Friday, April 12, 2013

A beloved Christian writer finally gets her due

On my now "paused" book blog, Cindy's Book Club, I posted about a book I loved when I was in high school: Not My Will, by Francena H. Arnold.

I included "Not My Will" is a list of 15 Books That Will Always Stick With Me.

Here's a description of the book from the Moody Publishers website:

Eleanor's secret love for Chad could mean losing her inheritance and giving up a life long dream. Will she follow her own will, or make the hard choice to submit her life to Christ's leadership? Now available with a contemporary new look, Not My Will is a classic story of love, loss, and surrender, with more than 500,000 copies sold.

Interestingly, I just got this comment on my original post:

I am Steve Buttry, Francena Arnold’s grandson, and wanted to thank you for including "Not My Will" in this post. I cited it in Grandma’s Wikipedia entry as an example of the enduring impact of the author's work, four decades after her death. I also told more about Grandma in a longer version that I used on my own blog. 

She was a remarkable woman and an outstanding writer. I'm pleased that you have honored her by inclusion on this list.
Steve's blog post is particularly interesting, as it recounts how he and his family decided their grandmother really should have her own Wikipedia page...and everything he had to go through to make that page a reality.

Francena Arnold as a young bride, with her husband Frank in their wedding photo

An Enduring Tale

A few years ago, I re-read "Not My Will."  Yes, it was originally written in 1946, so you can't read it expecting it to feel or sound like a current novel.  But I  found it just as engrossing and inspiring as when I originally read it as a teen.

I also enjoyed the sequel, "Light in My Window," and a few other of Arnold's books, including "Then Am I Strong."

Another blogger, Jendi, wrote this in 2010:

I got to thinking while searching for information about Francena Arnold. She does not have a website, and only an empty Facebook fan page. There is not a lot of personal information about her, but her first book [Not My Will] which was originally written only for family is all over the web and the world. Her encouraging and thought provoking stories have endured the test of time.
I couldn't agree more.

At least she does have a Wikipedia page, thanks to her persistent grandson. And if you really would like to know more about this remarkable writer, I suggest you read Steve Buttry's original draft for the Wikipedia page.  It's rich with detail, insight and even writing tips from Francena Arnold.


DearHelenHartman said...

What a precious recommendation. Made me want to read the books - when I am through reading through your blog. First visit, instant follower. I love your sensibilities (and also wanted to dress like THAT GIRL). Come say hello sometime (I sometimes post my That Girl Paperdolls, it that's tempting ;))

Anonymous said...

That book was one of the first Christian fiction I ever read, and I loved it. I reread it not long ago, and though it's definitely from a different era, it's truths are timeless. I'm glad she has her own Wikipedia page now.

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