Women’s literature with a Christian message

As I promised, I am writing – today it will be about two books by the same author – Tamera Alexander. Although this type of literature is rather alien to me, encouraged by Magda Wołochowicz’s „advertising”, I was curious how books – novels with a Christian message are written. Here’s what I found out:

A Lasting Impression – part 1 (Belmont Mansion)

When I found out that the book was set in the South of the United States and in Tennessee, right after the Civil War, and one of the main characters really existed, I decided that I wanted to read it – damn the possible love plot, I was just curious how another author breaks the edge of the story, guiding me through my favorite space-time. And so Tamera Alexander introduced me to Claire; a young, eighteen-year-old woman with an artistic soul.

Claire lives with her father in New Orleans, where she engages in the rather shameful business of faking works of art. Due to the vicissitudes of fate, she becomes a fatherless and homeless person overnight. She lands in Nashville – the place where country music will be born less than 100 years later. I would like to write that by chance our heroine from a church pew ends up in the residence of the richest woman in America, but following the spirit of the book, it must be fair to say that there is God’s finger in it.

Justice does not come from institutions, Mr. Monroe, but from the hearts of the people. As long as these people seek God with all their heart …

Claire’s mentor is Adelicia Acklen, whose home is full of such wonders as a private zoo, numerous servants and even more connections. Adelicia’s parties go down in history, and Mrs. Acklen herself seems to be intelligent, resourceful, attentive and godly. Claire, on the other hand, looks at the nineteenth-century Brigitte Jones, who constantly gets into some trouble and does not keep up with the environment in which she lived. In addition …. she constantly carries an uncomfortable secret that eats away at her soul. With this secret, she organizes next parties and meets a man who makes her heart beat faster. Until the dam breaks, Claire yearns for the truth that will set her free!

Before I go to the buckle, let me introduce you to one more position by the Author:

Another, or actually the first book by Tamera Alexander, which I gave a chance was „From a distance” – from the title I knew more or less what to expect: fainting from love, nineteenth-century restraint, playing cat and mouse for the sake of decency . And we could say that this was exactly the fate of Elizabeth Westbrook – the daughter of a Union Colonel in the Civil War. However, what amazes at Elizabeth’s from the very beginning is her quite modern approach to life; Well, she does her job in Washington.

And this is a job so far reserved only for men – journalists in a newspaper! When we meet her, she is just leaving her comfortable home in Washington for the small town of Timber Ridge in Colorado surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. There, for the next few weeks, she will be taking photos for the newspaper.

Her assistant at work is black Josiah; a very straightforward, yet brilliant boy, carrying a sad story that we learn, and soon after that, Elizabeth’s guide through these unknown and dangerous areas becomes a mysterious Daniel Ranslett – Confederate veteran, nineteenth-century avenger on a motorcycle (but on a horse) and a declared single. It means: old bachelor.

As you can easily guess, several things happen: because Elizabeth and Daniel meet under unpleasant circumstances, they don’t like each other at first. With time, however, the difficult conditions of the journey, danger, uncertainty, and finally the thread of trust make Elizabeth convinced about Daniel, and he discovers in her a proud and independent woman.

And that’s one of the surprising things in both novels!

Tamera’s women

Elizabeth is depicted as a single woman in her thirties who has a healthy self-esteem, surely fueled by her father; she does a male journalist (journalist and photographer), she can handle quite complicated photographic equipment, and she may fear difficult conditions, which she has not known so far, but it does not stop her from completing her professional mission. She reminds Michaela Quinn (‘Doctor Quinn’ series)

Eventually, while being with Daniel and gaining a better and better opinion about her guide, she finds a companion in him, whom she does not pounce on (although she feels like it) like a hungry hyena, but keeps a decent order of things. Likewise, Daniel.

Claire also finds herself in a hitherto unknown world of luxury and manners; she is very determined to get a job with Mrs. Acklen, even though she struggles every day with what she does not know. We get to know her sensitivity, which she expresses through painting – painting is devoted to a large part of this novel, but it is neatly woven into the history of the characters.

Unlike Elizabeth, Claire falls off a tall horse – she thinks she is the perfect candidate for a job at the mansion, while Mrs. Acklen quickly realizes her that there are hundreds of young ladies like her.
We also meet Claire as a girl with little experience, but trying to make up for every shortcoming at a dizzying pace.

The mysterious man who awakens Claire’s feelings is presented as an extremely honorable, intelligent, well-read, educated man, and at the same time funny and very natural! Together with Claire, they make a pair of friends whose conversations are a pleasure to listen to.

Both stories are dedicated to finding the path God intended us to follow, and it is a non-standard path that allows both men and women to develop in exactly the way in which their soul goes.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you think about yourself … except God himself. Please look at yourself through His eyes and through the prism of His strength, and then you will see what you can be despite what you are now. She raised a dark eyebrow. – And if you look at yourself only with your eyes, you will face the questions and doubts, as well as the whims of those who do not want the best for you.

The novels don’t put both couples in love with the standards – although they could! When you write a book set in the 19th century, you have a lot to do! However, the author somewhere subliminal tries to convey this simple biblical truth: There is no woman or man, slave or free person – they are all one in Christ Jesus. [1]

Both novels also deal with slavery and freedom, faith and trust, and human dignity. Finding out that Adelicia Acklen, and before that Franklin, was a real character, I started looking for information about her. I learned that her first husband was Isaac Franklin; known as the greatest … slave trader in America. It is because of this shameful business that both Adelicia’s name and her balls have become so famous. However, I do not want to judge this practice today – because the creator of the first constitution in the world, Thomas Jefferson, had numerous slaves – and although he fought against human trafficking, he did not intend to end it overnight, suddenly claiming that „the release of unprepared people with no place to go and no way to support themselves, it would only bring them misfortune. „[2]

As for Adelicia’s first husband, Isaac Franklin – I have a bigger problem with him, because I found out that in his letters to his nephew and partner – John Armfield, he confessed to raping some of his slaves[3]. I know he was not the only one that it was common at the time, but in the face of this fact, all the splendor of the Belmont Mansion, completely financed by human harm and dignity, loses its beauty, leaving a big scar on my imagination.

Have you read any of Tamera Alexander’s books? Or maybe you have your favorite novels written in the Christian spirit?

[1] Holy Bible, Galatians 3:28

[2] Wikipedia, Thomas Jefferson and slavery

[3] Wikipedia, Isaac Franklin

ps. All the quotes in the text comes from those 2 T. Alexander’s novels.

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