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THE PROBLEM WITH CHRISTIAN ROMANCE NOVELS: and why I want more from Christian publishers



Today I’m sharing some potentially unpopular opinions about Christian romance novels. These are some things I’ve been convicted about in the last number of …

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50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Lindsey fromBFCG

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    (Forgive me commenting on a video a few weeks old! Finally getting to my watch later list after moving. 😉) I completely understand and agree with many of your comments you’ve made in this video! Not sure if you saw my comment about it on Katie’s video, but yes, while this is a problem/unfortunate thing, there are a few good authors out there that truly include faith content in their “Christian romance books” (while being clean!) like Carrie Turansky and Erynn Mangum. I truly have enjoyed their (historical & contemporary, respectfully) books and would definitely recommend them as Christian romance books that truly are faith based. 💗😊 Good video!

  2. Hannah K

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    this is the best video i ever watched! love this!

  3. Emily'sLittleBookNook

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I agree with a lot of these points but they also turned into tropes I like that and its hard to find fiction without cursing

    -check out journals of corrie bell Hollister I feel there a bit more in depth of the personal relationship with God which I like

  4. Danielle Ryle

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Thanks for taking this risk. I’m not religious but I sometimes gravitate towards these books. Definitely worth sharing your thoughts!

  5. Writing4Jesus

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I totally and completely agree with you, girl!! I wrote a Christian/fiction book (that is available on Ebay. A Change in the Winds by Nikki Mellado) Anyway, yes, I recently stopped reading certain books and stuff bcuz I felt uncomfortable with the content. I feel most Christian books are either focused on joy coming from the boyfriend, very little mention of God. OR its poorly written and super preachy and still somehow shallow.

  6. Vay Babe

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I stopped reading Christian romance because I saw a lot of books featuring an innocent Christian girl falling for a bad boy who wasn't saved. I don't agree with that message, even though most of the male characters ended up getting saved by the end of the book, I feel it isn't healthy to feed readers a fantasy like that. First of all, I don't believe Christians should be dating people who are not saved and if you are, I think it's important that the message in those books should emphasize Christ being the center of the relationship (which is tough to do when one of you is not a Christian). I just think the genre has been flooded by books that are "clean romance" instead of actually being a Christian romance.

  7. Dara Alston

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    YOU BETTA PREACH!!! MY SENTIMENTS EXACTLY!!! As someone who grew up reading Christian fiction, I didn't read Christian romance until I was in college, and I found them to be "Diet Christian" books–most of the focus was on the romance whereas there was a dash or two of God thrown in…it was as if the main character's relationship with God was an afterthought. I'm so grateful to have found someone who shares my same viewpoint with this subgenre…and that's also why I'm so pressed to write the novel that I'm writing. I want to show ALL aspects of a woman's life that doesn't always have to involve pressing physical boundaries when it comes to relationships and the like. Whew! Thank you so much for this video!

  8. Sara Nicole

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I think the problem is the romance genre in general. I think if you like romance then those books will be something you love. I agree about them being predictable with not enough faith content, but if you're going to read romance I would rather read christian. I read secular books too and so many of them have huge sex scenes but from reading the blurb or looking at the cover you would never know that's going to be in there.

  9. desertrosereads

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I think every romance book, Christian or non, ends in a happily ever after. That’s not a Christian romance thing, that’s just a romance genre thing in general. No one would read a romance book that ended with no couple getting together. That’s literally the point of a romance book.

  10. Joyce Nagy

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Please don't worry about stepping on toes. Many of us have the same issue. God bless and have a wonderful day.

  11. Above The Sun Media

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Thank you so much for this! Completely agree. As an up and coming Christian Publisher, we agree, most are terrible, romanticized, and unrealistic. If you are willing to give it ONE more chance. I would love to hear your opinion on a Christian Romance that is raw, gritty, and actually realistic like this one: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/ssz3h0xldn. To be fair, this is a prequel and before the protagonist is a Christian so it's little theology, but it shows a great backstory and sets the stage for her coming to Christ. Our guy does NOT swoop and he is NOT the savior, there is romance but there is a lot of brokenness and only God is the savior. Our book also does NOT have a perfect fairytale ending, it does end well, but it is not perfect. That link gives you the first book for free, but if you want the rest in the series free as well, message us and we will send you the others free as well.

  12. Susanna Smith

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I find the romance genre in general to be HEA – happily ever after. secular, christian – sometimes not much difference other than in christian romance they mention going to church once or twice and the kids are usually there or they're conveniently still 'legally married'. I enjoy the stories sometimes for a break – I like a fantasy HEA sometimes. not really into the historical settings or amish but if the author does a good job in her research then the story stands as a good glimpse into living that kind of lifestyle and that's fun to experience. like you said, it's more fantasy than the fantasy genre but if read in that light for a quick nice read it has its place. I've been very heavy on nonfiction christian but have grabbed a few from the romance genre. to me it would be a great opportunity to show the christian life being lived in the world, esp with a romance series, than they currently do.

  13. Cianna Coleman

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    While I have read some fun Christian fiction especially in YA, I found most of it so poorly written and instead of realistic Christian living it was stuffing the more religious aspect down your throat. I don’t want religion in my Christian, books I want legitimate Christian living, biblical truth and growth.
    Specifically Christian romance I had gotten a few and then realized I didn’t really want to read them and unhauled them a few years later.

  14. LureneVR

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    If you looking for great Christian love story novels you should really take a look at Karen Kingsbury books. I absolutely love her books. You can also take a look at this Novel based on a true story. Christianity, Angels, and the supernatural. Nothing sexual in eather one of these authors books. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GRSL8KL

  15. Karla the Yorkie

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Female Christian writer trying to get published here, and I gotta say I am happy to find somebody else who has this beef with the Christian publishing industry. I had my mentor on the inside tell me flat out not to present my Ted Dekker esque manuscript as a Christian book, but an urban fantasy book with Christian elements thrown in as part of the mythology. Because my story was too deep, edgy, and complex, and the story only has a slow burn romance that’s a one-sided crush from the main character’s end in the first book.

    Apparently only cheesy romances full of contrived drama sell, and that’s all that big publishers want. Not a thrilling, edgy, complicated narrative with themes on church corruption and reformation, that has a sprinkle of predictable slow burn romance used for some character development on the side. That’s why I am trying to find trust worthy small publishers, but even that is a challenge.

    But those of us who want a change can’t give up, vote with your dollar and eyeballs. Don’t settle for this because its got a christian label slapped on it. Those books are as good as those fake holy relics that con men sold in the dark ages to naive peasants. Dig for the diamonds in the rough and show them that’s what we really want. I want to see writers who use theology to enhance the story and not as a gimmick to sell glorified harlequin novels to bored Baptist moms for a quick buck.

  16. Mirjam Reads 365 Books

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Love this video! In some Christian romance novels or Christian Contemporary novels, when everything worked out well in the end, the characters usually say: 'O wow, God's plan is always greater, see how everything worked out.' That usually makes me cringe, because it's actually the author saying: 'Look how great I plotted this story.' But that might be just my problem.
    (I know btw this video is a bit older, but it came up as a suggested video and wanted to let you know I liked it very much)

  17. nevergoin28

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I haven't read any christian romance, but as a christian author now looking into writing christian novels, this was refreshing to hear and something to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Marlene Elrod

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I am 80, I adapted this viewpoint at age 16..

  19. Maui Schmoo

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Thank you for this! I so agree. (I just found this video, sorry for the late comment ☺️ ) As an author who is a Christian my aim is to keep my novels true to life without all the “stuff” (cursing, s*x scenes, etc…). When I write the knowledge that it’s not only people who will be reading my books, but God, it keeps me in line. I can recommend my own books, if you’re interested. 😉

  20. zialaf

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Hi, have you read Redeeming Love? You might like it. It is a retelling of the book of Hosea by Francine Rivers.

  21. Raquel Rodriguez

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    This absolutely right! Thank you so much! Believe it or not you just gave me the courage to write a book according to my life. Whether or not it every gets published I know for a fact, I will be glad I typed it up.

    For me I didn't know God too well ,as a child, our family never joined a church. But the moment I was able to visit, (my now husband) was head over heels for me. But I knew that I couldn't commit, I just wasn't ready. After years of heartache and disappointment from those around me, God had gotten ahold of me. In my dilemma, I surrendered to this Jesus I knew nothing about. You guys wouldn't believe how my testimony would be a tremendous read.

  22. Ashley Thompson

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I fully agree with you about Christian romance needing to focus more on relationship with Christ. I recently acquired a literary agent for my novel, Romantic Rendezvous for the Soul (Pleasure That Makes You Whole), and it's all about the eternal Bridegroom love of Jesus:

    For centuries, the female heart has melted with desire for the lasting pleasure of unchanging love. In the course of time, civilizations have risen and fallen, yet the single longing for tangible intimacy has never faded. Millions of lyrics have been written to the passionate tune of this fluid yearning. Unfortunately, few people find the lasting love that they longed for as children.

    Life, education, and societal pressure transform what was once a tangible hope, into a mythical fairy tale. Industries have reaped unlimited monetary gain from the erosion of this waned hope. Billions of girls grow up into women who have long since tossed their dream of true love in the trash bin of cynicism. Countless others, have buried their ache of unmet desire under the disappointment of failed relationships and hopelessness.

    Despite most women’s’ best attempts, this starved craving remains alive, like a stimulating aroma.

    This ethereal hope goes back to the first relationship…in a place of being so “seen” and “lovingly known” that “she” was naked and unashamed.

    This novella was not written to add salt to the gaping wound of unsatisfied need. It was written to satisfy the need completely. Let Romantic Rendezvous for the Soul introduce you to a lasting relationship with Transcendent Love where reality becomes sweeter than your dreams.

    http://www.nourishmenthroughwords.com (is my author website).

    ~You can check out the book on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Romantic-Rendezvous-Soul-Pleasure-Makes-ebook/dp/B07L93M3S5/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

    "Romantic Rendezvous for the Soul, explores the sacred theology of Jesus as the Church’s Bridegroom, using a fictional story painted with tender intimacy. This book gently unravels the ageless waters of human desire for everlasting love in a storybook manner that sparks the imagination, exposes hidden wounds, and nourishes the soul. Through deeply warm conversations, unsuspecting characters encounter Jesus in various places and come to find him as the healing Lover of their souls. Ultimately this book was designed to usher the reader into the comforting arms of Jesus, where he can make them whole with pure love."

    ~Also, I LOVED Redeemign Love by Francine Rivers. That book is the closest I've come across that points the reader to the heart of Jesus. xoxo

  23. hes rey

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    U should put lil sound musical for background sound😉😊😄

  24. Devin Vanleeuwen

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I think it depends on the book. I kind of hate those types of books u mentioned especially the Amish ones. Totally agree with what u r saying there, but I have managed to find a few gems amidst the rubbish. The first series that actually brought me into tears and closer to God was the mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers. The first book 8s called a Voice in the Wind and what I like the most is that the character and their relationship with God is put into the limelight of this book series instead of the romance. The romance is more just a side part of the main picture. The book deals with many issues including lust, abortion, infanticide and even pedophilia since it is set in Ancient rome right after the fall of Jerusalem and probably my favorite Christian book that I have ever read. Really made me on fire the our LORD, something some books really dont do. The other series is by Mary Lu Tyndale. She has written many books and again the romance is more on the back burner or at least not the main aspect of the book. The relationship with God and yeah more adventure and piracy since its series in the 1600s to 1700s, take the lead in the books. I highly recommend these books. Mary lu Tyndale and Francine Rivers are both incredibly good Christian authors and I highly recommend you read them.

  25. Angela White

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Interesting perspective. God bless you!

  26. autumnwear

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I'm struggling w you being worried about biblical standards but yet I just watched a review of yours, of Christian fiction,which has dream walking in it. Did you know this is a practice of pagan religions? Yet you were so excited about it. Your standards should be higher all-around.

  27. Jackie MacKroe

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I 100% agree!! Love this video! I actually took notes on many points she made!
    I would love to see a “How NOT to write a book” video!!

  28. Lindsay's Life Cafe

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I know that when I read a Christian Romance I’m getting a much cleaner book. I’m not necessarily looking for the book to give me good theology, I just like a good romance without porn.

  29. Melynda Praznik

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Kyle Idleman and Craig Groschel are NF Christian authors I like.

  30. Khialla Hawkins

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Thank you

  31. Abby Swanson

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I agree with this so much! Thanks for sharing your thoughts <3

  32. The Big Tall Good Looking Guy

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    More Christian Authors need to self publish, reliance on current publishers in Christian fiction will not produce genre pushing content, they will stick to what makes them money. Publishing is a business. As for the content and the predictable HEA, authors need to create stories where the characters struggle with their faith and relationships. The bible itself is an x-rated book, full of every sin imaginable, but God saw fit to choose real people's stories to be included in his word, because scripture applies to real people's lives.

  33. Nataliya Chepurnova

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    No but you are so right

  34. Lauren M

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Thank you for speaking up about this. I agree with everything you said👍

  35. Michaiah Senyk

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Facts!💯💯💯

  36. Happy and Blessed

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Thanks this was really helpful.

  37. angel huff

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I wrote a book called "Weak Love and Strong Love". It is mostly fiction. It has some Christian lines that fit in the story. It is not only about romance, and the romance I did put in the tale I tried to keep from being unrealistic and silly because if someone wants a stupid romance novel there are, unfortunately, perhaps many other books to select.

  38. Shamey Sunshine

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I AGREE with you about romance books that is so so so so oredictable 😩 yeah i just wanted to say this 😅 and now i'm really thinking about the discernment of God in books because some books will just tell you that it's a christian book but it's actualy just a book that us not even near where christians should be going like ( idk i just read this in the comments the 'Take over your life' book) and i'm not happy about that, but it is true why i read christian romance beacause i think the standard fiction romance book for christians are thers. Just wanted to tell you i am worried that maybe i might read a ✌christian✌ fiction book but all about self glory and selfishness. I really need some advice on this 😙

  39. Servant of Christ

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Thank Goodness- Someone finally agrees with the whole Amish Fiction fad (seems it's finally beginning to fade). So sick of formulaic fiction, whether it be Christian or otherwise (but mostly disappointed with Christian fiction being so 'predictable' or worse yet – like you mention – not actually being very Christian at all). Try reading A Chain of Flames, Author Blaine Cleaver. I wouldn't call it a 'Romance' novel but there is a thread of romance in the story line. It doesn't really fit a genre so I guess it's 'Contemporary.'

  40. cynthiaholland13

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    My absolute favorite are the Amish romance books. It's such a relief to read clean, loving stories! Some of it is cliche but versus what else is out there it's just so refreshing.

  41. Brenda Gordon

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Not only Redeeming Love, but anything by Francine Rivers.

  42. Rose letter20

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I want books where there is no cursing and I don't have to keep jumping over s3x scenes.

  43. Marian

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    There’s a surprising lack of clean historical romance that isn’t Christian, and trust me, those of us who want it are just as annoyed as you are that publishers have really pigeon-holed it into Christian publishing. Please, publishers, split the genre into inspirational and non-inspirational! 😂 sadly, it won’t happen. Those clean historical romances get shunted into Christian publishing because there’s a much large market of people looking for clean romance in the Christian world than there is in the secular world, so profits dictate where it ends up.

  44. Natasha Kopach

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Hi! Thank you for this video so much.
    I'm 16 and my story with 'Christian Romance' is similar to yours and I got sick of those books at the end. My favourite books now are The Chronicles of Narnia series, "To kill a mocking bird", "Martin Eden" which almost don't have love lines

  45. blackwhite more

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    If you click "Christian" as a genre on any book club or site you will get a huge deluge of Amish books. No offence to the Amish but not all Christians are Amish!

  46. Blessed One1994

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    You’re absolutely spot on!

  47. kara birchfield

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    My local Wal-Mart has a book section and 5 entire shelves are Amish romance… I dont understand this at all???? I am surrounded by Amish but they aren't reading these books right?

  48. Beth J

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I only like romance if it has mystery, murder, suspense, thriller types.

  49. M. E. Stephens

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Excellent points, Chantel. I didn't get married 'til I was 38 and it was somewhere in my early 20s that the Lord convicted about reading romance novels, including the "Christian" ones, because of the way they led me into temptation and directed my thoughts in unrealistic and covetous ways. After being married for awhile I revisited the genre of "Christian romance." There have been a very few that were more like real life, not unseemly in their content, and/or had useful spiritual meat, but what I've seen is that by and large things haven't improved since I was in my 20s. All your points are valid and biblical.

    I would add to that a little – one point that really provokes me is how terribly inaccurate many historic fiction novels are – Christian or otherwise. They often partially or totally disregard how life truly was and so essentially give readers a completely false idea of history. This can be a spiritual issue when readers fail to appreciate the challenges of real Christians from real history. And then some are just poorly written. A constant diet of bad writing, I think, can actually have a dumbing down effect – personal opinion there. 🙂 So, not only spiritual dumbing down, but perhaps also mental.

    Also, a note on the Amish, the reality is that many of them are not even truly born again and so they are hardly a good subject for Christian fiction. There are videos here that give the testimonies of people saved out of that religion, and my own family met some Amish who left Lancaster County because they were truly born again Amish and they became so grieved with the ways of the unsaved Amish that their group decided they had to leave. It frustrates me to read books that try to portray them as good, godly people in a general sense, when reality can actually be quite dark and ugly and many of them don't have a true relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, there are a few people who have been called to be missionaries to them, to go and preach to them the true Jesus whom they do not know. (I have family in Pennsylvania and two or three of my grandparents were Mennonites when they were young, so I'm probably a little overly aware of this topic. 😉 )

    Thanks for expressing these very real problems so clearly. The false savior is perhaps the most dangerous and damaging, because any savior that is not the true Savior is, in the end, a false one – an anti-christ, an alter Christos. Alternative christs are spiritually dangerous without exception. 1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

  50. Lloyd Sahle

    July 21, 2021 at 6:02 am

    Here are a few romance Christian fiction books that are nothing like what you mentioned in your video. 1) A voice in the wind by Francine Rivers. 2) Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar and 3) The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. The first one really shows you what it means to live every day as a Christian. The second shocked me because; it didn't have the typical beautiful and unusually fascinating female lead character, it's really raw and beautiful at the same time. The atonement child is absolutely predictable the first few pages but then you're in for a ride. I really hope you read them cause once you do you'll be thanking me and asking for more. Luckily the first 2 have sequels.

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