All Manner of Things

Susie Finkbeiner (Revell)

In All Manner of Things, Finkbeiner portrays a family living through the Vietnam War, seamlessly transporting readers back into that turbulent era of American history. In confident, polished prose, she invites readers to wrestle with the sadness we inevitably face, examining how we respond in the face of gross unfairness and even tragedy. This is a book I would feel comfortable recommending to non-Christian readers—one of those powerful books that transcends the “Christian fiction” label to meditate on timeless themes that resonate with everyone.

A Single Light

Tosca Lee (Howard Books)

This was the first Tosca Lee book I’ve read, and I now I can see what all the hype is about. This is the sequel in a two-book post-apocalyptic series. Although I hadn’t read the first (The Line Between), I didn’t feel lost trying to figure out who was who. In the tradition of post-apocalyptic reads like Earth Abides (by George Stewart) and The Host (by Stephanie Meyer), Lee pulls us completely into a ravaged world. Although the action is intense, it’s the characters who carry the story. Lee’s deftly written dialogue made the book play out like a movie in my head.

The Woman in the White Kimono

Ana Johns (Park Row)

This book has two main plotlines: one focused on a present-day American woman who wants to understand her father’s secrets, and another focused on a Japanese woman who became pregnant with an American soldier’s baby in the 1950s. I was one of the first to jump on the split-time book bandwagon, but lately I’ve been more ambivalent. Too often, the story set in one era is more compelling than the story set the other era, and the two eras never converge in a satisfactory manner. Not so with The Woman in the White Kimono. The present-time storyline was crucial to the resolution of the 1950s storyline, and Johns brought the two together in a beautiful, life-affirming way.

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