Top 10 Christian Novels: 2006. Mort, John (author).
FEATURE. First published October 1, 2006 (Booklist).
Terrorists seem to have gone underground in this year’s Christian fiction, and apocalyptic novels haven’t made much of a comeback since the Left Behind series. Instead, there was the Dan Brown effect, producing several Mary Magdalene stories, and there were some fine literary novels from veteran Vinita Hampton Wright and a winning newcomer, Beth Webb Hart. The novels covered here were reviewed between October 2005 and September 2006.
Dickson, Athol. River Rising. 2006. Bethany, $17.99 (0-7643-0162-X).
A mysterious black man named Hale Poser arrives in the little bayou town of Pilotville, where he demonstrates his powers as a healer and his gift for making peace.Dickson retells the Gospel story with a nice feel for Cajun ways and his trademark gothic flair.
Gabhart, Ann H. The Scent of Lilacs. Revell, paper, $12.99 (0-8007-3080-1).
Thirteen-year-old Jocie Brooke explores her family’s secrets in this wise, universal tale of growing up in a small Kentucky town, featuring Jocie’s senile, Bible-quoting aunt; her wandering mother; and her father, a sad “interim” pastor.
Hart, Beth Webb. Grace at Low Tide. 2005. WestBow, paper, $13.99 (1-5955-4026-1).
Rather like Mick in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, DeVeaux DeLoach is a precocious southern girl full of wisdom and charm. Hard times hit her family, and they move to the South Carolina coast, where DeVeaux reaches young womanhood.
Hart, Beth Webb. Adelaide Piper. 2006. WestBow, paper, $13.99 (1-59554-027-X).
Hart’s second novel, about a promising high-school girl who is date-raped, keeps up the pace set by Grace at Low Tide.
Hunt, Angela. Uncharted. 2006. WestBow, $19.99 (0-8499-4484-8).
Leaning on the TV show Lost, Hunt shipwrecks six old friends who have lost their youthful ideals. The seemingly familiar plot takes a menacing twist when it becomes clear that the island on which the friends have washed up is, literally, hell.
Mackel, Kathryn. The Hidden. 2006. WestBow, paper, $13.99 (1-59554-037-7).
Escaping a wrenching emotional scene at her family’s ranch, Susan races across the highlands on a spirited stallion and is thrown into a deep chasm, where she discovers an odd, androgynous young man. Is he an angel? A demon?
McGowan, Kathleen. The Expected One. 2006. Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, $25.95 (0-7432-9942-6). McGowan postulates that Mary Magdalene wasn’t just married to Jesus, she was also married to John the Baptist. She had a child with John, two with Jesus, and the two bloodlines have engaged in a clandestine feud for centuries. It’s all about to surface with the appearance of “the expected one.”
Rourke, Mary. Two Women of Galilee. 2006. MIRA, $21.95 (0-7783-2374-9).
Joanna, a Jewish woman, is married to Chuza, Herod’s chief steward. After falling ill, she appeals to her cousin, Mary, mother of Jesus, for an introduction to her son. Jesus heals Joanna, but then her loyalties are torn. Should she compromises her husband by following Jesus?
Thrasher, Travis. Admission. 2006. Moody, paper, $12.99 (0-8027-8024-1).
When a young woman goes missing, Jake Williams is employed by her parents to track her down. Jake’s quest returns him to college haunts and brings back painful memories, prompting a spiritual inquiry as he confronts old sins and a woman he once loved but let down badly.
Wright, Vinita Hampton. Dwelling Places. 2006. HarperSanFrancisco, $23.95 (0-06-079080-6). Mack Barnes knows that family farms are extinct, but he cannot bear to lose his land. Wright’s quiet, lyrical prose captures an Iowa farm town with precision and compassion, and celebrates how one resilient family manages to hang on and even triumph.
(I’m so thrilled to be among such august company! ) See the complete list here: http://www.booklistonline.com/default.aspx?page=show_product&pid=1761235 )