Book Review: Inklings by Melanie M. Jeschke

Inklings opens on the day of C.S. Lewis’s funeral. A protege of his, David MacKenzie had a change of heart as he watched the flame of a candle on Lewis’s casket burn brightly, unwavering despite the wind. David recommitted his life to God and purposed to make a difference in the lives of students at Oxford, just as his mentor had.

MacKenzie and a friend begin the “Inklings Society” at Oxford, meeting at the same “Bird and Baby” where the original Inklings had met. The group shares literature – that of their own and others’ composition – and discusses matters of life and faith.

Enter Kate Hughes, a Virginian studying in Oxford for the year. She’s reading Shakespeare with MacKenzie, and quickly develops a crush on her handsome believing tutor.

This is definitely a Christian romance, with romance being the operative word. As such, it is fairly straightforward – although with an emphasis on a sort-of courtship-ish model such as was popular among homeschoolers when this was published (the author is a homeschooling mom of many, of course!)

Not being a terrific fan of romances for romance sake (at least not for quite a while), I didn’t find the romance to be tremendously interesting. But the setting? This is like a travel brochure for Oxford. The glimpses into the life and thoughts of C.S. Lewis? Yes, please.

I think that someone reading this for the romance might feel that the travelogue and the Lewis biographical notes are heavy-handed and unnecessary. But not I. I tolerated the romance and relished the bits of Oxford/Lewis info.

Sidenote: Why didn’t I study at Oxford? The whole reading/tutor system seems a much better fit for my learning style than the lecture-style system of American education. Not that I wouldn’t love to attend the lectures – the ones that dons give that aren’t required but that anyone can attend who wants to (be still, my beating heart.)

I read this because my bookclub is reading it – one member of the club had seen it at the church library and was curious about it. And I’m glad we did read it. It’s not spectacular fiction, but passable as Christian romance (isn’t most Christian romance simply passable?) Yet the depth of information about Oxford and about C.S. Lewis made it worth reading for Lewis fans (at least, for Lewis fans who don’t mind Christian romance :-P)

Rating: 3 stars
Category: Christian romance
Synopsis: A British don and an American exchange student carry on something of a romance in Oxford just after C.S. Lewis’s death.
Recommendation: I wish I could draw a Venn diagram, but you’ll have to just imagine it. Imagine the intersection of “those who tolerate Christian romances” and “those who love C.S. Lewis”. Those people would likely enjoy this book.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: <em>Inklings</em> by Melanie M. Jeschke”

  1. Oh, I would definitely be reading it for the sake of the travel brochure. :D For that reason, I would like it.

    I think the Oxford system of read and discuss is vastly superior to “attend a lecture and get credit if you stay awake”. More nerve-wracking, I think, but way more valuable!

  2. I am the same – I am not generally into romance for the sake of romance story, but I can tolerate them if the setting or time period or something else about the story is good. Sounds like this one is!


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