Novel Thoughts blog

Shades of Reality

Novels that reflect the truth of human relationships

February 4, 2015 12:28 pm | Leave a Comment


One of the weaknesses of Christians when it comes to being challenged by trashy media is that they often spring to creating “alternatives”—generally works on the same theme or in the same mode as the garbage being counteracted, but with a Christian gloss. These works are almost always bad, ham-fisted, and artistically dull. I don’t think anybody should be interested in rushing out a work as an alternative to Fifty Shades of Grey, the immensely popular and incredibly trashy series that is now being released as a film.

Instead, here’s a reminder: Ignatius Press publishes fiction that reflects the truth about love and human relationships. Rather than fifty shades of depressing grey sameness, they present a full color spectrum of truth. Here’s a quick run-down of some of our books that involve stories of love.

First on the list is The Accidental Marriage by Roger Thomas. This recent book is the story of a marriage: with a major twist. Learn more about this title here.

Tobit’s Dog is Michael Richard’s retelling of the Book of Tobit (readings from which are very popular at Catholic weddings). Set in the Jim Crow era South, it’s a story that will definitely stay with you long after you finish reading.

Ceremony of Innocence by Dorothy Cummings McLean includes some of the most perceptive writing I’ve ever read about the challenges faced by men and women in a world where sex is regarded as synonymous with love and romance.

From the Ignatius Critical Editions, there are annotated editions of Jane Austen, one of the most perceptive writers of all time when it comes to understanding relationships between the sexes. Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Sense and Sensibility are all great choices for reading or rereading.

Central to Michael D. O’Brien’s Strangers and Sojourners is the love between Anne and Stephen Delaney, both wounded souls seeking healing.

In G.K. Chesterton’s rollicking Manalive, the hero Innocent Smith is put on trial for bigamy, having eloped numerous times. But what if the women he eloped with were actually all the same woman?

Those who have read Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter know that she is uncompromising in her depiction of the struggles that men and women face in marriage. Her novel Ida Elisabeth is another intense portrait of the human condition.

Meriol Trevor’s Shadows and Images is about Blessed John Henry Newman, but it is told from the perspective of Clem, a young Protestant woman who falls in love with Augustine, a Roman Catholic. The story of their love, which includes a great deal of both joy and heartbreak, provides the center for this well-crafted novel.

So get reading!

John Herreid

John Herreid

John Herreid is catalog manager at Ignatius Press. In addition to catalogs and ads, he has also worked on the cover design for many Ignatius Press books and DVDs. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and four children.

Tags: love stories novels reading lists

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