Book Love

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

Book Love

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! 🙂

Book Love

Book Reviews: A Love of Her Own and Katy’s Debate

I’m way behind on posting reviews of some books I’ve read during the last few months, so thought I’d share about two of them today – A Love of Her Own by Maggie Brendan and Katy’s Debate by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

A Love of Her Own concludes Brendan’s Heart of the West series. We met the hero and heroine (Wes Owen and April McBride) in previous books of the series. (I love when authors take a supporting character from one book and tell his or her own story in a later book. It’s like getting to know surface-level friends better.)

April’s father is a wealthy rancher, which means she has everything she could ever want … that money can buy. She’s quite spoiled and used to having things her way. She surprises everyone by traveling to Montana without her parents (who are traveling abroad) when she gets word that her brother Josh is about to get married. April fights circumstances (and people!) all along the way, including having a run-in with Wes as soon as she reaches town. Wes is independent and stubborn in his own right, so it doesn’t take much for them to aggravate each other. The only common denominator they seem to have is Josh, who counts Wes as a close friend. The longer April stays in the small town of Billings, Montana, the more she learns about who she really is and what she really wants. And no one is more surprised than April and Wes are when they finally realize how God had a hand in their lives all along.

Katy’s Debate is the second installment of Sawyer’s Katy Lambright series. Katy is a Mennonite girl who gets permission from her community to extend her education and attend public high school. Just as Katy begins to feel somewhat settled at school, her personal life goes through an upheaval. Katy’s mom left the Old Order years ago, so she and Dad have been on their own for years. And they’ve done quite nicely, so far as Katy is concerned. But now Dad has decided that Katy needs a mother and has started courting a woman from another Old Order community. It’s the last thing Katy wants, so she sets out to prove that she’s responsible enough to keep going without a mother’s guidance. Dad realizes what Katy is up to, but doesn’t know about some of the other struggles she’s going through – namely, her growing crush on a boy from the debate team. As nice as he is, Katy knows Dad would never accept him because he isn’t Mennonite. Her familiar Old Order ways and the new things she’s learning in the “outside world” play quite a game of tug-a-war in Katy’s heart and mind. And even though her life as a Mennonite girl might be completely foreign to many of today’s teen readers, her struggles aren’t. I’ll be keeping this series for my daughter to read when she gets a bit older.

Both books were enjoyable reads and ones that I would pass along to friends. Check them out for yourself at CBD.com or Amazon!

(Disclaimer: I received my copies of A Love of Her Own from Revell Publishing and Katy’s Debate from Zondervan for the purpose of review.)