I am a big fan of historical fiction. I have always enjoyed the study of history, and I have always liked travelling back in time through the pages of a book. This year, I have read more nonfiction than fiction, which is very unusual for me, and I was looking for a good historical novel. City of Tranquil Light fit the bill. I can’t remember the last book that left me feeling so peaceful, uplifted and inspired. The title and the cover are so fitting for this story!
City of Tranquil Light is based on the author’s missionary grandparents. The novel begins in 1906, and tells the story of Will Kiehn and Katherine Friesen as they travel to China from America’s heartland to serve as Mennonite missionaries. Their journey extends over a 25 year period, and it is full of love, dedication, service, peril and heartbreak. While China’s culture and history serve as a magnificent backdrop for this story, the true beauty lies in the relationships that are formed, not only between Will and Katherine themselves, but also with the Chinese people. This is truly a story about people: their faith, their love, their heartache, and their commitment to one another.
Bo Caldwell has created a beautiful, epic tale, and I highly recommend it. I enjoyed it so much that I plan to read her first novel, The Distant Land of My Father, which is also about China. If you are looking for an story to inspire you as you move into 2011, be sure to pick up a copy of City of Tranquil Light. I believe you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Lauren is a wife, mother of two, and an avid reader. She has a brother-in-law who has spent time as a missionary in China, and she can’t wait to pass this book along. Lauren thanks Henry Holt for the review copy of this book. Lauren blogs at Baseballs and Bows.