For a book to make my ‘top ten’ list it must not only be well-written but if it is labelled ‘Christian fiction’, then the Christian elements must be natural. Christian elements can be ‘light’ but they must fit the story.
1. Pearl in the Sand, Tessa Afshar
Tessa Afshar has established herself as my favourite biblical fiction writer. Her background gives her writing added authenticity. The writing is flawless and the stories excellent. She writes both biblical fiction and biblical era fiction which connects with biblical characters.
This book is her reimagining of the story of Rahab. I think it was my only 5 star book of the year. It is harder for a Christian book to earn a 5 star from me, as for me that extra half star means that I consider it to have an ‘eternal impact value’. Of course, biblical fiction can more easily have eternal impact since it is using biblical material.
2. Shelter of the Most High, Connilyn Cossette
I would label this series (Cities of Refuge) as ‘biblical era’ fiction rather than biblical fiction. Six books based on the six cities of refuge assigned in the days of Moses/Joshua. Connilyn Cossette writes stories about people who accidently murdered others and had to flee. Excellent stories to inspire your spiritual life.
3. Words, Ginny Ytrupp
I’ve now read three or four books by this author. All have been good but this one was excellent. This was her debut novel. She writes women’s fiction which tackles issues that women face and must overcome to thrive.
She does write in first person, present tense, which I find difficult. However, her books are good enough to overcome this issue.
4. Perilous Cove, Rich Bullock
I intend to read more of this series. Excellent suspense. The Christian elements were natural.
5. Sea Horses, Cheryll Snow
This is a debut novel. I again nearly missed it because of the cover/title as it looked like a book about horses. In contrast, it is a story about family and forgiveness … US modern setting.
6. Faithful, Carol Ashby
I’ve read three of the books in this series and enjoyed all of them. Adventure stories set within the Roman empire. Each one is not only a good story but allows you to learn more of the customs and cultures of Rome and the surrounding nations and peoples. Each one has some sort of link with the others which means we can hear the ongoing stories of our favourite characters or some relative …
Strong Christian story to each and shared naturally, giving us an idea of what it was like to follow Jesus in the first centuries AD -without much personal access to scriptures and often in isolated situations. Yet the issues of learning to forgive, to trust … are universal ones.
Recommended. These books would also be appreciated by teenagers from about 13 and could be used by homeschoolers wanting their children to absorb the history … along the way.
7. The Edge of Mercy, Heidi Chiavaroli
I felt that both the cover and genre that this book was in weren’t correct and I delayed reading it for that reason. I nearly missed out on an excellent read. This is a dual timeline book – early 1800’s US and modern day. In a lot of ways this is women’s fiction as it tackles relationship issues.
8. Laura, Don’t Run, R. Marshall Wright
A new author who writes unconventional stories. This would be ‘women’s fiction’ apart from one speculative bit that was added (I would have preferred it wasn’t as it wasn’t needed).
Teens and adults should enjoy this quirky but though provoking story. Check the ‘look inside’ on Amazon to see if this author’s style appeals or turns you off.
9. Justice series (4 books), Patricia Bradley
For lovers of police cold case novels and suspense. High quality writing and good stories.
10. A Room of my own, Ann Tatlock
I’ve read about four of Ann’s books. I highly recommend them. US historical fiction. This one is the story of a family in the Depression. A coming of age story where the teenage girl grows in her understanding of what is happening around her and also of her own family and self.
Just in case you are curious, I do read both Christian non-fiction and secular fiction but I am keeping my recommendations to Christian fiction at the moment.
I continue to search for 5 star Christian fiction with unforgetteable stories that impact my own spiritual journey. So far, I have not found nearly enough of these kinds of stories. Please let me know your recommendations. Books like ‘Safely Home’ by Randy Alcorn or the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis or some of Francine Rivers’ fiction.