Monday, September 22, 2008
Books! I read books!!!
Allison Pittman's With Endless Sight
Rarely has a Christian novel affected me as deeply and emotionally as Allison Pittman's "With Endless Sight."
It's the story of Belinda, whose seemingly prosperous family uproots from Illinois to head west toward Oregon territory, much against the wishes of her proud and beautiful mother. Belinda's family has its faults and failings, but they have gifted her with a grounding of faith--something she must draw on repeatedly during the trials that ensue.
Not long before the family reaches their destination, a shocking tragedy shatters Belinda's life and abruptly alters the course of the story. The narrative shifts from being an account of a family's sometimes troublesome but overall fairly pleasant trip west, to a story that must venture into places of deep courage and raw pain.
Pittman handles mature themes with gentility and grace; her portrayal of Christian faith rings true and unvarnished. Belinda is a strong, honest and nuanced heroine, her story compelling and very difficult to put down.
I haven't read the first two books in this Crossroads of Grace series, but the brief appearances of both previous heroines in this story makes me want to do so. At any rate, I'll want to read anything by Allison Pittman. She is without a doubt a very gifted novelist.
Linda Hall's Shadows at the Window
This is the second suspense novel Linda Hall has written for Harlequin's Steeple Hill line, and it's obvious why Hall has won awards for her mystery-writing.
This is an enjoyable read, perfect for snuggling up with on a fall evening as you sip a mug of hot cider.
Lilly is a girl with a secret past--but that past is now confronting her in a frightening way. The mystery of just who is threatening to destroy Lilly's new life will keep you turning pages. Hall has a deft touch when it comes to suspense: a scene where the heroine is trapped in a basement, perhaps with a killer, is one of the scariest things I've read in a while.
Interwoven into the mystery is some solid truth about how once we become a new creature in Christ, we can truly put our past sins to rest.
I really liked this compact mystery, just as I did Hall's previous Shadows in the Mirror. However, I do hope Hall will be able at some point to return to her full-length novels--not just her excellent mysteries like Chat Room, Dark Water, and Black Ice, but to meaty, substantive books like Sadie's Song and Margaret's Peace.
Hall tells me that the Christian bookselling industry has a hard time figuring out how to market her books, which often defy pigeon-holing. Too bad, because she's a wonderfully talented writer who deserves a wide audience.