Monday, April 30, 2012

When You Don't Fit The Mold by Natalia Gortova


I recently read ‘The Covering’ by Dana Pratola, a fresh twist on Christian romance with a side of spiritual warfare. I LOVE the front cover of this book.

I thought this book had been self-published, when in fact it was published by White Rose which is a division of Pelican Book Group. The reason I thought that was because this book doesn’t fit the traditional mold of Inspirational Romance.

Here’s the back cover copy:

What do a woman of faith and a heathen biker have in common? The devil, of course. Tessa is moved to intercede for a man she's never met. When they do meet, she's stunned. Gunnar is gorgeous, charismatic, and driven. He's also hostile, self-destructive, and an unbeliever...and she's drawn to him like no other. The temptation she feels is as dangerous as it is alluring. She wants to stay away, but God has other plans. He reveals the devil's intent to destroy Gunnar, and commissions Tessa to keep him covered in prayer. Can she rely on God to keep her from love, and into temptation? Or will the devil claim them both?

I think there’s been a draw in Christian fiction toward ‘safe’ stories and ‘safe’ unbelieving characters and I was happy to see this author present an honest look into the thoughts and intents of a non-Christian man. One I’d go so far as to say is even hostile toward Christianity. The book's not vulgar, it's just real.

I read a lot—I mean a LOT, like 4 books a week on average—and what I noticed about this Inspirational book, is that the prose the author uses read like a general market romance novel. The book almost felt like it would fit with a secular publisher of romance…except for the clear salvation message.

Which means it would fit the Christian market, right? Well, yes and no, because as I said, the prose fits a general market novel. There’s no outright sexuality, but there’s a lot of ‘I want you, you want me’ as the author establishes the sexual tension between the characters. And it’s done very well.

So where does it fit? Well, it kind of doesn’t. Which was why I thought it had been self-published. Good for you, Ms. Pratola that you found a publisher who shares your vision of Inspirational fiction that pushes the boundaries of what the Christian market expects. And in doing so, presents a far more realistic sense of what goes on between people trying to do the right thing in a world saturated with sin.

Here’s what Pelican Book Group says in its writers guidelines...

“We may publish what some would call edgy, i.e. stories that fall outside current CBA guidelines, however, please note that edgy doesn't mean profane. It means gently colouring outside the lines because the story demands it.”

I love the idea of ‘gently coloring outside the lines.’ Who doesn’t want to push the boundaries once in a while?

If you love and/or write Christian fiction, this book is worth a look. I’m not one of those reviewers who gush about how good it was. I'd like to have known how Tessa came to faith, since none of her family members were believers. The spiritual warfare was well done, not overblown, I think it was a slice of something different that added to the story with an idea that’s all too true--until you’re covered by the blood of Christ, you’re vulnerable to the enemy.

Check it out friends!

p.s. Dear Ms Pratola: Will Gunnar’s sister’s book be next?

Visit Natalia’s blog at  

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