I meant to press edit... Am browsing yr blog to read up on the Reluctant Fundamentalist wh yr group found enormously full of symbolism I'd missed! (How d'you have time to blog? Mine is way behind due to writing novel and general business!)

BTW my other Amazon reviews are under Mari HOward but I think they've put my real name on this one,

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