Book Review: City of Angels by Tracie Peterson and James Scott Bell (Four Stars)

Book Review: City of Angels by Tracie Peterson and James Scott Bell

Four Stars out of Five.

“It is hard to fail but worse to have never tried to succeed.” Theodore Roosevelt, quoted in the text.

Well-researched and well-told historical fiction. Written in two genres about which I have low expectations—women’s fiction and Christian fiction—this book stands on its own two feet and demands attention as simply a good story.

Before you deluge me with hate mail, I hasten to add that I don’t pretend to expertise on either of those genres. I have read a lot of both, but most offerings haven’t struck a responsive chord with me. In the case of the former perhaps because I’m a man. On the other hand I am a Christian, but my experience with modern Christian fiction is that it tends to be simplistic and saccharin. Simplistic in that Christian fiction often presents an idealized view of the world which doesn’t correspond to the world we live in. (Christian science fiction?) And, like saccharin, much Christian fiction is sweet but without food value. Few get saved the way folks do in Christian fiction, and fewer will get saved by reading it.

Having read parts or all of other Peterson works, I conclude that the presence of James Scott Bell accounts for the difference. The writing is much more complex, though where this story is going is obvious by the end of Chapter Two. The characters have depth. And the setting is well-developed enough that the reader had little trouble losing his- or herself in turn of the century Los Angeles.

Satisfying as few of this genre have satisfied me.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: City of Angels by Tracie Peterson and James Scott Bell (Four Stars)

  1. Good review. Yep, Christian fiction seems strange to me. As you say, not in the real world. Just read article in New Yorker about a young woman in the family that runs the Westboro Church. Fascinating how she began changing and questioning, later moving away from hate. The profile gets to the heart of what it means to live a compassionate Christian life.

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