Archives For Novel


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”B07F3D88S1″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]Awaiting Something New to Arise
A Review of

We Hope for Better Things
Erin Bartels

Paperback: Revell, 2019
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[ [easyazon_link identifier=”0800734912″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ][ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07F3D88S1″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07L9G7QRZ” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Audible[/easyazon_link] ]

Reviewed by Cynthia Beach
The gift of Erin Bartels’ debut novel, We Hope for Better Things, is a long-view on racism, or on the difficulty we seem to have, generation by generation, of loving our neighbor as ourselves. In this time slip novel, we see down the line of sight of racism, the hall of mirrors, the choices and stances—the beautiful and the ugly.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1501178776″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″]Tinged with Sadness and Hope
A Feature Review of 

The Caregiver:
A Novel
Samuel Park

Hardback: Simon & Schuster, 2018.
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[ [easyazon_link identifier=”1501178776″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B074ZN2L3K” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07F3FDPV4″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Audible[/easyazon_link] ]

Reviewed by Brent Bill

Samuel Park, of Korean descent, was born in Brazil and raised in southern California. His protagonist in The Caregiver is Mara Alencar, born in Brazil and living as an adult in southern California. There is one other intersection, as well. More on that later.

The novel opens in Bel Air, California in the early 1990s when Mara is a twenty-six year old caregiver to Kathryn Weatherly, a forty-four year old divorced woman with no children who’s fighting stomach cancer. Mara lives with fellow Brazilian ex-pats Renata and Bruno in the “not-so-nice part of Hollywood, close to the 101 freeway.” Renata has her Green Card. Mara and Bruno do not.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1640600620″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]The Unveiling of a Woman.

A Feature Review of

Unveiling: A Novel
Suzanne Wolfe

Paperback – Revised Edition:
Paraclete Press, 2018

Buy Now:  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”1640600620″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ] 
Reviewed by Ashley Hales

With fake news, looming headlines, and a culture that’s bent at shouting at one another across the aisles, Suzanne Wolfe’s novel, Unveiling, is a treat. Wolfe, who authored the Christianity Today award-winning novel, The Confessions of X, has thoroughly revised and edited her 2004 debut in for its 2018 re-release with Paraclete Press.

Unveiling is the story of Dr. Rachel Piers, a recent divorcee and art restorer, who leaves New York City and her past to restore a medieval triptych in Rome. She’s commissioned by a large American corporation to identify the piece as done my a medieval master. She’s met with Donati, her Italian counterpart, who specializes in pigments. Together they strip away centuries of detritus, both in the painting and their pasts.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0812993225″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”220″]Are we Doomed?
A Review of

The Locals: A Novel
Jonathan Dee

Hardback: Random House, 2017
Buy Now: [ [easyazon_link identifier=”0812993225″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B01NBV8XMQ” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
Reviewed by Ashley Hales

I wanted so much more for The Locals: a novel set between 9/11 and the Great Recession. The sort of British nineteenth century social novel written for the American twenty-first century. I wanted a novel that keenly engaged issues of class, culture, small town life, and told the story of the town alongside the story of deeply flawed, but interesting characters. I wanted to see our own age grittily explored with stabbing political statements and observations. It promised so much.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0802874134″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”209″]Wisdom Sprinkled Lavishly
A Brief Review of 

Love Big, Be Well:
Letters to a Small-Town Church

Winn Collier

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017.
Buy Now:  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”0802874134″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B076C7Y2RP” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
Reviewed by Rhodara Shreve

In this new novel by Winn Collier, you might think letters written by a pastor to his small church congregation would be irrelevant to the modern, urban churches in larger city areas but, you would be so wrong. In fact, reading this book is more about getting a chance to remember what we can be robbed of in this crazy high-tech, global world and why this has to do with our deepest need for friendships that matter as as we journey through life. In this book, a pastor finds himself called to a rural church, and as he writes these letters to his congregation, he shares so much wisdom through the stories of people he meets in this church as he gets to know them and the community they inhabit.

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[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0804141266″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”208″]Can the Original be Reimagined?

A Feature Review of 

Vinegar Girl: A Novel
Anne Tyler

Paperback: Hogarth Books, 2016
Buy now: [ [easyazon_link identifier=”0804141266″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B015BCVX52″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]

Reviewed by Cara Meredith


Yesterday afternoon, my son and I snuggled together at the local movie theater for the newly released Pixar feature, Finding Dory. While Dory – who might just be my spirit animal – did not disappoint, I couldn’t help but wonder about most of the preview trailers. Could Ghostbusters, Adventures in Babysitting and Pete’s Dragon, all favorites of mine from the late 70’s and 80’s, actually be reimagined into something better than the original?

I scanned the darkened room, hoping to lock eyes with another parent who understood my dilemma. But I was alone. The rest of the audience did as they were supposed to do: they stared straight ahead at the screen, absorbed in the entertainment.

It’s the same for us today.

You see, I can’t help but ask a similar question of Anne Tyler’s newest release, Vinegar Girl: can the original, a modernized retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, really be improved upon?

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[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B0106UIUCI” cloaking=”default” height=”333″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]Binding Wounds

A Review of 

All I Once Held: A Novel
Gaylynne Sword

Paperback: Quoir Books, 2015
Buy now: [ [easyazon_link asin=”0991334523″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]   [ [easyazon_link asin=”B0106UIUCI” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ] 


Reviewed by Amber Peace


In the current media, it’s difficult to not see stories and opinions of families falling apart. It’s almost with a sick glee the Duggars have been set upon by all walks of people on social media. Scores of church leaders will be admitting to having accounts on the adultery-focused website Ashley Madison in coming weeks. Finally, one of the last Christian communes from the Jesus Movement is facing accusations of cult-like behavior and abuse. In a sickeningly fast amount of time, the news and most people will forget these stories. There will be more scandal to keep the 24-hour reels going. The people and families involved will not forget. They will still be grieving and picking up pieces.
Regardless of if you believe in chance, fate, or a combination them, Gaylynne Sword’s All I Once Held has come out at good time. It is so easy to dehumanize the people we see on television and in other media outlets. While there is nothing inherently wrong with being disgusted with sin, what is sorrow and a broken heart for everyone involved. Perpetrators need the healing love of Christ and we are those hands and feet that give body to redemption. Further, it is the fear of shame and the need of pride that keeps the problems growing. When an affair happens, it needs to be addressed. The spouse doesn’t need to put on a happy face and take the blame. When depression hits at 10am, those who love them need to recognize medical intervention is necessary. Having joy in the Lord may not be all the medication a person needs.
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Charles Dickens

This is the latest post in a series that will, in effect, create a library of classics that are available as free ebooks.

Check out the full library to date here….

As tomorrow is the birthday of Charles Dickens, we focus here on the best of his works. We have selected the following books as recommended reading.


We are encouraging our readers to mix up their reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books, such as the ones we review here in the ERB.

Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books.

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Marilynne Robinson

For many of our readers, the most anticipated book of 2014 is Marilynne Robinson’s new novel LILA, the third in her series set in Gilead, Iowa.

“This third of three novels set in the fictional plains town of Gilead, Iowa, is a masterpiece of prose in the service of the moral seriousness that distinguishes Robinson’s work . . . Lila is a superb creation.”  – Publishers Weekly

[ Top 10 Online Recordings of Marilynne Robinson ]

*** [easyazon_link cloaking=”default” keywords=”Marilynne Robinson” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Books by Marilynne Robinson[/easyazon_link]

You can now get a sneak peek of LILA! 
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[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0385352107″ cloaking=”default” height=”333″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”234″ alt=”Haruki Murakami” ]Reality, dream, story: where does one end and the next begin?

A Feature Review of

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A Novel

Haruki Murakami

Hardback:  A.A. Knopf, 2014
Buy now:   [ [easyazon_link asin=”0385352107″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link asin=”B00IHMEAYK” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
Reviewed by Janet Ursel
Haruki Murakami’s much-heralded new novel is out and I decided for once to jump on a bandwagon. It was an intriguing book, and it is easy to see why he generates such a buzz.

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