Monday, February 15, 2016

SWEPT TO SEA and My Problem with Christian Romance

WARNING: This post contains potential triggers—if you have trouble with discussing rape, I would advise you not to read further. Also, this post contains a couple mild SWEPT TO SEA spoilers. 

Rating: One star—Ick

Last month Opal @ Opal Swirls wrote an insightful post on why she doesn’t like Christian fiction, and it echoed a lot of my opinions on the subject. But since I am a very opinionated person, and since I want to discuss my issues with SWEPT TO SEA, I’ve decided to share my own thoughts on Christian Romance. You’re welcome. (Also, I would like to thank my sister for aiding and abetting in writing this post.) 

Just as a disclaimer before I begin, I in no way intend to imply that all Christian Romance is garbage or that you’re doing something wrong by reading that genre. Even with all my negative experiences, I have still encountered a few authors whose books are well-written, well-balanced, and worthwhile. But I have read enough problematic Christian Romance novels for me to distrust the genre as a whole. 

It demeans women. Of all the genres I’ve read, Christian Romance is the worst in this category. Sometimes it’s not obvious—sometimes it is. Often the women follow the same poorly developed character pattern. They are weak and helpless without the men in their lives. They are easily teased/offended; they are judgmental, narrow-minded, and prone to foolish bouts of passion. (For instance, in SWEPT TO SEA, Eden often acts like a child and starts beating Caspian’s chest when he says the slightest thing to annoy her.) They are prone to tears—and I’m not talking about deep, emotional tears, which I have no problem with—I’m talking about temper-tantrum tears. These women tend to be rather low on the intelligence and maturity scale. And in the end, despite whatever levels of character development they do have, for the purpose of the story, they exist only for their men to romance them. Were it not for the romance, their stories would not be worth telling. 

Women get treated like sex objects. This bothers me a great deal more than the last one, and I have read too many books where this was the case—including SWEPT TO SEA. Your typical Christian Romance heroine is going to be extremely good-looking, and the author is going to remind you of this fact quite often throughout the story, even when it isn’t essential or even relevant to the plot. The hero of the story is going to notice, rather frequently, how attractive this woman is—her buxom chest, her curvy hips, her soft lips. Just watch for it. Here's the thing, though. If the hero is noticing the attractiveness of the heroine’s lips, he’s going to be thinking about kissing her—that’s just how a guy’s mind works. Okay, you say, so what? Well, let’s take that a step further, shall we? If the hero is noticing her curvy chest and her curvy hips, what do you think he’s thinking about now? Hmm? 

The types of men described in Christian Romances aren’t the cold, feelingless types who admire women as works of art but never cross that line in their mind. So if we’re going to be perfectly honest with ourselves, the hero in our Christian Romance is spending a good deal of his time lusting after the heroine. That’s not okay. Since these books are supposed to be Christian stories, you’d expect them to be reasonably clean. But I would think twice before giving this sort of book to my (non-existent) teenage girls, considering that it would be teaching them, in subtle terms, that it’s okay or even desirable for a guy to lust after them. 

The Sexual Tension. First, let me just say, there’s nothing wrong with two people having chemistry. But I have a very serious problem with some of the ways Christian authors introduce sexual tension. Let’s start with the big one first—the rape trope. As in SWEPT TO SEA, our lovely, helpless heroine gets attacked by some sort of ruffian with the express intention of deflowering her (bonus points if this happens more than once in the novel), and it is the hero’s duty to save her. Of course, there’s nothing objectively wrong with this sort of set-up, if it’s handled correctly. But it so rarely is. 

For one thing, it always makes me feel icky because it seems like a channel for the sexual tension that the author wants to create. She (or he) can’t write an explicitly inappropriate scene, like a love scene between the hero and heroine, because that would be scandalous—so she (or he) writes an attempted rape scene instead because, hey, rape isn’t inappropriate like that. But rape is still sex, and you’re still thinking about sex when you’re reading about it. And these attempted-rape scenes are often written in a way that seems designed to arouse the reader—instead of, you know, a way that would communicate the full horror of that experience. Which means the rape scene gets used to create the same level of sexual tension in the story as a sex scene would—and that’s disgusting. 

That’s not all, though. When the hero has saved the lovely damsel in distress, who has often been reduced to a rather scantily-clothed state, this often serves as a channel for further emotional intimacy between him and his darling. Except, excuse me, but that’s not how that works. When a women has just barely escaped something as violating and violent as rape, she isn’t going to recover that quickly because even though she was saved (hurrah!) she still has to deal with the feelings of helplessness and despair that come with realizing that she is powerless to stop someone from raping her. She is still going to feel violated and dirty. She will need comfort yes, but she will not want physical comfort. So using this trope as a way for the hero and heroine to come to a deeper romantic understanding, with kissing and cuddling involved, is completely inappropriate and insensitive. I’m going to say it again because I really want to make sure I get my point across: Rape is serious; rape is not just a plot point; if you use rape as just a plot point, I will stab you with a spork. 

Another trope that gets used is the “rescuing the heroine from drowning” trope, which also makes me feel sufficiently icky. So our heroine, who is incompetent at most things—including swimming (surprise surprise!)—ends up in the water, drowning. How unfortunate. And this means our hero must showcase his brilliant swimming abilities and his strength. But, lo and behold, Little Miss is just a bit too heavy with that billowy dress she’s wearing, and our dashing hero has to cut most of it off her to keep her from dying. 

Now, I get that this is a reasonably sound rescue tactic—I’m not arguing that point. My problem is with the motivation that seems to be behind this. It’s not appropriate, for a Christian novel, to have our hero undress the heroine under normal circumstances (gasp!), so instead we find a way for the hero to undress the heroine where it isn’t considered inappropriate. Except that it is, because invariably, the hero is going to narrate all the lovely details about her body as he saves her, like her curviness, her softness, etc. Gag me. My problem with this is that, if you want to introduce sexual tension to a story, then just be honest about it and do it. But don’t do it in underhanded ways because it’s still the same thing and it still has the same effect. And if you feel the need to be underhanded about it, what does that say about you? *points finger accusingly*

Unfortunate Messages. In another book I read, from a well-respected author, our heroine gets a horrible sunburn and, for comfort reasons, has to wear a tube top that makes her feel very immodest. The only point this scene has for the story is that now the hero gets to see more of her than she would ordinarily show. Consequently, he gets the chance to realize how sexy *cough cough* I mean, desirable she is. It doesn’t serve to further develop her character, or anyone else’s. It literally only happens to create more sexual tension. And, like the rape trope and the drowning trope, it also communicates the unfortunate idea that women aren’t attractive as potential partners unless they are showing more skin than they ordinarily would. Forget having a wonderful personality or great strength of character. It’s more important that Mr. Right finds you lust-worthy. Listen honey, you shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable to get a guy—just saying. 

Poor Story-Telling. To have a good, sound story, your plot should read like a line of dominoes. When one domino falls, it knocks down another, which knocks down another, which knocks down another. It’s a chain reaction. Everything meshes together neatly, and it reflects the world more honestly—life is based on cause and effect, and every event has meaning. If you can remove a scene (like the above-mentioned tube top scene) without changing the outcome of the story, it means the writing is sloppy. This applies to the rape and drowning tropes as well—they are sloppy writing (in most cases) because they are usually used as short cuts for furthering emotional intimacy without having any more bearing on the plot. And if your romance hinges on a sketchy rescue or a show of skin, how strong is your romance really? 

A Matter of Conscience. Quite often, the male love interest is a rather roguish individual who isn’t hugely concerned with conventions and the distinction between right and wrong. Consequently, this leads to situations where the heroine compromises her own morals. (He clasped her in his arms. She knew she shouldn’t let him take such liberties. It was inappropriate, and if anyone saw her now, they would be scandalized. They would think she was a loose woman, and her reputation would be ruined. But she couldn’t bring herself to pull away. Yada yada.) 

This gets painted as an attractive thing—it’s hot for the roguish hero to make out with the heroine, even though she considers making out wrong, etc. Except this totally ignores a huge side of the issue. I’m not saying I think kissing is inappropriate, but I am saying that, when you feel like you are going against your conscience, even when you are not doing something expressly inappropriate, you are still damaging your conscience. And if you go against your conscience too many times, it becomes hardened. Which means I have a problem with stories that portray going against your conscience as attractive. Your conscience is what keeps you in line—it’s what clues you in to the boundaries you should not cross. Once it’s damaged, it doesn’t necessarily recover. And I’m rather disappointed that a lot of Christian literature implies that a good love story involves sneakily damaging your conscience. 

Again, I’m not saying all Christian Romance falls into these traps. As with every genre, you are going to have your good eggs and your bad eggs. But I am saying that I have read far too many books like SWEPT TO SEA. Believe me, I could go on for another whole post about some of the other problems I have with Christian Romance (if you asked me to, I totally would—I might anyway). When it comes down to it, though, all of these issues are just symptoms of a deeper problem. Bottom line: As a Christian writer, if you can’t write romance without finding devious ways to toe the line and compromise your professed morals, then there’s something wrong with your understanding of God’s plan for love and marriage. (Yup, I’ve decided—I’m going to write a sequel to this post.)

What about you, little coffee beans? Do you have any problems with Christian Romance? Do you agree/disagree with me? Can you give me some examples of good, clean Christian Romance? Also, if you would like to read an alternate viewpoint, I direct you to Tessa's lovely post in favor of Christian Fiction


  1. Ugh, this book made me want to toss it, too (unfortunately it was on my Kindle and I am not about to throw that piece of hardware at anything so I just had to put it in a folder of shame so I don't have to look at it anymore).

    I think I'll just comment on a few thoughts on your thoughts:

    *I feel like there's totally contradictions in the way female characters' so-called modesty is set up, beyond just undressing her after she's drowning—it's like, rather than giving her a skimpy outfit to show that she is a sex object, they make her cover up so that people know that they're only allowed to touch the sex object if there's skin, which there isn't

    *as a friend of someone who is still dealing with the trauma of rape, agreed; you can't act like it's a convenient plot device (and if you do, forget the spork, I am going for a knife)

    *I think it's totally okay for a person (or character) to themselves feel immodest in a tube top, but I feel like in Christian novels the author might imply that you should be ashamed to wear a tube top (or a tank top or something else that might make a guy lust after you, which would obviously be your fault)... I'm not saying all novels do this or the one you read did because I haven't read it, but that it would be very easy for an author to make girls feel like the clothes they wear incite rape, etc. and just enable the victim-blaming mindset


    Yup. That is all.

    But mostly, I agree with you. And this is a very good post.

    1. Same here--I would rather not throw my Kindle, despite the strong temptation. I facepalmed a lot instead, and sometimes I read passages out loud to my sister in a melodramatic voice. The folder of shame sounds nice. I should make one of those. *nods*

      I totally agree with that first point, and I wanted to spend more time on that issue, but didn't end up getting to it. I agree. It's basically communicating that, if she's showing skin, she should be treated like a sex object, and that she should feel like a sex object. It's teaching her to not value herself as a person, just something that men like to look at and use. Which really bothers me. It buys into the "blame the victim" ideology--like, she was underdressed, so she was dressing like a sex object, so it's really her fault that people treated her like she was a toy instead of a person. Like, no. Just no.

      I'm so sorry you're friend is dealing with that sort of trauma--I know how hard it is to have a friend go through that. (*nods* I was only saying spork so the police wouldn't haul me away for threatening people. :P)

      Exactly--again, I wish I had covered this a bit more, because I hope I wasn't communicating otherwise. I don't like the whole ideology that it's your fault if a guy lusts after you if you were dressed "immodestly". I mean, granted, there are definitely outfits that don't help. But men should be held accountable for their thoughts and their actions. And they should be made to learn self control just like the rest of us, so that it's never the victim's fault. That novel with the tube top scene wasn't specifically implying that, but even though it wasn't implying it on purpose, it was still subconsciously teaching the same lesson. Like, hey, if you show skin you're going to make guys think of sex. Which, I mean, I guess that happens. But guys can/and have to learn how control their thoughts. There is never any circumstance or any outfit that would allow a girl to be raped for justifiable reasons. Just no. That mindset lets too many predators off the hook. *nods*

      I DON'T KNOW BUT IT BOTHERS THE HECK OUT OF ME. I sometimes wonder if, because some Christians have such a Victorian mindset about sex (don't talk about it, don't think about it, it's evil and shameful to want it, etc.), people don't know what to do with their natural desire for sex, so it gets all muddled up in their heads, and suddenly getting raped becomes a way to have sex without doing something immoral. So it somehow becomes desirable. Which is all manner of gross and naive.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts--I always enjoy reading your feedback. *applauds* And thank you for commenting! :)

  2. I haven't read many Christian books, mostly because when I do I keep running into things like this. (In other words, I avoid Christian romance like Kryptonite.) I read "Her Mother's Hope" by Francine Rivers and it always felt like the men were running over the women and doing whatever they wanted. So, yeah no. (Also, I checked out the Goodreads and most people gave it 4 or 5 stars, which is sad, especially when compared to your review.)

    Your points just remind me why I avoid the genre. It's so sad because so much of being a Christian is about being honest and treating everyone with honour and respect, and far too often the author reduces the female character and therefore all females.

    Very good post.

    1. Same here, nowadays. I only recently started figuring out why a lot of Christian Fiction (Romance specifically) bothered me, but I know that I stopped reading it (for the most part), probably when I was around thirteen, because I just felt wrong about it. I think that's really interesting that you would mention Francine Rivers because I've been little on the fence about her. I know I've heard good things about some of her books, and I guess Atonement Child is supposed to deal with rape in a good way (I would actually be curious to read that to see if it would be something I could recommend), but I'm still unsure about the only book of hers that I've read personally. My memory wants to tell me that it was better, but I also think I remember some dodgy stuff, so I would want to reread it. But yeah, I'm not surprised to hear that about Her Mother's Hope--that sort of issue seems all too common in Christian Romance.

      It is really weird to see people give glowing praise to books that seem so messed up. I've seen glowing reviews of Swept to Sea, and I had to wonder, like, did I read the same book? Is the universe twisted and weird? I don't get it. And I don't want to judge people for liking that sort of thing, but I certainly don't share the same opinions with them. :P

      Yeah, it's so confusing. If we're Christians and we value those things, why aren't they more prevalent? Why does our literature treat females (and males) dishonestly? Why don't we hold ourselves to a higher moral and relational standard? *shakes Christian Romance industry by the shoulders*

      Thank you! And thank you for commenting! :)

  3. Very interesting points! While I personally do love Christian fiction (and thanks for sharing my post!), I can absolutely understand why books like this would put people off and discourage them from reading it. I haven't read this one myself, and now I really don't intend to. It just makes me sad that this kind of content is in Christian fiction, and that people think that it is okay.

    Thanks for sharing your viewpoints!

    1. Thank you! (You're welcome! I thought it would be only fair if I shared your voice in the matter. And you delivered your points very well. *nods*) The Christian Romance selection is going to be a mixed bag, and I'm glad that you haven't had as much bad luck sorting through it as I have. It is discouraging, because I would love to see more Christian fiction that actually reflected what our values ought to be, given our worldview--and I'm sad that it's a genre I don't feel comfortable spending much time dabbling in anymore. I guess it's all just a matter of whether the authors are practicing discernment or not--if they're really thinking about what they're writing and what it means, or if they're just writing their fantasies. In the end, just because they're writing "Christian" fiction doesn't mean they actually understand the worldview they ascribe to.

      You're welcome, and thank you for sharing yours! Thanks for commenting! :)

  4. Excellent post. I'm not one for romance stories (Christian or otherwise), so I can't really speak to that genre as a whole, just due to not reading much of it.

    In general, can we get some more books with females who are okay with being single/don't always get the guy? And not females who are "too tough" to "need" a guy, but who just don't find someone with whom they're compatible?

    Again, thanks for the post.

    1. Thank you! I'm not much for romance anymore, which is probably why I was extra harsh on this one. But I have this weird habit of forgetting how many problems I have with Christian Romance, so I'll pick up one every now and then and kick myself for it later on. :P

      YES. I second that motion. I love books with little to no romance. I don't like the idea that women are so often treated like they are of less value if they don't have a significant other. Like, no. I love female characters who are strong and feminine and independent, who are confident in their own completeness as a person and don't need to seek that fulfillment in someone else. *nods* We need more books like that, please and thank you. :P

      You're welcome, and thank you for commenting! :)

  5. *glares at Christian fiction* I'm very very lucky to be growing up in a Christian family that recognizes the stupid-ness of most Christian fiction books (sorry, but it's true). My mom has always directed me to books that *mean* something and have value and good quality, but aren't necessarily squeaky-clean and "Christian" all the time. So I haven't read much Christian fiction at all, or even realized what it was like until I was old enough to tell the difference between some of that trash and a book that's genuinely good. Since I'm homeschooled and in a lot of homeschooled Christian circles I get to see a lot of the attitude that a clean Christian book is vastly preferable to a secular book in any situation -- but the problem with that is that the focus is on the fact that the book is "clean" and very little else. People don't look at the treatment of women, or the message that is coming through, or even how some of these Christian fiction books are theologically iffy! I just. *growls* I don't think it's wrong to prefer or look for books that are clean content-wise. I just think it's stupid to dismiss a book for its content in favor of something that isn't even well-written or a decent story. God also calls us to create things that are well-done and beautiful; that honors him just as much, doesn't it?
    Anyway, I'm rambling a lot. Basically: I agree with you 100%. xD

    1. *glares with you* You are indeed lucky. *applauds your family* (And no need to apologize--I completely agree with you.) Your mother sounds like a very smart woman. My mom also started directing me to meaningful but not necessarily clean books when she started homeschooling me, and I'm so glad she did. So I haven't done much with Christian fiction over the past few years--I read a ton when I was a young person though, and I'm not sure it was the best thing for me. :P I've seen that focus too, and it's always both bothered and baffled me. I've seen a lot of theologically iffy stories as well--it seems that a lot of Christian fiction writers don't force themselves to think deeply. It's so easy for them to oversimplify. I don't think it's smart to get a steady diet of that sort of literature. People's minds don't stretch and grow if they don't expose themselves to influences that are simultaneously uncomfortable and deep. There's something to be said for reading stuff you with elements you don't necessarily applaud, just to broaden your mind and teach yourself about what other people are thinking, so you can at least relate to them a little better, instead of limiting yourself to a single circle of thought. I agree--it definitely honors God just as much. I think Christian writers focus so much on portraying the "perfect" that they forget we humans are fundamentally flawed. Pretending awful sin doesn't exist doesn't make it go away, and any Christin writer who tackles the hard stuff honestly, without judging and glossing and oversimplifying, has my respect. *nods*
      Aww, don't worry about rambling--rambling comments are fun. :P Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

  6. I don't actually read a lot of Christian fiction. I used to years ago, but the storylines tend to lag and it gets kind of preachy, plus the characters seem so highly unrealistic. I stopped reading it.

    Except I usually don't mind Christian mysteries or thrillers if you read the right authors. (I don't know if Steven James' work can actually fit into the Christian box although he is a Christian. I like Sibella Giorello too. I've been told I would like Dekker, but I have read him yet.)

    A year or two ago I did try to pick up some Christian romance it was just way too. . . soppy. I never finished any of the books I picked up. They were also, as you said, very lustful. I really don't understand why Christian romance says that all a woman's answers and fulfillment can be found in man. That's actually a very humanistic sort of ideal. Humankind in general is fallible. Only God can fulfill a person and constantly be there for a person. It upsets me that Christian romance of all genres doesn't teach that.

    I never thought about the rape scene as a way that transfers the reader's thoughts in that way. I don't know. Maybe I'm dense, but I usually don't think about things like that. Things like that tend to just escape my notice and go over my head (not always a good thing). But I see what you're saying.

    Gah! And I hate it when after a scene like the author makes the "rescuer" and the lady cuddle up and just AGH! That is so unrealistic. Rape is traumatizing. The last thing any female wants after an experience like that is physical contact with a male, not depending on who he is. Actually, I don't think she would want physical contact from anyone period (or I wouldn't anyways, because I would be so freaked out and enraged). Rape is not something to take lightly. It always makes me angry to think about it.

    I also cannot stand that a lot of women in these sorts of books get taken at face value. They're worth is summed up in their looks and that's what the book teaches indirectly. It drives me crazy. I agree with you. So much. Excellent post!

    1. Christian fiction does tend to get preachy (like, are you writing a sermon, or a novel?), and I've found that a lot of Christian authors don't seem to hold themselves to the same standard when it comes to actual writing, which is disappointed.

      Same here. I've wondered about how Steven James' work would get classified, but I definitely love reading that sort of stuff. He has my utmost respect. *nods* I've never read anything by Sibella Giorello, but Dekker is good. He reminds me a bit of Steven James. His work is very intense and deep, though less gritty than Steven James' books. I've yet to see a writer as daring and honest and dark and theologically sound as Steven James.

      I suspect that so many Christian authors have bought into the lie that they need men to be content. I sometimes wonder if a lot of people get into writing romance for wish-fulfillment--like, they're single or unhappily married and these are their fantasies. I have to wonder if some of these authors are very unhappy with where they are in life. You're right, it is very humanistic, and it's very disappointing to see that sort of thing in a "Christian" novel. Christian Romance writers should step up their game. *nods*

      Well, and it's probably not the case for every book that has an attempted-rape/rape scene. I guess I'm hypersensitive to that sort of thing? I spent a lot of time thinking over that point, because I didn't want to throw out accusations that were all in my head. But if you read my response to Heather's comment (near the end) I kind of explained some of my reasons for seeing those scenes as problematic. Not to mention the fact that those scenes just oversimplify the repercussions of rape.

      *shudders* I don't like the idea that it's somehow romantic to be rescued from rape. I should hope anyone would rescue someone in that sort of trouble, not just someone who's romantically interested. (Side note: I read a book this year that had a platonic friend save a girl from rape, and the whole issue was handled well and I was so happy that someone was dealing with it the way it needs to be dealt with.) Exactly--no physical contact. Like you said, even physical contact with another female can be/is problematic. Rape is embarrassing and it makes you feel dirty and gross and broken and you can't even look at yourself the same way anymore. Dealing with rape like it's a plot point ignores all the trust issues that will come after, the PTSD, just, yeah. Writers should really do their research before dealing with that sort of thing because it's incredibly hard for rape victims to see that sort of violence treated in such a cavalier manner. I think people who haven't done their research and haven't experienced it mistakenly assume that it's just an act of violence and forget that it has permanent emotional and psychological repercussions. It makes me angry to think about it too. *nods*

      Gah, same here. Like, why can't these books (so many of them written by WOMEN) value women for the complex beings that we are? *growls* I agree 1000%.

      Thank you, and thank you for sharing your thoughts! :)

  7. It just seems to me that this is incredibly unrealistic. I haven't read too much Christian Fiction (and I've been lucky with what I HAVE read) but I hate the idea that sex is such a taboo in an adult romance. I get we want to pretend that we're above such sinful emotions as lust, but it's completely ridiculous. I think this sort of thinking is why God has such a stigma attached to him =/

    1. *nods* Same here--a lot of Christian Romance feels more like poorly written Fantasy rather than something that could actually happen. (I'm glad you've had better luck with what you have read than I have. :P) I agree--I'm not necessarily advocating hot and steamy romance. But I wish it was handled as a fact of life, not as some huge awful thing to sweep under the rug or make a big deal about. It is completely ridiculous--and I think it's even worse that these Christian writers don't seem to fully understand what lust even is. I agree--that sort of thinking makes it harder for people to see and know the real God. :( And I'd love to see that change. :)

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  8. I'm so glad that you choose to talk about this in such depth Liz! I really wish we would talk about these books more often, instead of brushing them under that mat. Also, thanks for a link to a post that says good things about Christian Fiction- I'm off to give it a read :)

    Thanks for the shoutout! :)

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you've enjoyed my discussion! Same here. I know I was a little nervous to speak up about it, just because I can be tempted to feel like I'm disavowing Christianity by saying I disagree with and dislike most Christian Romance. But if I do think we should require excellence from the literature that represents us, and we shouldn't be afraid to call out the writers who are getting it wrong. And you're welcome! I hope you enjoy reading it. I figured it's only fair to balance out my negativity. :P

      You're welcome! I really enjoyed your post, and as you can see, it got me thinking about the subject quite a bit. Thanks for commenting! :)

  9. Wow, I'm sorry, you didn't enjoy this one! Though from your post I can definitely understand why you didn't. I don't know about most Christian fiction (unless I've been asked to review it, if I'm not interested in a book I stop reading, and honestly, there have been a couple of Christian novels that have ended up in my DNF pile), so maybe there are a lot of Christian romances that treat women in this way, but I don't think Swept to Sea is guilty of all of these. Some of them, for sure, but not all of them. For one thing, even though I didn't love Eden as a character, she still would have had a storyline without Caspian--or if her and Caspian hadn't ended up romantically involved: she still had to get away from that abusive fiance and, in the beginning, Caspian's ship was just an as-convenient-as-currently-possible way to do it.
    And honestly, I think that a lot of this is unintentional. Authors have seen it done by other authors and they don't realize exactly what they're implying by repeating these tropes. Which is why we need posts like this to keep us honest and make sure we're heading in the right direction. :)


    1. There is definitely a range of how bad Christian novels can be. I'm sure a lot of them are wonderful, but I just haven't run into as many of them as I would like. Also, you're right--one (or maybe two--I can't remember now) of the issues I addressed in this post didn't occur in Swept to Sea. And I agree that Eden would have had her own story without Caspian. But I didn't feel her character was strong enough to stand on it's own and make for a sufficiently interesting story without him, at least for me. But hey, if you liked Swept to Sea, don't let me rain on your parade. :P
      I quite agree. It's a learned thing. Sometimes it takes a long while before someone really thinks about something they've always believed and/or written about. It can be easy to ignore the implications of stuff we're really used to taking at face value. :) That's why it's good to stop and evaluate things from time to time. :P

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  10. Hm... I'm quite disgusted with this novel and I haven't even read Christian novels. It's really discouraging to know that authors are sneaking these kinds of messages into children's heads. Especially young girls :( It's sad to know that becoming a mere object for men might subconsciously muddle with one's conscience. I agree with you on your opinion about going against your conscience.

    1. :P It is discouraging. And I think it's even sadder to realize that a lot of them don't even realize there's anything wrong with what they're teaching by example. Young people are so susceptible to unhealthy ideas.

      Thank you for commenting! :)