Once upon a time, I'm certain peeking beyond the bedroom door was forbidden, but as a voracious reader of Christian fiction, in all genres, I find that's no longer true.
Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond, is a fair example. It's true, if you glance through the reviews on Amazon, you'll find a minority who are aghast at the sexual content of the book and claim teens shouldn't read it, nor should unmarried women. Wow. It obviously has some explicit passages, right?
Well, of course, I had to check it out for myself and purchased the book. (As an author, can you think of a better marketing tool than controversy?) I read through it in one day searching for what had these readers upset enough to encourage keeping the book away from teens and unwed women.
I failed to find anything.
Yes, the story told us that this newlywed couple had sex, quite frequently even. Richmond wrote about undoing buttons, and reading Song of Solomon, and the characters even talked about how they enjoyed sex, but explicit? Hardly. Keep it away from the kids or unmarried women? That's plain silly. Do these reviewers have any clue what their teens are required to read in high school? I read a few of the "racier" passages of Susannah to my unmarried 19 year old daughter, and she agreed that it's very mild.
Besides that, Spring for Susannah, which is written by a debut author, made July's Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's (ECPA) bestselling fiction list. Not an easy feat for any author, much less a debut author. On Amazon, of 106 customer reviews, 90 of them are 4 and 5 star. Hmm, it doesn't sound like the reading public is complaining. As a matter of fact, I think they're enjoying this book. They also enjoy other authors who like to bend the sexual boundaries: Julie Lessman, Deeanne Gist, and even Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury to name a few. Try Lisa Samson's The Passion of Mary-Margaret or Christa Parrish's Watch Over Me. No, we're not getting a bedroom play-by-play, not even close, but the authors don't shy away from it either.
The fact is, Christian writers are writing about sex, the public is buying the books and they're even enjoying them. Gasp!
So, my question is, why all the fuss? Yes, the majority of romances are sweet and very chaste, but to generalize and say Christian fiction is for prudes, misses the mark completely.
If you ask me, the controversy is much ado about nothing.
Questions for you: Do you think the controversy is warranted? What books/authors have you read in Christian fiction that push the boundaries?