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