Pygmy's Reviews > Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White

Zora and Nicky by Claudia Mair Burney
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Jan 21, 11

bookshelves: christian_fiction, interracial_love, romance, guilty_pleasures
Read on January 21, 2011

WOW

So....I've been trying to read romances for awhile, right? And kind of hating it because I keep getting slapped in the face with horrible writing. And I've also tried to read contemporary Christian books for awhile too, and hating the bad writing and getting slapped in the face with the love of Jesus. Last but not least, I've been trying to read interacial romances, and besides carrying over the bad writing from the romance genre, I've been getting slapped in the face with all levels of black-vs-white racism.

So how the heck did I end up loving this Christian interacial romance??

Goes to show, anything goes when it's done well. I thought I had racism fatigue, but this book made me simply not care, even when it was dialed up to dent-my-head-in-with-a-mallet Harsh.

This book is so full of Bible verses, hymn songs, and people talking nonstop about love of God, love of man, love love love and forgiveness that you could probably print a biblical study guide out of excerpts. It also went into church cultures that were way out of my realm of experience.

And I ate it up. Why? Because of the characters! The characterization! They had such distinct, yet recognizable voices. The author has a gift for dialogue. The people are genuinely funny, sassy, cute and interesting. The hero, despite being gorgeous and all that jazz, turned out to be different somehow, approachable and adorable even when he's so messed up. The author has a great gift of portraying the dirty underside of Christian people, nay, of HUMANS. Hypocrisy is everywhere. The main characters were so full of flaws that it's a wonder they could still walk with all the crap they carried, and the author doesn't let them get away with it. The characters call each other out on their nastiness, or if not, they see it in themselves and hate themselves for it. They struggle and founder and when they're about to give up, God hauls them up by the hair and makes them keep going. This book is PG, but this is no fluffy-bunny-Amish-girl romance. This deals with many painful, raw issues that should be covered more in Christian media, rather than the hyper-sanitized insular crap that it generates for itself.

Not to say this book is perfect.

The ending does rush into an ugly last-minute resurgence of Racist Crazy that feels tacked on, as if an editor's checklist said
"there must be one last conflict to keep the hero and heroine apart"! Then it gets resolved quickly, and the closing scene is so bizarrely cultish-weird-Kumbaya that...well...it was kind of amusing. But hey, what do I know. My faith life is so dried up compared to these characters, I'm not really sure I can judge.

What else? By the end, the hero finally says "I suck" one too many times. But overall, I think I can live with that just fine. Now all I hope is that this book will hold up to re-reading.
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