Christian Fiction Reviews | June 15, 2013

Summer reading calls for escape, and this month’s CF offerings are all about heart-stopping suspense that will enable genre fans to forget their daily cares for a while. Leanna Ellis continues her atmospheric Amish vampire series with Plain Fear: Forgiven. In contemporaries, a serial killer meets his match in Alton Gansky’s Wounds. Harry Kraus offers a new medical thriller in An Open Heart. Randy Singer’s Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales has his hero racing against the clock to discover who is killing his law partners before he becomes the next victim.

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewCoffey, Billy. When Mockingbirds Sing. Thomas Nelson. Jun. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781401688219. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 978140168233. CF

Tom Norcross is having trouble with his marriage and his psychiatry practice so he moves his wife and their daughter, Leah, to Mattingly, VA. Because of her stutter, Leah is a social pariah until a young girl named Allie befriends her. But their friendship and the Norcrosses’ new life in Mattingly is challenged when Leah claims her imaginary friend, the Rainbow Man, is instructing her to paint pictures that then come true. The townspeople are devout Christians, and their world is turned upside down by Leah’s predictions. Is God speaking through her? Or is it something more sinister? VERDICT Coffey’s third novel (after Paper Angels and Snow Day) is an inspirational and atmospheric tale that should appeal to readers of Penelope Stokes.

Landsem, Stephanie. The Well. Howard: S. & S. Jun. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9781451688856. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781451688863. CF

Teenage Mara’s life is not easy. Living in a small house in the Samaritan village of Sychar, she cares for her younger brother and unstable mother, Nava. An outcast because of her mother’s transgressions, Mara worries how they will find their next meal when they will be exiled. One day, Nava meets Jesus at the well, who forgives her sins. But Nava’s transformation is cut short when the villagers stone her. To save her mother, Mara sets out to find Jesus, with the help of a young man who also seeks redemption. VERDICT Mara is an unforgettable character, and the writing is sharp. Landsem’s fresh interpretation of the familiar biblical story of Jesus and the woman at the well will be well received by fans of T. Davis Bunn. An excellent first outing by a promising writer.

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewPetersheim, Jolina. The Outcast. Tyndale House. Jul. 2013. 373p. ISBN 9781414379340. pap. $13.99; ebk. ISBN 9781414386058. CF

Rachel Stoltzfus has led a contented life among her Old Order Mennonite community. But when she becomes pregnant and refuses to reveal the identity of the father, the sect shuns her, and the bishop, who is Rachel’s brother-in-law and who has secrets of his own, forces her to leave. VERDICT Petsheim makes an outstanding debut with this fresh and inspirational retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Well-drawn characters and good, old-fashioned storytelling combine in an excellent choice for Nancy Mehl’s readers.

The following titles are reviewed in the June 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Aiken, Ginny. Remember Me When. FaithWords: Hachette. (Women of Hope, Bk 2). Jun. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780892968473. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781455518111. CF

Coble, Colleen. Rosemary Cottage. Thomas Nelson. (Hope Beach, Bk 2). Jul. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781595547828. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401689575. CF

Gansky, Alton. Wounds. B. & H. 2013. 350p. ISBN 9781433677182. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781433677151.CF

Green, Jocelyn. Widow of Gettysburg. Moody. (Heroines Behind the Lines, Bk. 2). 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780802405777. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780802481399. CF

Hurr, Frederick. Light of the Wicked. B. & H. (Light Trilogy, Bk. 1). Nov. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781433678790. pap. $14.99. CF

Kraus, Harry. An Open Heart. David C. Cook. Jun. 2013. 464p. ISBN 9780781405355. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781434706041. CF

Larson, R.J. King. Bethany House. (Books of the Infinite, Bk. 3). Jul. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780764209734. pap. $14.99. CF

Macias, Kathi. Last Chance for Justice: A Bloomfield Novel. B. & H. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781433677175. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781433682872. CF

Mosley, Meg. Gone South. WaterBrook: Random. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780307730800. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780307730817. CF

Singer, Randy. Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales. Tyndale House. 2013. 383p. ISBN 9781414386751. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781414385815. CF

Taylor, Diana Wallis. Claudia: Wife of Pontius Pilate. Revell. Jun. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780800721381. pap. $14.99. CF

Thomson, Cindy. Grace’s Pictures. Tyndale House. (Ellis Island, Bk. 1). Jun. 2013. 389p. ISBN 9781414368436. pap. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9781414385976. CF


Chapman, Vannetta. A Wedding for Julia. Harvest House. (Pebble Creek Amish, Bk. 3). Jul. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780736946162. pap. $13.99. CF

Ellis, Leanna. Plain Fear: Forgiven. Sourcebooks. (Plain Fear, Bk. 3). Aug. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9781402279799. pap. $14.99. CF

Perry, Marta. Lydia’s Hope. Berkley: Penguin Group (USA). (Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley, Bk. 1). Jun. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780425253564. pap. $15. CF

Woodsmall, Cindy. The Winnowing Season. WaterBrook: Random. (Amish Vines & Orchards, Bk. 2). 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780307730046. pap. $14.99. CF