Yesterday, I spent the day sick in bed, but not so sick that I couldn’t read – not a bad combination for those of us who need forced R&R from time to time. As I scanned my bookshelves for some old friend, I picked out “Windows on the Sea and Other Stories” by Linda Sillitoe. (It’s out of print now, but used copies sell for as little as 67 cents on amazon.com.) Many of these stories were first published in Sunstone or Dialogue, and each protagonist is an LDS women whose faith directly or subtly moves the plot forward. For example:
- A woman joins a “dream group” and contemplates this support network while her high councilman husband is away for the evening at a church trial.
- A homemaker suffers terrible burns, and while in a rehab center, she develops a beautifully awkward friendship with a young woman who has shut out the rest of the world.
- Gina finds herself hurt and angry when her husband’s good-natured antics seem to keep him from climbing the church leadership ladder.
- Two college friends reunite for a lunch and almost have the confidence to reveal the unexpected twists and turns of their once seemingly perfect lives and marriages.
It’s a beautiful little collection that gets me thinking about my experiences as an LDS woman. As Eugene England wrote in his review, “Her stories make me angry about what is happening to me as a Mormon human being – and also sheepish, exalted, perplexed, excited, joyful, and amazed.” It also gets me thinking about the genre in general. Frankly, some of the offerings on the shelves of Deseret Book frighten me (see here and here and here – and there’s been a surge of books playing on “last day” fears – oh, and who knew there was such a market for LDS romances! — and I may have to read this one just because of the title! ) However, Orson Scott Card has had some success framing essentially Mormon-themed fiction for national audiences, and I know many people who love The Work and the Glory series.
So here are my questions: Do you read Mormon Fiction? If so, what books would you recommend? Help me find the hidden gems . . .