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Word of Mouth

Faithful Fifteen


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This Month on
April 2004


Celebrating DADS! Talks To: Francine Rivers, Author of THE PRIEST and Charles Martin, Author of THE DEAD DON'T DANCE
Faithful Fiction
THE DA VINCI CODE Author Roundtable: 11 Authors Crack It
Father's Day Roundup : Great Books for Dads
Christian Living and Marriage/Family Life Titles
Author Talk: Jordan Rubin, Author of THE MAKER'S DIET
Our Monthly Poll
FaithfulReader Question of the Month
Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading: Win THE DEAD DON'T DANCE by Charles Martin
Quick Links

Celebrating DADS!

I read a quote the other day in a secular novel called THE RULE OF FOUR that made me think about dads and their relationships with their sons:

"A son is the promise that time makes to a man, the guarantee every father receives that whatever he holds dear will someday be considered foolish, and that the person he loves best in the world will misunderstand him." It's a heavy thought, but as many of us know the relationship between a father and his son can be as complicated as that between a mother and her daughter. Father's Day is not only a time to celebrate being a dad, but also to acknowledge its ups and downs.

Happy Father's Day to all of our Faithful Reader dads.

There's lots in this month's newsletter and on our website, which we hope you'll delve into. I wants to take a moment to acknowledge our terrific writers and reviewers --- Evelyn Bence, Cindy Crosby, Marcia Ford, Diana Keough and Bethanne Kelly Patrick. Each month their writing and contributions give its voice and tone. We hope that their excitement --- and honest reporting --- on the books that they are reviewing and the authors that they are sharing with you helps guide you in your reading selections.

Our feature on THE DA VINCI CODE this month is the most ambitious work that we have done since our launch last November. Marcia Ford's research and writing of this feature as well as the questions for our panel of writers --- against a very tight deadline --- is one example of why I love working with our writers and reviewers. We hope you enjoy this piece and all the others we bring you this month.

By the way, one book we are reviewing this month is a particular favorite of mine --- THE DEAD DON'T DANCE. As a result, we have selected it as our Word of Mouth prize this month. Read more about how you can win this book below.

Have a wonderful month and enjoy the beginning of summer.

Carol Fitzgerald ( Talks To: Francine Rivers, Author of THE PRIEST and Charles Martin, Author of THE DEAD DON'T DANCE's contributing writer Bethanne Kelly Patrick interviewed Francine Rivers, author of the "Sons of Encouragement" series. In their conversation Rivers expresses the importance of a supportive Church system, reading different versions of Scripture, and maintaining one's own faith through the Bible and a connection with God. Rivers also explains how much of her writing has come from her own personal experiences and discusses the challenges of re-telling Biblical stories.'s contributing writer Bethanne Kelly Patrick interviewed Charles Martin, author of THE DEAD DON'T DANCE. In this conversation Martin explains his creation of characters and situations from personal relationships and experiences, his characters' struggle with the road to Redemption (as well as his own), and the difficult journey to get this book published. Martin also briefly discusses his second novel WRAPPED IN RAIN, which is due in 2005.
Our "FaithfulReader Talks To" interviews may be found here.

Faithful Fiction
A DELIRIOUS SUMMER by Ray Blackston (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
The author of FLABBERGASTED is back with a second novel about twenty- and thirty-something Christian singles looking for love in the Protestant churches in Greenville, SC. Fast, funny and quirky, A DELIRIOUS SUMMER is the ideal beach book --- but not so light that it wouldn't work as a fall coffeehouse book, either.

THE DEAD DON'T DANCE: A Novel of Awakening by Charles Martin (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Dylan and Maggie Stiles have a perfect life --- they have a terrific marriage and they are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child. The day their son is born the world abruptly changes when Maggie lapses into a coma. Instead of Dylan celebrating he is now looking for himself --- and his faith --- a world without Maggie. This is the story of his finding his way back to life.

AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN by Sharon Ewell Foster (Contemporary Fiction)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Unlucky in love and unhappy without it, neighbors Mary, Puddin and Moor --- guided by advice from well-meaning friends --- each enter the dating scene in a different way and with often wildly amusing results.

THE SALT GARDEN by Cindy Martinusen (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
There are no stunning conversions or enormous life lessons in this quiet, lovely novel about the power of love and the presence of God in a small Northern California coastal town. Cindy Martinusen incorporates themes of the written word, grief, loss and natural beauty as she weaves together stories of a young reporter, an elderly novelist and the long-dead woman whose journal reminds them both of the power of patience.

DYING DECLARATION by Randy Singer (Suspense)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Randy Singer's fast-paced thriller will capture the imaginations of discriminating readers of faith who like a well-crafted suspense story, as the controversial religious practices of two parents lead to personal tragedy --- and a charge of negligent homicide by a relentless prosecutor.

ROOM OF MARVELS by James Bryan Smith (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
James Bryan Smith joins a long and laurelled line of Christian apologists like Dante and C.S. Lewis with this physically slim but psychically rich riff on what heaven is and how we get there.

THE PRIEST: A Novella by Francine Rivers (Fiction)
Reviewed by Bethanne Kelly Patrick
Popular author Francine Rivers turns to five men who stood in the shadows of some of the great figures of Judeo-Christian belief. In the first book of the "Sons of Encouragement" series she tells the story of Aaron, brother of Moses, weaving fictional with Biblical narrative to flesh out the story of Israel's first High Priest.

WINTER WINDS: Seaside Seasons, Book Four by Gayle Roper (Fiction)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
Fans of Gayle Roper's "Seaside Seasons" series will enjoy this fourth installment --- a blend of gentle romance, light suspense and strong faith.
Our Faithful Fiction books may be found here.

THE DA VINCI CODE Author Roundtable: 11 Authors Crack It has brought together 11 authors who have all written books in response to Dan Brown's controversial 2003 novel, THE DA VINCI CODE. Richard Abanes, Darrell L. Bock, Dan Burstein, James L. Garlow, Peter Jones, Steve Kellmeyer, Erwin W. Lutzer, Sandra Miesel, Carl E. Olson, Amy Welborn and Ben Witherington III discuss why they believe so many people have accepted this fictional thriller as fact. They also address some of the claims Brown makes in the book about Christianity and explain the potential damage that his conclusions could inflict on a person's faith.

DA VINCI DEBUNKERS: Spawns of Dan Brown's Bestseller by Marcia Ford's contributing writer Marcia Ford takes a look at 11 books either on the market or in the works that respond to Dan Brown's bestselling and controversial novel THE DA VINCI CODE. She focuses on the varying perspectives of the authors, differences in the structure of the books and significant distinctions in content --- and then reveals her choice for the best Da Vinci-related work.
Read DA VINCI CODE Roundtable and Feature here.
Father's Day Roundup : Great Books for Dads
The role that fathers play in the lives of their children is vital. Whether they are teaching them secular tasks like how to ride a bicycle for the first time or assisting them with their homework, or spiritually helping them forge a strong relationship with God, fathers provide their offspring with the support and encouragement they need to become self-confident, self-reliant, and spiritual beings. The books we have assembled for our special roundup honor these loving and dedicated men. Some are nonfiction and serve as reminders of the many gifts fathers bestow upon their children; others are fiction titles that we think dads especially will enjoy.
Read our Father's Day roundup here.

Christian Living and Marriage/Family Life Titles
THE WORN OUT WOMAN: When Your Life is Full and Your Spirit is Empty by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray hope to take some of the stress out of women's busy lives by providing tools and strategies for limiting commitments, identifying gifts, dealing with emotions, nurturing the spirit, burying anxieties, facing the past and celebrating accomplishments.

WHY SIN MATTERS: The Surprising Relationship Between Our Sin and God's Grace by Mark McMinn (Christian Living)
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
Dr. Mark McMinn --- psychologist, husband and father --- looks at the surprising relationship between our sin and God's grace. Facing our sin ultimately ushers us into the presence of Grace, where we find forgiveness, mercy, hope and celebration.

THE WORLD AS I REMEMBER IT: Through the Eyes of a Ragamuffin by Rich Mullins (Inspirational)
Reviewed by Marcia Ford
As a columnist for Release magazine, recording artist Rich Mullins shared his musings on faith and life. THE WORLD AS I REMEMBER IT is a collection of these personal writings, complemented by striking photography and some of Rich's most memorable quotations.

A DELICATE FADE by Ben DeVries (Christian Living/Spiritual Growth)
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
This original kaleidoscopic swirl of images, quotes and observations about the "dark night of the soul" should resonate with hurting Christian twenty-somethings who question the meaning of life

I LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY...ON ONE CONDITION: Everyday Choices for an Extraordinary Marriage by Joey O'Connor (Marriage and Family Life)
Reviewed by Diana Keough.
Everyone wants to be loved unconditionally in marriage. But all too often, the conditions we create and the unrealistic expectations we place on our spouses rapidly cause that dream to fade. I LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY...ON ONE CONDITION reveals that although marriages have their mountaintop moments, we spend most of our time in the valley of everyday living.

Our Christian Living and Marriage/Family Life books may be found here.

Author Talk: Jordan Rubin, Author of THE MAKER'S DIET
Chris Fabry, host of the radio program "First Edition," interviews Jordan Rubin, author of THE MAKER'S DIET. Rubin is a doctor of naturopathic medicine, a certified nutritional consultant and a member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine. After winning his battle with Crohn's colitis, a disease that initially was diagnosed as incurable for him, Jordan has devoted his life to developing solutions to help those who suffer as he did by educating on ways to naturally and nutritionally overcome challenges. In this conversation he describes the six key steps to living a happy and healthy life.
Read an Author Talk with Jordan Rubin here.
Our Monthly Poll
1) Did you read The DaVinci Code?
No, but I plan to.
No, I do not plan to read it.

2) Did you believe the theories about the Grail presented in the book?

Yes, all of them
Most of them
Some of them
I am not clear on what the theories are.

3) Did you believe the "historical information" that was presented as fact in the book?
Yes, all of it
Most of it
Some of it
I do not know what this information is

4) Are you planning to read any of the books that explore the theories mentioned in The DaVinci Code?
Not sure

5) Which theory would you like most to read about?
Marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene
Heir of Jesus as the real Holy Grail
Priory of Sion and Opus Dei
Other (Please specify)

6) Did what you read in The DaVinci Code have any effect on your own faith?
Yes, a positive effect
Yes, a negative effect
Not sure

7) Some of the facts in the book are indisputably incorrect (dates, geographical locations). Does knowing this affect your enjoyment of the book?
Not sure

8) Do you believe that works of historical fiction, or fiction that includes historical information, should include accurate historical facts?
Not sure

9) More than a dozen books have been written correcting the alleged mistakes in the book. Which of the following statements best describes the way you feel about this?
The books are an overreaction to what is just a work of fiction.
The books are necessary to set the historical record straight.
I don't have any opinion about the other books.

10) Have you read Dan Brown's earlier work, Angels and Demons?
No, but I plan to.
No, I do not plan to read it.
Vote in the Poll here.

FaithfulReader Question of the Month
Sum up your feelings about THE DA VINCI CODE in one or two lines.
Answer our Question of the Month here.

Word of Mouth: Tell Us What You're Reading: Win THE DEAD DON'T DANCE by Charles Martin
Tell us what books YOU are reading and loving --- or even those you don't. You could then be eligible to win THE DEAD DON'T DANCE by Charles Martin!

Please note that our next Word of Mouth update will be on June 23rd.
Tell us what you are reading here to be eligible to win!

As always, here are a few housekeeping notes. If you are seeing this newsletter in a text version, and would prefer to see the graphics, you can either read it online (see the link on the upper right) or change your preferences below.

Those of you who wish to send mail to, please see the form on the Write to Us page.

Thanks for reading....and don't forget to forward this newsletter to a friend.

--- Carol Fitzgerald (

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