Welcome back! Ready for the second author who influenced my writing?
First of all, y’all have to understand that I read a lot (My sister and I both kept books in the bathroom growing up. Made for some long bathroom visits. Fellow moms of young children ask me how I have time to read…ahem. Try it. And nursing mamas, embrace the e-reader. But that’s a topic for another day.). I also read very fast. This means that I’ve read a LOT of books!
It’s extremely rare that I remember an author’s name, much less the title of a book. Because I have read so many, a book must impact me in a very deep way for me to remember it – otherwise it is namelessly filed in the “books I’ve read” mental folder. Candle in the Darkness is one of those few, and the first that I remember from adolescence on. I can’t remember the first time exactly that I picked it up, but I know that it changed me. I wept as I read it, on multiple occasions, and still do when I re-read it. I could feel the heroine’s pain as if it were my own…the utter, gut-wrenching heartbreak at the crux of the story. The inner conflict as she wrestled with impossible choices. The utter horror as she understood what was happening to her fellow human beings (Go buy it. I won’t spoil it for you 🙂 ).
If you pick up my copy of the book now, you’ll see markings throughout (many of them in purple, because let’s remember, I was in junior high the first time I read this). I underlined quote after quote of powerful truth woven into a fictional story. The book challenged me to begin wrestling with the issue of racism and a godly response to it – an issue I am still working through that is extremely relevant where I live now, in Kansas City (watch this 13-minute video and you’ll see what I mean). It made me wrestle with questions of right and wrong, the endpoint of loyalty when what’s right is at stake, and the hope for marriages that seem broken beyond repair.
Candle in the Darkness is still one of my favorite books. I have probably read it a dozen times. I have read many of the other books Lynn Austin has written (see list below). All of them are good. All of them have shaped me. All of them have impacted my faith. All of them have prepared me for marriage. Most if not all of them are over 400 pages, which as a fast reader who enjoys deep characters and stories, I appreciate!
Lynn Austin is one of those writers who possesses the unique ability to use fiction as a vessel of transformative truth. Her characters are real – believable and flawed, not in the “she-had-one-freckle” and “he-drank-too-much-once” kind of way, but in the “in-need-of-Jesus-every-moment” kind of way. Her characters grow and change, as characters shoulder, throughout the stories. Her romances are beautifully crafted but far from fairy-tale-like. Her stories are complex and fascinating. Her books center around historical themes that challenge us to ask tough questions about the past and present that shape our future.
How has Lynn Austin shaped me as a writer? Quite simply, she gave me a model for the kind of writer I wanted to be: the kind that uses fiction to challenge people to think, grow, and change for the better.
What novels have challenged your thinking on a topic? What novels stay on your bookshelf to be read over and over?
Other Favorites by Lynn Austin
I’m realizing as I write this I have some serious catching up to do! Visit Lynn Austin’s site for a full list of her books – there are several I need to read!