Posts Tagged ‘Christian romance’

Book Review: Deceived by Irene Hannon

January 13th, 2015

Kate Marshall’s husband and son died in a boating accident three years ago. It’s taken time to pull her life together, but she’s done it – moving from New York to Missouri, working as a counselor for battered women looking for work. But as she descends an escalator at the local mall, she hears a childish voice ask for a “poppysicle”. Then she sees a boy who looks like a dead ringer for her lost son – except three years older than he was when his father’s boat capsized and he was lost in the lake, with his body never found. She can’t get the incident out of her mind, so she hires a private investigator to find out who the boy is – just to ease her mind.

Of course, she doesn’t expect that she’ll fall in love with the handsome PI or that she’ll end up with her life in danger.

I hadn’t read anything by Irene Hannon until my church book club selected Deceived for their January book club – but, having read it, I’m glad I did. Hannon’s writing style (and her subject matter) reminds me a lot of Dee Henderson – and I was so disappointed when Henderson’s writing skidded to a halt.

How is Hannon’s writing similar to Henderson’s? They both feature highly trained mid-thirties (or at least, I assume they’re in their mid-thirties) professionals in dangerous professions, both involve some sort of crime investigation, both include love stories that progress way too fast (in my mind). One difference is that Henderson’s mysteries tend to be mysteries – something that keeps the reader puzzling through to the end. With Deceived, we know the who-dun-it pretty much from the get-go, it’s the “how done it” and “why done it” that’s the mystery. Furthermore, Henderson spends most of her time developing her main characters – the leading man and woman (who will, of course, fall in love before the book is done) – while Hannon took a significant amount of time developing the villain (actually turning him into a fairly sympathetic character) and a secondary character.

I may be slightly annoyed by how fast the romances evolve (how’s that for hypocrisy?) and especially how kissing precedes commitment (at least in that I’m not hypocritical – Daniel and I’d committed to one another before we even met). I may be slightly annoyed at how shallowly Christian the characters are (that is, how they’re Christians who are committed to their churches but don’t bother to make sure they’re on the same page theologically before they get totally attached to one another – believe you me, theology is one of the first questions I asked of any potential beau!) Overall, I’m thrilled to have been introduced to another author who writes in the crime-drama genre I enjoy. But overall, I’m thrilled to have been introduced to another author who writes in the crime-drama genre I enjoy.

If you’re a fan of Henderson, or if you enjoy any of the massively popular crime-drama television shows these days, you’ll probably also enjoy Irene Hannon’s Deceived. Go ahead and give her a try.

Rating: 3 stars
Category: Christian Crime-drama romance
Synopsis: Kate Marshall hires a PI to investigate the boy she saw in the mall who looks exactly like her son would have – except that he presumably died in a boating accident three years ago.
Recommendation: Recommended for fans of Dee Henderson or of crime-drama in general

Book Review: “Amorelle” by Grace Livingston Hill

October 21st, 2010

It’s funny how perspective changes preferences.

I remember reading Grace Livingstone Hill when I was a pre-teen and loving the homemaking ingenuity of her characters. I enjoyed the old-fashioned romance of her once-contemporary novels.

By my late teens, I had definitely developed a bias against Hill. I considered her a writer of pablum, meaningless, bland, run-of-the-mill Christian fiction.

And now I’m reading her again–partly because I’ve read a few bloggers who spoke of their admiration for Hill and partly because she’s at my library and is an easy read.

I hadn’t read Amorelle during my earlier years–so I can’t compare my thoughts on this specific title from then to now–but I can make some observations.

Amorelle goes to stay with her worldly aunt, uncle, and cousin after her pastor father dies, leaving her homeless. Her aunt and cousin quickly consign her to the status of household help. She excels in this role, creating delicious little snacks and doing pretty handwork. Yep, just what I remember from my earlier days–homemaking ingenuity.

Amorelle’s old-fashioned Christianity (with its certain social taboos) contrasts sharply with her cousin’s brash worldliness. Louise is loud and scheming. She calls her mother by her first name and pettishly insists on her own way. Amorelle, on the other hand, is sweet, acquiescent, and courteous.

So is Amorelle meaningless, bland, run-of-the-mill Christian fiction, as I would have said in my late teens?

That’s what I’m not so sure about any more. Certainly, Amorelle is not top-tier fiction. It’s not likely to win any literary awards. But there is a depth to this novel and an almost natural quality with which faith is woven into the storyline.

Amorelle is swept off her feet by a young member of Louise’s set, a handsome business-like fellow who is nevertheless quite taken with Amorelle. Almost without realizing it, Amorelle finds herself engaged to George. But the moment their engagement is announced she starts to wonder whether this decision was wise.

Is George really the right man for her? Do they have that unity of heart and soul that Amorelle’s parents seemed to have? Is Amorelle in love with George? Or is she really just in love with being in love? Amorelle must learn to lean on the Lord’s wisdom to guide her through these difficult questions.

Like I said, Hill isn’t likely to win any literary awards for her writing–but I did find Amorelle to be a nice, comfortable read. It isn’t meaty enough for a main course, but neither is it the meaningless fluff of a dessert. It’s a salad book, a nice, nutritious break from meat and potatoes reading.

Rating: 3 stars
Category: Christian Romance
Synopsis: After the death of her pastor father, Amorelle moves in with her relatives–and shortly finds herself engaged to a dashing young businessman. But is George really the right man for her?
Recommendation: This isn’t spectacular reading, but it’s a nice, medium-weight novel for relaxing on a lazy day.

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