New Historical Fiction for February

It’s the first week of February, so let’s take a look at some of the historical fiction titles that will be hitting the shelves sometime this month.

From authors who are part of American Christian Fiction Writers:

ProphetessThe Prophetess: Deborah’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith — Outspoken and fearless, Deborah has faith in God but struggles to see the potential her own life holds. As an Israelite woman, she’ll marry, have a family, and seek to teach her children about Adonai – and those tasks seem to be more than enough to occupy her time. But God has another plan for her. Israel has been under the near constant terror of Canaan’s armies for twenty years, and now God has called Deborah to deliver her people from this oppression. Will her family understand? Will her people even believe God’s calling on her life? And can the menace of Canaan be stopped? (Biblical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Love Is Patient Romance Collection by Janet Lee Barton, Frances Devine, Lena Nelson Dooley, Vickie McDonough, Darlene Franklin, Jill Stengl, Connie Stevens, and Erica Vetsch — Enjoy the slow dance through the courtship of nine historical couples in the American west, including the territories of Arizona and Wyoming. Just at a time in life when they have nearly given up on finding love, romance enters their lives. But will it be true love, and will it be worth the wait? Find out in this delightful collection written by eight bestselling authors of inspirational romances. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Sweet MisfortuneA Sweet Misfortune by Maggie Brendan — Rachel Matthews isn’t one to rely on others to take care of her. Destitute and alone, she still wants to make her own way and her own money – even if she’s forced into the life of a dance hall girl. Horrified by her circumstances, Rachel’s brother sends a friend – the widely admired cattle baron John McIntyre – to rescue her, then sets off to earn enough money to buy back the family ranch. But when months pass without her brother’s return, Rachel isn’t sure she can take one more day in John McIntyre’s home – especially once she discovers that he’s the one who holds the deed to her family’s ranch. (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Spy DevotionA Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson — Langdon returns home to heal from a battlefield injury — and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary. At a ball hosted by the powerful Whilhelm family, Langdon meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Honoring propriety, he keeps his distance — until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England – and the man she is falling in love with – need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press, an imprint of Amazon Publishing)

The Express Rider’s Lady by Stacy Henrie — Delsie Radford’s father may have kept her and her sister apart, but Delsie refuses to miss her sister’s wedding – even with only 18 days to get there. And she’s found the perfect escort in Pony Express rider Myles Patton. Myles can’t believe it when a pretty socialite hires him to take her cross-country through dangerous territory. He’s sure she’ll give up soon, but the longer they ride together, the more Myles notices the toughness and kindness beneath Delsie’s refined exterior. And though they may be worlds apart…they might just be perfect for each other. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Northern LightThe Texan’s Engagement Agreement by Noelle Marchand — It’s been five years since Adelaide Harper broke Chris Johansen’s heart and their long-distance engagement. But when she steps off a train in Peppin, Texas, and strolls back into Chris’s life, he can’t help but panic. To avoid his parents’ plan to arrange a marriage for him, he’s let his family believe he and Adelaide are still engaged. Adelaide is facing her own troubles with a matchmaking mama and a parade of aggravating suitors. So pretending to let Chris court her could help them both. Surely after five years, there’s no need to worry their time together could reignite a long-buried love…is there? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Northern Light by Annette O’Hare — The Yankees took her fiancé’s life, but when a wounded Union soldier washes ashore, needing her help, will she learn to love again or will hate cost him his life? (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

 

Moonlit GardenA few from authors in the general market:

Rush-Oh by Shirley Barrett (Virago) – When Mary Davidson, the eldest daughter of a whaling family in New South Wales, sets out to chronicle the particularly difficult season of 1908, the story she tells is poignant and hilarious, filled with drama and misadventure.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby (Pan) – Mrs. Hudson and Mary Watson take on a case rejected by Sherlock Holmes.

The Ironsmith by Nicholas Guild (Forge) – The behind-the-scenes political plots to kill Jesus of Nazareth, and one man’s attempt to save his life.

The Farmer’s Daughter by Mary Nichols (Allison & Busby) – A WWII Suffolk girl managing her sick father’s farm enlists the help of a German POW and they fall in love, to local disapproval.

The Moonlit Garden by Corina Bomann – A widowed antique shop worker digs into history to learn the story and secrets of a violin brought to her. As she unravels the mystery of the previous owner’s story, she comes to see her own life in a new light.

Your turn: What sounds good to you? I know several will be added to my to-read list! Share what you think about these or if you’ve heard of another new release that the rest of us might enjoy.

Happy reading!
Leigh

New Stories for the Historical Fiction Lover in You

New Year’s Day 2016 was wonderful.

Partly because I got to sleep later, partly because I spent the whole day at home with my family, partly because my husband made the cornbread so I didn’t even have to cook. 🙂

And partly because I spent a large chunk of the day in my jammies curled up with a book — guilt free!

Those days don’t happen very often for me, so when they do they’re a special treat. And although I read a lot of different things, I always find myself leaning back toward historical fiction. Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved history and think so many things about days-gone-by are fascinating. Maybe it’s because there’s usually some romance — and what girl doesn’t love some romance? (My daughter certainly does, especially now that she’s discovered Hallmark movies — but that’s a story for another day!)

lassoed by marriageIf you’re like me and love a good historical novel, here are some releasing this month that you might want to check out. Titles in this first section are from authors affiliated with American Christian Fiction Writers:

  • A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin — When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart? (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
  • The Lassoed by Marriage Romance Collection by Angela Bell, Angela Breidenbach, Lisa Carter, Mary Connealy, Rebecca Jepson, Amy Lillard, Gina Welborn, Kathleen Y’Barbo, and Rose Ross Zediker — Come along on a romantic journey jam-packed with all the angst of marriages founded upon practical choices as well as coercion. Meet nine couples who barely know each other before they find themselves suddenly married to please family, to stem the tide of gossip, to save the land and joined for life. But can love grow when duty comes before romance? (Barbour Publishing)
  • Calico Spy by Margaret Brownley — Someone is killing off the Harvey Girls and undercover Pinkerton detective Katie Madison hopes to find the killer before the killer finds her-or before she burns down the restaurant trying. (Barbour Publishing)
  • With This Ring? by Mary Connealy, Melissa Jagears, Regina Jennings, and Karen Witemeyer — Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection of stories with love, romance, and a twist of humor: “The Husband Maneuver,” “Her Dearly Unintended,” “Runaway Bride” and “Engaging the Competition.” (Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)
  • Austen in Austin, Volume 1 by Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper, Debra E. Marvin, and Gina Welborn — Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love – Jane Austen style. Volume 1 includes: “If I Loved You Less” based on Emma, “Romantic Refinements” based on Sense and Sensibility, “One Word from You” based on Pride and Prejudice, and “Alarmingly Charming” based on Northanger Abbey. (Whitefire Publishing)
  • All That Glitters by Lisa J. Flickinger — Leaving behind her family and a dying father, Ginny Connor follows the cunning Logan Harris up North to strike it rich. Her sister Vivian follows to “rescue” her, and they are both led into the chaos of the Klondike Gold Rush. Meanwhile, Ben McCormack leaves his farm to retrieve his intended bride from a rowdy tent town on the Alaskan coastline. Ben’s path inadvertently entwines with Vivian’s and he finds his heart tugging him in a different direction. (Ambassador International)
  • A Worthy HeartA Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason — Irish lass Maggie Montgomery visits her brother in America secretly hoping to find her fortune and love. While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man whom she thinks is a stable hand. Her brother demands she stay away from Adam O’Leary, who he says was recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can’t seem to make her heart listen. Adam plans to make amends and earn back his family’s trust. Falling in love with Maggie Montgomery, however, was never in his plans. (Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

 

The Forgotten RoomIf you’re looking for mainstream historicals, you might want to learn more about these or other titles highlighted by the Historical Novel Society:

  • A Taste for Nightshade by Martine Bailey – Suspense, cooking, and revenge in early 19th-century England (St. Martin’s)
  • Midnight in St. Petersburg by Vanora Bennett – One woman’s fight for survival and love in revolutionary Russia (St. Martin’s)
  • Fallen Land by Taylor Brown – A couple flees pursuers during Sherman’s march through Georgia (St. Martin’s)
  • Exposure by Helen Dunmore – Cold War London, 1960: Lily suspects that her husband’s arrest for passing information to the Soviets is part of a cover-up, unaware that he may be guilty of a worse crime (Hutchinson)
  • Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys by Mary Gibson – East End girls become ATS ack-ack gunners and find love and freedom during the London Blitz in WWII (Head of Zeus)
  • Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell – A lady’s maid and her 18-year-old mistress cross class lines to solve murders in 1918 England (Kensington)
  • The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig – A multi-period mystery about three generations of women (NAL)

Your turn: So … do any of these sound interesting to you? I’d love to know which one(s) you might let steal you away to another time for a while!

Book Review: Lady In the Mist

Lady in the Mist, by Laurie Alice Eakes

Tabitha Eckles is a unique woman in a time when women and men had very defined roles in society. It’s 1809, and Tabitha is an unmarried midwife for a coastal Virginia town. Tabitha focuses on her patients, other townspeople who need medical help, and her garden – until she meets a mysterious British man early one morning on the beach.

Young men from the area have been disappearing, and most people think the Brits are guilty – that they’re forcing the men to join the British Navy with its ever-patrolling ships nearby. A disappearance is why Tabitha is still unmarried – her fiancé Raleigh disappeared right after proposing, though no one knows whether he ran away for some reason or if he was snagged by the British.

The mysterious newcomer complicates Tabitha’s life on multiple levels. Each has secrets they’re afraid to share, even though they could help each other. Each suffers public disapproval because of their convictions. And each wonders what the future might hold, especially when Raleigh returns with a story some people don’t quite believe.

Laurie Alice Eakes has been a prolific writer in the last few years, but Lady in the Mist was the first book of hers that I’ve read. I’m always a softie for historical romances, and it definitely filled that bill. There was also a little intrigue/suspense woven through the story that kept it interesting. I knew how I wanted everything to end, but wasn’t absolutely sure Laurie Alice had taken her characters in that direction until just before the end. The story itself was great, and I learned a lot about midwifery and the time period because of the details she included (the kind that help make the story come to life, not the kind that bog you down and make you skip to a more interesting part). 🙂

Lady in the Mist is one of my favorite books in 2011 so far. I’m looking forward to the other titles in her midwives series.

(This book was provided to me for reading and review by the publisher, Revel, a division of Baker Publishing Group.)

More Favorite Reads from 2010

Earlier, I posted about a few of my favorite books that I read in 2010. The problem is, I read so much and like so many stories that it’s hard to whittle things down to a manageable list … but I try.

I’ve already mentioned The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, So Over It, and Tour de Force. Today I’ll share the highlights of three favorite historicals.

A Tailor Made Bride, by Karen Witemeyer. This was Karen’s debut novel, and just the cover was enough to catch my attention (love that dress!). But, no matter how the cover looked, the story snagged me from the very beginning. Hannah is a feisty woman who takes a lot of townspeople by surprise when she buys a storefront in Coventry, Tx. and moves in sight unseen. They aren’t quite sure what to do with a lady who takes walks and does exercises each morning, who befriends the most unlikely people, and who isn’t afraid to start her own business alone. That’s not to say things are easy – and one of her biggest challenges is in dealing with Jericho Tucker, the town’s liveryman. Sparks fly, but in a fun and realistic way. Their conversations were so well written that I could hear them in my mind; their bantering made me laugh. Karen might be a debut novelist, but her skills are on par with some of my favorite longtime authors. I haven’t had the chance to read her second novel (A Head in the Clouds), but would like to. I’ll definitely be looking for more of her titles in the future.

Within My Heart, by Tamera Alexander. Tamera ranks as one of my very favorite authors, no matter what genre I’m reading. Her characters are well-rounded and realistic, her descriptions put me right in the story world, and she always includes something in the plot that surprises me. And, of course, there’s always the happily ever after. Many of Tamera’s fans had been waiting for Within My Heart to release because it finished her Timber Ridge Reflections trilogy. We finally learned the histories of characters Rachel Boyd and Dr. Rand Brookston – which explained why they were simultaneously drawn to each other but determined to stay apart. We also finally had closure to the tension between Rachel and Daniel Ranslett, the boyhood friend of Rachel’s first husband Thomas. I love how Tamera reveals her characters’ imperfections without making them wimps; instead, it just makes me love them more. Yes, I’m always looking for her next release.

Dancing Through Fire, by Kathryn Lasky. I love working book fairs at my kids’ schools because they’re fun, but I also like checking out some of the latest titles for kids. I actually bought Dancing Through Fire at a Scholastic book fair – partly to satisfy the long-ago dancer in me and partly because wanted to read a story set in that timeframe. The story takes place in Paris during the 1870s and focuses on a girl names Sylvie. She’s what’s known as a “little rat,” or a young student in the Paris Opera Ballet. Then war comes to Paris and changes everything. Even the dancers immersed in their own world of ballet are forced to deal with reality, and girls like Sylvie grow up quickly – and learn some important lessons. I wouldn’t want my third grader to read it yet, but it’s a good blend of history and fiction for upper elementary or middle school girls. Author trivia: Kathryn Lasky has written more than 100 books for children and adults, including  the books that the movie Legend of the Guardians was based on. We haven’t seen the movie, but one of our son’s buddies said it was his favorite movie of all time.

 

And, there you have it — three of my favorite historical novels from 2010, though they’re certainly not the only ones I enjoyed. So many books, so little time … and blog space! 🙂