An interesting topic, contemporary Christian romance novels. There are pros and cons, and I think it’s time we discussed them. Some people love them, and lose themselves easily between the pages. Others find it both invasive and unrealistic.
This debate has a lot of truth on both sides, and I want to do it justice. So please, read the whole post before you decide if Christian romance books are worth reading.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I may make a small commission. I only recommend books and resources that I’ve enjoyed personally, or believe that you would like. You can read my full disclosure here. You will also find information on Scripture translations there.
2 Reasons to Beware of Christian Romance Novels
When you read any genre, there are things to pay attention to, caution lights, to keep you aware of reality. Christian Romance novels are no different. Here are a few of the cautions I’ve found in 20ish years of reading both historical and contemporary Christian romance books.
1: Christian Romance Stories Effect Your Emotions
When reading any well-written book, but especially Christian romance novels, many of us are so drawn in. We feel like the main character is our friend, or we relate to her on an even more personal level. So we join her roller coaster (as any good book includes one or two!), and those emotions spill over into our real world.
One example of this is my first experience with Christian romance books. The Brides of Montclair series by Jane Peart. Fantastic historical fiction and clean Christian romance, but as a young teen, I wasn’t prepared to handle the drama. I was all over the place emotionally, and had to put them away for a year or two.
2: Contemporary Christian Romance Books can Build Unrealistic Expectations
Book boyfriends and husbands aren’t always written in a realistic way. They tend to have a little more patience. Maybe they act a bit more considerate. Forgive easier. Communication flows more easily (after the complete lapse in whatever that causes the crisis).
But let’s face it. If 95% of these ladies don’t get a happily ever after, we wouldn’t be reading Christian romance novels or anything similar.
I would suggest that if you are in a season of difficulty in marriage, you probably shouldn’t be reading romance. You’ll end up resenting your spouse for not being like this week’s dashing hero from your Christian romance novels.
The Beauty of Christian Romance Stories
A-Since God wrote the best of all Christian romance stories, I firmly believe that its an acceptable and beautiful genre.
B-Jesus used stories to convey his message, and God includes some amazing romance throughout the Bible.
C-Contemporary Christian romance novels can inspire us to love better, and to feel God’s love as the characters learn to. Basically, to be a better me than who I could easily let myself become.
D-When we read fiction, we can see our own flaws and strengths displayed on the page in front of us. Then we have a choice.
At that point we can take note and be encouraged to make improvements.
Or, just laugh and move on to the next entertainment source.
What will you do?
Spoiler: some days I choose change, sometimes, entertainment.
I hope you will consider some of my favorite Christian romance novels, most of which have great discussion questions at the end, whether you read them alone or with a friend!
Reading Guidelines for Christian Romance Novels
1: Watch your Emotions
If you become more emotional than your circumstances warrant, then take a step back from reading Christian romance novels!
2: Watch your Expectations
Don’t expect your spouse to do and say the things these authors dream up. While they may be good things, it’s just like expecting yourself to be a Proverbs 31 woman fulfilling every verse all the time. It’s just not gonna happen!
3: Challenge Yourself
Ask yourself questions. Are there any thought patterns that make you uncomfortable? Talk to God. Any behaviors worth emulating? (NOT trying to be perfect, but we all have room for improvement!) Did you have an “Aha” moment, where you suddenly understood someone else in your real life? Take notes!
Pray for your family. Your Friends. Pray for yourself and your spouse. Many Christian romance stories have great prayer points you can claim for yourself. Grab a notebook and join in!
Christian Romance Stories (Dating Period)
*Here’s where you should look for some creative couples night ideas! They’re inspired by some fantastic Fictional Couples!!
Betwixt 2 Hearts is a fantastic collection of 6 books in one. Each is standalone, though they connect to one another, and sometimes to the author’s other works.
Betwixt 2 Hearts by Amanda Tru
A remarkable setup, a breeding ground for Christian romance and dating stories to launch from. As Camden and Bailey build a Christian Matchmaking website, they build a unique relationship of their own. The best parts in my opinion, are:
Camden sharing the gospel with Bailey. Wow! She struggles with it, because if he’s right, she and many others who think they are Christian, aren’t.
Bailey’s growth as a character is pretty awesome. Its believable because of the mistakes along the way, and her reactions to them.
The plot is fascinating, and so much fun! I couldn’t put it down! The back and forth between Camden and Bailey had me alternating between laughter and eye-rolling.
Book 2: Swedeharts Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson
Eleanor’s fear and frustration are so relatable!
Wanting to make others happy can only go so far. Fear of failure, and frustration when your performance is never good enough, can wear you out. When Ellie snaps and goes off to find herself, I was along for the ride!
Watching her grow in strength of character, identity, and faith made me think, as often as her selfish slips had me laughing!
Book 3. Whole Latte Love by Kari Trumbo
Seeing yourself as God does, not how others do, is the stated goal of this book, and it successfully does just that, if you look! This is one of those Christian dating stories that builds you up.
Drew and Addi both have allowed circumstances to control what they believe about themselves and others. I could empathize with Addi, since I’m better at defending others than standing up for myself. Realizing that others will often treat you as poorly as you allow them to is eye-opening. Some do it selfishly, and others thoughtlessly. This was a fun way to teach the lesson of being careful how you treat others, and how you allow them to treat you.
Book 4. Her Safe Refuge by Alana Terry
This one is hard since it mostly deals with a married couple on the edge of divorce. However, it gives the backstory for a new series and is encouraging for women married to an unbeliever. The struggle of how to act, how to handle obeying God and living as a Christian, while still showing respect for your husband who thinks you’d lost it, is well taught.
This is one of the few contemporary Christian romance novels I would recommend if you are in a struggling marriage. It’s not trite and does offer hope. Another would be Christmas Embers.
I enjoyed the intersection with some of the author’s other series and past Crossroads Collections.
Other Crossroads Collections: More Great Christian Romance Novels
Here’s a fun one! If you’ve read any of the others in the Montavero/Serenity’s Landing series, you will recognize some of the main players, though you don’t have to, in order to enjoy this one.
I enjoyed Casey, she was someone I could relate to. She was smart and resourceful, and still managed a convincing ‘damsel in distress’ role. I think compartmentalized expectations played a role.
Casey’s computer skills rock, as do her business management abilities. But anything outside her experience and comfort zone really rattled her.
Mark is the kind of guy you want on your side. Has the resources, and the willingness to help.
Definitely a whirlwind romance, but a lot of fun. And success for Betwixt!
Book 6: Random Acts of Shyness, Chautona Havig
I felt for Heath in every awkward moment. A child’s coping mechanism that he didn’t know how to let go of and hadn’t just outgrown can be devastating in a grown-up.
Truth be known, the main story is good, but I had as much fun with the side stories. First, An old man reunited with a son he hadn’t wanted to give up over 50 years ago. He wasn’t given a say though. The emotional roller coaster here was so well written that I was there in the room.
Second, the woman willing to risk her job to give a young man the chance he needed and was also an unbelieving mother who chooses not to lie to her daughter because the daughter became a Christian. Her character is impressive, and she’s so genuine! I hope we get to see more of Ann in the future!
Check These posts for Great Biblical Romance Stories
Contemporary Christian Romance Novels with Suspense
This romantic suspense genre is fun if you like some danger and mystery. When it’s well done, you get the heart-racing feeling of danger and rescue, without the actual danger. If you’re highly sensitive to character personalization, you may want to skip this category of Christian romance novels, to avoid unnecessary stress!
Song of Suspense series by Hallee Bridgeman
Starting with A Melody for James, this series is high powered drama. You’ve got espionage, country music, tragedy, hope, and courage. Now, I’m a fan of country music, but there’s not a lot of lyrics included, so don’t worry about it if you are not.
I love the learning to trust again after tragedy and heartbreak part. Found it encouraging and believable, because it was NOT EASY. They have a lot to work through.
The most recent addition to this series of Christian romance stories, A Harmony for Steve, is still great, just much more intense. Its more evangelistic, but also eye-opening for how cult and occult followers can sneak in and cause trouble.
Jewel Saga by Hallee Bridgeman
The Jewel Saga is remarkable. It’s on the ‘shallow end’ of the suspense pool. Not quite, but still a bit of Suspense In Sapphire Ice you have a strong woman fired by trials, who is in need of the great romance of God. First, Tony has to crack her protective wall, and show her that both he and God are for real. No easy task.
I enjoyed the determination both show, and the gentle Christian witness.
*Tony messes up, he’s not perfect, but he does set a high standard.
The Agency Files by Chautona Havig
Ok, high suspense here, the Agency exists to provide protection. Sometimes they are hired, but other times, they discover a threat, and “kidnap/hide” the victim BEFORE the attack can happen. Then, catch the bad guys.
Book 1, Justified Means starts out in high gear. Knowing who to trust is difficult. Falling in love with your kidnapper/rescuer is dangerous. Especially when he’s a Christian and you are not. This is well written in general, but especially timing-wise. Not too sudden, And not like Col. Mckenzie and Cmdr. Rabb from JAG (nearly there, but never gonna happen).
There are many threads in this series, of faith, romance, and suspense/adventure. Its a lot of fun!
There’s romance and rescue here, but it’s subtle. The mysteries take center stage, and Alexa is such a fun character. Famous author, slightly eccentric, and lives her Christian faith, though that’s not the genre she chooses to write. Crazy mysteries and crime just happen to pop up around her, so its Officer Joe to the rescue. At least, when Alexa is sleuthing herself into trouble she has someone to count on! Book 1, Manuscript for Murder has her current book in progress coming to life all around town!
Check These posts for More Contemporary Christian Romance Novels
We’ve just about run out of room to tell you about my favorite Christian romance novels in the historical fiction category, but here are some links to some historical Christian romance authors that I enjoy!
2 Amazing Historical Christian Romance Authors
Lori Wick. For example, The Kensington Chronicles. An unusual set of women, strong and Courageous, who learn to love God, and their men! An orphan in Arabia, a ship’s captain in disguise, a woman faithfully praying for an unbelieving husband for decades, and one whose mother is downright cruel! Great Christian romance books from the 1800s to the turn of the century.
Janette Oke For example, I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite here, between the Song of Acadia series set in 18th century Canada (branching out to Louisiana and England) and the Acts of Faith series (set just after the Resurrection) both are beautiful, fun, and definitely challenging!
2 Historical Christian Romance Authors Who Write Around WWII
Sarah Sundin For example The Sky Above Us: The drama, action, character development, and a little bit of mystery made this a book I couldn’t put down.
I relate well with Violet. An upstanding citizen, raised in the church, desire to help… I’m sure I have an equally skewed perception. While I don’t see any one group as less in need of encouragement and help than any other, I AM less willing to help some than others. And I’m good at justification (my safety, don’t know how, other responsibilities…) ouch!
The adventures are fun, and heartbreaking and encouraging. Adler grows up a lot in a short time. I was impressed by the reminders of 1. being willing to let God change your mind, and 2. That you’re a missionary wherever you are. It doesn’t have yo to be a foreign country or an inner-city.
*I received an advance copy of the book from @NetGalley, and while I am grateful, that does not influence my review. All thoughts are my own.
This trilogy of historical Christian romance novels covers a lot of ground, between the 3 military buddies and their adventures, and the girls (and their friends) left behind. There’s beautiful romance, and plenty of action, but a ton of character building that stays with you for years.
Do You Read Christian Romance Novels?
Christian Romance novels, to me, are like so many other things. Not necessarily good or bad, it’s all in how you use them.
What about you? Do you read Christian romance books, or do you avoid it? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. I know we all have our opinions, and as long as you keep kindness in mind, we’d love to hear from you!
Until Next Time, Love God, Love Books, Shine The Light!!