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Book Review: Nothing But Trouble

Do you sometimes feel like a misfit? You just don't fit the mold. You're not a proper Christian girl. You never say the right thing. Your purse never matches your shoes. If you can find your purse. Or your kids. That sort of thing.

That's how P.J. Sugar feels, the main character in Susan May Warren's new series. I just finished the first one, Nothing But Trouble, and it opens with P.J. being dumped by a man who just doesn't feel she's "pastor's wife" material.

If you've ever felt like you may not be "pastor's wife" material, either, even if you are a pastor's wife, you'll probably identify with P.J.

I've read other books by Warren, and I find her books very easy reads, and very fast paced. She almost writes in a tongue-in-cheek fashion: her description is beautiful, but it feels as if the person saying it is trying to hold back snickers in the church pew at the same time. It's a different feel from any other author I've ever read.

I also appreciate the fact that she seamlessly blends the Christian message into her book. A lot of books are called "Christian" simply because on p. 249-252 someone accepts Christ, and the full gospel is given. But then nothing else is ever said on the subject.

In Nothing But Trouble, PJ meditates on the meaning of the same passage in 1 Peter, over and over, so that it really sticks by the end of the book. We are aliens. This is not our home. And we are sent for a purpose.

Warren has a great voice in the Christian fiction marketplace, but to be honest, it's probably not one I'll read that often. I know many friends who will like this book, and I will pass it on knowing that it will find a grateful recipient. But I found the book a little formulaic, and a little too simple. I like to have to grapple with big issues; I didn't really grapple here. That isn't to say that Warren didn't raise big issues; only that the issues she raises are ones I've already dealt with, so she left me with little to chew on.

Nevertheless, if you're looking for a fun read, and just need something to help you escape toddlers underfoot for a time, this fits the bill!

I did like PJ, and I appreciated the book to review, but I like being able to get lost in a novel, and then have it haunt you afterwards. Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion seriesdoes that for me. So did Lynn Austin's Though Waters Roar. And honestly, if you have never read Uncle Tom's Cabin , you need to. It's 150 years old now, but it stands up well. You may find some of the language and euphemisms jarring in our politically correct era, but I have never read a book that better portrays the gospel--or the ramifications of rejecting God--better than this one. My daughter read it in one sitting a year ago. So did I. It's beautiful.

But now, how about we all compare the books that we have really liked. What Christian fiction have you read that has really stuck with you? Or what you simply enjoyed because it was good, clean fun? Leave a comment and let's share!

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At 5:41 PM , Blogger Megan said…

My all-time favorite Christian series are: CS Lewis's space trilogy (beginning with "Out of the Silent Planet") and Stephen Lawhead's Song of Albion trilogy (beginning with "The Paradise War"). I learn something new from them every time I read them, and my copies are nearly worn out.


At 6:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I like Boede Thoene, especially the Israel stuff, Jan Karon, Miford series. For murder mysteries I enjoyed Ellis Peters Brother Cafael and for other historical fiction I like Rosemary Sutcliff, which was originally written for young adults.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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