I read Christian fiction for a variety of reasons: entertainment, inspiration, to expand my understanding of characters and setting I’m unfamiliar with. And, largely, to learn from the power of story. We all play our own unique, God-given parts in a much larger story. Reading other people’s stories (whether nonfiction or fiction) can inspire us to grow, to understand, to love better.
Katie Ganshert’s novels do just that.
I first fell in love with Katie’s novels when I read Wishing on Willows as part of her launch team. I then went back and read Katie’s first novel, Wildflowers in Winter. I’m pretty much a fan for life.
Katie doesn’t take the easy route in her plot lines. She covers bold, tough topics in her novels, and each of her settings have been intriguing and different from her other books.
In A Broken Kind of Beautiful, we meet Ivy Clark, a ravishingly beautiful 24-year-old who has been a model since she was only 14 years old. But, as Ivy’s career seems to be halting because of the fashion industry’s empty values on outward appearance and age, Ivy realizes she feel more like a beautiful, but empty, shell of a person.
She finally comes to the point where her only modeling job comes from her step-mother, Marilyn, who wants Ivy to be the face of her new wedding dress line for an advertising campaign. Ivy returns to Greenbrier, South Carolina, and finds out her jeopardized career may only be saved if she can convince Davis Knight to return to his photography roots in New York, even though he swore off photography two years ago for reasons Ivy doesn’t understand. Davis treats Ivy drastically different from any other man around Ivy, and she doesn’t know how to take it. Through the book, Ivy struggles with learning the “why” behind Davis’s actions, and wonders if God can see her broken past and still love her.
Katie’s ability to discuss tough topics helps us as readers learn more about others’ situations and look below surface level of situations we know little about (like the fashion industry for me!).
I love so many aspects of Katie’s writing. The dialogue is realistic and not hokey. She slowly reveals backstory in believable ways. She weaves small descriptive details in scenes to create realistic actions without distracting from the reading itself. You can visualize and feel the scenes.
Example: “A gust of heat swept across the floor and wrapped around Ivy’s calves.” – p. 91
Katie masterfully leaves each chapter with a strong emotion hanging. She doesn’t always have to frame that cliffhanger with a question, either. Each chapter ending entices and easily convinces you to go ahead and turn the page.
In Katie’s previous two novels, I related to the main female characters well. In A Broken Kind of Beautiful, I actually found myself relating to the Davis Knight the most. I could definitely relate to portions of Ivy’s character, but I’ve felt my own struggle of guilt and not truly accepting God’s grace-given forgiveness, as Davis does. The side characters (Marilyn, Sara, Arabella, Twila, even Jordan), all add to the story’s fullness, intrigue, and purpose.
This book covers themes of change and comfort zones:
“This world was never meant to be comfortable. It was never meant to feel like home. I took darkness to show me truth.” – p. 174
And trust and forgiveness:
“It doesn’t matter if I forgiven you. It doesn’t even matter if you forgive you. What matters…is that God already has. So stop wearing your past like a pair of handcuffs. – p. 255
I found myself rooting for side characters (and their very interesting stories) nearly as much as I did the main characters, and love many statements, like this one from Marilyn:
“Perhaps there was grace to be found in this mess after all.” – p. 44
Want to learn more? Katie is hosting a Facebook webcast party for A Broken Kind of Beautiful on April 21st, from 6-7pm (CST). Click here to see the Facebook invite.
Follow Katie on Twitter for more news in a couple of weeks about some Twitter book fun, too.
To read more about Katie Ganshert, visit her website and check out an interview I did with Katie last year. Also, check out the book page for this novel on Katie’s website. I love how Katie shares multiple “theme songs” for the book and behind-the-scenes information on the characters and setting! (Check out the “inspiration” video from Matt Chandler on that page, too. Powerful.)
Do you ever hold on to something from your past too long? How do you forgive yourself and accept forgiveness from others? Or, tell us why you read Christian fiction.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a member of the launch team. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in any other manner.