The Promise: Cultural clash on personal level

In The Chosen, Chaim Potok explored how two brilliant teenage boys struggled to find a way to reconcile their orthodox Jewish faith with their academic interests. The Promise again brings Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders, now both graduate students, together around a problem to which they respond differently. Reuven meets a famous Jewish scholar who, […]

A Good Woman skewers Christian humbug

Emma Downes is a good woman. Deserted by her husband, she started a business, supported herself, raised their son, now a missionary in Africa, and became a force to be reckoned with in her church. A Good Woman by Louis Bromfield Frederick A. Stokes, 1927. 432 pp. 1927 bestseller #10. My grade: A. When natives […]

Bars of Iron hold religious novel

All too often, writers of “religious novels” write romances with religion sprinkled on top. Bars of Iron flips that fraud, presenting a religious novel in the guise of a romance. Bars of Iron by Ethel M. Dell 1916 bestseller #7. Project Gutenberg ebook #10509. My Grade: B-. Avery Denys, a widow recently come to be […]

Tell No Man shows muscular faith

Tell No Man is the story of a rising young stockbroker involved in a passionate affair with a sexy socialite to whom he’s been married several years. Service in Korea shook Hank Garvin badly. When a long-time friend commits suicide, Hank’s foundation gives way.   Tell No Man by Adela Rogers St. Johns Doubleday, 1966. […]

In Garden of Allah weak, lapsed Catholics revive

The Garden of Allah begins with the arrival in North Africa of  an  Englishwoman headed to Beni-Mora. Robert Hichens makes the vast, unpopulated Sahara a vivid backdrop flooded with colors and  vibrating with tom-toms, cymbals, castanets, and the howls of dogs for a story as unexpected as the scene. The Garden of Allah by Robert […]

One Increasing Purpose seeks answer to “Why me?”

In One Increasing Purpose, A. S. M. Hutchinson presents a nice guy, Simon “Sim” Paris, who survived World War I without a scratch. Sim  wonders why he was spared. One Increasing Purpose by A. S. M. Hutchinson Little, Brown,and Company, 1925,  448 pp. 1925 bestseller #10. My grade: C+. All his family call on Sim’s […]

Heaven’s My Destination ridicules stupid faith

Some novels cross genres. Thornton Wilder’s Heaven’s My Destination tangles them. Heaven’s My Destination by Thornton Wilder Harper & Row, 1934. 304 pages. 1935 bestseller #7. My grade: B+. The book is a funny, coming-of-age, religious novel. Handsome, young George Marvin Brush, a traveling textbook salesman, is the novel’s ridiculous central character. George didn’t put […]