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 […]

Elmer Gantry is satire, not exposé

Handsome, aimless Elmer Gantry is sent by his mother to small Baptist college where he plays football, drinks, and chases women. By a fluke, he becomes the champion of the campus preacher boys and is sucked into becoming a Baptist preacher. Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis Harcourt, Brace, 1927; 432 pp. #1 on the 1927 […]

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 […]

My Friend Prospero Sweet and Light as Spun Sugar

Seeking admittance to a remote Italian castle containing a famous collection of fourteenth century portraits, Lady Blanchemain is delighted to discover the courtly Englishman who serves as her guide is a relative of her late husband. A centuries-old feud between the Catholic and Protestant branches of the family had kept them from meeting before. The […]

Lamb in His Bosom Is Warm in Hard Times

Caroline Miller’s Lamb in His Bosom is a tale of women in the Georgia-Florida woods country in the 1800s when time was measured in tombstones.  These women endured incredible hardship to raise families. Cean Carver is a pretty 16-year-old when she marries Lonzo Smith and moves to the farm he’s clearing for the family they […]

Minor Characters Redeem David Corson

The Redemption of David Corson is about a backwoods youth who loses his faith that a loving God is making people progressively better. In an Ohio valley, a stuttering patent medicine salesman and his teenage wife hear David Corson preach. Pepeeta is drawn to the message. The quack is drawn to David’s monetary value as […]

The Reign of Law Is a Dumb “Religious” Novel

The Reign of Law by James Lane Allen is the story of young man  with his heart set on becoming a minister. David’s parents think he’s too stupid for college, but accept his desire to be a minister as an explanation of why he’s always been so peculiar. After two years of hard labor in […]