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Janice Holt Giles (1905-1979) has more to say about the Brethren in Christ than any other novelist or popular writer;' in fact, she stands alone. Her 25 books, written from 1950 to 1975, sold four million copies in her lifetime, and some remain in print and have recently attracted renewed interest. Primarily noted for her historical fiction about the Western frontier, she is also noted for novels and memoirs set in her adopted state of Kentucky. Of these, four describe or characterize the Brethren in Christ at varying length and another three mention or make allusions to them. One novel, Tara's Healing, virtually glorifies the Brethren in Christ throughout.

This article presents Giles's portrayal of the Brethren in Christ in detail, including all references to their doctrine and practice in all the books where they appear. It notes the general tone and accuracy of her observations, and it also discusses the personal connections Giles had with the Brethren in Christ Church and members and the Kentucky mission staff.


Mike Brown served as a librarian at Messiah College from 1973-2006.

Originally published as:

Brown, Michael R. "Janice Holt Giles and the 'White Caps” of Kentucky." Brethren In Christ History & Life 39.3 (December 2016): 117-247.

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