She Walks in Beauty

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell transports the reader to New York's Golden Age of the late 1800's. The story follows young and timid Clara Carter as she is thrust into the world of high fashion and elegance with her debut into society. While Clara would prefer to keep to herself and her books she feels duty bound to her father and aunt and submits herself to their rigorous tutelage and their hopes that she will secure a wealthy husband.

Though parts of the story in this book were predictable, I did find it to be an enjoyable read. The historic setting and details were well painted and it was an interesting look at the celebrity status that debutantes experienced at the time. Also, I felt that the Christian message was appropriate and fit into the story smoothly. Many readers complain about Christian fiction as being "preachy" and I don't think this book was. The theme was one of God loving people personally, just as they are, and it fit in well with Clara's struggles of maintaining a perfect appearance and always looking to please others.

Overall I think this book was a unique and engaging story. There was a subplot involving the contrast between the upper and lower classes in New York that I wish had been developed and expanded. However, the focus of the story was solidly on Clara and she was a charming heroine - modern enough to appeal to contemporary readers without seeming out of place in her setting. She Walks in Beauty is a solid entry into the genres of historical fiction and Christian fiction and Siri Mitchell shows herself to be an accomplished writer of both.

I'm curious where other readers fall in their opinions of Christian fiction; do you like books to have a strong Gospel message or do you prefer Christian themes to be woven in subtly?

4 Response to "She Walks in Beauty"

  1. Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) says:
    May 2, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    I'm not a huge fan of Christian fiction, it's often a little too namby pamby for me. Instead, I like to stumble across Jesus in books in which I didn't expect to find Him...

  2. lisa :) says:
    May 3, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    I like the way you put that, "to stumble across Jesus". Any good recommendations come to mind? I actually read this one as an advance reader's copy so I knew it was historical fiction, but didn't anticipate the Christian tie-in so I was glad that it was well done and not overly schmaltzy.

  3. Melody says:
    May 6, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    I also don't like the in you face approach with religious fiction. I am not Christian myself but I am supportive of others religious beliefs and love a good Christian Fiction novel if it is subtle and not telling you that you are going to hell if your not Christian. A good Christian fiction author if you like thrillers is Frank Peretti. The religious aspect is toned down, but his novels are wonderful. I would recommend House by him and Ted Dekker. And This Present Darkness as well.

  4. lisa :) says:
    May 7, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Peretti is one of my favorite authors (Christian or non!). I read This Present Darkness in high school and it's still one of my favorite books! I only recently got into Ted Dekker but I loved his Circle trilogy and I think he's a really talented suspense/thriller author too.

    The reason I posed this question was because I read another review of She Walks in Beauty that complained about it not having enough of a Gospel message. I don't understand the thought because I think most people reading it to enjoy the historical story don't want to be slammed in the face with religion and those reading it for the Christianity are very likely already familiar with Biblical teachings. Glad to see that others like a subtle message as well.

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