Rated Reads

City of Tranquil Light

by Bo Caldwell

Rated: Mild

Will Kiehn considers himself “ordinary” and “unexceptional,” living a simple farming life with his family in early-1900s Oklahoma. But when a family friend comes through town talking about his experiences as a Mennonite missionary in China, Will feels drawn to follow him back to the North Plain. A small group goes with Edward, including his sister-in-law Katherine, a lovely young nurse Will can’t help but feel drawn to.

Two years later, Will and Katherine marry, and they move to Kuang P’ing Ch’eng, City of Tranquil Light, to set up their own mission station. Although they’ve already had some time to acclimate to China and its different language and culture, it’s yet another adjustment. But it’s where they stay for nearly 25 years, where they face great hardships, sorrows and joy. It becomes home to them both.

Will and Katherine make lifelong friends with the Chinese people in their village and see some success in bringing the people to Christ. They also are plunged into the middle of civil war, face bandits, and experience drought, floods and earthquakes. They weather all of this turmoil as well as personal heartbreak, yet they still consider China to be their home and only return to the United States when a variety of events lead them to that difficult decision.

City of Tranquil Light is a beautiful, inspiring book about love, dedication, friendship and faith. It’s a story based in part on the lives of the author’s maternal grandparents, and it rings true. It is not a religious book, but it will surely resonate with readers of faith. But even for those who don’t consider themselves religious, this is a lovely story.

Rated: Mild, for some brief scenes of violence.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

One Response to City of Tranquil Light

  1. Carinne Gee says:

    This book moved me to tears so many times. I felt that it was really a love story of WIll and Katherine, set against their times in China‚Ķand intermingled with relationsihp with God. It was amazing. I still think and think about it. I’ll probably re-read it later this year. If you liked this, you should read Peace LIke a River and the Gilead series.

  • City of Tranquil Light
  • by Bo Caldwell
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: