Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Inspy Fiction

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday post, I'm taking some liberties ... the official topic is Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre. The books that I'm featuring today may or may not be underrated by readers of inspirational fiction, but they're all books I'd like my sister, who will read practically anything except inspirational fiction, to check out. So they're hidden gems in that Val would never pick these books up on her own, but I think she'd like them if she ever did read them.

One of Val's biggest complaints about Christian fiction is that the interweaving of God and faith into a story can be clunky and inauthentic—like the faith aspect is shoehorned in just because it "should" be present. That's totally valid, but I also believe that many authors are doing it well. All of the books I'm recommending either have a very light faith thread (some you wouldn't be able to identify as Christian without looking at the publisher) or feature characters whose faith journeys feel real. You won't find much romance on this list, as romance is much more my thing than Val's, but I did manage to sneak a couple in 😉

(Clicking on the book title will take you to my review.)

Moon Over Edisto by Beth Webb Hart

I actually bought this book for Val as soon as I finished it. I would put money on the fact that she still—four years later—hasn't read it. The faith thread is very light, and it's a great story.

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

Val doesn't like Jane Austen adaptations nearly as much as I do, but this one is practically perfect and oh so much fun. And with that cover, why wouldn't you want to pick it up?

Life After by Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert's newest novel is unexpected and beautiful, and I feel like it hits a tone that Val would enjoy. It is undoubtedly one of my favorite reads of the year.

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

Taking a chance here, as Val has already read one Katherine Reay novel at my recommendation, and she didn't like it nearly as much as I did. But this one feels more "Val" to me.

Intermission by Serena Chase

This novel has one of the strongest faith threads of the bunch, and it is perhaps the best example I've seen of faith woven into a YA novel. Plus, there are tons of musical theater references!

I'll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones

This is my favorite Jenny B. Jones novel ever, and Val enjoys a good YA romance, so that's why I'm recommending it. The premise isn't new—see: The Duff and a myriad of 90's teen movies—but Jones takes the story in places I didn't expect.

The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo

This book is laugh-out-loud funny, and I know that some of the humor would resonate with Val. I read it back when I thought baseball was the most boring sport on earth (my, how times have changed!), and I still loved it, so that tells you something!

Like a River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

My favorite book of 2016, this is a thoughtful, meticulously researched, heart-wrenching look at WWII Ukraine.

The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert

I may have actually sent this book to Val already. It's translated from Afrikaans, so some of the dialogue is a bit clunky, which is one of Val's no-no's (the dialogue, not the translation). I'm hoping she'll try it out anyway.

Friend Me by John Faubion

I'm not much for suspense novels, but Val enjoys them, and this was excellent suspense.

There you have it—ten books I'd recommend to my sister who doesn't read inspirational fiction. Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear your thoughts. And if you're participating in TTT this week, leave your link in the comments, and I'll be sure to stop by.


  1. So glad I decided to hop over and check out this post! As a librarian, just when I think I know most of the good CF books out there I'm always surprised when I learn of some that are a few years old that I haven't heard of. I've added 3 to my purchase list that we didn't have, and 5 to my reading pile. Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad, Shondra! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know! Happy reading :-)


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