Sunday Book Club: How It All Began

Posted June 11, 2017 by meezcarrie in Sunday Book Club / 50 Comments

Every story has a beginning. Every romance has that first boy-meets-girl moment. And your love of Christian fiction started with that first book that grabbed you and wouldn’t let go.

For me, it was Janette Oke’s “Love Comes Softly” series and for many years I stuck to the historical genre. But then I discovered Palisades Pure Romance novels (specifically Forget Me Not by Shari MacDonald and Newlywed Games by Mary Davis) and I was hooked on Contemporary Romance too. And THEN – oh then – I found Dee Henderson and Terri Blackstock and so began my love affair with Christian romantic suspense.

This blog is indirectly a result of characters like Clark and Marty Davis, Hayley Buckman and Carson Elliott, Meghann Livingston and Bruce Halloway, the O’Malley family, Lynda Barrett and Jack Stevens – and their creators.

So now I want to know – What was that book – who were those characters – who was that author that hooked you on Christian fiction?


50 responses to “Sunday Book Club: How It All Began

  1. The first story I read by Grace Livingston Hill was the book that hooked me on Christian fiction. Beauty for Ashes is the title. I can remember holding that paperback book many years ago, reading the story and then, wanting to read everything by Grace Livingston Hill. 🙂

    • Carrie

      i read her all the time too! My favorite is Kerry (I loved that spelling of our mutual name)

  2. MH

    My first Christian fiction was Esther by Angela Hunt. I was co-leading a women’s Bible study on the book of Esther when I saw the book at our local library, and I had to read it. Since then, I’ve discovered wonderful authors who write Christian romantic suspense, contemporary, contemporary romance, historical, historical romance, mystery/suspense, speculative, young adult….but Biblical fiction will always hold a special place in my heart.

  3. Connie Saunders

    I also read Grace Livingston Hill but didn’t really associate her books with Christian fiction. When I began working at our public library I discovered Terri Blackstock. I love mysteries and she had done several but they were designated as INSP (Inspirastional or Christian) in our collection. After reading her books and then reading The Shunning by Beverly Lewis, I was hooked! I still have a few favorite authors in the secular market but I mainly read Christian Fiction.

  4. Paula S.

    I remember borrowing Christy from my Aunt. Then later I got hooked on Jeannette Oke and George McDonald and the Thoene’s. Dee Henderson and Dani Pettrey got me started on suspense. There are really so many good authors out there.

  5. Paula S.

    Oh, I forgot very early in my Christian walk I discovered Eugenia Price and Grace Livingston Hill. Thanks for the memory jog!

      • Anne

        It is a great series. Esp the first book. I read Grace Livingston Hill when I was quite young. Then Eugenia Price’s St Simon’s trilogy. Somewhere in three too was Christy by Catherine Marshall. But wasn’t really hooked on the Christian fiction genre until later. After reading Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series I later read Terri Blackstock’s Restoration series and had begun reading Amish genre. I was finally hooked. I still have a couple of non-Christian genre authors that I hurry to the library for their new releases (John Grisham, David Baldacci) but for the most part its books that have that message of faith that are in my TBR list now. Until a couple of yrs ago I didn’t even know what a TBR list was!!!

        • Carrie

          I need to read a Baldacci book one of these days! And I’m chuckling at your previous TBR list ignorance hahaha!! Love it!

  6. Like you, Carrie, it was Love Comes Softly. My sister invited me over to help her organize something but it was a ruse. As soon as I arrived she put a box of Kleenex on the sofa and said, “we’re watching a movie instead.” It was Loves Comes Softly. At the beginning of the film there was a notice saying it was based on the book by Janette Oke. I checked it out of the library the next day and discovered Christian fiction. I’ve read all her books!

  7. Kim

    Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and the Newport series by Terri Blackstock were my first Christian reads. I have been hooked ever since and now read almost exclusively Christian fiction.

  8. Carrie Turansky

    Hi Carrie, Years ago I read George MacDonald’s novels and fell in love with English historical fiction. Then I read Liz Curtis Higgs’s first novel, Mixed Signals, and I was delighted to read a contemporary romance with faith elements woven in. I remember reading Shari McDonald’s novels too! Catherine Palmer was also one of the early authors I really enjoyed. : )

    • Carrie

      love all three of those! The Newport series was the next Blackstock series I devoured after the SunCoast Chronicles.

  9. Goodness, there weren’t many options in Christian fiction when I started reading. I remember reading Janette Oke, the Thoenes and Jane Peart. But what really hooked me was Frank Peretti’s Piercing the Darkness and This Present Darkness books. Oh, and Gilbert Morris’ historical series, particularly Cheyney Duvall MD.

  10. Carolyn Miller

    Some of my first Christian reads was The Tanglewood’s Secret by Patricia St John, the Elizabeth Gail series and the excellent The Janis Project by Nancy Rue. When older I discovered Janette Oke and Lori Wick. Love the history and the authenticity these writers present 🙂

    • Carrie

      yeah yeah – just that weird English y’all speak down under 😉 LOL. I forgot about the Elizabeth Gail series! Yes!

  11. For years I never read anything except what was required for my kids homeschooling. After my last son graduated, I somehow found Without a Trace by Colleen Coble. But it was Waiting for Summer’s Return by Kim Vogel Sawyer that left me where I wanted to read everything she wrote. Her stories were like a life line that filled me with a desire to read good Christian authors. My thirst for reading Christian fiction grew with books by Kristen Heitzmann, Jody Hedlund, Elizabeth Camden, and Dani Pettrey. As my appetite grew, I discovered Denise Hunter, Katie Ganshert, Rachel Hauck, Tamera Alexander and Becky Wade. I have read everything these writers have written, and look for new things to be published. So to say that only ONE author or book got me hooked wouldn’t actually be fair. All of their characters played a part in my CF education 🙂

  12. Oooh! For me, it was Lauraine Snelling’s “Ruby” and that subsequent series. It introduced me to the world of historical romance. I’ve since always had a soft spot for the name “Rand” thanks to Lauraine.

    I became a fan of contemporary Christian fiction starting with Karen Kingsbury’s Redemption series. My best friend read it first and said “you have to read this.” The rest is history 🙂 .

  13. Rachael Merritt

    Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly is, as it was yours, my first love of Christian Fiction. Her books were so sweet and yet had meaning. I think my second find was Michael Phillips/Judith Pella. Then Dee Henderson…and I’m thrilled the way Christian Fiction has grown! Oh, I don’t want to fail to mention Jane Peart and Laurainne Snelling!

    • Carrie

      Christian fiction just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? And yet those cherished ‘first books’ still stand the test of time 🙂

  14. The first series I remember reading early on was the O’Malley’s by Dee Henderson. Then it was Terri Blackstock and Irene Hannon. I savoured everything by them quite a few times before branching out to other authors.

  15. Kristen Dellinger

    YES!!! The O’Malley Series and Janette Oke was my very first love of Christian Fiction!!!


    Christy was the first Christian fiction I read, followed by Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness — LOVED them both, so they set the hook!!

    BUT … it was really Liz Curtis Higgs Lowlands of Scotland series (HUBBA, HUBBA!!!) and Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series that reeled me in hook, line, and sinker!


    • Carrie

      ooo yes! I forgot about This Present Darkness and Christy – I probably read them around the same time I read Love Comes Softly. And i really must read that series by Liz!! Post haste!

      love you!

  17. I first found Grace Livingston Hill in my local library, probably in the late 80’s, then Janette Oke (A Bride for Donnigan & They Called Her Mrs. Doc were my favorites). I stopped reading any Christian fiction for quite some time, until rediscovering it through library e-books several years ago. While I liked most of what I read, I wasn’t hooked until my first Karen Witemeyer book, The Short Straw Bride.

  18. Marilyn

    I started with Eugenia Price. My older sister got me interested in Ms. Price. I was lucky enough to find one of her hardcover books at a library sale many years ago.

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