Last month, we had such a wonderful conversation in the comments to my post about sex and Christian romance. Thank you all so much for spending time with me!
One of the recurring themes that cropped up in some of those comments was the desire to escape and find solace in books.
I one hundred percent agree!
Books have always been a place of rest for me – a place to get away from life and hang out with new friends. In elementary school, I considered our school librarian one of my best friends. In middle school, books were the friends that I never seemed to be able to make–or keep–in person. That continued through high school, college, and on to today.
Some of my best friends live in the pages of books.
Finding Christian romance as it’s written today (not the Janette Oake my mother loved – although, I do have a soft spot for that for nostalgia purposes), has opened up the world to a host of new friends who also share my faith. I love that I can open the pages (or haha, download it onto my Kindle) and lose myself in a story that I know will be full of swoony heroes, sigh-inducing kisses, and a happily ever after that honors God.
You know what else I love? I love seeing my new friends (my new book friends, you realize) deal with the same things I do. They stumble over their tongue and say mean, hurtful things. They over react. They sin–sometimes on purpose–they have to deal with the things that come from their choices. They struggle with God’s sovereignty.
And at the end of the day, like the Apostle Paul, they come out on the other side knowing they have fought the good fight and finished the race.
And me? Having walked alongside them as they struggled through whatever hardships their author threw at them, I am encouraged. I am strengthened in my own faith. The hours of solace I found in the pages can linger.
Again, for me, the books where the struggles are more realistic give me more solace than the quiet, gentle reads where the biggest hardship the characters go through is a misunderstanding that has nothing to do with the deepest roots of who they are.
I suspect a lot of this plays into why I write the kind of stories I do. (Aside from the fact that the stories I write are the ones God gives me. There’s always that, isn’t there?) Christian romance novels have expanded my circle of Christian men and women who I consider friends. And sure, they’re fictional, but they’re friends nonetheless. Writing Christian romance novels has done the same thing.
It’s been fascinating and fun to realize that the characters I put on the page can be my friends–and hopefully your friends, too. So here are a few of my favorites, who I hope, if you haven’t already met, you’ll add to your TBR and give them a chance.
Nearest and dearest, because she’s like my firstborn, Lydia Brown. She’s the heroine of Wisdom to Know. She’s rebellious, mostly because she’s never felt like she was enough–and she doesn’t want to let the box lid of expectations clatter down over her head.
From the same series, Allison Vasak. Compassionate and intelligent and so willing to believe that things are going to be okay, even when it doesn’t seem possible.
There’s Jackson Trent, Ben Taylor, and Zach Wilson — roommates and friends who share a sarcastic sense of humor, a love of video games, and a strong commitment to sharpening one another’s faith when the chips are down. (And really, I’d be remiss if I left off David Pak and Adam Lassiter from this list — because the men of my Taste of Romance series are some of my favorites.)
Vanessa Fischer and Topher Adams are two who I’d love to hand out with time and time again. Not only because their jobs seem like they’d be a lot of fun and I’d enjoy learning about them, but because they both know exactly who they are and where they’re going, but they’re not afraid to detour when they need to.
I could go on–but I don’t need to make a list of all my books. And I realize that it sounds like I’m choosing favorites amongst my books, but I’m not. I love them all in their own ways – they all have so many things that make them good friends.
Now it’s your turn. What was the last book you read where you finished the last page and thought, “Gosh, I wish that character (or those characters) were my friend in reality.” ? Or, if you can’t come up with that – what was the last book you read where you ended with a feeling of solace and comfort?
I’d love to gift two commenters their choice of my existing e-books. So leave me a note and I’ll choose winners Sunday afternoon.