|Author/Contributor(s):||Neal, Lynn S|
|Publisher:||University of North Carolina Press|
In evangelical love stories, the success of the hero and heroine's romance rests upon their religious choices. These fictional religious choices, readers report, often inspire real spiritual change in their own lives. Amidst the demands of daily life or during a challenge to one's faith, these books offer a respite from problems and a time for fun, but they also provide a means to cultivate piety and to appreciate the unconditional power of God's love. The reading of inspirational fiction emerges from and reinforces an evangelical lifestyle, Neal argues, but women's interpretations of the stories demonstrate the constant negotiations that characterize evangelical living. Neal's study of religion in practice highlights evangelicalism's aesthetic sensibility and helps to alter conventional understandings--both secular and religious--of this prominent subculture.