COWBOY by Staci Stallings

It’s the eternal struggle I fight all the time. I’m always looking for a good Christian romance. Problem is, Christian romance novels really, really suck–especially contemporary ones. Apparently, the only right way for Christian women to live is by the Duggars’ standards, which, in the real world, isn’t really easy. I’ve read thousands of Christian fiction novels, and I feel horribly depressed after every one. I can’t relate to the heroines in these novels. If they struggle with their faith, it’s a shallow struggle. There’s no real fight in it. If they fall in love, it’s this perfect, prim, enough-space-for-Jesus-between-us relationship where the couples spend more time praying and dodging one another than actually getting to know each other. This image pretty much sums up 80% of Christian romance novels that I’ve read.

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So, on to this book. The writing is great. Characters are good–for the first 3/4 of the novel. Then they get frickin’ STUPID. Too stupid to live. It’s no wonder Beth is a minimum wage waitress with $5 in her checking account.

I’m a Christian. I believe in prayer, and I believe in leaving things in God’s hands. Thing is, there comes a point when you have to stop waiting for a loud-n-clear answer or some miraculous sign, and move on faith. These characters sat and waited. And waited. And then when the story was just droning onnnn and onnn, the author decided to give them a little bump towards one another.

The story dragged. And draaaaagggedd. And the characters got all misty-eyed and cried. A lot. They cried a LOT. There were several sections of the book where everybody was fighting tears a couple times a page. ERMAGERD, somebody, please, put these two people out of their misery.

I’m a single mom. Trust me, if someone offered me a way to support my children without ever having to worry about providing for them, with the caveat that, oh, darn, I might have to hire WORLD CLASS TUTORS to teach them because we’d be traveling, I’d jump on that. I wouldn’t sacrifice my children’s potential to be happy, comfortable, and have everything they need because I questioned how’d they gain social skills. Would a real, struggling, lonely single mother waitress SERIOUSLY pass that chance up?

No. Not on your life.

Beth’s wishy-washiness made me want to throw the book across the room. Since I read it on a phone, probably wouldn’t be the best course of action, so I wisely closed Kindle and took a few breaths. Also, I understand not being able to instantly identify a major recording artist in a genre you don’t listen to, but when someone is as popular as this dude was supposed to be, you’d have to be an idiot not to see him on a magazine cover, or on TV, or somewhere, and realize OMG THAT”S THE DUDE I GAVE MY NUMBER TO.

Like I said before, I’m a Christian. I understand Christian dating vs. secular dating is very different. During the course of the entire first half + of the book, they talked on the phone about Beth praying for him. Encouraging him in Christ. There was NO basis for him to fall in love with her in a healthy context. She was a rescuer. It was similar to a chick crushing on the fireman who dragged her out of a burning building. God didn’t make him feel better, Beth did. When their relationship ends, he’s going to spiral right back down again until the next rescuer comes along. We as readers got to know him, but BETH didn’t.

This book reminds me why I can’t read Christian romances. Just so fluffy and floofy and full of way too unrealistic warm-n-fuzzies. I want a real relationship in my Christian fiction, one where modern-minded people have to actually battle desires of the flesh, wanting to do what ‘normal couples’ do, and struggle not to compromise their faith. As a single woman of faith, it’s what I can relate to, and it’s what I want to read about. Not smushy-gushy, overly-sentimental stories about characters that would, in reality, be considered to be the most boring people in the world.

I’m guess I’m going to have to write those books…So keep an eye out for my upcoming inspirational NA romance series, Seeking Something. The first book is called “Something Beautiful.” Should be out in June 🙂


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