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?


My aunt is a librarian.  She's a wonderful lady (just like my mother) and her profession could be put into an infinite list of reasons to love her.  Along with wicked-fast reference skills, she gets lots of free books.  Let me say that again: she gets free books!  One such freebie that she passed on to me was a fantasy novel by Brandon Sanderson called Warbreaker.  Though I had heard of Sanderson, I was unfamiliar with the book I was given, but the description was intriguing enough to entice me to read it, and  it turned out to be one of the best novels I've read so far this year!

Magic, politics, religion, love, trust and betrayal combine in a monumental scope in Brandon Sanderson's fantasy epic Warbreaker. The story is complex and exciting filled with unpredictable twists and turns and peppered with well-drawn characters. The heroes and villains were equally enchanting - and the distinction between them often blurred - and as the narrative switched between the multiple subplots a riveting story was woven together.

Sanderson's world-building is phenomenal. The rich layers of detail about the neighboring kingdoms and the incredible theory of magic involved with BioChromatic breath, Awakening, and the Returned were seamlessly blended into the story. Each new facet of the setting was introduced subtly, leaving the reader with a sense of discovery rather than a displeasing "info-dump".

From the opening chapters to the dramatic climax, Warbreaker was a spell-binding tale. The ending offered a satisfying conclusion with just enough of an open door to leave readers with their fingers crossed that perhaps a future book will return them to this marvelous world. Although this was the first book I have read by Brandon Sanderson, it most certainly will not be the last.
I know a lot of people don't particularly enjoy "high fantasy" - a genre title usually given to what many call "swords and horses" novels - but with the popularity of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of Narnia, it seems that many non-fantasy readers are giving the genre a chance.  That said, I think Sanderson would be a great author for readers looking to test the waters of fantasy literature.