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Book Reviews: Thy Will Be Done

Thy Will Be Done: A Biography of George W. Truett by Keith E. Durso (Mercer University Press and the Baptist History & Heritage Society)


Powhatan W. James wrote a biography of his famous father-in-law, George W. Truett, published in 1939. For 70 years, it served as the only comprehensive biography of the Texas Baptist statesman. But Keith Durso has corrected that serious omission, providing a fresh look at Truett for the 21st century.

The author provides a comprehensive look at the many facets of Truett—the young fundraiser who successfully retired Baylor University’s debt; the committed pastor who led First Baptist Church in Dallas 47 years; the community leader who helped found the institution that became Baylor Health Care System; the denominational statesman who served as president of both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist World Alliance; the warm-hearted evangelist who spent six months preaching to Allied forces in Europe during World War I; and the unwavering champion of religious liberty who preached his most famous sermon from the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

One of the great strengths of Durso’s book is his use of primary sources— particularly recordings of Truett’s sermons from a variety of settings. For generations who have known only the expurgated and over-edited sermons by Truett that his son-in-law published in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it’s refreshing to read passages that more clearly capture the majestic cadences of the master preacher.

Ken Camp,

managing editor

Baptist Standard

 

Outside the Lines by C. C. Risenhoover (Brazos Currents Worldwide)


If you like a little history, a little drama, a little baseball, a little humor, all tied up in a novel, you will be captivated by Outside the Lines by C. C. Risenhoover. This was previously released as White Heat in 1992.

Risenhoover has a gift of fleshing out the characters just enough to make you want a bit more. His dialogue is crisp and colorful, and the plot keeps you looking for more.

A young high school junior athlete with a gift of pitching as well as a gifted quarterback finds himself as the only white member of an all-Negro semi-pro baseball team on tour for the summer. He becomes a part of the tension of segregation, tugs between football and baseball, feeling what it is like to not have enough to eat or a place to sleep, and deals with the desire to win the end of summer tournament for his friend and owner of the team. You will laugh, cry and experience many other emotions as you read this well-written book.

The author has mingled in the working of God in the characters throughout the novel. He closes out in the epilogue tracing in a nutshell how the effects of the summer of 1950 lived out in those who came to life in Outside the Lines.

You will enjoy this novel and have a hard time putting it down.

Leo Smith,

executive director

Texas Baptist Men

 

The Bridegrooms: A Novel by Allison Pittman (Multnomah) and

Two Brides Too Many: A Novel by Mona Hodgson (WaterBrook Press)



Christian romances occupied my outbound and inbound flights on a recent trip. Both novels occur in late 19th-century America. Both feature families of four daughters and a single father. And both are fast, feel-good reads that provide insight into women’s (and men’s) lives of the era—The Bridegrooms into early professional baseball and emerging community orchestras and Two Brides Too Many into the challenges of frontier Colorado.

In The Bridegrooms, Vada plays her first “public” performance and dreams of becoming a violinist. That evening, her mother scandalously vanishes leaving the 8-year-old to help care for her three sisters. Dr. Allenhouse hires a housekeeper, loses himself in medicine and never talks about his wife again.

Seventeen years later, all four girls live at home. As a woman, Vada can’t play in Cleveland’s orchestra, so she runs errands and dates a sensible beau.

Hazel secretly places an advertisement in Wyoming as a “mail order” bride so she can vote. Althea writes poetry but hasn’t spoken since her mother disappeared. High school senior Lisette attracts boys like flies.

When the Brooklyn Bridegrooms travel to play the local Cleveland Spiders, a line drive shatters an unidentified spectator’s life and the family’s quiet. As the man languishes in a coma in Vada’s conscripted bedroom, baseball players, reporters, and potential “mail order” grooms appear.

Will their prayers be answered and each woman find love? Will Vada choose life with the predictable Garrison or someone else? Texas author Allison Pittman keeps the reader guessing until the very last moment.

In Two Brides Too Many, Kat Sinclair dreams of becoming a writer. She and her sisters Nell, Ida, and Vivian live with their widowed father in a Portland, Maine, company house.

A difficult choice shatters their world when Mr. Sinclair faces losing his job or transferring to Paris without family living quarters.

The railroad man arranges for his oldest and youngest to stay with their aunt, while Ida completes her secretarial course, and Vivian finishes high school. He instructs Kat and Nell to place ads in the Cripple Creek Prospector. Kat feels sick but obeys. The two select their grooms and board a Colorado-bound train.

But when they arrive, no one meets them. Kat discovers her intended didn’t write his own letters and is less than upstanding.

Nell chooses well, but her young miner has disappeared.

Fire spreads through the town. Kat manages to save a little girl but not her “working” mother. An unanticipated child, an unlikely protector, an un-kind doctor and an unscrupulous gambler make for unforgettable experiences. But the unexpected happens, and Kat understands, “Even Cinderella would be jealous.”

Kathy Robinson Hillman,

former president

Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas

Waco

 

 

       
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