Tag Archives: missionaries

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens

Word Lily review

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens, book 1 of the Vanessa Michael Munroe series (Crown/Broadway, March 2011), 320 pages

Summary
Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information. If you need to find out something undiscoverable — and have the resources to pay — she can figure it out for you. She grew up as a missionary kid in Cameroon, and she still bears the scars of her past life (literally and figuratively). Her gift for languages comes in handy in her work. When a Texas oil man wants her to find his daughter, who disappeared in Africa, she’s thrust back into the jungle haunted by her past.

Thoughts
I knew I wanted to read it when I heard the first whisperings of the hardcover. When I had the chance to read the paperback, I was thrilled. When I cracked open the pages, I wasn’t disappointed.

I love so many things about this book, about Vanessa Michael Munroe. I love the West African setting, the heart-pounding story arc, the genuine pain of past hurts that comes through (not that I’m glad the pain exists, but I’m glad it shows up and feels real). I love Munroe’s skill with languages and reading people. I enjoy the [few] personal connections she does have.

While the blood and sex and language might make this book an uncomfortable read for some, I found it generally appropriate for the setting and the characters.

I finished reading this book a couple weeks ago, and I’m still over the moon about it. Love it!

My biggest problem with this book is that, when I finished it, I couldn’t yet get my hands on the second book in the series, The Innocent, due out December 27. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but I want more! I can’t wait.

Rating: 4.75 stars

About the author
Taylor Stevens (@Taylor_Stevens, Facebook) was raised in communes across the globe and denied an education beyond the sixth grade; she broke free of the Children of God and now lives in Texas. She’s working on the third Vanessa Michael Munroe book.

Other reviews
Jenn’s Bookshelves
Leeswammes’ Blog
S. Krishna’s Books
Beth Fish Reads
Toothy Books
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I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

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Book Spotlight: The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund

About the book:
Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field, specifically to India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country just long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West again. But then they both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women to the field.

Read an excerpt of The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund.

I received this book from the publisher as part of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Book Spotlight: A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer

About the book:
Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the Alaska mountains. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother’s dying request, but she’s not found a way to bridge the gap. Clay Selby’s always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athbascan people.

Read an excerpt of A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

I received this book from the publisher as part of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

Word Lily review

City of Tranquil Light: A Novel by Bo Caldwell (Henry Holt, September 28, 2010), 304 pages

Summary
Will Kiehn has grown up on a western Oklahoma farm, in a pacifist Mennonite family. His personal faith didn’t come easily, but it did come. When a missionary visits, he knows he must go to China, despite feeling inadequate.

The novel is based, in part, on Caldwell’s grandparents, who were missionaries to China in the first half of the 20th century.

Thoughts
This story is engrossing, mesmerizing. Not in the way those words are usually used, to mean fast-paced, though; rather, the narrative, the characters, pulled me along, kept me turning pages.

I really love this book. The writing is beautiful, and when you add that it’s set in China, features missionaries, Mennonites and some Mandarin … well, I was hooked.

The story is told from two points in time, and sections written from the perspective of Will are interspersed with journal entries written by Will’s wife, Katherine. The Kiehns’ life isn’t easy. They face money stress, interpersonal stress and ministry stress — and that doesn’t even include the pressures resulting from China’s tumultuous history during this time. The faith struggle in this book is palpable, real. This is the kind of book that asks more questions than it answers; that’s something I love!

If I could change anything, I might want a little more interaction with pacifism and its outworkings in the Kiehns’ lives. I’d also like to know which method of writing out the Chinese words was used, and why (I thought I remembered reading something along these lines, but now I can’t find it.)

Read an interview with the author at Christian Post.

I was dorkily thrilled when I learned that Caldwell is married to Ron Hansen, a Nebraska native; I loved his Mariette in Ecstasy [my review].

About the author
Bo Caldwell is the author of The Distant Land of My Father, which is also set in China. She lives in northern California with her husband, novelist Ron Hansen.

Other reviews
Rundpinne
Leafing through Life
Books, Movies and Chinese Food
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I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.