Edgy Christian Fiction: Books For Summer Reading
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.