Monday, December 19, 2011

Favorite Novels for Teen and 20-Something Girls

It is hard these days to walk into a bookstore and find good fiction for young women around my age.  And by "good" I mean literature that supports my worldview and Christian values.  Does this mean that I have to agree theologically with every idea in a book to be able to recommend it?  No, not at all.  (In fact, it is intellectually stimulating when I disagree with an idea and have to work through why I disagree.)  But it does mean that I look for books, even fiction books, that give me examples of the character I would like to develop more fully in my own life.  And it means that I'm careful about what I choose to spend hours of my life reading, because I know that what I mentally nourish myself with affects me just as much as what I nourish my body with.  The following books are just novels, but most are fast-paced and have intricate plots.  While they all have some element of romance in them, there isn't anything trashy or cheap.  They are influenced by Christian values, even though some of them aren't overtly Christian.  When the best the local bookstores have to offer young women are vampires and sorcerers (their message is not even subtle!), I hope you will dig a little deeper and find literature that is consistent with our faith.


#1- Not My Will by Francena Arnold
(Moody Classic Fiction)

I received this book for Christmas as an early high schooler and have read it four or five times since.  It follows the life of a young girl who is orphaned and raised by her aunt who is bitter towards God and men.  She is left a large fortune upon the death of her aunt but cannot receive it until her 25th birthday, and only if she remains unmarried.  There are several unexpected turns in the plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I've cried through this book every time!

 #2- Pearl Maiden by H. Rider Haggard
(Published by Christian Liberty Press)
#3- Lysbeth by H. Rider Haggard
(Published by Christian Liberty Press)
#4- The Brethren by H. Rider Haggard
(Published by Christian Liberty Press)

These three books are historical fiction centered around the Roman Empire in the first century after Christ, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Crusades, respectively.   I just finished reading The Brethren last night and really enjoyed the action-filled plot.  Of these three, Pearl Maiden was my favorite with Lysbeth coming in at a close second.  But all three are adventurous, romantic and action-packed reads.

#5- The Hawk and the Dove Triology (3-in-1 Volume) by Penelope Wilcock
(Available from Amazon)

I read this every summer during high school, and would gladly read it again if I could find my book!  I love the character Father Peregrine, who comes to the monastery a proud and difficult man, and through crushing circumstances is humbled and changed.  The book summary says, "They belonged to another century, yet their struggles are our own-finding our niche; coping with failure; living with impossible people' and changing when we realize that we are the impossible one.  These humble seekers, called to live together in brotherhood, discover in the daily rhythm of their work and worship that the whole of life is a love story about a tender and passionate God.  Rich with imagery and emotion, their tales depict love in action, and love given in the most trying of circumstances."

#6- The Hidden Hand by Eden Southworth
(Published by Lamplighter)

It's been a long time since I read this book, but it, and the Lost Clue (below) were so full of mystery and suspense that I could barely put them down.  These books were written in the 1800's, but have been updated into modern English.  They are more pricey than most of the books I have listed in this post (about $30), but have excellent binding and hard, dimensional covers.  That Printer of Udell's (below) is by the same publisher and has a leather cover.  With basic care, they should last for many years to come.

#7- The Lost Clue by Mrs. O.F. Walton 
(Published by Lamplighter)

#8- That Printer of Udell's by Harold Bell Wright
(Published by Lamplighter)

This was one of President Ronald Reagan's favorite books.  His letter is included in the book, and a copy of it is below (click to enlarge).  The publisher's webpage contains this summary of the book:

"Has someone crossed your path recently that might have needed your help? Were you paying attention closely enough to have noticed? This wonderful book from Harold Bell Wright is just as alive and relevant in this century as it was to those to whom he was writing over 100 years ago. That tramp printer that ends up working for George Udell has so much to teach us about living by an honor code."


Shannon said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I found two of the books free on Amazon for Kindle, and the first one (Not my Will) was only $1.99 so I snatched it up too :)

Rachel said...

I love Katherine Erkine's books (Mockingbird and Quaking are my favorites). They're not overtly Christian, but she does challenge us to think about how we treat those around us--which is so key to how we live in faith!

Rachel said...

So there are other people who have heard of the Pearl Maiden, Lysbeth and The Brethren books!! Yeah! :) There's another book too by this author that's called "Queen Sheba's Ring" and it's supposed to be really good - I put it on my Christmas list and I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the suggestions for good books, Leah!

<3 Rachel