There are great Christian fiction books out there that are full of light and smiles, heartwarming storylines, and happily ever afters. They have moments of joy and laughter, touching lessons about God’s goodness, and plenty of sunshine and kittens. (Aww!)
And then, there are books like Blue Columbine.
This was not the first book I’ve read by Jennifer Rodewald, and I’m pretty sure that my reaction to her other books was the same. These are HARD books. Redemptive, yes. God-honoring, yes. Entertaining, yes. But HARD. Why? Because the storylines follow people in the muck and the mire of real life – real, HARD life – and paint a picture of God’s providence and His grace even in the midst of fallenness, sin, and struggle. There are no easily won happily ever afters in books like these… but there are genuine, satisfying conclusions as Rodewald does a beautiful job of showing the hard work of sanctification and grace in the lives of her characters.
Blue Columbine was a story about alcoholism, its far-reaching consequences, and the grace of God. It’s the story of Jamie and Andy, lifelong friends who become reacquainted as adults when they find themselves living in the same city again after years apart. Jamie has her own hurts and disappointments from the past, but she’s managed to hold onto her faith, a faith that has flourished and matured as she’s grown to trust God more. Andy hasn’t been as fortunate, and when he and Jamie meet up, he’s very far away from God and deeply entrenched in some serious strongholds. He’d not very likeable for a good portion of the book, but Rodewald does a masterful job of connecting this – his worst side and his arrogant, selfish actions – to his alcoholism, making him a sympathetic character even when he’s being so awful to everyone around him. I knew while reading the book that he was supposed to end up with Jamie (because it’s romance, y’all, come on), but he was so horrible that I wanted her to ditch him and stay with Ryan, the godly guy she meets and begins to date even while Andy is still part of her life. I appreciated how Jamie realized that she was enabling Andy’s behavior and how true to life and emotional it was for her to finally leave him, even in the condition he was in. I especially loved how the rest of the book played out from that point on, particularly with Jamie and her trust issues… but I don’t want to write too much here and spoil anything. I don’t want to spoil the ending either, but I liked that there were costs to doing the right thing, to living by faith, and to trusting God even when it doesn’t lead to earthly success. (Is that vague enough? I hope so!)
This is Christian fiction done right, y’all. Real life issues, relatable characters, and the power and grace of God, abundant and full, even when life is hard. If you haven’t read anything by Jennifer Rodewald, you need to. (And her books are on Kindle Unlimited! Woo-hoo!)