Gallery (April 13, 2010)
I’ve always been a bit snobbish about the books I read and what is considered worth my time. Funny though I am also picky about the content in books I read I am finding that mainstream fiction more often lives up to my high standards than the Christian fiction I count on for the content being filtered or censored as the case may be in some opinions. There are many great Christian authors out there and books that meet my rigorous tests for quality and “appropriateness” though as I have begun reading more mainstream works, I am discovering that these standards become even more rigorous as I discover new books and authors with increasingly higher quality of work.
Phillips not only intrigued me with the premise of this book and its predecessor The Rossetti Letter but has me feeling as if I’d been through a desert of reading material prior to discovering her work, excepting a few rare books along the way that still call from the keeper shelf or TBR as the case may be. Christi in both these books has created a world of intrigue, adventure, suspense and mystery built around two of my favorite things – books and history. Though much of her work is fictional, my imagination was not only captured and fed but remains so much richer for the experience of reading stories that continue to entrance and grasp that craving for excitement and escape that only cream of the crop literature especially fiction can provide even after the back cover once again meets its mate.
Claire and Andrew though fictional characters in a contemporary setting garnered something in me that few characters even aspire to, that sense of fulfillment and identifying with someone who could have been me under different circumstances. Though I read broadly it remains mostly fiction of varying genres including historical and fantasy but history – other than textbooks – has always intrigued me. Claire and Andrew have shown me that research and factual accounts don’t have to be the cut and dry textbooks of my academic past. Sure it can’t always be exciting, dangerous and tons of fun but those rare moments when it is seem to be worth wading through the rest just for the nuggets that will keep one hunting for the next treasure amongst the spiders, dust, cobwebs, and the like despite the deserts between them.
Phillips narrative and plots have once again stoked that fire in me that devours history and alternative worlds fictional or actual and sometimes a combination of both. I hear there is a third book on the way that of course I would be chasing after if it were out and it happens to be not only historical but set in the same era as her first books but in France and without the contemporary cross over of Claire and Andrew’s part in these two volumes that have earned her a place amongst the honored favorites and of course keepers in my personal library. So tie me down if you must but I will claw my way free to get my hands on the next Christi Phillips book as soon as humanly or miraculously (as the case may be) possible. In the meantime keep an eye on my reviews for the next “Winner” book I find in my voracious adventuring through the worlds of literature. (ISBN#9781416527404, 464pp, $15.00)
Click the cover for more info or to purchase a copy. Visit Christi’s website. Thanks to Gallery for a review copy.