very summer now. We’re either keeping cool inside or basking in the sun
outside. But are we reading books? And if so, are we reading the right
ones? I hope that in both cases we have a book nestled in a tote bag or
on our e-readers, because this is the best time to read a lot of books.
Therefore, this month I’m sharing a list of glorious reads to add to
your summer reading list.
Lisa T. Bergren’s Glamorous
Illusions (David C. Cook)
It’s the summer of 1913 and Cora
Kensington’s life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only
are the crops failing, but someone dear to Cora is failing as well.
In one fateful afternoon, a
stranger comes to call, and Cora discovers a terrible secret about her
past . . . a secret that will radically change her future.
Cora is invited to take the
“Grand Tour” of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person’s
education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and
contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France, with
kin she’s never known, Cora encounters the blessings of a family name,
as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she
realizes the journey is only beginning.
I really liked this novel.
Bergren has a way of creating characters you instantly care about and
worlds you want to be in. Glamorous Illusions
allowed me to take my summer vacation in early nineteenth century
Montana, England, and France. The novel had me on pins and needles. I
wanted to help Cora get what she wanted.
Murray’s Destiny’s Divas (Simon &
Sierra, Raine, and Liza are
Destiny’s Divas, a fresh, new gospel group whose unique blend of
singing and testifying has gained them fans across the country. They
tell the world about how good God has been to them, but off-stage, each
is living a life totally opposite to what she preaches—and each is
harboring a secret that could ruin them all.
Twenty-something Sierra Dixon
speaks about the joy of being single and celibate, though she is
anything but, drifting from one relationship to another. Although she
stresses the importance of unconditional love within the family, Raine
Omari has hit her breaking point with her mother-in-law and is ready to
take drastic steps. And when Liza Washington discovers that her
pastor-husband is in the middle of a scandal that could bring down more
than just their ministry, she knows she must do something to stop him.
One fateful evening their secrets are exposed, and one diva commits an
act that could land her in prison for the rest of her life. Each has
motive—who will crack?
Oftentimes I read novels in
which the characters are too angelic to be human. Murray knows better.
What sets her novels apart from other mainstream inspirational novels
is she’s not afraid to tackle the failings of the human condition and
how modern trappings challenge our faith. This novel is great for a
summer group Bible study and discussion.
Cash Tate’s Hope Springs (Thomas Nelson)
Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back
to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when
she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely
ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn’t long before she runs into
her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a
decade are reawakened. And when
proposes a Bible study at the
local diner—and invites both African American and Caucasian women—the
group quickly forms a spiritual bond . . . and inadvertently adds to
underlying tension in the community.
Becca Anderson is finally on the
trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for
years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian
women’s conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor
of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small-town living
affect her big ministry dreams?
Stephanie London has the
ideal life—married to a doctor in St. Louis, with absolutely nothing
she has to do. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope
Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels strangely compelled
to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.
As these women come together,
they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their
families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial
lines. God’s plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs
itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.
Tate does a superb job of making
family drama more about the family and less about the drama. When I
read her books, I can see the action play out before my mind’s eye like
a movie. What I love most is that she tackles cultural diversity and
Christian worship in such a clever and poignant way.
Diana Wallis Taylor’s Mary
Magdalene (Revell 2012)
Long maligned as a prostitute or
a woman of questionable reputation, Mary Magdalene’s murky story seems
lost to the sands of time. Now a portrait of this enigmatic woman comes
to life in the hands of an imaginative master storyteller. Diana Wallis
Taylor’s Mary is a woman devastated by circumstances beyond her control
and plagued with terrifying dreams—until she has a life-changing
confrontation with the Savior.
This is a refreshing and
well-written take on Mary Magdalene. The beginning of the novel shows
her as a sweet, young girl who experiences much tragedy in her life. By
the time she becomes an adult, her soul is weary, but something inside
her won’t let her give up. When she meets Jesus, everything makes sense
and the story we know begins. This is a great novel for biblical
fiction fans like me.
Pamela Samuels Young’s Attorney-Client
A brutal murder, missing
documents, and an unscrupulous opposing counsel lead attorney Vernetta
Henderson on a quest for justice—and ultimately—revenge. Vernetta goes
after a corporation with a long history of discriminating against
women. While Vernetta simply wants justice for her clients, the
corporation’s hired gun wants to win . . . and she doesn’t care how. On
the home front, Vernetta’s infamous sidekick, Special, has finally
found true love. But is the price more than she’s willing to pay?
This is Young’s first attempt at
combining her mainstream political thrillers with a Christian
worldview. I’m so glad that she did.