You know when the Apostle Paul talks about how sometimes Christians are nourished on milk, while at other times we need meat to grow?
Once in a while, I want a smooth, plain-sailing Christian story. More often, though, I’m after a book I can sink my teeth into, one that doesn’t shy away from tough issues.
Thankfully, Christian romance comes in many flavors. Some books are all rainbows and puppies while others are gritty.
Christianity when the rubber meets the road
I like to read stories that address hard and messy issues while still bringing hope and joy. Joanna Alonzo is one of my favorite authors who has nailed this balance.
Her Prodigals series tells the stories of young adults who grew up in the church and fell away before eventually finding faith and love. She writes about situations when Christianity collides with with the pain of a fallen world.
Joanna tells unflinchingly of Christians who sometimes get it wrong before they get it right, and of children and teens who are driven away from Christ because of the lack of grace and kindness they face in church.
This is what happened to Jenna in The One Who Danced Away, a beautiful story of healing and redemption that I’ve just finished reading.
Joanna is a gifted storyteller and in this book she flashes back to the main characters’ childhoods and teen years while she traces their journeys towards God and each other. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it. Just make sure you keep a box of tissues handy when you read it.