Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron

Publisher: NavPress

Publication Date: 2006

Binding: Paperback

Pages: 256

ISBN: 978-1-57683-812-9

List Price: $14.99

In his historical novel, Chasing Francis, Ian Morgan Cron explores the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Instead of simply writing another biography of the early Catholic priest and friar, Cron retells the story through the perspective of a modern evangelical minster, named Chase falcon, who has lost his faith. Midway through a service, Chase breaks down and admits his growing doubts about Christianity. Shocked and outraged, the church elders advise Chase to take a leave of absence from the church. Chase travels to Italy where he is lead on a spiritual pilgrimage that introduces him to the ancient teachings of St. Francis.

Cron seamlessly incorporates theology lessons and history into his novel without distracting from the plot. The novel includes several of Chase's journal entries that reflect on what he is learning about Francis. Although Chase is a minster at a megachurch, he comes across as somewhat childish with respect to the Catholic faith. Early in his journey, he often jokes about religious activities the priests engage in. By having other characters correct and explain things to Chase, Cron is given more opportunities to insert historical information.

The book's plot is entertaining and enjoyable. Most characters are dynamic and believable. Maggie's story, however, is slightly cliché. She is an ex-convict whose young daughter has recently died. Instead of returning to drugs and crime, she becomes an important figure in the Chase's church. Nevertheless, Chasing Francis is a great read for anyone interested in learning about St. Francis, or wanting to read a Catholic conversion story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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