I'll be the first to admit that the wide and wonderful world of Christian fiction is still so new to me. Since the time of conversion most of my reading has been dedicated to parenting, homeschooling, children's and various non-fiction and reference works in the very large Christian books category. I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this title - after all, how could this sort of women's fiction draw me closer to Christ? I thought I'd give it a try - and let me tell you, this book blessed me!
Jennifer Graham is the owner of a funeral home, though she is still very new to the business. We have the delight of following her as she learns the ropes of dealing with the dead and their families; fascinating details are provided for those of us who are interested in human anatomy. We are able to meet the members of her family and see them move through challenging situations where faith in God carries them through.
This title is the second in the Fairlawn Series (I'm now eager to read the first installment as well as future titles), and reads very well on it's own if you aren't familiar with the rest of the series. Angela Hunt quickly brings us up to speed with the circumstances of the main characters without the need for lengthy expository passages. She quickly endears these quirky individuals to us by including the miniscule details of their lives that make the book all the more realistic.
It seems as though there is a rash of books in Christian women's fiction where the leading ladies are divorced, and then become entangled in romantic involvements, and even remarriage with other men. My mind was set at ease to learn that Jennifer, though she had been divorced, was now a widow. Now I could relax - even if romantic situations developed without worrying about sin on the main characters part, whew! Thankfully any potential romantic interest was also very subtle and free of sensual overtones.
Hunt confronts controversial, contemporary social issues from a Christian viewpoint where the rubber hits the road - within the family. While dealing with the issues of peer pressure, abortion and racial prejudice the themes of God's love, grace and sovereignty shine through. Hunt was extraordinarily successful at engaging my emotions - I gasped in joy as I rejoiced with them, and I wept with them in their times of sorrow and doubt.
I have now been opened up to the possibility that well written Christian fiction can indeed, draw a believer's heart closer to Christ, can lead them to examine themselves in the light of His love, can teach us how to relate to, and love each other. How could I ask for anything more? I look forward to reading more of Angela Hunt's work now that I have discovered her.