Dee Stewart

A literary journalist and publicist since 2003, Dee Stewart's writings have appeared in Precious Times, Romantic Times, Spirit Led Woman Magazines and on The Master's Artist Blog. She is also the owner of DeeGospel PR (,) Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA. Visit her Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 6 years old in July at Her debut novel "A Good Excuse to Be Bad (Kensington/Dafina) releases Summer 2011. Talk to her in real-time on Twitter at @deegospel.

Multicultural Fiction

Five Summer Reads Not to Miss

It’s 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.

Glamoruous IlusionsLisa 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.

Destiny's DivasVictoria Christopher Murray’s Destiny’s Divas (Simon & Schuster.)

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.

Hope SpringsKim 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

Janelle 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?

And 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.

Mary MagdelineDiana 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.

Attorney-Client PriviledgePamela Samuels Young’s Attorney-Client Privilege (Goldman)

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.


Someone Bad and Something Blue