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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

My Puritan story at CT...

Charis has clambered on top of the new-and-noteworthy reviews at Christianity Today. I'm very glad to have that attention, and happy for the words of reviewer and novelist Heather Cross

Charis in the World of Wonders

Marly Youmans (Ignatius Press)

Set in Massachusetts Bay Colony during the 1690s, Charis in the World of Wonders plunges us into the mind, language, and worldview of a young woman struggling to survive yet finding grace in unexpected places. Youmans’s lush prose evokes a preindustrial, perilous, socially connected world in which the Divine has sovereign reign over outcomes both joyous and sorrowful. Reading it feels like traveling through time and space to experience reality laid bare: Life is fragile, humans need each other, and the created world is shot through with beauty, fear, mystery, and God.

Read more of the list HERE.


  1. Hurrah! The book deserves the attention.

    1. They say every bit helps, right?

      As someone who has had Big 6 (now Big 5) publishers, moderate sized publishers, a micro publisher, academic publishers, publishers in 3 countries... I'm really not sure that many books that are not lead books with the Big 5 do get much attention. And so we can't really worry about attention, can we?

      Thank you, Scott--I'm glad you came by.

    2. I read everything you post here!

      I submitted a story collection yesterday to a tiny publisher. Even if I get a book deal, how many readers will I get? Not so many. The quest for profit poisons the well of art. Not much new there. But the work can still be good, and vital, and beautiful, and necessary. And so worth doing. Keep them coming.

    3. Rah! I hope they want it. Glad you submitted... Yes, keep on making beautiful things.

      I probably won't write a novel for a while--too many duties at the moment. But eventually.

  2. Since I've read Charis I feel I may comment. I'd question "lush" if it was intended as a compliment. In the secondary meaning my dictionary offers "opulent" which to my mind suggests going to excess. This is ill-judged. Apart from anything else you employ a contemporary vocabulary which - naturally - involves unfamiliar words. Your prose is vivid since this a worthwhile aim and is to be commended. "Rich" would be better.

    As an atheist may I add that it was possible to read Charis without picking up any of the broader allusions to divinity. I'm not sure this represents success or failure from where you stand.

    1. Hah, thanks! I've been away in North Carolina taking care of my elderly mother for a month, so I've neglected blogs... Hope you are well, and I shall catch up when I get home.

      It's possible to live without "picking up" any "allusions to divinity" (although impossible not to have some small connection to the great transcendentals of beauty, truth, and goodness--not to mention trees, mountains, sunrise, etc.) So why wouldn't that simply mean that "Charis in the World of Wonders" is simply part of the world, a made thing in the world? Why wouldn't you react to it in the same mode you react to the world? I don't write to insert allusions of any kind but to make in joy and fullness and sometimes in that mystic flow that writers aspire to reach.

      I like "rich." Thank you!

    2. And I should say thank you for reading the book!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.