This story combines small fictional hatch marks among broad, biographical brush marks of Catherine's mother's life. As I tracked the trails of this book, I found my mind moving mostly in the main character Christy, who represents Christians who want more than they've known or seen. She begins moving away from the old, conventional life of the American dream. At first her steps are hesitant but later assurance takes over as Christy comes to find solid footing. It's not the vocational call, but a person who draws Christy, none other than the wise, Quaker woman named Miss Alice.
Those Miss Alice moments bring me back to times of conversation with a farmhouse wife who gave away as much Avon as she sold and could preach a good sermon around a coffee table. Coffee tables assembled with the best crumbs of wisdom. Some surrounded by lawn chairs beside the lake shore. Places of real life with a flavor of retreat. Miss Alice’s are people who pause to listen to the Voice; People who speak from experience; People who tie the experiential with the Biblical so that you can pull the ribbon open to a wonderful present of His Presence.
As I was walking past the reed-lined creek on the way to work, I meditated on scripture. I thought of how the green scene with its leaf-sweeping breeze took me to a new place with God. Christy noticed how nature gave her the right ambiance to think. There she understood the effects of soft solitude. But also, Catherine reveals the feminine need for deep relationships and places feminine friends as important as the romance.
The book contrasts Miss Alice with Christy's suitors, the pastor and the doctor, who speak from a place of knowledge but lack foot walking faith. Through crisis, her courtship pursuers come around to something stronger than what they've known.
I think of Christy as representing a Christian who has awakened by the call and actually moves forward even though the path seems dangerous and even less desirable than once thought. This book will confront your comfort zones.
I recommend this book to anyone searching for God, but particularly for Christian women graduating from high school or college. The Hill Billy dialect will tickle you and its characters will surprise you. But it does not surprise me that the best Christian Fiction receives the "Christy Award", named after this masterpiece.