Tag: Celeste Fletcher McHale

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 99 | The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale. It got a few critical reviews for not being “Christian” enough … which got me wondering why! Here’s the first line:

I glanced at the grandfather clock. Almost midnight.

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

“Why won’t you just tell me what’s in that cake?” I’d been trying to get Laine’s recipe for years. We all had.

When all else fails, turn to the divine taste of hummingbird cake.

In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food—especially dessert— is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family— even if the threat is something you cannot see.

In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

You can find The Secret to Hummingbird Cake online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

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Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

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What Christian novel do you recommend

Bookish Question #28 | What Christian novel do you recommend?

What Christian novel or author would you recommend to a non-Christian reader?

I’m finding an increasing number of the novels I’m reviewing from Christian fiction publishers are “Christian lite”. They have little or no mention of God or Jesus, none of the main characters are overtly Christian, and there is no faith journey. I know this bugs a lot of faithful Christian fiction readers.

Many of us read Christian fiction not just because we want a “clean” read, but because we want to vicariously experience the faith journey of a fictional character. So when a “Christian” novel isn’t, we can feel a little cheated. But I’ve been involved in many online discussions over the years that have shown me we need these novels.

Christian fiction can’t just preach to the choir.

Sometimes we have to crawl out of our comfortable pews and do our bit in fulfilling the Great Commission. We have to write books that will lead people closer to God.

This can come through the most unlikely of titles. One of my online friends has an Asian family in his church who became Christians after the father read The Da Vinci Code. The man had never heard of Jesus, and Dan Brown’s much maligned book prompted him to look into who Jesus was.

I’m not a betting woman, but I’m sure that leading people to Christ wasn’t on Dan Brown’s list of things to achieve with his story.

Closer to home, I recently read a Goodreads review of The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale. I haven’t read the book, and the reviewer was disappointed that it wasn’t overtly Christian. Another lady joined the discussion, saying she’d become a Christian as a result of reading the book.


The commenter went on to say she’d been loaned the book by a Christian neighbour, and she never would have agreed to read it if it had been overtly Christian. In fact, she’d written to the author to share her conversion story, and the author was suitably thrilled and humbled.

Isn’t that what it’s about? Drawing people closer to Jesus—Christian and non-Christian?

Last week, I was listening to the Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, and the reviewers were talking about which romance books they recommend to non-romance readers. One—who isn’t a Christian, as far as I know—said she often recommends books by Deeanne Gist to readers she doesn’t know well, because she knows there won’t be any rauchy content in them that might offend some people.

Yet Deeanne Gist is a Christian author—one who has switched from traditional Christian fiction for a CBA publisher to “Christian lite” romances for a general market publisher. Gist’s newer books are still written from a Christian world view, but don’t have an overt faith element. Yet here they are, being recommended on one of the biggest general market romance review sites.

That’s not preaching to the choir.

So here’s the tough question. If you were in the position to loan your non-Christian neighbour a Christian novel, what novel or author would you suggest they read?