I write fiction with Christian themes and messages. Many other authors do the same. The genre “Christian fiction” is an interesting distinction, and sometimes I think it is merely a gate-keeping phrase that tends to keep people out instead of drawing people in.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate knowing the kinds of scenes I might expect to find within a book. I don’t necessarily want to be surprised by a detailed sex scene for instance. However, sometimes people read “Christian fiction” as “yawningly boring fiction” or “harp at me because I’m not perfect” fiction. I have found neither of these to be the case, and I’d like to provide a few samples from my 2019 reading list that prove clean, Christian-themed fiction is anything but boring or preachy.
Here are a few of my favorites.
From author Katie Ganshert, one of my all-time favorite authors who I had the privilege of meeting in San Antonio last September. We chatted about her book, No One Ever Asked, which I read/listened to last February. It deals in a very gentle and grace filled way with both sides of integration and racial tension issues. I wrote about it previously in a blog post, so if you want a longer take on the book, check it out here. I also adore A Broken Kind of Beautiful about a lovely model who has to deal with a broken past. Check out her books here.
I also met author Kristy Cambron at ACFW. We chatted about several of her books including The Lost Castle series of which I read/listened to The Lost Castle, Castle on the Rise, and The Painted Castle. This split-time series is non-stop action, adventure, and, yes, romance. Hop from the USA to WWII France, to Ireland during the Easter Rising, to England for more WWII action. The characters will pull you in and take you along on a journey you’ll not soon forget. Other titles I’ve read by Kristy include: The Butterfly and the Violin, and The Ringmaster’s Wife. Find them here.
ACFW last September was a fanfest for me! I met this more recently favorite author there, too, Karen Witemeyer. She writes historical romance with smart and sassy heroines. I first discovered her through, More Than Meets the Eye and have since read, More than Words Can Say, Short Straw Bride, and Full Steam Ahead. If you enjoy women who roll up their sleeves and get the job done (whatever it may be), with a dose of humor, then check out Karen’s books.
Winner of the Carol Award for Speculative Fiction was a fabulous first book of a series by Morgan L. Busse called Mark of the Raven. When I read it, it resonated deep with its message about using one’s gifts and the responsibility that comes from having a gift. The second book, Flight of the Raven, was just as powerful. The third book, Cry of the Raven, is available now and in my TBR pile. These are epic fantasies with deep messages that ask difficult questions.
Fellow Hoosier, Cara Putman, has a fantastic series of legal thrillers (with romance) that I enjoyed very much. They are Beyond Justice, Imperfect Justice, and Delayed Justice. Cara is a wonderful person who truly seeks to give back to those of us learning about writing and the publishing business. Her books are populated with relatable, memorable characters, and timely topics.
I recently discovered Lisa Wingate who writes tales of misunderstood and forgotten people. People many would prefer to sweep under the proverbial rug and ignore. Her stories highlight the worth of these individuals and shine a light on the beauty of love and seeing others as they are not as they are assumed to be. I have read Before We Were Yours, The Prayer Box, and The Story Keeper and would recommend each of them if you want a story that will touch your heart and maybe even change it.
Fawkes, by Nadine Brandes, is a YA fantasy, written about an actual historical event with added color. It, too, won a Carol Award and totally deserved it! I was taken by the imaginative twists while sticking with the timeline and events of history. The characters were real with penchants toward both good and evil, loads of uncertainty, and tons of motivation to do the right thing––if they could figure out what that was. Definitely worth the time to read!
For the sake of time and space, this will be my last recommendation, though I have many more worthwhile authors to recommend. (Perhaps I’ll write a sequel to this blog!) A Nest of Sparrows, by Deborah Raney was one of my favorite stories of 2019. This tale of children and the foster care system that showcases how one person’s love can change the lives of many despite difficulties and personal sacrifice will uplift you and bring back your faith in the family as a place of healing.
I hope you’ll check out some of these fine authors and share with your friends who may have the notion that Christian fiction is dull. Any of these titles will dispel that idea from page one.
Do you have favorite authors? Which ones? What are your favorite books from 2019? Comment and share below. Also, sign up for my newsletter and get a free short story.