Huggin', Kissin', Prayin': The Christian Romance Novel
By Laura Sheahen

So you're standing in the bookstore and are torn between two covers--
two romance novels set in the Old West. Both promise sympathetic characters,
exciting action scenes, and tender interludes. Indeed, the chief difference would seem
to be that one novel---Lori Copeland's popular "Hope: Brides of the West 1872"--is
published by a Christian press. How to choose between "Hope" and Lorraine Heath's
equally popular "Never Love a Cowboy"? Beliefnet investigates.

HopeNever Love a Cowboy
Jacket blurb describes heroine asfeistysassy
Jacket blurb describes hero asdisarmingly kinddevil-may-care
Real identity of herogovernment agentBritish earl's son
Heroine's drawbackcan't memorize Bible wellillegitimate child
Bible verses recitedat least once per chapternever
Predatory animal attackscougarrattlesnake
Domesticated animal challengeget wily pig out of mud holeget lazy bull out of mud hole
Token oldster calls Godthe BossGawd Almighty
References to GodInnumerable: usually prayersInfrequent: along the lines of "My God, you're beautiful"
Memorable religious momentcouple confesses love; heavenly Father smiles down and says "I love you, too."heroine sings hymns to soothe restless steer
While protecting heroine, hero woundedin armin leg
Hero recovers from woundswith God's help. Takes 3 dayswithout prayers. Takes 3 months
Heroine feels fulfilled whenshe helps an outlaw find Jesusshe has second baby
Hero's rivalmarries another pretty, God-fearing womanis killed by heroine
Author has wonHOLT romance novel awardRITA award (Romance Writers of America) sales rank23,89417,221