The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 29, 2008

Book review: Christian fiction titles are in demand

Christian fiction, religious fiction, good news, inspirational fiction — regardless of what you call it, while there may be some element of romance or mystery, it all has God as a central focus of the plot.

The number of authors of Christian fiction has grown as the demand for such titles has grown. Below is just a sampling of the titles available at the Joplin Public Library. Look for the pink “Inspiration” stickers on the spines of the books for these titles.

‘Between Sundays’

By Karen Kingsbury

Aaron Hill is a popular, well-known quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Since signing on with the NFL, he has led the life of a partying bachelor who has been with his share of women. His actions catch up with him one weekend when a woman files charges. The charges are dropped but Aaron’s agent believes Aaron needs to do something good, even if it’s just once, so the media can play him in a more positive light.

Derrick Anderson, also a quarterback for the 49ers, has been in the NFL longer and believes in family, giving back and God. Derrick volunteers his time at a youth shelter for foster kids, and one evening he takes Aaron along. Aaron agrees to go in order to prove he isn’t just a playboy. Little does Aaron know that meeting 8-year old Cory and his step-mother, Megan, that night will change his life and outlook.

As a former sports writer, Kingsbury knows football. She uses actual team and stadium names and is accurate in how the football season plays out. And while this title is fiction, she’s done an excellent job highlighting some of the good things athletes do when they aren’t on the field. Highly recommended.

‘Fair Game’

By Elizabeth White

Jana had a rough life growing up with an alcoholic, abusive father who spent what money they did have at the local bar. As a teen, Jana overhears some girls at school call her a “wild child” due to her fascination with animals. She takes this wrong and decides to show her fellow classmates just how wild she can be.

Now 18 years later, a widow with two young children, Jana has straightened out her life by becoming a veterinarian, earning a grant from the federal government for a wildlife refuge, and finding her faith in God. She’s returned home to her grandfather’s with the children in hopes of obtaining his land for the wildlife refuge. But all her plans seem to get side-tracked when she learns the boy she had a crush on in high school has also returned home after a falling out with business partners with his own plans for her grandfather’s land.

Who will get the land? How will Jana work out her feelings for the man she thought she knew from high school? Can the two of them work together even though one preserves animals’ lives while the other enjoys hunting?

It’s a well-done story about two people with opposing viewpoints and how they let God guide them in their decisions.

‘The Wednesday Letters’

By Jason F. Wright

Jack and Laurel were married for 39 years. Jack had been ill; Laurel had not. They died in each other’s arms.

When their adult children return to the bed and breakfast their parents ran for years, they discover unmarked boxes in the basement. Inside is 39 years worth of letters Jack wrote to Laurel every Wednesday of their married life beginning on the day they were married and ending on the night they died.

As Matthew, Malcolm and Samantha read through the letters, they learn some shocking truths about their parents, all the while dealing with their own present-day trials and tribulations. Over the course of a few days, they learn just how much faith, love and strength they and their parents shared.

It is a beautifully written love story.

Susan Wray is the director of Joplin Public Library.