Tuesday, April 28, 2009

allow me to redirect you....

I know that some people still visit here which is fantastic. Thanks !

I am, for the time being, primarily devoted to the upkeep of The Thinking Girl's Guide to Christian Fiction.

This is something I have always wanted to do and I hope I can continue to sift through Christian novels to find the gems amongst large piles of ....well.... not gems.

I am very dedicated to the success of that blog. Hope you will visit there and maybe shed some preconceived notions regarding the Christian genre.

I confess I will rarely be back here as my gig as a YA book reviewer and now my propensity to blog at my other site will keep my spare time at a minimum.

however, do not rule me out. On Special Occasions, I shall return.

After all, there will be new Derek Landys and Arthur Slades and Catherine Webbs and I would not deprive this blog of my loud and effervescent squeals of joy over some of my favourites ~

but that will be sporadic.

happy reading, all!

For the Record: I still read lots of fiction in a variety of genres ( as always) so don't sit there thinking: poor girl. Gave up a life of good reading to read nary but Christian prose from now on.

not the case.


Wild Card Tuesday: What Jane Austen Taught Me About Love and Romance by Debra White Smith

Before I go into the review, I just wanted to talk a little about the structure of this here blog. Yep. This very one.

I love updating it and am happy that it has been such an avid part of my life for about three months now! I have read some great books in the name of this blog!

I do love devoting this site to Christian fiction primarily and that will never change. However, I am allowing myself a Wild Card every Tuesday wherein I can talk about Christian books ( they will be Christian; or at least have heavy Christian principles ) but broaden the genre horizon somewhat.

I want to peek at all of the non-fiction, biographies, theology and memoirs that I am being sent !

And I want to record it here. So, Tuesdays will be a flight of fancy not necessarily restricted to fiction.....

without further ado:

Wild Card Tuesday book the First:

What Jane Austen Taught Me About Love and Romance
by Debra White Smith

publisher: Harvest House

Now, I am nothing if not a Jane Austen fanatic. I have loved Austen my entire reading life ( well most of it, anyhow ). I can quote Austen at whim and I know these stories (and their subsequent film adaptations ) and how they fit into the broader trajectory of the western canon.

I studied Austen at university and I have read her numerous times. I know my Austen.

So does Debra White Smith.

The problem with Debra White Smith is that she knows her Austen so well--- she thought she would take her hand at modernizing it. No easy feat, perhaps, but also no new feat either. You cannot walk into a bookstore without seeing eight Pemberley sequels and a realm of chick-lit titles boasting " a modern Emma." (etc., etc., ). Her modernizations are lacking . I recognize that this entry is not about her Jane Austen series (also published by Harvest House ), but she mentions the series so often in the book ( as a plug, I am sure, to lure readers) I cannot help but talk about them.

I don't believe in negatively reviewing a book unless I have read it. So, you can rest assured that I have painfully traipsed my way through every Jane Austen adaptation White Smith has written.

The least objectible one was Amanda: a modern-day Emma, but they were, for the most part, Jane Austen for Dummies.

White Smith does not give her reader credit. In fact, she is not writing for the thinking reader at all. Testament to this is the mundane fact that she includes a character list at the beginning of every adaptation: outlining her modernized Austen character with its original literary counterpart. For Austen fans, this will be obvious to the point of mundane.

Also, her prose is completely drained of any spark of wit or endearing humour that made Austen so unique. White Smith mentions Austen's superb social satire within What Jane Austen Taught Me but it certainly didn't translate into her fiction.

The heroes in these Austen updates are, for the most part, cardboard. They listen to "Christian contemporary radio stations" ( if you must leave details vague; leave them out all together) and one even returns from a tour of duty addicted to Coca Cola.

And, depressingly, the sparkle and independence we cherish in our Lizzie Bennets and Emma Woodhouses is stripped away leaving unsure, shaky women who desperately need rescuing
( and, in turn, a backbone). No good deed goes unpunished and White Smith's dedication to bringing Austen to the Christian masses fails miserably.

Yes, Virginia, this is your grannie's Christian fiction.

It's not that I don't applaud White Smith for what she was doing. It's more that her work is bereft of adventure and soul.

The uniniated reader ---for whom this is the first foray into Austen-land --- may be entertained and amused but they will completely miss out on what makes Austen Austen.

Fortunately, White Smith's tribute to Austen loans us a little taste of the Austen we know and love ( before being blandly filtered through a sieve in the name of modern romance).

Each chapter heading boasts a gimmicky title ( Augusta Elton and the Stinky Cloud) which leads us into a few Austen characters, what White Smith likes about them, how they inspire recollections of her own history; the moral lessons embedded within the Austen infrastructure and, unfortunately, a parallel story which outlines her own adaptation: often including quotes.

If you want Austen, I can tell you pointblank you are going to be in safe hands with Beth Pattillo's How Jane Austen Ruined My Life. Or Lori Smith's A Walk With Austen.

If you don't mind straying from under a Christian umbrella, Shannon Hale does well ( and stays reasonably clean ) in Austenland. Whereas Melissa Nathan captures Pride and Prejudice in Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field.

White Smith boasts an M.A. dedicated to an Austen dissertation and she certainly proves her knowledge of the texts. But, this is a shameless self-promote for one of the most slip-shod series on the market.

White Smith does, however, include a sweet, retrospective letter penned to Austen ---which tugged a smile at the very end of a dull, prolonged narrative on how Austen infused White Smith's brain...and pen...with romantic wonder.

Monday, April 27, 2009

blog recommendation: Jill Eileen Smith

What kind of bookworm would I be if I didn't have eight novels on the go at the same time? I exaggerate: I have three.

One book is for my job as a young adult and children's book reviewer.

Candle in the Darkness, as aforementioned, is still keeping a tight hold on me--- I had a busy weekend with not a lot of reading time. Shame! The text is rolling around in my head.

and I just started Michal by Jill Eileen Smith --- a novel I had wanted to read since it was advertised.

please visit Jill Eileen Smith here to read her blog

and, because, I just cannot escape her recently, I was happy to find an interview with Lynn Austin conducted by Jill Eileen Smith.

How is THAT for fictional worlds colliding ;)


I am going to dive back onto my sofa and finish Candle in the Darkness.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin

publisher: Thomas Nelson
rating: ***

When I first opened Chasing Fireflies by the obviously gifted storyteller Charles Martin, I was blown away. The writing was gorgeous. I knew I had found a kindred soul to W.Dale Cramer. As far as Southern fiction goes---Christian or non---this is one of the strongest contenders in years.

The prose is achingly beautiful, the plot intricate enough you can sink in, turn your brain on and wile away days---rather than speedy minutes--- unravelling the story.

There are some very re-affirming themes to the novel: love, family, the simplicity of a life scorned by mankind and ordained by God, destiny, miracles-in-ordinary and the need to find yourself through the concept of name.

For fans of well-written faith fiction, you will find a new favourite in Charles Martin's gorgeously spun Southern tale.

In some of the freshest and most scintillating prose in this genre, Martin tells us of history, secrets, family, love and the small joys that piece together the framework of warmth and humanity.

From fireflies in a mason jar to fishing and time on a lifeboat, journalist Chase Walker chases his past to better carve and understand a troubled kid's future.

This book comes highly recommend to readers of inspirational fiction who love a well-written character piece which is light on the preachy evangelism and heavy on the thematic symbolism.

I think Charles Martin integrates well into the secular and Christian markets. His Christianity is subtle: implied rather than stated.

I might like to see him preach a little more loudly in future novels.

That being said, there is deep meaning and heart in his work.

This novel rolled around in my head for days after I read it ----perhaps why it took so long for me to post about it.

In conclusion, I liked 80% of the novel---the other 20%---still rolling in my brain ---seem too melodramatic or in the vein of Nicholas Sparks.

But, praise to Martin for writing a novel so compelling it has taken me weeks to shake it out of my system.

more Charles Martin? go here

p.s. something to think about: I should probably chalk this up to the first person narrative of a young, brash journalist, but there is something almost cocky in Martin's prose. Can't quite put a finger on it....

hmm..... think I will have to read a little more before I can state this for sure. It could, indeed, be a well-played character trait in his p.o.v.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

the Jewel of Gresham Green by Lawana Blackwell

publisher: Bethany House
rating: ***1/2

I love Lawana Blackwell. I love every sentence she writes. The first trilogy in the Gresham Chronicles: the Widow of Larkspur Inn; The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter and The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark were, combined, the perfect antidote to a blustery, long Toronto winter.

Many a chilled evening found me snuggled in a coffee shop near a fireplace, tea and scone at the ready, completely lost in the delightful Elizabeth Gaskell world of Vicar Phelps( curate of a parish infiltrated by squires and good-hearted cheesemakers, farmers and teachers and the like), and his elegant Julia Hollis ( the owner of the Larkspur Inn: a coaching house turned hub for eccentric boarders: gardeners, melancholy actors and spinster writers). Like Cranford or Lark Rise to Candleford, Blackwell's strength is in weaving charm, humour and,at times, pathos into a series of episodic vignettes which perfectly portray daily life in rural 19th Century England.

I just finished the Jewel of Gresham Green:

As is the case with all Blackwell's novels, there are one or two main strands ( this one featuring a widowed mother and her adorable daughter fleeing the harmful potential of a rakish London landlord for the safety of the Gresham parish ) and plenty of subplots to colour in the sidelines. My favourite plot in the novel involves the jubilant writer Aleda and her friendship with storyteller Gabriel Patterson. The last time we saw Aleda and Gabriel they were substantially younger and I love what they have grown up to be. Aleda ducks conventions, lives in a writing cottage where she doesn't feel the need to have a water closet ( because Shakespeare didn't have one) and has a Jo March-esque tendency to write pot-boilers about pirates eaten by komodo dragons. Blackwell's inserted snippets from Aleda's magazine serials and moments showing Aleda plotting the next portion of the novel are to die for!

I really love how funny and fresh Blackwell's prose is. She captures the time period perfectly and throws in tidbits of every day life that balance the charming action of the novel with plausible historical fact.

Blackwell's novels are the perfect modern specimens of Victoriana. You will find no writer stronger-in either Christian or secular publishing-who better understands 19th Century wit, dialogue, grace and every-day life.

Blackwell takes you back a hundred years or so, drops you off and lets you float as an outsider amidst some of the most compelling and dimensional characters I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

christian fiction pick of the week

I often head over to Christianbook.com to see what is new and hot but also to check out their pick of the week. This week it is Robert Whitlow ( who I love ).

check it out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

blog recommendation: Tamera Alexander

I am currently reading Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander. I read the first in the series From a Distance and really enjoyed a taste of the frontier life in the years following the Civil War.

Beyond This Moment features some of the characters from the previous novel but can be read as a standalone. I enjoy the fact that the heroine has a doctorate in romantic languages and linguistics: no easy feat for a woman of her time period. Like all of Alexander's heroes, Sheriff James McPherson ( at least so far ) is blue-eyed, wide-smiled and winsome.

While I keep reading through the twists and sparks of their romantic plot, I will send you over to Tamera Alexander's blog where she promotes the best Christian books and authors she is reading and tells us about what's going on in her world.

I avidly follow My Friend Amy's blog and here she describes itching to get her hands on Beyond This Moment

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Passover started last night and I was fortunate enough to be invited to celebrate with my landlady and her family for some delicious food and tradition.

I had never celebrated Passover before and, like most Christians, knew the story well but did not recognize the various ingredients that go into making this meal a holy one of solemn remembrance.

I figured that the best place to consult in preparation is the awesome blog of Bodie and Brock Thoene: proudly Jewish and Christian, these two often offer insight into celebrations and traditions whilst keeping them firmly rooted in Christian trajectory and scripture.

After all, they know this period intimately due to their work on the A.D. Chronicles and various turning points in modern Jewish history.

I subscribe to their mailing list and received this affirming message yesterday:

Tonight is the first night of Passover!
This is the night when we rememberhow the Strong Arm of the Lord delivered the Hebrew slavesf rom bondage! This is the night we rememberhow Yeshua, Messiah and Savior,delivered us from the bondage of sin and death! Jesus is indeed the Passover Lamb! Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sinof the World! Read Exodus 12-13 tonight! Then read Matthew 26-27!Everything means Jesus!The moment of our EXODUS is near! Shalom and blessings!Happy Passover!

I knew I could count on them to give a bit of insight into this popular festivity.

They are not only my blog recommendation for the day, they are two of my favourite Christian novelists. I strongly encourage voracious readers of historical fiction to dive into their exceptionally researched novels (esp. Vienna Prelude--- one of my favourite novels of all time)

DISCLAIMER: As long as an opinion is well-written, I will venture into writing whose beliefs differ from my own--- to keep a healthy open mind and a pulse on current perspectives. I find that the Thoenes express a, for lack of a better term, rather “right wing” viewpoint which I do not always share. This being said, they are always able to couple their opinions with research, scripture and fact and, more often than not, lace them with interesting anecdotes from their writing. It is their inspiring devotionals and stories of bringing history to the page that I most enjoy.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick

rating: ***1/2

publisher: WaterBrook

Jessie Gaebele loves photography. Her mind frames potential images everywhere she looks in her Minnesota town. Jessie is fortunate enough to find a placement at FJ Bauer’s photography studio where she burgeons into a working and professional woman whose hand at portraits and talent for putting “sitting” clients at ease prove her a natural.

I enjoyed this turn- of -the -century tale about a spunky woman who has the rare chance to make something independent of her self: regardless of the social constrictions of her time and circumstance.

Kirkpatrick does a notable job of creating the dark room world of Jessie, her friend Voe and the imitable FJ Bauer. Likewise, the portraits of domesticity: whether at Jessie’s home with her stern parents and challenged brother or at the Bauer residence: which, when unveiled, is a formidable look at a crumbling marriage guised by poise and outward appearance.

I often felt I was walking down a street with Jessie, peering above the wrought iron gates to mansard roofs and wafting lace curtains to gaslights and cozy hearths. Kirkpatrick does a remarkable job of painting life as it was. In fact, as is often my highest compliment as an imaginative reader, she made me nostalgiac for a time period I never lived in.

You will recognize from previous entries that the insertion of ephemera rarely inspires me in fiction, but Kirkpatrick uses it well. As this is a fictionalized biography of her grandmother, Kirkpatrick has numerous photos Jessie took or posed for and these loan an interesting and unusual physicality to the plot. Your imagination is somewhat stopped by virtue of the fact that you know what Jessie looks like: a plain, proper, probably well-mannered woman of her time.

I very much enjoyed learning about the dissonant opinions treating photography as art and commercialism. This tied well to my previous read, Cramer’s Summer of Light.

As a Christian novel, this book is rather lightweight evangelically. Kirkpatrick is more interested in spinning the yarn of her grandmother’s youth as a developing photographer and this is not the soap box from which she will preach fire and damnation. That being said, there is a calm and subtle symbolism of light that Kirkpatrick uses deftly: especially in a sermon preached a Christmas Eve candlelight service.

At the heart of this unique romance is the attraction between the young Jessie and her employer, FJ Bauer: who is some twenty-odd years her senior.

This coming of age tale evokes the awkward emotional development of a girl who is confused by the feelings racing through her. I applaud Kirkpatrick on her ability to take the reader through the whirlwind of susceptible Jessie’s emotions ---also, through the returned infatuation of her married employer who loves his family but is starved of affection and often the slightest touch.

This was an engaging read and I look forward to reading more of the series.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

blog recommendation: Liz Johnson

I have not had a moment to myself it seems to chalk up a couple of reviews from some very well-deserving novels. The publishing business is extremely busy at this time of year and my work keeps me hopping!

Instead, I am going to offer another blog recommendation:

As exciting as it is to follow establish authors, I also enjoy reading about the writing and publishing process from the perspective of a first-time novelist.

Liz Johnson, a stellar publicist at a leading Christian publishing house and the author of the upcoming Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn (Steeple Hill, 2009) loans her snappy wit and interesting perspectives on things Christian and non ( pop-culture, books, life, the excitement of having a book published, the all-too-familiar saga of a lost library book ).

Liz is funny and down-to-earth and I sincerely wish her upcoming novel all of the very best.

I follow her daily and hope you will too!

Upcoming Reviews:

Chasing Fireflies by Charles William
A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick

Monday, April 06, 2009

blog recommendation: Beth Pattillo

I was meandering through Chapters today ( Canada's answer to Barnes and Noble ) and stumbled upon a Beth Pattillo novel I had not read!

Shocking because it's called Jane Austen Ruined My Life.

Beth Pattillo Jane Austen novel that I missed? Shame on me!

I love Betsy Blessing and the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society so how could I pass on this?

....well, my book budget dictated that I momentarily stock it in the "to be purchased after you have read the mountain of books on your TO BE READ SHELF and not before" --- but, await fair reader, I shall be picking this little gem up before long!
Especially as I anticipate the second Knit Lit book this summer! In honour of my discovering unchartered Pattillo territory, let today's blog recommendation be her's ( well, in the guise of Betsy Blessing).

Sunday, April 05, 2009

the upper room

A while back, Canada's most prominent Christian bookchain, Mitchell's, went bankrupt. With its departure, my vast metropolis was surprisingly stripped of a Christian book hub. Sure, there are the seminary bookstores and the theological bookstores but nothing quite like Mitchell's: a favourite escape laden with wingback chairs and a chance for a snuggle with a good book and a cup of coffee; friendly staff and a welcoming ambience.

Because I love to support "brick and mortar" franchises, I try hard to purchase as many books as possible at bookstores. Mitchells' demise has left me bereft somewhat and I have had to resort to online purchasing....

Luckily, I find myself in London, Ontario occasionally and a guest at The Upper Room: a midsized bookstore with friendly staff and a glance of what is new and hot in the fiction world.

Sure, they capitalize on the popularity of whatever is the latest buzz with large pyramids of "The Shack", but it is nice to walk into a bookstore wholly devoted to Christian books.

I went yesterday and was lucky to strike up a conversation with a salesperson whose tastes were very similar to my own.

We talked Cramer and Austin and when she told me about Charles Martin I was immediately intrigued. I had read in an interview that Dale Cramer reads Martin and thought he might be worth a peek ---- I am always looking for great fiction in the contemporary vein.

Unfortunately, due to some poor marketing which drills out his books looking like they stepped out of the Nicholas Sparks' cover factory, I had skipped him. Sometimes a savvy reader DOES judge a book by its cover: if the cover clearly defines the author as a comparative style to another ( like that guy whose books look like Tuesdays with Morrie .... cannot remember his name...another Christian....Dinner with a Perfect Stranger... or something like that).

I mentioned this to salesperson who assured me that Martin has scintillating prose. I purchased Chasing Fireflies and am about two-hundred pages and my whole heart and soul in. The writing is gorgeous! the characters are leaping off the page and each chapter- end wedges a lump in my throat.

You cannot always trust a bookseller: some will lead you off on mazes and trajectories that in no way, shape or form bear resemblance to what you crave.... but when you find a good one, strike up a conversation! --- make sure they know your likes and dislikes and allow them the credit of narrowing down a large and harrowing field to find your next favourite author.

p.s. I checked out Charles Martin and fortunately for my burgeoning infatuation, he has a wide backlist!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

blog recommendation: Jane Kirkpatrick

I am currently savouring A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick. I know I will have lots of questions for Jane once I finish the last half of this sumptuous fictionalized biography of Jane's photographer grandmother.

This story pulls you in immediately and I have been tasting its ambience: streetlights, candles peering through windows, the stiff aura of the darkroom, the smell of woolen socks drying on a radiator these past few days.

I was meandering through Jane's blog and thought I would direct interested readers here.

I am always elated about entries outlining the writing process and Jane's perspective is interesting as it is informed by her real-life subject matter.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Christy Awards: Hidden Places by Lynn Austin

publisher: Bethany House

I have decided to read a selection of past winners of the Christy Awards in anticipation for the 2009 ceremony in July.

I started with Lynn Austin's well-deserving Hidden Places.

In Hidden Places, Lynn Austin has crafted a near-perfect novel. I am surprised I had not read this before now because, as you are well aware, I am a fan of Austin's and I recognize this as a modern classic of the genre.

Eliza Wyatt is hit hard by the Depression, especially after her husband and her father-in-law pass on leaving Eliza and her children with the vast responsibility of maintaining Wyatt Orchards and its on-property homestead.

Just when it seems that her faith(already on tinterhooks) is going to droop completely, Eliza is sent an angel( well he might as well be an angel). In human form, he is Gabriel Harper: an enigmatic presence who vows he is a journalist riding the rails capturing the stories of out-of-work, hard-on-luck nomads. He knows everything about farming and the Wyatt Orchards and may be the answer to the prayers Eliza is reticent will ever be heard. ( Note: this "angel" figure put me in mind of Cramer's Sutter's Cross)

But, there is something familiar about the "angel" Gabriel---something that Eliza cannot put her finger on. It could be that he is the elusive Matthew Wyatt: the rightful owner of Wyatt Orchards who can, at any moment, remove Eliza and take ownership of the land.

Although the aforementioned plot is at the core of this exceptionally-structured novel, we are given leave to open the dusty curtains and delve into the past of Wyatt Orchards and the people who have seen it through hardship and prosperity; war and peace; abuse and love.

One major component of the story focuses on the eccentric Betsy: now christened Aunt Batty a bookish old woman and an epoch of faith who, due to an unfortunate storm, finds herself nestled in a family-in-embryo with Eliza, Eliza's children and Gabriel.

Batty's story, for me, was the most poignant and exceptional testament of Austin's resounding faith. Like W. Dale Cramer, Austin need not rely on evangelizing us --- rather she uses her gift of prose to slowly unfurl a gripping family saga with roots in Charity, Hope and Love.

There are certain authors whose works so transplant you there is an immediate connection: a kinship that makes you feel that the author is speaking directly to you---sitting across from you---treating you as a confidante ---voice rushing so quickly in utter need to reveal every detail that the turning of pages cannot keep pace.

Austin is an author whose words spill lucidly. She restores my faith in everything: colours seem brighter after reading her, nature is more noticeable and I walk around giddily replaying some of "gasp!" moments she imparts on her readership.

From a literary perspective, Hidden Places is far more than a Hallmark escape into romance and love. Though the heroes of Lynn Austin novels always see heroines as more than they see themselves, the real love of the novel is founded in an acceptance of God's purporse. Austin weaves this deftly, yet its impact is powerful

Batty's faith is the most resonant in it solidity: "God didn't have to make apple trees and peach trees burst into flower and fragrance", she explains jubilantly, "But God just loves to splurge. He gives us all this magnificence and, if that isn't enough, He provides fruit from such extravaganze!"

Her warm heart and brainy mind are well-suited to Walter: the bookish and sickly man she recalls marrying. "Don't ever settle for any other life except the one for which God created you." Walter insists of her.

Lynn Austin allows her characters to be splayed flawed and humane on each page. We are supposed to take note and example from their successes in Christ as well as recognize the common threads that link us to them: just another way Austin pulls us into her world and confides in us as if we were a part of the drama unfolding.

Hidden Places could refer to the family secrets deeply rooted in the orchard and burrowed on each page; to a scripture verse quoted; to Batty's money hidden in her vast library; to a clue from Gabe's rucksack as to his true identity; to what the erudite Walter sees in the self-proclaimed homely and awkward Batty; to the secret furrowing Eliza's brow with guilt and shame.

For me, the title was most resonant when little gems of phrase or humour or literary reference were spilled onto pages unexpectedly---Like the time when Batty pretends she has been reading Les Miserables to charade her sadness over a seeming rift with Walter.

I have a feeling each reader will glean something unique from this exceptional novel.

I highly recommend it and hope to bring more Christy Award winners to light as we approach the 2009 event this July.

the thinking girl's guide to eric metaxas

Last night, the annual President’s Dinner at Tyndale Seminary here in Toronto featured renowned debater, lecturer and author Eric Metaxas as its key note speaker.

A humourist and intellectual, Metaxas’ CV ranges from writing and voicing Veggie Tales to hosting the prestigious monthly philosophy forums, Socrates in the City in Manhattan.

My primary interest in Metaxas is his role as a biographer: of abolitionist William Wilberforce (the subject of the British film, Amazing Grace) and the upcoming life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer ( HarperOne, September 2009).

Eric Metaxas was a dream speaker: rapier-witted, erudite and literary. The motif of his talk was Christian Heroes and this provided an easy platform for delving into the tenets of the Wilberforce story not explored in the film. Metaxas’ subject is obviously one of effusive passion for him and this translated well: captivating the audiences from the get go.

Metaxas brought Wilberfore to light in a way often overshadowed by his great abolitionist work and his position as protégé to the hymnist John Newton. Metaxas’ research argues that Wilbeforce single-handedly infused a sense of moral and social conscience that not only tail-ended the “Vanity Fair” of the luminous and decadent 18th Century but propelled the way for the social platform that was the Victorian Era (aptly ushered in near the end of Wilbeforce’s life ---he died in 1833). With his tireless brand of Christianity in action, Wilberforce coupled the zealous Methodism of George Whitfield with a Christ-appointed drive for moral change and his efforts resulted in shaking the very infrastructure of Britain’s morality (or lack thereof).

If Metaxas is correct (and his argument coupled with history….especially Wilbeforce’s participation in organizations like the Clapham society….is more than convincing),Wilberforce paved the way for the literary period to which I have ascribed more than half of my 27 years of existence: the Victorian period. Dickens, Eliot and Hugo are three authors who used their pen to battle moral injustice: a long cry from the complacency and disregard of morality Wilberforce was battling in the previous century. If indeed William Wilberforce was the moral force to be reckoned with: this 5”2 man with a genius for oratory and politics is certainly one of history’s most pronounced Christian ambassadors. He realigned the fibers of a decrepit infrastructure that dictated the actions of, at that time, the most powerful Empire in the world. In doing so, he proved that one fallible human can propel actions that will ripple through a century and onward in a humble yet incendiary motion far more vast than his initial spark of light.

More Metaxas?

@ WaterBrook press

Interview ( at the Wittenburg Door)

Socrates in the City

Amazing Grace