On Faith In Love

Today’s post from author Sarah Healy | @SarahEHealy

Sarah Healy

I’m fairly certain that my book confuses people. What is this? I imagine them thinking as they pick it up, running their fingers over the cover. What is this strange book with a question mark in the title? They might assume that it’s faith fiction, then read a few pages and realize that it’s not—not in any conventional sense at least. It’s funny and irreverent, does that mean it’s a satire? Perhaps it’s women’s fiction, since it deals with relationships and family.

In the simplest terms, CAN I GET AN AMEN? is a story about love— the limitations we put on it, the mistakes we make despite it.   The heroine, Ellen Carlisle, loses her job and her husband, and has to move back home with her evangelical Christian parents, though she doesn’t share their brand of faith. Oh, you might think, it’s another book about hokey, misguided religious-types who shove their faith down everyone’s throats. It’s not that either. Not in the end.

Let me first be candid and tell you that I, like Ellen, grew up in a very religious household. And I, like Ellen, do not currently practice any form of organized religion. However, this book was not written to deride or promote Christianity, but to present it, honestly and fairly, and in a way I haven’t often seen it done before.

Mainstream fiction tends to represent faith as a flaw or a weakness. In Christian fiction, it seems to always be the beacon by which the right and just path is lit. I don’t think that either characterization is necessarily accurate. Faith—how and if and why we have it—is an expression of our humanity. And it’s the humanity of Ellen and her family that I wanted to convey. Through the course of the narrative, they hurt each other and they make mistakes and they fall down and get back up, and ultimately, they love each other.

So what is this book? How do I categorize it? To be honest, I don’t really know. But the more I hear from readers, the less that concerns me. Enough of you have told me that you saw your mother or your sister or yourself in it. Enough of you have said that even though you grew up a Catholic or an Atheist or a Jew, you related to it. Enough of you have told me that you love it. And it’s in love that I have faith.

We’re giving away two copies of Sarah’s novel CAN I GET AN AMEN? (US and Canada residents only) Just leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win.

When the last thing you want is the one thing you need, you’ve got to have a little faith….

Growing up, Ellen Carlisle was a Christian: She went to Jesus camp, downed stale Nilla Wafers at Sunday school, and never, ever played with Ouija boards. Now, years later, when infertility prevents her from giving her ambitious attorney husband a family, she finds herself on the brink of divorce, unemployed, and living with her right-wing, born-again Christian parents in her suburban New Jersey hometown.  There the schools are private, the past is public, and blessings come in lump sums.
Then Ellen meets a man to whom she believes she can open her heart, and she begins to think that maybe it’s true that everything happens for a reason—until all that was going well starts going very badly and Ellen is  finally forced to dig deep to find her own brand of faith.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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22 Responses to On Faith In Love

  1. Melanie Stevens July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I would love a copy of this book. I am intrigued by the concept.

  2. Wendy Paine Miller July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Highly interested in this read!

  3. Robin July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Looks like a good book.

  4. Linda F. July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Would love to win a copy of this book! I have a feeling I would devour this book in a few big gulps:)

  5. Marianne Barkman July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    i would love to read this novel…it sounds differen, yet great, Thank you for sharing, Sarah and the chance to win your novel

  6. Wanda July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Thank you for sharing and for the opportunity to win a copy of your book!

  7. Paula Dolin July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I’d love to win – sounds like a great read!

  8. SUSAN G. July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Hmmm… I’d like to read this book for myself to see just where you are going with it all… :) Everyone does need to find their own faith…
    Thanks for giving us an opportunity to read your book.
    Susan G.

  9. Cindy July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    The little blurb left me hanging…..sounds like a good read!!!

  10. Christa Allan July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I’d buy this on the basis of the cover alone!

  11. Kathy July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    You caught me at “Amen” on the title. Sometimes we need to get a jolt of reality in order to re-examine our beliefs and how it impacts our life. This main character sounds fascinating and her conflict sounds very frustating. I’d love to read this book!

  12. Linda A. July 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  13. Shannon Morris July 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds great. Sounds somewhat similar to “Mennonite in a Black Dress” where a former Mennonite moves home with her family as an adult, only it’s nonfiction.

  14. rhonda July 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    really interested in reading this book.

  15. Joni July 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you for giving your intro to the story “Can I Get an Amen?” The story already intrigues me!

  16. Kati W. July 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sure, you can. Amen! LOL

    Seriously, the book sounds thought provoking and intriguing. I’d love to win a copy!

  17. Lauren July 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Looks like a great book!

  18. Becky July 26, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Intriguing- sounds like a good dose of the bare bones, honest, realistic struggles in life!

  19. karenk July 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    thanks for the chance to read this story :)

  20. Susan July 29, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This book sounds fascinating! Thanks for the chance to win!!

  21. Janet Estridge July 30, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to be able to win 2 copies of the books, “Can I get an Amen”.
    Thank You for the opportunity to do so.

  22. Beth@sportsmomma July 30, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Wow, this sounds like an awesome book.

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