May 11th, 2011

we live in brooklyn

Putting the inspiration and romance in inspirational romance

A few weeks ago, I ranted about what devices/cliches/WTFrack things I was TIRED of seeing in "inspirational romance." I'm feeling like of like an authority on this, having read more than 20 Christian historical romances since February of this year. The original post is here: Taking the inspiration and romance out of inspirational romance.

I also said there were several standouts among that bunch of books. Several of my friends were like OHWOWPLEASESHARE. It seems y'all are as annoyed with the genre's cliches as much as I am.


Here's the first post of my recommendations.


1 - These are all books released RECENTLY. I'm not going back and pointing out good old Francine Rivers or even "newer" authors. I'm talking books published in the past year or two.

2 - This is in NO WAY comprehensive, and it's restricted to historical romance. If you want to point out books outside of the genre in comments, DO DO DO PLEASE DO. SHARE THE LOVE I AM SRS.

3 - I hate making derogatory comments about books. Because, as a writer who's dealt with her share of critiques, criticism, and rejection---well. Yeah. I know most people are writing because its their passion, and so often with writers, it's a compulsion. We MUST WRITE. And we long for people to love the worlds in our heads the way we do. At the same time, that's not always good enough. So rather than point fingers at books/authors who don't DO IT RIGHT (by my standards), we're gonna go with the whole BAMBI wisdom of, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." I know what I don't like and why I don't like it. I may talk about it in a one-on-one situation, but I'm not going to tear anyone down on my site. And I'm not going to permit anyone else to do it, either. You name names in a less-than-flattering way, I'll delete the comment.

4 - That being said, I am GLAD to discuss ELEMENTS I don't want to see any more of, or ones that are done badly. I'm all for talking about IMPROVEMENT OF THE GENRE you guys. So feel free to TALK, just not about speciic authors and books.

There are some more points of contention with the genre I want to address, but for now, I'll share one of the books I loved-loved-loved.




A DISTANT MELODY by Sarah Sundin.

Description from Amazon: Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love. Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart? A Distant Melody is the first book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

Why this stands out:  A setting so rich you can feel the California sun on your skin, even when you're stuck in an Ohio February. Add the "He Wears a Pair of Silver Wings" Pandora Station to this and you never want to step away from this book. Stuff HAPPENS and there are REAL CONSEQUENCES to actions. They have good, gentle humor, not silly antics! After the first chapter I was all like THESE PEOPLE HAVE TO GET TOGETHER OR I WILL NEVER BE HAPPY AGAINNNNNNN. And flailed a lot because I LOVE actually connecting that fast to characters. Best of all: these two people SERIOUSLY CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER I AM NOT KIDDING YOU. They encourage each other in their faith! He's a more mature Christian than she is! They have real flaws and circumstances and fears that keep each other from one another, not some canned misunderstanding! And I want to KNOW THEM and have them over for coffee and now I'm sort of sad that I can't because they are NOT REAL.  Also, she writes the technical bomber Army WWII stuff so fluidly that you're never ever pulled out of the narrative.