A novel by Shelly Leanne

** Winner, 2004 Fiction Honor Book Award from BCALA **
** 2004 Fiction Book Award Finalist, CT **
** Starred Review from Booklist **

Official Website of Joshua’s Bible – A Novel by Shelly Leanne

Joshua’s Bible, the debut novel by Shelly Leanne, won the 2004 Fiction Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, earned a *starred review* from Booklist, and was a Finalist for the 2004 Christianity Today’s Fiction Book Award. Critics have called the writing in Joshua’s Bible “outstanding,” the story line “truly beautiful” and “inspiring,” and the themes filled with “a radiant spiritual fire.” As a story about an African American missionary who falls in love with the Xhosa people (Nelson Mandela’s people) and a Xhosa woman named Nongolesi, Joshua’s Bible highlights love that transcends race and continents, spurring critics to comment that Joshua’s Bible is an “uplifting story to be cherished by all readers” regardless of race, religion and nationality.


“Outstanding! Shelly Leanne painstakingly has crafted an engaging story of Philadelphia Reverend Joshua Clay, soon to be a missionary’s “Coming of Age” among the Xhosa of South Africa during the turbulent forced removal and relocation of settlements in the 1930s.

The transformation from smug cleric to humanitarian is beautifully told with a balance of cultural sensitivity and historical accuracy making JOSHUA’S BIBLE one of the best fiction choices of 2003. Highly recommended.”
– Black Caucus of the American Library Association Newsletter, June 2003


*Starred Review* [Highest distinction]

“In JOSHUA’S BIBLE, Leanne tells the bittersweet tale of Joshua Clay, a studious young black man from Ohio coming of age in the time of Marcus Garvey and the Harlem Renaissance. Keen to serve the Lord, Clay is honored to be sent to South Africa as a missionary among the Xhosa…. His consciousness is raised, he falls in love with a Xhosa, and then he throws himself body and soul against the rising tide of apartheid…. A deeply felt novel, splendidly researched.”
– Booklist, John Mort


* * * * * Five Stars [Supreme, highest rating]

“Shelly Leanne does an outstanding job of capturing the reader with this interesting story of social challenge…. JOSHUA’S BIBLE is an intriguing look at life from a not-so-usual view. The main character (Rev. Joshua Clay) is engaging and the spiritual theme of this book is sure to garner widespread acclaim.”
– Shades of Romance Magazine


* * * * * Five Stars [Highest rating]

“In JOSHUA’S BIBLE, author Shelly Leanne takes readers on a spiritual journey… This wonderful novel touched my heart and soul and I feel inspired to recommend it to others.”
– The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers


“JOSHUA’S BIBLE is a wonderful story of the human struggle to courageously stand amid social adversity. Not since Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country has there been a more engaging narrative depicting the conflicting social realities within South African Culture. Shelly Leanne offers a bold look at life in this context, with broad themes and vivid characterization, challenging each of us to live and to stand with greater conviction.”
– Rev. Nolan Williams, Jr., co-editor of African American Heritage Hymnal


* * * * * Five Stars [Highest rating] A Best Kept Secret!

“JOSHUA’S BIBLE is a poignant, moving, engaging and soul stirring novel that resonated in my heart and mind. JOSHUA’S BIBLE is a hidden jewel, and once you discover it, you will fall in love with the heart, message and servanthood of a strong man of God – Joshua Clay.”
– The Good Girl Book Club


“In JOSHUA’S BIBLE, Shelly Leanne tackles complex subject-matter and transforms it into a riveting story of one man’s journey into the heart of an African nation struggling with the issue of race. Readers will be immediately drawn into the story of Joshua Clay, a Negro reverend from Philadelphia sent to South Africa as a missionary. Haunted by the tragic death of a family member, Joshua travels to Fort Hare to minister to the Xhosa people. As the ties to his congregation and his new family deepen, Joshua is led to a course of action that threatens his mission to spread the word of God. Through her melodic writing style, Leanne provides readers with a harmonious blend of religion, history, and romance that resonates like the Xhosa language and songs found throughout the story. JOSHUA’S BIBLE is a novel that will linger in your mind long after you read the final chapter.”
– Nneka J. McGee, KISO Books


“What a wonderful novel! Shelly Leanne has written a story that spans continents, races, and generations. In 1934, the Reverend Joshua Clay sets off for Africa imagining he will convert and “civilize” Africans. Wise beyond her years, Ms. Leanne suggests that no act is apolitical and that people of every race and ethnicity–and age, in both senses–have much to learn from one another. JOSHUA’S BIBLE immerses us in the appalling world of South Africa under apartheid, and yet there is as much joy in this novel as sadness. No. More. This is an uplifting story to be cherished by all readers.”
–William Holinger, author of The Fence-walker


“Burning at the heart of JOSHUA’S BIBLE is a radiant spiritual fire…. Shelly Leanne has created in her title character a man whose journey is a rich, anguished, and an ultimately most fulfilling one.”
– Sands Hall, author of the national best-selling novel Catching Heaven


“Leanne’s rich description and solid plot take the reader through many emotions and it is difficult to not question one’s personal resolve, spirituality, and courage. Overall, the novel leaves the reader longing for a sequel, and inspires a desire to visit the rich, beautiful, and complicated, South Africa.”
– ACE Critiques


“Impressive…filled with vivid and colorfully described passages.”
– QBR Black Book Review