by Gina Welborn
When Dina insists "Trust me, Gina, you're going to love this book," I generally think she's nuts (shhh, she is). She's all into literary stuff. You know, those kind of books where the author writers a story for the purpose of trying to make the reader think.
Well, I don't want to think when I read a book.
I like being superficial.
So this past spring while I was sharing dinner with Dina, her hubby, and maybe a kid or two, Dina did another one of her "insistings." Not only was she convinced I'd like her book picks for me, she made a point to give me copies (let's be honest, she shoved them in my hands with a "you will read these").
~Books Dina Insisted Gina Read Because Dina Knows Gina Better than Gina Will Admit~
Sailing Between the Stars by Steven James
The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson
Didn't take me long to start reading Sailing. Fabulous book. I really ought to review it. Although I raved about it a bit on Facebook and gave the book to my oldest son to read it.
Mary-Margaret, though, had rested in a basket beside my bed, patiently waiting for me to read her. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
See, the problem I had wasn't that the book isn't a romance. It's a different kind of love story. It's women's fiction with romantic elements. First person Point of View. A narrative. Yet nothing really like a Nicholas Sparks novel designed for the sole purpose of sappy sentimentality.
My problem was why would I want to read about a nun? Well, not a nun. A religious sister. I'd explain the difference, but, really, it doesn't matter. Suffice to say, I went to a car show with hubby. We had to be there early so I figured I ought to bring a book to read. Alas, my TBR pile of paper books consisted of one book: The Passion of Mary-Margaret.
I began reading while waiting for the car show to begin. Lol and behold, the show was cancelled due to rain so I came home and read with intention of making myself sleepy so I could take a nap.
Only I couldn't stop reading.
What Lisa did so well was craft a story that sounds like a real person had written in a journal. Lemme, pause and share a minor criticism. The heroine was born around 1940ish and covers the 70+ years of her life. Past and present are intertwined. The novel has numerous chapters yet they aren't numbered. Kinda cool. Bad thing was at times when the narration moved to the past, I wasn't sure the year. Much occured when the heroine was in her late twenties, which would be late 1960s/early1970s. Only those past "scenes" didn't have much of a historical feel, other than the mentions of racial prejudices. Maybe, for me, that issue could have been solved if dates were given at the beginning of each journal entry.
Some Christian romance readers are going to accuse me of herasy for saying this, but I think The Passion of Mary-Margaret does a much better job of conveying submission to Christ and selfless love in realistic characters than Francine Rivers's Redeeming Love, which I think is over-rated. Oh, it's a good book, just shouldn't be acclaimed as the perfect Christian romance. Whereas . . .
The Passion of Mary-Margaret centers around a woman who yearns to (and strives to) be a living vessel for Jesus to love others. And love demonstrated isn't merely that of a woman for a man.
Seems like Believers are quick to say they'd do whatever Jesus asked them to do. "Here am I, Lord, send me!" Really? How much are you willing to sacrifice for doing what Jesus asks you to do? Even against man's wisdom? Even against the wisdom of religious leaders? Would you be a Good Samaritan if doing so would cost you . . .
Your hopes and dreams?
Mary-Margaret's sole passion was to love Jesus, to devote her live solely to serving and worshipping Him. Then Jesus did the wild and crazy and against-man's-wisdom thing and told her to marry a man with syphilis. A prostitute. A drug user. Someone who has absolutely no interest in God or faith or salvation.
Why did she do it? Because the love of God lived in her heart and she couldn't not express it.
"Compassion is identification with Jesus in His love for lost people, perfectly willing to do what He did, if necessary. To die for lost men." ~A.W. Tozer