Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Awakening Mercy was the first novel in Angela Benson’s Genesis House series. Although in some respects it is representative of a new generation of romances and novels written specifically for a Christian audience, Library Journal deemed it a “breakthrough Christian romance” for addressing universal issues featuring contemporary African American characters. The novel won Best Multicultural Romance from Romantic Times magazine and Best Contemporary Ethnic Romance from Affaire de Coeur magazine; it was a finalist for the coveted RITA Award (awarded by the Romance Writers of America), Christy Award (given by the Christian Booksellers Association), and Gold Pen Award (from the Black Writers Alliance). Benson, a graduate of Spelman College who majored in mathematics and industrial engineering before becoming a novelist, has said of her novel: “This book is close to my heart. . . . First, because I consider it an honor to write for the Christian market. Second, in many ways, CeCe’s story—about living with the consequences of our bad choices, and finding forgiveness—is my story, too.” Forgiveness, self-acceptance, trust, and community service are the key themes of Awakening Mercy.

Service and social work help CeCe, Nate, and other characters in the novel heal from emotional wounds inflicted by themselves, others, and fate. Although she is devoted to caring for her son, CeCe reluctantly serves her...

(The entire section is 558 words.)