There probably isn’t a less-respected genre in fiction than “Christian romance,” since it draws all the contempt many readers have for romance and all the contempt (sadly, sometimes deserved) many people have for Christian fiction. I am not a big romance reader myself, but sometimes I like to curl up with a good love story that I know will have a happy ending, and if the main characters’ faith happens to be an integral part of the story, I like that too. Which means occasionally I read a Christian romance novel, and I’ve rarely read one I enjoyed more than Patty Froese Ntihemuka’s What God Hath Joined.
The premise is simple: Leah, mother of four-year-old Josiah, has been pretending to be a widow ever since her no-good husband ended up in jail and she moved back with her father, a widowed Methodist minister. Now her husband, John, has done his time and cleaned up his act, and would like to win Leah back, but doesn’t know if he dares approach her. By what must be admitted is a fairly stunning coincidence, they end up in the same small town, and John has to figure out how to earn Leah’s trust when the whole town thinks he’s dead.
With a romance novel, the happy ending is never in doubt; all that matters is how the author chooses to get us there. Ntihemuka does a great job of bringing us along this not-too-twisted road to the eventual reunion, with some nice details and character development along the way. Reformed bad boy John is a particularly appealing character (but then, I do like bad boys, reformed or otherwise). If you like inspirational romances at all, then I recommend this one very highly.