Seeking: a good redemption story. {literary matchmaking}

Seeking: a good redemption story. {literary matchmaking}

Seeking: a good redemption story {literary matchmaking} | Modern Mrs Darcy

The details on this ongoing project, and the factors I’m taking to heart.

Readers told me 3 books they loved, 1 book they hated, and what they’re reading right now. In turn, I’m choosing 1 mainstream pick, 1 eccentric pick, and 1 YA/memoir/nonfiction pick for each reader. (Or more, if I can’t help myself.)

seeking a good redemption story {literary matchmaking} | Modern Mrs DarcyThis week we’re choosing books for Ronna, whose books are:

Love: The Book Thief, Their Eyes Were Watching God, One Thousand Gifts
Never liked: The Awakening, Of Mice and Men
Right now: Anna Karenina

Ronna isn’t afraid to engage with hard topics: the three books she loves aren’t exactly all rainbows and unicorns. But she doesn’t want to read anything overly dark or depressing, which is why Of Mice and Men ended up on her “never liked” list, even though Steinbeck is often suggested as a read-alike author to Hurston.

For Ronna, I was looking for books of substance that didn’t shy away from difficult topics, but carried strong themes of redemption.

In search of a good redemption story {literary matchmaking} | Modern Mrs Darcy

My picks: 

Classic: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
YA: Code Name Verity or Number the Stars
Historical fiction/memoir-ish: These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine

 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is on everyone’s mind after Maya Angelou passed away this year, and it’s a strong match for Ronna’s favorites. (Host Ann Kingman was just raving about the audio version on a recent Books on the Nightstand podcast.) Angelou’s autobiography contains some very difficult scenes, but it’s ultimately an uplifting and inspiring book.

Ronna’s love of The Book Thief makes me think she’ll enjoy the WWII novels Code Name Verity or Number the Stars. Both grapple with the serious issues of wartime yet remain hopeful.

These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine is best-book-of-my-life material for many readers, and matches the tone of Hurston’s and Voskamp’s book—although it’s written in its own unique style. I haven’t heard the audiobook for this one myself but I’ve heard it’s fantastic.

It’s worth pointing out that Their Eyes Were Watching God is $1.99 for Kindle right now.

Those are my picks for Ronna. What do YOU recommend she read next? 

View all the literary matchmaking posts here.

P.S. The ebook for The Time in Between, a gripping novel from this year’s summer reading guide, is on sale for $1.99 right now. Head here to purchase, and here for more page-turners that you can’t put down.

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31 comments | Comment


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    • melyssa says:

      I was only scrolling down to leave my recommendation for this! Nice work, Andrea! One step ahead of me. Peace Like A River is a book I recommend to everyone: one of my top ten favorite books of all time.

    • Laura says:

      It’s been said, but Peace Like a River is one of my favorite books because of the beautiful writing, intriguing characters, and yes, redemptive storyline. He also wrote So Brave, Young, and Handsome, which I am reading currently. I would follow him anywhere.

  1. Martha says:

    I haven’t read it since high school, but at the time I thought Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton was a great redemption story. And beautifully written, of course.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I just read Cry, The Beloved Country with my Sunday School book club this winter and loved it! Redemption is a powerful theme in this book, and I recommend it to everyone. We had some moving discussions about the book as a group.

  2. Caroline says:

    Jane Eyre is hands-down the best redemption story (redemption for a lot of characters) I have ever read besides, of course, the Bible.

  3. Becca says:

    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is one of my all-time favorites. Historical Non-fiction (that reads like fiction) about an olympic-runner turned WWII POW who went through unspeakable horrors and comes out the other side. I couldn’t put it down!

  4. Cindy says:

    I love Kristen Heitzmann books. She has 3 series that are great redemption stories. The Diamond of the Rocky series is Historical Fiction They include, The Rose Legacy, Sweet Boundless, The Tender Vine. The series picks up 2 generations later with Secrets, Unforgiven and Echos which are written in present time. The other series is A Rush of Wings, The Still of the Night, The Breath of Dawn. This series is in today. I recommend all these books highly.

  5. Ronna says:

    This post is right on! Thank you Anne. I’ve been wanting to read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” I’ve heard good things about “Code Name Verity,” and I’ve never heard of the last one, but I’m excited to add it to me to-read list. Also, I have read and love “Number the Stars,” so I don’t doubt that your other recommendations will be loved as well.

      • Terri Picone says:

        I love Home and actually liked it better than Gilead by a lot, perhaps because the point of view character in Home was more relatable for me. The style was different and (if I remember right) the backstory was fuller. Also love Lila, but Home is my favorite of the three.

  6. Molly says:

    I’d also suggest C.S. Lewis’s classic “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” as a redemption story. “The Devil’s Arithmetic” is another great WWII/Holocaust story with a kind of redemption at the end of it.

  7. Jenny says:

    ooh, Ronna sounds a lot like me. Warning Anna Karenina was a tough read for me, made me so sad. I just finished “The Book Thief” ,and “One Thousand Gifts” is my all time favorite, I keep it on my nightstand to read whenever. I haven’t read “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and I love Maya Angelou’s poems but haven’t read her book. I recommend “Israel, My Beloved” by Kay Arthur. That story has stayed with me a long time, it’s amazing.

    • Gretchen says:

      Completely agree about Israel, My Beloved. I read it nearly 15 (?) years ago and i still think of it often. I’ve been thinking about reading it again soon which is something I rarely do. Good recommendation!

  8. Denise says:

    Three Books I Love: The Mitford Series by Jan Karon; What Makes Love Last by John Gottman; Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr

    Book I Hate: Leaving by Karen Kingsbury

    Last Read: Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Three Books I Love: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; Dakota by Kathleen Norris

    Book I Hated: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

    Last Book I Read: The Warden by Anthony Trollope and Surviving the Island of Grace by Leslie Leyland Fields

    Should I post this on the original Literary Matchmaking page instead? I just got so excited I didn’t want to wait. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      I’ll save this for later but I’m not taking suggestions until I can figure out a sustainable way to do it, otherwise I’ll be making matches full time into 2019 or so! (If you’ve got ideas for a good way to do it I’m ALL EARS. 🙂 )

  10. Terri Picone says:

    Another of my all-time favorite books is The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. It’s a complicated book with other themes (identity, communism, class, sacrifice) than redemption, but I appreciate the redemption thread in this story.

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