What I Read This Week

This week was a pretty good reading week. I had a lot of reading going on this week, and I finished a non-fiction book that I had been reading for a couple of weeks. That always makes for a good reading week.

Jesus and John Wayne is one of the books written in the aftermath of evangelical Christianity’s unprecedented support for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. The fact that a group of people who always claimed to support men of character for the presidency would wholeheartedly embrace someone who is not a moral man in his election for the presidency is a symptom of a larger problem within evangelicalism.

Du Mez is writing as a historian attempting to figure out what went wrong. How did such a countercultural religious movement become so enmeshed with Christian nationalism that these evangelicals would disregard their candidate’s character? Du Mez’s interpretation of this issue is to find that the evangelical problem begins with and idolization of the masculinity of John Wayne instead of the masculinity of Christ. She points out how, since World War II, the Christian ideal image of a man and a strong military have led Christians into supporting leaders for their strength instead of their character.

As I reader, I have often wondered what went wrong in a world where so many of my friends would not only support a man of such low character but would champion him as a person of moral character. As a result, I have been on a journey of my own attempting to separate what real Christianity is from the cultural Christianity that I see around me. As such, Du Mez’s book is a helpful tool on that journey. There were things that filled me with nostalgia and things that filled me with horror. I realized that one of the things I will have to separate in my Christianity is biblical manhood and womanhood from the cultural vision of “biblical manhood and womanhood.” More reading is definitely necessary for me!

All I Ask begins with a prologue where Teagan watches her best friend get married. The thing he doesn’t know? She’s completely in love with him, even though she’s pregnant with another man’s baby. Through a series of events detailed in flashbacks in the book, Teagan and Derek lose touch. Thirteen years pass and Derek and his daughter are back in town. Will Derek and Teagan reconnect? Will they become friends again? Will more that friendship bloom?

This is a romance, so the answers to these questions are probably pretty self-evident. However, the road to happily ever after is not a smooth one for Teagan and Derek as they deal with the past, their daughters and the future. I truly enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book. At this point, however, the book takes a melodramatic turn as the author throws several “problems” in their way. I was less than impressed, and found that the melodrama really ruined the book for me. I wish the author had maintained the strong pace and storyline of the first two-thirds of the book.

Lucie is a spinster and a suffragette. She pulls together a consortium to purchase controlling interest in a London printing press so that she and her fellow suffragettes can publish a report that would bring light to the plight of married women as property of the men they marry. Unfortunately, at the same time Lucie is attempting to buy controlling interest in the press, an antagonist from her youth (who is a hopeless rogue) is buying up all the shares from other owners to have an equal interest in the press. And he wants to be very hands-on with his approval of content and the daily workings of the press. Sparks fly, and soon Tristan makes an offer that Lucie seriously begins to contemplate.

I have always loved historical romance, and A Rogue of One’s Own is a really good historical romance. It’s the second in the League of Extraordinary Women series, and it is as good or better than the first book. Tristan is a lovable rogue, and Lucie is exactly the strong, sympathetic character that I really enjoy reading about. It was smoking hot in places, but was really sweet. I look forward to the next one in the series. It’s too bad it doesn’t come out for a whole year.

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