Top critical review
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Harlequin Romance meets Christian Fiction
on May 17, 2010
I want to start off by saying, I enjoyed this book. Despite the criticisms I am going to list, I really did enjoy the book. I won't leave you with a summary, as you can find that at the top of this page and with other reviewers. I was most captivated by the story of Tai and King her cheating husband. While I can't fully relate (as my husband has remained faithful) her struggles between divorce and marriage were real. I loved their relationship, as I believe it's the most fully plausible in the book, and it kept me coming back.
The book from the stance of women in the ministry, first lady's especially, was well written. The author also included an outline for a women's conference that I believe would be absolutely AWESOME, if it was local.
I would not list this book as Christian fiction. Yes, there are scriptures - yes, the characters talk to God - yes, they are all families in ministry trying to walk according to the Word, and yes, they are praying... however the language I can move past - plus another reviewer has already addressed it very well - though it has no place (in my opinion in Christian novels). I understand her urge to make the characters realistic, in that in certain situations, even pastors can drop a word or two... I get that, absolutely, I'm just not so sure we need to read about it! I could have picked up a Linda Howard novel for that. What I can't move past are the sex scenes! They are not as explicit as a Harlequin romance novel, but what's missing isn't a whole lot. I don't mean to pick on Harlequin, but I used to be an avid reader of their books, so it's what I can relate this to.
The adulterous sex scene - way too much! There is one thing to glaze over the fact that a husband and wife are enjoying their sex life, but I felt dirty reading about one husband enjoyed almost explicit sex with his mistress.
As a woman who recently loved and enjoyed Harlequin romance novels, and trying to overcome issues with sexual purity (i.e.: explicit romance novels), this book can send you back where you started. If you're overcoming an addiction to porn, this book can send you back to the internet or video store, or wherever. If you're overcoming issues with lust... prepare to not find a soul in this book who is not lusting after someone, minus (maybe) Derreck. The men and women in this novel struggle with remaining celebrate during their singleness, their struggles are real!
Last thing, there was absolutely no accountability or repercussions for King, the cheating husband. As a minister, especially one whose affairs were no secret, he should have had to deal with (realistically) a backlash from the church. He should have been kicked out, he should have had to issue a public apology... something! He seemed to have some level of accountability with Derreck, though not true accountability, and no one held him accountable (except for his wife, but only in the context of their relationship).
Like I said, I liked the book. I would simply list it as mainstream fiction, as Christians should hold ourselves to a bit higher standard when it comes to what our eyes read. A new Christian may not see some of the flaws, and see this as OK. It's not. The marriage struggles are real, many of the relationships are realistic, and however, it was overboard in the sex, sin, and language areas.
I told my husband, that I think Sex in the Sanctuary is written by a women who used to write Harlequin romance novels, and then got saved. It's a cross over between the two - too much of a crossover for Christian fiction.