(This is a book I'm going to have trouble giving a star rating to. I mean, do we really need those light-up yellow things to tell us whether a book is worth reading?)
Anyway, I've had my eye on Allison Pittman's books for a while, and I finally read All for a Sister.
What do I think? I think this is a dark story, with all seven deadly sins splayed upon the pages.
I think it is a raw story, and because of that you begin to care for the characters. Both Dana and Celeste have experienced damage at the hands of the world, in different ways. And both need a genuine friend, an opportunity for a brighter future.
Some people have objected to this book, protesting the content. My answer for all such protest is that no topic is ever wrong, the only wrong is in how you address it. Somebody said they only like "uplifting" books. Of course, we all should... but mustn't we be honest about the rock-bottom depths before anyone will believe our testimony about the heavenly heights?
I don't like fluff novels. A good book must bump up against actual life in the actual world, or else it is just lies.
This book repeatedly encounters life, and the author also pours in a cup or two of Grace.
That is far closer to true "Christian fiction" than a sugary and naive novel where nobody sins, nobody kills, nobody misuses their body or anyone else's, and nobody is converted by the straight-up mercy of God.
The frame of the book includes the death of an infant, a young woman sent to prison, sexual carousing that eats away at the heart of a family, and an unrelieved rage that destroys lives.
There is also confession and renewal, learning to see with God's eyes, and ceasing to identify yourself with your past history.
So if you're ready for a meaty novel set in the 1920's, with a complex storyline, then All for a Sister is the one.
And then if you get stuck on a 1920's kick, you can add Carla Stewart's The Hatmaker's Heart and Karen Halvorsen Schreck's Sing for Me.
(Ps. I intend to read Allison Pittman's Lilies in Moonlight next!)
Thank you to Fred and Nora St. Laurent of the Book Club Network for my review copy.
Allison Pittman is the author of For Time and Eternity, Stealing Home, the Crossroads of Grace series, and her nonfiction debut, Saturdays With Stella. A high-school English teacher, she serves as director of the theater arts group at her church. She is also the co-president of a dynamic Christian writers group in the San Antonio, Texas area, where she makes her home with her husband and their three boys.