Susan May Warren is arguably my favorite Christian fiction writer. She not only can tell a great story, she has the ability to inspire and encourage readers to grow in faith while not sounding the least bit preachy or forced.
Beginning two years ago, I've had the awesome privilege to be on the launch team for much of Susan's newest book series- The Christiansen family series. Each of these feature one of the Christiansen family's five children and their romance story as they mature and learn how to look for what God has in store for their lives.
One of the awesome things about the books to me is the fact that while each story ends with a resolution in the romantic area in the lives of each Christiansen, there isn't an unqualified happily ever after. Instead, throughout the subsequent books we see the continued story of each couple. I think in so many romantic books, writers- even Christian writers- set up young, unmarried readers for an unreasonable view of romance. In my own life, I am very happily married. We have a great relationship. And our love really is still, at times, that mushy attraction sort of love. But real life doesn't live happily ever after. We aren't always happy. We do sometimes argue. Sometimes we're tired and snappy. I love that Susie May shows that throughout the Christiansen books.
Mortified after her semester abroad is cut short, Amelia Christiansen returns to Deep Haven, certain she isn’t brave enough for the adventures she’s dreamed of. The last thing she expects is for the man who broke her heart to cross the Atlantic and beg forgiveness.
Heir to a European hotel dynasty, Roark St. John has trekked from one exotic locale to another, haunted by tragedy and the expectations that accompany his last name. Amelia is the first woman to give him a reason to stop running. He’ll do anything for a second chance―even contend with Amelia’s old flame, who is intent on sending Roark packing.
While one surprise after another leaves Amelia reeling, Roark’s continued presence only highlights the questions pursuing her. Like him, is she running from the life God has called her to? Could finding her new place mean leaving home behind?
Each time I read a new story in the series, I say it's my favorite. I was gushing that again as I sat in tears finishing the reading of it last night. I can relate to Amelia. She wants to spread her wings, but she's afraid. And she's also bound by the expectations of others. The spiritual theme throughout the book is one of learning to trust in Jesus to brave the unfamiliar- not in ourselves and not even in the strength of the man that God my bring our way.
These books have some excellent character development. I've traveled this road with the Christiansens and have read all of their stories now except for Owen, the next to youngest. Because Susan May Warren does an excellent job of developing the characters in each book and spilling on to the following books, I feel as if I know this family.
I've mentioned before that Susie May has the ability to write words that speak to my heart without preaching at me. Through The Wonder of You- as in every book- I'm brought face to face with my own relationship with Christ and challenged to think about it and to strengthen it.
I can easily give The Wonder of You five stars. I give it a PG for content. You can find The Wonder of You on Amazon here. Below I'm linking to my reviews of the other Christiansen family books (in order) and their Amazon page.
Review of Take a Chance on Me- Darek Christiansen (on Amazon here)
Review of It Had to Be You- Eden Christiansen (on Amazon here)
Review of When I Fall in Love- Grace Christiansen (on Amazon here)
Review of Evergreen- a novella about John and Ingrid Christiansen, the parents (on Amazon here)
Review of Always on My Mind- Casper Christiansen (on Amazon here)
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