Christian fiction gets a bad rap. And let's all be honest. It often deserves its poor reputation. My years working at The Christian Bookstore exposed me to an awful lot of drivel. On the positive side, I was just borrowing the books (store perk!) so at least I didn't waste any of my hard-earned money.
The vindictive part of me would like to list these groan-worthy books and authors. Then I remember that I'm writing a novel and I would be crushed if someone ever referred to my hard work as drivel. So I'll keep the snark to myself. However, if you were to email me for more specifics, I can't say that I wouldn't write you back with all the dirt.
There is good amongst the bad, however. Otherwise I wouldn't keep reading it!
Now let's move on. I have to say that there are Christian fiction authors I enjoy but I don't necessarily have favorite Christian fiction books. (This is probably why the Christian market isn't viewed as true competition in the literary world.)
Here are the books and authors that make the cut, in no particular order:
Flabbergasted- Ray Blackston Laugh out loud funny! If you are single, male or female, I dare you not to relate to Jay, our main character who takes to church to find the girl of his dreams. Blackston is an awesome, friendly author- we emailed a bit after this book came out. He has a fresh voice. The two sequels were also enjoyable but Flabbergasted remains my favorite.
Tamara Leigh- I like Leigh's version of Christian chick lit. They're easy, engaging reads that keep me laughing and commiserating. Perfecting Kate was the first of hers that I read.
Silence- Shusaku Endo I wouldn't say this is Christian fiction but the spiritual themes are too overt to put it in my general fiction list. I read this for Book Club and we had a very thought-provoking discussion about apostasy and what might cause us to deny our faith.
The Shape of Mercy- Susan Meissner I absolutely loved this book! Full review here. I haven't had a chance to read anything else by Meissner but I have high hopes based on The Shape of Mercy.
Robin Jones Gunn- I have a long history of RJG, stemming from the Christy Miller series (more on this later) and leading up to her Glenbrooke novels and more. Whether it's a romance or a pair of sisters traveling the world, I'm guaranteed to enjoy Gunn's take.
The Cubicle Next Door and Moon Over Tokyo- Siri Mitchell I find Mitchell's contemporary characters more relatable than what else is out there, more like me and my friends. I haven't read her other work since she's now writing historical fiction, which is not really my cup of tea.
Just Between You and Me and Save the Date- Jenny B. Jones Again, relatable characters. It makes such a difference! They're not perfect, they're not cookie cutter Christians. There may be a happy ending but it also holds true to life.
Beth Pattillo- If you like anything related to Jane Austen, you should check out her updated tales. Start with Jane Austen Ruined My Life.
Lights of the Veil- Patty Metzer It's been an eon since I read this but I was so utterly captivated by the main character and her adventure across India. Think I'll be rereading it soon!
Thorn in my Heart- Liz Curtis Higgs This was my favorite of the Lowlands of Scotland Series. I enjoyed how Higgs interpreted the story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel and then transported it to the Scottish highlands.
What a Girls Wants- Kristin Billerbeck Relatable, well-written Christian chick lit. The Ashley Stockingdale books are hilarious! You'll be asking yourself, are you a Season or a Reason?
Stay tuned for more reasons why Leigh Likes Books:
- Favorite Fiction (General Market)
- Favorite Christian Fiction (today)
- Favorite Nonfiction (General Market) (5/16)
- Favorite Christian Nonfiction (5/18)
- Going to the Classics (5/23)
- Best Book Series (5/25)
- Childhood Faves (5/30)
- Books I Used to Like that Now Make Me Cringe (6/1)
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