It is very rare that I do not finish a work of Christian Fiction once I start reading it. Unfortunately though, every once in a while there will come a novel that just steps too far outside the boundaries of what I believe should be included in the genre. “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck”, written by Bethany Turner and published by Revell in 2017, not only crossed the boundaries, it leaped over them and ran quite a distance on the other side!
I will not be going into detail about the specifics of my issues with “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck”, but please believe me when I say that the thoughts, words and actions of the characters did not align in any way with the Philippians 4:8 direction of what to think about (things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy). Instead, the unmarried hero and heroine of the story repeatedly discussed and thought about things better left to married couples, and which certainly should NOT be included in a Christian novel.
The problems did not end with what was included, however. The TRUE meaning of love, the God-breathed, self-sacrificing, 1st Corinthians version that includes more than attraction and feelings, was noticeably excluded.
In the end, I was very disappointed with “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” and am saddened that Revell published this title. I did not reach the end of the novel, but I skimmed a lot of it and it did not improve with time. Instead, it only got worse farther in. For Christian readers who enjoy their novels to remain inspirational, chaste, and founded in the Biblical version of love, I definitely recommend avoiding this one.
I received this book courtesy of Revell Publishing, in participation with a Revell Reads Blog Tour. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.