Lamp to My Feet (Ordinary Man Trilogy #3)

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Lamp to My Feet (Ordinary Man Trilogy #3)


Frances Smith


Gazelle Press

Publication Date:

September 22, 2019




352 pages


Mark Smith is in a tough spot. After years of ministry work, his career seems to be at an end and his marriage has ended in disaster. Meanwhile, Fran Chapman finds herself in the hard position as she helps her father handle his serious illness. The surprising true story of how Mark and Fran come together is inspiring and shocking, particularly for them.

Frances Smith (née Chapman) aims for an interesting hybrid, part biography and part novel. She tries to tell her and her husband’s stories as truly as possible, with occasional fictional details to fill in the gaps. This isn’t a bad format, and Smith covers plenty of events which are interesting and would make for good stories. However, a story is more than just listing the events which happened. A story has a certain structure to it, and the best storytellers selectively pick which details they mention to fill in that structure and create a particular story. This is true with nonfiction as well as fiction. The best biographies cover all the major events in a person’s life, but then pick and choose which minor details they will include, creating a particular portrait of the person. Smith, like so many people writing their life stories, misses this principle. She lists lots of events, but they don’t really come alive and develop into a cohesive story. The book has its moments, but most of the time it feels more like a list of events than anything else.

An interesting, well-intentioned book that doesn’t quite get off the ground.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

2 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians looking for creative nonfiction about real people.

Christian Impact

Smith emphasizes the spiritual journeys she and her future husband took, providing lots of real-life examples of redemption and how God can work in people’s lives.

Lamp to My Feet

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