Jaded: Review + exclusive Giveaway!

July 13, 2015 Baltimore, MD, USA

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In two pages, debut author Varina Denman tells an entire story in what she labels the "prologue."

I dare you to read just those two pages without someone popping into your head. Maybe it's an old friend. Maybe it's you. Even though Denman's novel Jaded is the story of Ruthie, the prologue makes it clear that this story isn't just hers: this is the story of a Christian who once believed only to leave the faith and become embittered at the hand of other Christians. This is a story that happens all too often, and for many who share this story, theirs will begin and end in those two pages.

By the Grace of God, this story continues beyond the prologue.

Varina Denman Mended Hearts

Yes, this story, Ruthie's story is fiction. But we all know better. In Jaded, Denman is encouraging us as believers to do better.

Ruthie and her mother are shunned by their church when Ruthie is only seven. They continue life in their small Texas town embittered at the Christians they once thought were friends...and any other believers they may encounter. Thirteen years later, all attitudes are confronted when Dodd, a new pastor comes to town...and takes notice of Ruthie.

Jaded is as entertaining as it is convicting. I found myself smirking at the obviously Texan details (Blue Bell ice cream, homecoming mums, and plenty of shout outs to Dr Pepper) and internally sighing at all the unfortunate truths of "Christian" actions that are anything but.

In terms of Christian fiction, I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the best piece I've read in years. I enjoy the genre, but it does have a tendency to be cliche and/or predictable. The slower pace of the story was appropriate, and the characters believable. The issues presented are real issues that many Christians need to confront but media rarely acknowledges. I respect Denman immensely for tacking the harder truths in her story:

"I do believe in God...But the church is messing with Him. 
I'm surprised he puts up with it, really."  –Ruthie

"...We simply think our young man ought to spend more time with those inside the church
than those outside."  –an elder to Dodd

Jaded sends me back to my own story. It fills me with gratefulness that my story didn't end in the prologue despite the hurts from my first church. But, it also breaks my heart when I think of friends with stories similar to mine. I looked up to one in particular, one who I never thought would leave the church. She's still my friend, but the girl I first met is no longer recognizable. While her story isn't over—God can always redeem—there's a sense of worry and mourning, never knowing who may or may not lose or leave the faith due to the (often well-intended) actions of another Christian.

My story hasn't ended, my friend's story hasn't ended, and Ruthie's hasn't either—Jaded is book one in the appropriately titled "Mended Hearts" series. Book two, Justified, is on shelves as well, and I can't wait to sit down with a copy!

Want to read Jaded? Enter below for a chance to win a copy, courtesy of the Blythe Daniel Agency!

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  1. I've honestly only read a couple of books in Christian Fiction when I was in middle/high school. I don't pick up this genre often, but the titles I pick up are enlightening and are enjoyable.

  2. Yes, I do read Christian fiction. My favorite author is Francine Rivers, author of "Redeeming Love."

    1. Oh, Tammy, isn't Redeeming Love the best book ever ever? Francine Rivers is one of my favorites too.

  3. I enjoy reading Christian fiction but I mostly read Christian books to my children.

  4. Bekah, thank you so much for everything you've done to spread the word about Jaded. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I'm honored. :)

  5. I received the copy of the book today. Thanks for hosting!


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