What I've Been Reading: Summer/Fall 2021

Jayna Baas (October 13, 2021)
I’ve always been a voracious reader, and this summer and fall have been no exception. With a mix of old favorites, new favorites, and not-so-favorites, my reading list has expanded to include some authors I didn’t know about but very much enjoyed. Since you may find these titles and authors equally unknown but equally enjoyable, I thought I’d share some highlights from my precariously leaning book piles. Here they are, in no particular order.

  The Shenandoah Road (Lynne Basham Tagawa) If you enjoy Christian historical fiction with a touch of gentle romance, this book is for you. It’s full of rich historical detail and deep faith, and I love that it’s set during the time of George Whitefield—I rarely see novels set in the Great Awakening. I highly, highly recommend this book, and the sequel, The Heart of Courage, is on my to-read list. Read my full review here.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Daniel James Brown) Full of history, grit, and beautiful narrative style, this book makes me forget that I actually don’t care about collegiate rowing. It’s nonfiction, but it reads like a great story. This year’s reading was my second time, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. The fascinating story is a powerful picture of teamwork. (Profanity warning) Read my full review here.

The Sentinels of Andersonville (Tracy Groot) This was another re-read for me. It’s raw and thought-provoking, and it’s not for sensitive readers, but somehow I really enjoy this novel even though I don’t usually like Civil War fiction. It’s the characters and history that do it for me. I love books that bring real historical situations to life, rather than placing a generic plot against a generic historical background, and this book is an great example of “real” historical fiction. Plus the dialoge is a lot of fun. (Mild profanity warning)  Read my full review here.

Whose Waves These Are (Amanda Dykes) This is a beautiful, lyrical tale of love, loss, and hope, set in dual timelines of WWII and the twenty-first century. Even the sad parts are beautiful and retain the light of Christ. It also has one of the best enigmatic heroes I’ve ever read. The unusual verb tenses take a little getting used to, but it’s worth it. Read my full review here.

Unknown (Vanessa Hall) I was intrigued by the idea of a Christian romantic suspense novel centered around a Russian ballerina and the son of missionaries to Russia, and this debut novel delivered! The ballet was fascinating, the gospel message was clear and realistic, and the suspense never let up. Read my full review here.

The Gryphon Heist (James R. Hannibal) A wild, wacky ride from the offices of the CIA to a data vault in the mesosphere, this Christian suspense novel was a fun read, even though it was intricate (read “confusing”) enough that I read it twice. The cast of characters makes for some highly interesting situations. (Hannibal also writes military thrillers for those who don’t mind a high violence quotient.) Read my full review here. 

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery (Eric Metaxas) Talk about inspiring, challenging, and thought-provoking! I was familiar with some of Wilberforce’s story, but not nearly enough. This book left me wanting to meet him (which I will someday, of course). Read my full review here.

Brothers at Arms: Treasure & Treachery in the Amazon (John J. Horn) This one was purely for fun, a rollicking adventure tale in the tradition of G. A. Henty and Robert Louis Stevenson. The first-person narration through the eyes of an upstanding, philosophical British youth was simply a delight. Read my full review here.

Promises Unbroken (Kristina Hall) This first book of the Moretti Trilogy, set in the 1920’s and replete with Italian mobsters and speakeasies, is packed with action and emotion and has strong Christian themes to boot. Be prepared to need several deep breaths after reading it. Read my full review here. 

Do you recognize some favorites here? If not, I hope you’ll check these out!
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