Saturday, September 12, 2009

Christian Fiction to Craft Your Life

The Passion of Mary-Margaret
By Lisa Samson

Hello! I'm Patti Lacy, a displaced Southerner who has watched God gather with loving hands the shards and bits of my life--Christian, mother, wife, teacher, writer, daughter, sister, neighbor, and, as of today, BLOGGER! We 21st century women integrate so many roles in our Work in Progress. But God, our master artist, will fashion our perfect design...if we'll let Him take control. Like a kaleidoscope, our design can morph into breathtaking new patterns. As long as He's rotating that eyepiece, it's okay!

Since I'm a writer, I inhale books under the theory that good reading leads to good fiction! If your idea of writing is slapping out a to-do list or nailing a "clean this room now" note on your kids' bedroom door, you can still benefit from Christian fiction. How?

A good book can whisk you, like Calgon Bath Beads, off a ratty couch and transport you to a dazzling beach. A good book can spark gray cells dulled by the tedium of a 9:00 to 5:00 day. Has your circle of significant others gotten dingy, even with your rose-colored glasses? A good book will introduce you to exotic princesses or slumdogs or the neighbor next door...who's hiding a dark secret.

Ladies, I've found not one but fourteen good books for you, written by Lisa Samson, "artisan of hope." Now DON'T click that mouse quite yet! I'm NOT reviewing all of Lisa's books (though I'd like to.) With the blog bytes left, let me introduce you to The Passion of Mary Margaret, a book so well-crafted, so poignant, so full of questions--and answers--it has carved out a niche in my heart, my mind, my soul.

In Lisa's latest, the sisters at a Chesapeake Bay convent school wrap orphan Mary-Margaret Fischer in the pious habit of safety, convention, and security, and that suits the young tomboy whose best friend is Jesus just fine. Then Jude, sculpted like Adonis yet besieged by past demons, nudges his way into Mary-Margaret's present, and future. Mary-Margaret's perception of Jesus' plan for her life doesn't include handsome boys--or any boys, for that matter. But Jesus has another idea.

When word filters through the tight-knit community that Jude has disappeared into the promiscuous alleys of Baltimore's red light district, Mary-Margaret prays for his soul but resumes her path to sisterhood. Jude drags home, infected with syphilis and hopelessness. Only Jesus' daring plan can rescue Jude--but it will cost Mary-Margaret her safety. Dare she leave all she ever knows and thinks she wants for a chance at reckless, life-changing love?

Oh, friends, this book will stretch your views of Christianity. Of sacrifice. Like Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution, The Passion of Mary-Margaret yanks away pretense to explore the "death to self" that Jesus demands. And battles rage between Mary-Margaret's physicial and spiritual appetites, between God and Satan, between literary writing and story-telling.

The Passion of Mary-Margaret embraces diversity, explores reality, and pushes faith's limits while exalting Jesus Christ as Maker, Redeemer, Defender, and Friend. Samson's book transported me to exotic Africa, to an East Coast lighthouse, to dark and nasty places, and I never left my home in Normal, Illinois. By eavesdropping on Mary Margaret's mystical conversations with Jesus, I examined the way I talk to God. Through her book, Lisa spurred me to create a more breathtaking design--that I can one day present to the God who helped me shape it. Christian fiction can do the same things for you, dear readers! So....get ready to design. Ready, set...grow!

If you’d like to be entered to win The Passion of Mary-Margaret, just leave a comment on this blog. Please leave an email address so we can contact you if you're the winner (include spaces or brackets around the "@" sign so Net spiders, etc, can't phish your address). We'll pick a winner at random on September 21. Remember, all comments left today will also be entered in our grand prize drawing on November 1st.

For more about Lisa Samson, visit

Visit me at Don't miss my monthly contest and my "old lady blog!"
Congratulations to Sandee! You won a copy of The Passion of Mary-Margaret! The rest of you bookies, hurry on over to the giveaway of Francine Rivers' novels. And thanks to all of you for stopping by!


  1. I love Lisa Sampson books. Her characters are unforgettable, and stretch our idea of a 'Christian' and, like Patti says, our idea of God.

    Seriously. Her characters don't leave you.

    Wonderful review Patti. Thanks so much. It was inkalicious!

  2. Wow, Patti, what a beautiful review. This sounds like an interesting book. Like Deb said, inkalicious!

  3. Oh, I'm so excited!!! I just got this book in the mail yesterday in a box of books I won from Camy Tang.

    I'm going to move it to the top of my reading list right after I finish Prisoner of Versailles.

    Add to that, my second historical which I'm working on is about a young medieval woman who needs to give up her own desire to be a nun in order to fullfill God's greater purpose for her life.

    There are definitely differences in the storylines, but I think reading The Passion of Mary Margaret will help breathe some new life into my writing.


  4. Debra and Suzie, y'all are up impressively early on a weekend! Thanks for the comments!
    Dina, you and me are hitting the keyboard at a more civilized time. And I haven't even had java yet!

    Dina, your WIP sounds fascinating! And Samson will breathe life into you and your work, I bet my old clunker on it.

    Have a great weekend, lovely ladies.


  5. Lisa Samson is one of my very favorite authors! Not only does she tell a good story, but her characters challenge my faith. This is definitely one on my "to read" list!

    Glad to have you here, Patti!

  6. You did an exceptional job at your first time at bat as a blogger, Patti. I LOVE Lisa's latest too. She definitely nudges me to aim higher in my own writing.

  7. Ditto! Lisa Samson's books should be prescribed reading for every one of us when we show symptoms of complacency in our faith, or when we get so comfortable in our own faux-righteousness we become judgmental, critical, and faultfinding of the lost, the deceived, and the broken. Great review, Patti!

  8. Patti, so glad to say hi to a woman with the coolest name in the world! CAN YOU BELIEVE that your SEEING THINGS caught my eye at my weekly Barnes & Noble trip but lost the battle with my pocketbook.
    Get my new reader's allowance on the 15th and SEEING THINGS will be in my sweaty palms!!!

    Niki and D'Ann, glad we have something else in common!!!! Can't wait to hear your OTHER favorite authors!!


  9. Ok, you've done it, Patti. You've now added to my tall stack of must-reads, which are threatening to take over my bedside table.

    Thanks for a thorough and convincing review!

    bonnie at

  10. Hi, Patti:

    Welcome! What a fabulous review. Now I'll have to add Lisa to my list of 'to reads'. She sounds like my kind of writer. You did a fabulous job.


  11. Hi Patti- I saw this book on your web site and actually just read it on my way to Seoul. I loved it. Loved how the story made Jesus so real and accessible. I agree with your theory on reading fiction, too. :) Definitely one of my favs this year!

  12. Great site, Dina Sleiman sent me here. I admit I read it as a favor but I will be bookmarking this site- it is lovely to look at, easy to read and full of great writing.

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. Hi Dolly. So glad you liked it :) I like it too, or maybe you already guessed that.


  14. Bonnie and Connie, don't blame ME if your bedstand collects dust bunnies and cobwebs. I mean, take a speed reading course or somethin, girls!

    Kasey, I expect a novel or three to come outta this latest trip. And what's this about not LETTING ME KNOW?? LOL. Your writer momma

    NOW Dollya, we'd just BETTER see you as a regular. But you'd just better forget the bribe payments. That was a one-time deal.



  15. A compelling review which made me interested in this book and this writer. Listening to your heart and following your faith can be a challenge. Please enter my name in the drawing. gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  16. Great job, on your inaugural blog post, Patti. I love the phrase 'Artisan of hope'. Words are so powerful aren't they. To create worlds, and kingdoms and dominions and tear them down as well. It has to be the impulse of a creative God within us, nothing else quite explains it.

  17. Lisa, thanks for the encouragement! I'm kinda likin' this new thing!

    Virginia, thanks for posting! And all those who didn't leave their e-mail for this book, FORGIVE ME and REENTER!!! I spilled my inkwell last night and some sister bloggers had to clean up the mess.
    Translation: Among other things, the giveaway didn't get posted until, gulp, noon.


  18. Sorry to be late to the party... life, you know!

    A lovely and lyrical first post, Patti. I'm going to have to read some more Lisa Samson books. The only one I've read to date is Embrace Me. The woman certainly is a word weaver. Good stuff!

  19. Thanks for the link to this delightful review over on Facebook! Please enter me to win! It sounds just wonderful! Thanks!

    hope_chastain [at] yahoo [dot] com

  20. Thank you for this review, Patti. Lisa Samson is an amazing writer. I had the pleasure of meeting with her at a writer's conference, and she is charming and sweet and funny, to boot.

    God bless!

  21. Thanks for the fabulous review, Patti! This book sounds wonderful.

    The only problem with our Inkalicious book reviews and non-fiction themes is that I now have a huge stack of compelling books to buy and read before they bury me alive.

  22. Can I enter Dolly's email for her? I know she wanted to enter, but I think she mistakenly put her address under "The Scoop" instead.

    Dolly Acosta
    glad2bfree at gmail dot com

  23. Please put me in the drawing. I would be THRILLED to win this. LOVE Lisa and LOVE her work.

  24. Paula, would love to put you in the drawing, but need your e-mail!
    Hope you stop back by, sweetie!


  25. Dear, dear Patti: What a beautifully crafted review! Made me want to read this book, which I've heard about but didn't have the courage to dive into--until now. Thanks for breaking down my defenses. Please enter me in the drawing.

  26. Jeanette,
    You are SOOO sweet to take time from your busy schedule to read this review.

    Loving the DIVING IN tag, which my friend Cynthia Ruchti uses.

    Check this out--I LOVE IT!

  27. Thanks for the introduction to what sounds like a wonderful book. Would love to be entered in the drawing.


  28. Thank you for reviewing this book and doing it so beautifully. I read it not long ago and loved, loved, loved it!

  29. Cherie, so glad you are entered in the drawing!

    Wenda, it's cool to bond via books, isn't it??!!!


  30. This book sounds so hauntingly good I couldn't resist signing up for the drawing. If I don't win, I must buy this one.

    Thank-you for hosting this contest, Patti, and God bless.

    Gayla Collins

  31. It's always great to virtually-meet another midwest writer (I was liked here from the ACFW midwest). I can't wait to see what you have to say next!

    Please add me for the book drawing.

  32. I've heard one other review that this book 'nails it on the head.' So Please enter me in your giveaway. Thank you.
    desertrose5173 {at} gmail {dot} com

  33. Hi Patti...I'm enjoying your blog site and all the wonderful books you review as well as the authors.
    I'd love to read this looks really great. Please add my name to the giveaway list. Thank you!



  34. Gayla, you are SOOO amazing! Great to keep up!

    Justina, another MIDWESTERNER! Yippee! Are you transplanted, like me, or locally grown? Send me an e-mail sometime or look me up on Facebook.

    Linda, glad there's at least one other soul out there that sees books like I see them...Good to chat with you again, my great contest enterer!


    Thank all of you for becoming Inkies. READ US EVERY DAY--there's some real interesting blots here (DO NOT GET US CONFUSED WITH THAT PSYCHIATRY KIND OF INKBLOT!!).


  35. Patti, thank you so much for your thoughtful and insightful review of what looks to be a wonderful book to stretch our thinking of what God requires of us to follow him fully. I was not previously familiar with Lisa Samson but will definitely be checking her out!

  36. Laurie!
    I get to "talk" to you twice today!

  37. great review, sounds like a very interesting book, please enter me.

    thank you

    ejxd95 at gmail dot com

  38. Wow! I think this is the most beautifully-written review of this book yet! Thank you so much, Patti! And to whoever gets the book, may God bless you and spur you onto wonderful things done in His Name!

  39. Jennifer, thanks for taking time to stop by.If the review is good, it's God. If it's bad, it's me.

    And you!

    Now get back to work! As you can see, you have readers clamoring to get ahold of the next release.

    God bless your capturing on "paper" of His stories.

  40. Well, Patti, if you like it so much, I bet I will too! Great review!
    cindy at cindyswriting dot com

  41. I met Lisa Samson at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and bought her book, Justice in the Burbs which I love. She is a very much think out of the box person. This book also sounds amazing --

    Cornelia Seigneur
    West Linn Oregon

  42. Sounds excellent - like all of Lisa's books!
    Can't wait.
    And thanks for this blog - looking forward to keeping up with you authors!

  43. Cindy, thanks for stopping by. Sigh. Your TBR pile must be as big as mine!

    Cornelia, LOVE your reference to Love your moniker of Lisa as thinking outside the box. If you revisit, leave your website addy so you can enter the drawing.

    Gerbmom, so glad you stopped by. I want your address, too!!

  44. What a beautiful blog. I love the layout!! I'm so excited about your new blog. I'm going to grab the button and put it on my blog Woven by Words. Blessings on your endeavor.

    In Christ,
    Mimi B
    mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com

  45. Mimi,
    Thanks SO MUCH for checking out the new blog that is letting me spatter onto their nice and neat desk. I will be checking out Women by Words soon.

    AND...I'll enter you in the drawing for this great book!

  46. I just finished another of Lisa Samson's books last night on a flight from Denver to Portland. It was Quaker Summer, and I loved it! It is the story of a woman's search for God's purpose for her life. Her heart surgeon husband, and 15 yr old son and she live in an upscale home, where she is amazingly busy helping out at her son's school. Suddenly she feels she has not fulfilled her purpose, the one God has for her, and she begins her journey to find out what it is. A delightful book!

  47. Lisa Samson is one of my favorite authors and this book is already on my wishlist. Thank you for posting about it and also the giveaway.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  48. This sounds like a really great book. I have heard lots of great things about Lisa Samson, but have yet to have the chance to read one of her books. Please enter me in the drawing.


  49. Terri, I too loved Quaker Summer. Awesome read! Thanks for doing a guest review for us (LOL)!!!

    Carole and Peachykath, nice to reconnect with Irishwoman friends!
    Now it's time to beg, borrow, or steal a Samson book (Oh, dear DID I SAY THAT?????)

    Talk to you again...soon, I hope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.