Top Ten Tuesday: Why I Love Christian Fiction

Posted June 7, 2016 by meezcarrie in Christian, Top Ten Tuesday / 137 Comments


Top Ten Tuesday Favorite

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted as always by the awesome team at The Broke & The Bookish. Today’s assigned theme is “Reasons I Love _____”. They graciously left that blank pretty open-ended for us to gush about our topic of choice, but for me there was no question what I would talk about today.

why i love chrisfic title

Now, I know some of you will read “Christian fiction” and click away to another post … and that’s just sad 🙂 For those of you brave enough to stick around, I hope to shed some light on why this is my favorite genre (along with its multiple subgenres) to read, particularly if you’ve never seen anything of value to it before today.

Do I read mainstream, general market fiction? Of course. Do I have some favorite mainstream, general market authors? Of course.  Kristan Higgins, Robyn Carr, Marin Thomas, Kate James, the classics authors (Austen, Montgomery, Alcott, L’Engle, Lewis, Tolkien, etc.), J.K. Rowling, Lauren Willig, Tessa Dare, Diane Chamberlain, just to name a few.

So…. if I do read general market books, then you may be asking why in the world would I read Christian fiction?


And now I’ll tell you why 🙂

the smart factor

1. Christian Fiction IS smart. Let’s just get this out of the way right now.  Christian fiction is smart. Not all of it, of course.  There are bad writers in Christian fiction just like there are bad writers in mainstream fiction. But the Christian fiction authors I recommend here on this blog write exquisite stories based on meticulous research & attention to detail. They know how to turn a phrase in a way that makes my bookish heart smile and I’m often so much more intelligent for having read a book when I’ve finished it. Plus, I learn things. I’ve learned things I didn’t know before about my home state of Kentucky during the colonial era (thanks, Laura Frantz!). I’ve learned historical insights about American mindsets during World War 2 (thanks, Sarah Sundin!) as well as about the orchestras in concentration camps (thanks, Kristy Cambron!). Pepper Basham taught me about the Lusitania and about speech therapy (that’s two separate books, by the way lol). I could keep going here but I think you get the idea lol 🙂


2. Christian fiction is creative! Along the same lines as the “smart” factor, the Christian fiction authors I read are some of the most creative writers across all markets. Why? Well, it’s more than simply imagination (although that’s awesome too!).  But, let’s just be honest. It takes much more creativity to come up with ways to write a realistic expression of anger without actually using profanity. Or to portray a passionate romance without getting explicit in descriptions or behavior. And seriously? The passion thing? I’m thinking of some scenes right now (with my fan and fainting couch and freezer close at hand) by some of my fave Christian authors that I would have no problems putting up for evaluation next to scenes by any of the most popular general market romance authors. (If you don’t believe me, go check out my KissingBooks posts – lesson 1 and lesson 2.  I’m collecting scenes for a third one that will be forthcoming. Such sacrifices I make for y’all lol)


3. Christian fiction has warmth. No, that tag graphic doesn’t mean what you think it means after my last point. I’m not talking about the kind of heat that has you fanning (although we’ve already established that there’s plenty of that in Christian fiction too).  I’m talking about a warmth in writing style, voice, and tone that I often find to be missing when I read general market authors.  Not always, but I don’t notice it nearly as much as I do in Christian fiction.  When I read Christian fiction, I want to curl into the pages and snuggle in – even when it’s tearing my heart out or causing me to go through entire boxes of tissues. It’s the kind of warmth that makes me think of family and home and hot chocolate.


4. Christian fiction deals with real issues. Now, granted, it didn’t used to as much. I admit that even just a few years ago, a lot of Christian novels presented a rather pie-in-the-sky 80s-sitcom view of life. Happily, that is changing! More and more authors in the CBA market are writing about real issues – tough issues – with flawed characters who don’t always handle things the “right” way. Kinda like us 😉 I’m delighted to even see this trend spreading to the notoriously utopian Amish fiction genre.


5. Christian fiction gives me hope. The world around us looks pretty hopeless lately. On any given day, the news stories would depress even the most nauseatingly optimistic person. Christian fiction points me to the source of Hope when I’m tempted to just call a time out. BUT, please don’t mistake that to mean that there’s a sermon on every page. Because I agree with what I can hear you saying – I read fiction because I want a story, not a sermon.  Me too. I HATE stopping a good story to read a sermon. I mean, really, if I wanted a sermon I would either listen to one on my podcast app or read a nonfiction book from which there are plenty to choose. In my opinion, the best Christian fiction weaves the spiritual lessons so organically into the story that it’s a natural extension of the character or the situation.

not demons or atheists

6. Christian fiction is NOT all about demons or atheists.  In fact, I can’t even remember the last book I read that WAS about either of those things. (Ok… I can… and it wasn’t very good. I don’t recommend it.) While thinking about this particular post, I found a blog post by someone talking about why she doesn’t read Christian fiction. I disagreed with almost every point, mainly because even though it was written this year, I think she was basing her entire argument on Christian fiction 10 years ago. But, specific to this point, she said that the antagonists in Christian fiction are all the same – atheists or demons.  And I’m sorry, but that’s just not true. Maybe 10 years ago, but not in current Christian fiction I am quite happy to report. Which brings up another point that should be mentioned here – if all of your opinions of Christian fiction were formed earlier than 10 years ago (even 5 years ago), give it another try! We’ve come a long way!

friendly authors

7. Christian fiction authors/readers/bloggers make awesome friends. I have never met a group of people who are as warm and friendly and hilarious as my Christian fiction peeps.  Of course this doesn’t apply to CFRR logoeverybody; there’s always a few that try to ruin it for everyone lol – but all in all I adore the people I’ve met in the Christian fiction world. Authors, readers, fellow bloggers. We laugh together, we tease each other, we support each other, we pray for each other, we email each other, we text each other, we call each other, we help each other out, and we of course talk books together! (Can I give another shameless plug here for the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat that I’m cohosting on August 24th in Nashville? THIRTY-FOUR Christian fiction authors hanging out with readers and bloggers, participating in panels & speed chats/games, lunch, book signings, and so much more! I. Cannot. Wait.)

cover love

8. Christian fiction has some gorgeous covers. Kinda like with the kissing scenes, I would totally expect a lot of my fave Christian fiction books to hold their own – and WIN – in a cover competition against just about any general market book out there. There are some fantastic cover designers in this business, and I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover.  But, c’mon. We totally do. I mean, look at these beauties!! (This is seriously just a small sampling!!)

 book boyfriends

9. Christian fiction heroes make the best book boyfriends! It’s true. This is because a) they aren’t smarmy and b) they aren’t jerks.  Ladies, we don’t have to settle for “jerk” or “smarmy” and call it “sexy”. It’s not. It’s just ignorant.  Real “sexy” is when a guy treats you with respect, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the swoonworthiness either. Christian fiction heroes are all men, nothing wimpy about these guys. They’re strong and manly and tender. They’re flirty. They have winks and dimples and muscles. They get all husky voiced when ardor gets the best of them.  They mess up sometimes. They get it right sometimes. And boy do they know how to kiss! (Check out this post I wrote with my friend Pepper about the swooniest heroes we love in Christian fiction.)

great books

10. Christian fiction has some seriously great books. For all the reasons I’ve already mentioned – and dozens more – nearly all of my very favorite books come from the Christian fiction genre.  I’ve been reading for a lot of years. Not to brag but I totally rocked the library summer reading program every year when I was growing up & now that my local library has one for adults, I rock that one too. 😉 I’ve read a lot of great books, a lot of good books, a lot of mediocre books, and sadly a few terrible books.  And yes, I can name both Christian and general market fiction titles that would fit in each of those categories. But across the board, the number of great books in Christian fiction over the last few years far exceeds the mediocre or the terrible. I am so fabulously excited to be able to blog about this genre of books during this time in its history, and I can’t wait to see what kind of great reads are in the future!

What about you? If you read Christian fiction too, what are some reasons you love it? If you don’t read Christian fiction yet, what are some reasons you’ve stayed away? 

Tags: ,

137 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Why I Love Christian Fiction

  1. Andrea Stephens

    I love Christian Fiction. Not because it “preaches to me” but because it is warm, like you said. There is passion, but not the kind that makes be embarrassed. There are real life problems where people try to figure things out, then sometimes realize that a little prayer might be just the thing they need.
    I too read mainstream but mostly I read the Christian Fiction. I browse Top 100 Inspirational on Amazon daily. You have to be careful in the free section though, some are indie authors and are decidedly not Christian.

    • Carrie

      That’s very true! Just because it’s classified as such doesn’t make it Christian fiction lol

      • I couldn’t find an email address. I hope this finds its way to you. This shows 2016 as the latest date and it’s now 2024.

        FYI On your preferred genres you list Christian Fiction.
        Then it says Nonfiction (including Christian fiction)

        Do you review Christian Nonfiction?

  2. Incredible article, Carrie! Absolutely incredible. I briefly thought about posting on this topic, but I am so slow at writing that it would take me forever to come up with something, and I would fall even further behind in review commitments. But I can just see your mind overflowing with thoughts and your fingers flying madly across the keyboard! You and I think alike on all that you mentioned.

    May I can reflect on this topic and come up with something in the future. My first thought was to list some CF books that touched or moved me in different ways – such as pure entertainment, laughter, lyrical prose, a desire to investigate something further, sharing of faith, relevancy for our times, a call to action or life changing, etc. Thanks again for your wonderful thoughts, Carrie. You’re a great advocate for Christian fiction.

    • Carrie

      Oh Carole, I would LOVE to see you do that post on the CF books that moved you in different ways! Thank you for your sweet encouragement 🙂

  3. I love Christian fiction because I don’t have to put up with objectionable stuff to have a good story.

    Because real men at least try to do the right thing and that’s awfully swoony in a hero.

    Because having a relationship with God IS real life for me and that doesn’t make me some kind of neurotic or a secret embezzler or a serial killer.

    Because the characters are like me and my Christian friends and they deal with the same issues I do.

    Because it shows me God in unexpected ways.

    Because it gives me hope.

    P. S. I love the book covers. The one on the bottom right is especially attractive. 😉

  4. Rebecca Maney

    Great, thought provoking post. I couldn’t agree with you more. Inspirational fiction does just that, inspire!

  5. carylkane

    I love Christian fiction. Most of the authors write with a spirit of excellence that bring honor and glory to the Lord. Carrie, thank you for this thought provoking post. 🙂

  6. You nailed it! I do agree CF has come a long way and I love the brave authours out the who are raising the bar. On behalf of Christian Fiction readers everywhere ( myself included) Thank you Carrie and thank you Christian Fiction Authors.
    I particularly agree with point 7! 😉

  7. I’ve been reading Christian fiction for about 5 years or less, so I’m free from the prejudices people have formed from some of the older stuff.

    Occasionally I run into something preachy or ridiculously saccharine, but that’s the exception, not the rule. Not many atheists or demons either. 😉

    • Carrie

      lol! Yes, the preachy and the saccharine (and the atheists and demons) are out there but they are happily quite few and far between!

  8. Shelia Hall

    great list Carrie! Reason I like christian books: 1. you know that they are clean language.2. not any sex and added violence. 3. they have a God centered story 4. anyone can read them and be inspired to be a better person.

  9. Christian fiction has definitely come a long way! 🙂 Carrie, I really enjoy your posts ~ their creative, articulate, thoughtful and a pleasure to read. Thank you!

  10. Great thoughts, Carrie! It’s nice to hear the positive side of the Christian publishing industry – too many people can be negative about it. But I can tell you that all of us, editors, agents and authors and all the wonderful people in between, are working hard to ensure the very best quality writing is put out to the world, and I think we’re actually having fun doing it. But we couldn’t be successful without amazing support from people like you! 🙂

    • Carrie

      You are doing an excellent job!! I am so proud of authors like you and the publishers you work with!

  11. Carrie Turansky

    Wonderful post, Carrie! Thank you for highlighting all the reasons to enjoy Christian fiction. I agree that we’ve come a long way and the quality and strength of the stories is inspiring! I’ll be sharing this post!

  12. Wonderful blog, Carrie! I think you hit the nail on the head. I must confess that I read mainstream fiction and non-fiction too, but I have found so many excellent, Christian authors, (thanks to people like you), that I now have plenty of quality reading materials in many genres, (contemporary, historical, romance, fantasy, adventure, etc.). And my favorite part is when I pick Christian books, I rarely have to worry about the things I don’t want in a book – profanity, violence, explicit sex, crude humor and, well you know, unprofessional junk. If you are ever in the Roanoke, Virginia area let me know, I would love to meet you sometime and chat books and blogs!

    • Carrie

      Stacey, I will absolutely do that! I have family in King George VA so the next time I head that way, you are on my list, girl!! Thankful for friends like you 🙂

  13. Rachael Merritt

    Great article, Carrie! The biggest thing I like to see in Christian Fiction is HOPE! I love the hope that is in these reads. I connect on a totally different level with Christian Fiction than I do general fiction…it feeds my spirit. Recently I really connected with Forever Safe. I don’t feel the warmth, as you mentioned, in general fiction either.

    Christian Fiction has SO much variety now. I still love Michael Phillips and Janette Oke, but I love the suspense, mystery, and many historicals that are now available.

    In the end l love Christian fiction that challenges me to love more, be more, and act more Christ like. Your point on the friends is a huge one! It feels like one big family. I love that Christian authors support one another…and the friends that I’ve made in this industry, especially you! 🙂 I know my daughter agrees. Thanks for such a great post! ?

  14. emilee douglas

    At the end of the day after everyone is asleep I read Christian Fiction because it’s much more uplifting than watching TV which is what I used to do.

  15. Love this, Carrie! I am linking to this article on my next blog post. Yes, I confess, part of the reason is because it gets me out of writing when I’m in the midst of deadlines. But I want to be able to refer to this over and over again…and point others to it. Thanks for putting into words the things I wish I could articulate half as well.

  16. I love this post. This is a genre I am kind of scared of but want to love. My fear comes from some not so fabulous books that I read in this particular genre that were lacking in some of the reasons that you love it. Thanks for this post! I may have to give it a try again.

  17. As usual, you articulate what I am feeling and add things that I hadn’t even thought about. So many of these are what brought me back to reading Christian books – and keep me reading them!

  18. Terrific blog, Carrie. When I made the leap from mainstream to the inspirational market about 10 years ago, my agent told me that the CBA demanded the highest quality writing. It still does! Really enjoyed your thoughts 🙂

    • Carrie

      Very interesting, Vicki! Y’all really do have the highest quality books!! Thank you 🙂

  19. I agree with this to a certain extent, however, at times I feel like some of the certain sub genres begin to sound exactly the same no matter who writes it (*cough* Amish *cough*). Or some of the recent Christian movies that have come out have very unrealistic endings that turn away the general non christian crowd (War Room “Do not rob from me in the name of Jesus!” *robber turns away*). I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, just that it seems cheesy. I have read some christian fiction though that I have fallen in love with, but it is generally a hit or miss. Thanks Carrie!

    • Carrie

      Oh goodness, these points only apply to books not movies. I don’t like Christian movies for exactly that reason lol. And I used to agree about the Amish fiction genre but there are several authors now who write it much differently & better! Still have to be pretty selective with that subgenre though 🙂

  20. What a lovely post! I especially like point 9. If I read one more book where the “hero” gets a free pass for treating the protagonist like crap in an attempt to make him look troubled and brooding, said book is going out the window!

  21. Great post! I agree with you that I love how the past few years, so many more authors are diving into real life and not the “80s happy sitcom” :). These are stories people understand and can relate to! LOVE IT!


    Yep, deserving of all caps 🙂

  22. Winnie Thomas

    Carrie, you’ve outdone yourself again! I love your points and concur entirely! I have been reading Christian fiction almost exclusively lately for exactly all your reasons. The mainstream authors I had been reading have been getting coarser and cruder. I’ve had to quit reading their books. I don’t need or want all the profanity, cursing, steamy scenes, and smutty garbage in my mind. If I’m going to fill my mind, I want it to be with uplifting, inspirational thoughts and stories. Most of the Christian fiction authors I read are getting very proficient at seamlessing integrating spirituality into their stories, so they don’t come across as preachy.

    And yes, Christian authors, blogger, readers are so much fun. I’ve made so many great friends, even though I’ve never met most of them in person. Thanks everyone for being such awesome people! Thanks, Carrie, for picking my mind and putting my thoughts down perfectly on your blog! You rock, friend! 🙂

  23. Connie Scruggs

    I love Christian fiction. It’s pretty much all I read, because there are enough great books in the genre to keep me more than busy! All of my favorite modern authors are Christian fiction writers.
    Historical Romance is my favorite category, and you’re right, I learn so much.
    I also feel like Christian fiction keeps my mind more pure. As Paul said, “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, keep your thoughts on these”. (Paraphrased, because I’m in the bed with no light or bible)

  24. YES to this whole list! I couldn’t say it better myself — this is all of why I love Christian fiction (and the blogging community, for that matter. We get each other. 🙂 )

    My TTT post – about Period Dramas!

  25. Pam Crist

    I like a book that contains hints of raw, passionate feelings between a man and a woman without throwing them into bed. Christian fiction delivers that feeling of anticipation with its sweet undercurrents.

  26. Amen amen amen!! I feel like I have found some of my favorite books from your Christian recommendations. I appreciate your love for the genre and beautiful taste in recommendations 🙂

  27. What a great post about a genre you are passionate about. It’s been a while since I’ve read books that are categorized as Christian fiction, but I’m happy to hear the genre has come a long way. I just put in a request for The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder, which I am really looking forward to. Hope you have a wonderful week!

  28. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my post:

    I was super excited that you did because you had recently reviewed my friend Karen Barnett’s newest book. I love the small world feel of book bloggers.

    I agree with you about the way Christian fiction is changing. 10 years ago I got totally disgusted with it (esp with the sweeter-than-pie formula romance.) But authors like Karen have given me renewed hope for the genre.

  29. I haven’t read Christian fiction in a number of years. I enjoyed it, but it got to the point where the stories were all the same. Your post and one other TTT I read today, have convinced me to give it another chance. Do you have any recommendations for good SciFi or Fantasy?

    My TTT list

  30. Carrie, I love that you chose to spotlight Christian fiction in this way. Thank you. Inspirational fiction has become AMAZING in the many years I’ve been reading it. Not that it wasn’t when I first began reading it, but it probably did play it “safe” vs. what it has evolved to be. Because of this, I’m always excited to see what’s new and discover more such amazing books in this genre – for lots of reasons you share. 🙂

  31. I love Christian Fiction, particularly Christian Romance and this post resonated with me very deeply. I also love reading Christian fiction because, to me, they are fresh and different. They are real, showcasing flaws spiritually and other forms, and I feel deeply inspired. Plus, the good men in these stories are what I want in a man (who doesn’t haha!!). Thank you for showcasing these ten points!! Plus, also refreshing in not having sexual moments because that usually kills the flow of a story for me and feels unnecessary!!

    Plus, all the reasons you listed are reasons why I want to write Christian fiction books down the road. I also want to give hope, which is what drew me to this genre in the first place: that hope and sense of revelation without preaching and making you feel like a horrible person. It’s gentle but life-affirming at the same time!!

    • Carrie

      So well-said, Kristin! Thank you for sharing your heart about Christian fiction! I look forward to reading your book one day 🙂

  32. I love this topic, Carrie! I haven’t seen any topics on this (and I haven’t met many bloggers who read christian fiction either, to be honest lol). For myself, I can’t say I’ve read a lot of the genre, but I HAVE read a lot of Melanie Dickerson’s christian fiction/fantasy(?) novels like The Fairest Beauty (the cover really is gorgeous)–and I really loved it! I’m definitely open to read more in the genre in the future. Great list!

    • Carrie

      Yay! I love Melanie’s books!! If you need more recommendations, I’m always happy to help 🙂

  33. It’s sad that I haven’t read much Christian Fiction. (Okay, I have only ever read one, and I can’t even remember the title.) For me it’s always been Christian non-fiction AND mainstream fiction. I don’t read secular non-fiction in the same way as I don’t read Christian fiction… if that even makes sense. Haha. I somehow get this idea that they’re all boring and dragging. So if you have any good recommendations, especially YA ones, I’ll be happy to give it a try 🙂

    • Carrie

      I totally get that! But there’s as much variety as there is in mainstream – the wonderful & the boring lol. Some great YA authors are Melanie Dickerson, Jenny B. Jones, Jody Hedlund (An Uncertain Choice series), To Get To You by Joanne Bischoff and The Steadfast Love series by Rachelle Rea.

    • I don’t read as much YA Christian fiction, but This Quiet Sky by Bischof was a great story. (Caveat, I didn’t lOVE the epilogue but that didn’t keep it from being really good Or winning a Christy award 🙂

  34. Lucy

    Great post! I agree with all the reasons above… but I have to add I like the Christian Romance fiction heroine as well. Even if she’s still on the journey to discovering who Christ is, there’s a certain quality a Christian heroine provides that I haven’t discovered in most secular romances. Maybe because the author of Christian romances knows that a woman’s worth is determined by Christ alone.
    Secondly, I enjoy the relationships Christian fiction sketches between a hero and heroine. It’s not just about what happens between the sheets.

    • Carrie

      oh that’s such a great point about the heroines, Lucy! YES! I love that! And the relationship – absolutely yes as well! Excellent thoughts, thank you 🙂

  35. I’m not a religious person and have by and large tried to steer far away from Christian Fiction thus far in my life for fear that it would be too preachy – but this post made me want to give it a try! Do you have a recommendation as to a title or author I might want to start with?

    • Carrie

      Kelsey, I would LOVE to give you some recommendations! What kind of fiction do you generally enjoy reading? (mysteries, romance, humor, historical, etc)

  36. I agree Christian fiction has come a long way! I put pleasure reading aside for 10 years as we raised up our babies.
    When I triumphantly returned to my bookworm ways, I was blown away by the quality, variety, and depth! I don’t even bother with the mainstream, my TBR is growing even faster than my kids.
    Excellent post, Carrie!

  37. I’ve read a few pieces of Christian fiction which I’ve enjoyed. I’m glad you highlighted some wonderful points about why you enjoy the genre!

  38. Well that was such a lovely post! Here in California, Christian Fiction is not very popular, so I am sure encouraged to read these positive thoughts! God bless! 🙂

  39. I think it’s great that you enjoy Christian Fiction. Is it really my cup of tea? No, typically not but that doesn’t mean I haven’t found some fantastic books in this genre. I’ll admit, I have a soft spot for the biblical fiction books because I grew up loving the bible stories and I am fascinated by how others try to flush it out.

    Thanks for stopping by last week!

  40. As a murder mystery aficionado, I am pretty sure I don’t tend to pick up “Christian fiction.” Not that I’m avoiding it, but I gravitate towards the mysteries. I wonder if there are CF mysteries? You have some great points on here, and the genre feels warm and inviting. Great list!

  41. Hallo, Hallo Carrie!

    As promised, I wanted to start to respond to your lovely posts – I just released my review on “Mortal Arts”, too! I have loved reading INSPY Fiction since I was a young child – although it’s widely known as Christian Fiction, I prefer to call it INSPY as a shorter way of saying “Inspirational Fiction” as I read more than one variety of this kind of story!

    I definitely agree on the level of research into the Historical INSPY novels – historical authors across the board (if you parlay into mainstream fiction too) are wicked awesome at researching their craft. One reason I love reading the historical past is due to the nature of much depth you can draw out of a historical novel! I love all the brilliant avenues I can traverse whilst getting to know more about History that is just outside the scope of our modern world! You have the best way to time travel right in front of you! 🙂

    I do agree – I wish more authors would find more creative ways around the use of vulgarity – as you’ll find this topic heavily blogged, referenced and outed throughout my reviews. I used to get irked about how much vulgarity has become commonplace in mainstream stories, until I realised that despite this new trend (at least to me it’s new; I didn’t have this same frequency of meeting it prior to blogging!) — there are some authors out there who truly do write fiction that is clean & tasteful. Even some who might use a strong word or two on the offset, don’t wrinkle my nose nearly as much as those who use it to such a degree of inclusion that it’s overtly offensive.

    Sometimes I just disappear into reading stories that I know aren’t going to shock my eyes with language choices just to take a ‘break’ from wondering, ‘how is this one going to go?’ — more times than naught, I happily return to INSPY or other authors I have previously read where I know going in, my heart can relax! Having said that – I could never exclusively read one or the other; I love the diversity of stories & the joy of reading diversely for me are the wonderfully wicked characters you get to rally behind & watch grow through their journey!

    That’s interesting – I always find an incredible layering of warmth in all the stories I truly belove reading – whether INSPY or not. Hmm…

    Yes, this is a fly in the ointment for me too! I don’t like finding sermons included in INSPY reads – theoretically nearly 95% of us reading those stories walk with faith, so it’s ironic to me that they tend to avoid that statistic! (I asked a Christian bookstore) I’d rather see mercy, grace, hope, faith, charity, love, and light threading through the character’s journey than to get midway or nearly so into a novel that suddenly thinks I need a refresher course on everything I already know & live. Those stories are nearly always DNF for me, unless they had already captured my heart and thus, I gave it a pass.

    The more organic a character’s story can translate to the page is the best way an author is going to grab my attention, too! If it feels forced – whether INSPY or mainstream inclined, it’s not going to work for me either!

    Ironically, I disagree with you on the book boyfriend side of the ledger! Not that I would go so far to say I fit that category of a reader (one who collects a list like that!) but I do have strong preferences for upstanding blokes who are a lead character’s partner of interest. I read mainstream Rom all the time, as I am always looking for a wicked good relationship-based Rom to disappear inside – therefore, I have found a lot of awesome blokes out there supporting the women they love & honouring them with respect.

    As a for ‘instance’, Lady Darby found a winner in Mr Gage! 🙂

    I’ll always read INSPY Fiction – I grew up reading across genres & between markets, so it’s quite ingrained in me to seek out stories from a wide variety of authors & styles of crafting a story together. I love the uplift of INSPY & I love the grace today’s authors are etching into the stories, too. Have you found Light Messages Publishing yet!? Similar to Brenda S. Anderson, they are re-writing how INSPY can be published! You’ll find my first two selections by them are my absolute favourite thus far: “The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley” (a war drama) and “Tea and Crumples” which truly represents “Grace” in all it’s forms.

    Like you, I’m excited about INSPY right now, it is going through a Renaissance that’s true, but I felt it started back during the releases of Heartsong Presents. Sadly I have to collect the rest of those from used book stores, but I loved the turning of a new season of INSPY even then! 🙂

    So thankful I found you today (er, yesterday!) via Ms Anderson’s Twitter feeds! I look forward to visiting with you & I truly appreciate the time you took to visit me! Your follow-up response was wonderful! I hope your having an #awesomesauce week reading a story or series that has swept you off your feet like I am with #LadyDarby!

    • Carrie

      Jorie! Thank you so much for commenting – I love all of your thoughts! So well expressed. Looking forward to a bookish friendship with you 🙂

  42. I. Love. This! All your points made me scream yes! (Well, not literally scream because the kids are in bed, but I figuratively screamed.)

    I admit that I strictly read Christian fiction. There are just too many books to keep my reading time occupied that I don’t have time to read outside the Christian market! But the past two to three years have slayed me, especially from those authors publishing as indies. Absolutely re-mark-a-ble. For real.

    Love you, my dearest WT!

    • Carrie

      Lol! I love you too, my dearest WT! I cannot WAIT until I can add your book to the re-mark-a-ble Christian fiction in my collection!!

  43. Carrie, this is such a great post!! Thank you for highlighting Christian Fiction and voicing what others have discovered and love about it. I’ll be bookmarking this on my site & book blog (we will use the term “blog” loosely in my case…). I hope to send others here who also wonder “Why Christian Fiction??”

    Sorry I’m just now finding this post. Hope you had an amazing time at CFRR!

  44. I love Christian Fiction because there is no bad language and the love scenes may be steamy, but they are not explicit. The men are awesome — muscles, physical as well as spiritual strength, they are protective of their women and they treat their women with respect. I completely agree that Christian Fiction has greatly approved in the past 2 – 3 years.
    Some of my favorite Christian Fiction authors are: Jody Hedlund, Dina Sleiman, Terri Blackstock, Dee Henderson, Jeanette Oke, and Mike Dellosso. (Yes, I read a wide range of genres.)

  45. Ann Doohan

    Hi Carrie, i like christian fiction because i know i am not going to read bad stuff or swearing, it can be romantic and still be decent, blessings.

  46. Hey, Carrie! I just found this post and love it. I’ve been playing around in Pinterest and started a board with the intent of luring some readers to try Christian fiction. I just pinned this post. It’s perfect for my board! Thanks!

  47. Thank you, Carrie, for this post. I will tell you my back story: I loved reading as a child. Then my mom, who was my best friend and reading partner in crime, got me hooked on the amazingness that is Christian fiction. Sadly, she passed away in 2014, and I lost my reading partner. We read book like Karen Kingsbury’s and Terri Blackstock, Wanda Brunstetter and many more and we would have discussions about them like our own little mini book club. When she passed away, I blamed myself and God for her death, fell of the path and read unclean books for almost 3 years. About 2 weeks ago, I found a book she had gotten us to read and I read it and remembered all the good that is in a good Christian fiction book. I was convicted and repaired my relationship with the Lord and am now back to reading my favorite books. This post hits the nail on the head with why I love Christian fiction too. Thank you and I am happy to be a follower of your blog!

  48. I know this post was written awhile ago, but as an author who is a Christian, I do have one question, that I don’t think was addressed here. What is the definition of “Christian fiction”? I almost feel silly asking the question, but since I don’t know the answer, I’m going to go ahead and ask it.

  49. This is a great blog post. You bang the nail right on the head. Every Christian author and every Christian reader should read this, and I’ve shared it extensively in my network. We need to get out of the cosy corner we are in and really engage with the world. Thanks!

  50. Bri

    Though I’m late to the party on this, I really appreciate this post! I’ll admit, when I first saw the title, my first thought was, “Ick.” That’s mostly because I spent all of my teen years devouring Christian fiction like it was candy. As I entered my twenties, I finally got burnt out on the genre as a whole and gave up on it altogether. I got sick of the preaching, the unrealistic way they portrayed really difficult issues, the complete lack of gray areas and the constant judginess of it all. Basically, I was sick of all the sugar-coating. That was ten years ago and, I’ll admit, I’ve had an attitude about the genre ever since. But your post gives me hope that just *maybe* things have turned around. I’m actually eager to try some of your recommendations and see what’s new. So thanks for snapping me out of my own judgy phase. Here’s to hopefully falling in love with Christian fiction again!! ?❤

    • Carrie

      oh thank you so much for commenting! I am quite happy to give you some recommendations if you want!

  51. I’m so glad I stumbled onto your blog! I also love Christian Fiction and have been looking to read more. I don’t know too many authors of CF, so I love to find more. I find most of them uplifting, and even when they don’t mention God too much in their books, you can just tell there’s something in there that makes it different from other fiction 🙂

  52. Hey there, Carrie! 🙂 Your article just made my day! Maybe even my week! Being a writer of Christian fiction myself, your sweet and thoughtful enthusiasm, as well as your wonderful insights, on the subject was really great to hear. Or, more accurately, read. I had found myself sort of second guessing what I would write about now and then because I had heard how ‘blah’ Christian fiction romances were– so unrealistic, and how people shouldn’t bother with them. Well, goodness sake! who wants reality in this present evil world when you can have a Christ-centered, peaceful romance that sweeps you off your feet?! So, THANK YOU for your article!!!! 🙂
    By the way, I see that you are doing some reviews for books. I went to leave a request, but I couldn’t find where to leave it. Besides, I don’t have a facebook account. Is there anywhere else I could contact you to submit a request for some book reviews? And, do you read ebooks?
    Also, if you ever find yourself with a little time and a hankering for a new story, just come on over to my website where I have a ‘forever free’ ebook to send to whoever requests it. It’s a romance! Yay! 🙂
    At any rate, thank you for your time, and for the wonderful article! 🙂

  53. Donna Irvin

    I just prefer “cleaner” fiction, with Christian themes like love, redemption, forgiveness in the books. I have found so many my TBR pile might be finished in 2035. I just love all the new authors I am discovering.

  54. I just found this post and had to comment. Christian fiction is a delight. Does some of it fall flat? Sure, just like any other genre. But when it’s good, it’s amazing. I love that the characters aren’t perfect, and that they aren’t afraid to turn to God for help in their struggles. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  55. I love #4 and #5! Christian fiction encourages my heart and this makes for the perfect reading escape: real life issues coupled with HOPE!
    Whenever I see my book page counts ticking up, I start praying for those readers, because our books transcend a great story and give hope!

    “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul.” Heb 6:19

    God bless you today and thank you for how you play a large part in spreading God’s love through great fiction:)

Leave a Reply