What’s New in Inspirational Historical Fiction

This fall sees some really fantastic titles coming out in inspirational fiction. Here are a few titles I am looking forward to

Secrets She Kept

by Cathy Gohlke

secrets she kept

Hannah Sterling’s estranged mother, Lieselotte, dies leaving a mysterious past. Hannah is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany she never knew. Thirty years earlier he was a high-ranking member of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter would have helped advance his career. Lieselotte is in love―but her choice is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Nazis. Secrets kept are revealed as both of these women’s lives unfold. Gohlke is a fantastic historical fiction author that is on my “must read” list.

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Luther and Katharina 

by Jody Hedlund

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This is the love story between 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora and Reformation leader Martin Luther.  Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. They couldn’t be more different. But as the world comes tumbling down around them, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love. Hedlund’s books are some of the most emotion filled I have ever read.

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The Mistress of Tall Acre 

by Laura Frantz

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The American Revolution is finally over and Sophie Menzies is hoping for better days to come.Her closest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy returns home, but the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, she agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre. But  a woman from the his past returns, threatening this new family and her position as mistress of Tall Acre. Frantz really had a talent for this time period!

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The Lost Heiress

by Roseanna White

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Brook Eden though raised in the palace of Monaco,is  British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. Her Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, so she leaves her adopted home to find her real family. What she finds is a mystery surrounding  her mother’s death. Her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. When her life is threatened, will she meet the same mysterious fate as her mother? White has written a great British historical with a twist of mystery and intrique.

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— Christine

Spotlight On New Inspirational Fiction

fair play                   Fair Play                  

     by Deeanne Gist

Saddled with a man’s name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for taking on a man’s profession. As a doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice—until Texas Ranger, Hunter Scott asks her to give it all up to become his wife. Clash of wills but will love win out? Another fun read from Deeanne Gist!

poltsPlots and Pans

by Kelly Eileen Hake

Tucker Carmichael likes order, especially on a cattle drive.  The Chisholm Trail is dirty, dangerous, and no place for women. After being away at school, Jessalyn Culpepper has come home and is determined to show everyone that a woman can manage everything from cooking to cattle! Tucker is horrified when she wants to join the cattle drive. But when they need a chuck wagon cook, Jessalyn seems the only solution.

The-Midwife-.-.-.-final-coverThe Midwife

by Jolina Petersheim

Rhoda , a Mennonite woman, with a past she wants to hide, is the head midwife at Hopen Haus. Beth Winslow, a surrogate whose  unborn child has some abnormalities, flees to Hopen Haus were Rhoda works. Add to that a pregnant young woman named Amelia who arrives  bearing secrets of her own. As Amelia’s due date draws near, Rhoda must face her past and those she thought she had left behind in order for the healing power of love and forgiveness to set them all free.

bridge-to-havenBridge to Haven

by Francine Rivers

It’s the 1950s and Lena Scott is the hottest rising star  since Marilyn Monroe. Only a few people know her by real name Abra and even fewer know the price she has paid for stardom. Pastor Ezekiel Freeman found her years ago, an abandoned newborn. The scars of that event left her vulnerable to a fast talker who lured her to Hollywood, to a life she is not prepared for. Fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.

pelicanThe Pelican Bride

by Beth White

In 1704  Genevieve Gaillain and her sister board a ship to the Louisiana colony as mail-order brides. Genevieve knows life won’t be easy but when she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer whose  fair treatment of native people has made him  unpopular in the  colony, Genevieve realizes that even in this land of liberty one is not guaranteed peace. And a secret she harbors could mean the undoing of the colony itself.

springOne Perfect Spring

by Irene Hannon

Claire Summers is an independent single mother who is doing her best she can. Keith Watson is a workaholic with no  social life. As the executive assistant to a local philanthropic businessman, he’s used to fielding requests for donations. But when a letter from Claire’s eleven-year-old daughter reaches his desk, everything changes. The girl isn’t asking for money, but for help finding the long-lost son of an elderly neighbor.

—- Christine

 

Women in the Civil War Part 2

ImageA few months back I reviewed Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green, which was about a young woman who is called to be a nurse during the Civil War. She faces opposition from doctors, her family and many others. Fire by Night by Lynn Austin also takes a look at the dangers, prejudice and horror women faced in the Civil War when called upon to serve both in different ways.

Julia is the pampered daughter of a wealthy family, who, wanting to impress the handsome young reverend who thinks she is shallow, decides to take up nursing. At first, she is horrified by what she sees, not realizing her romantic vision of it doesn’t exist. But with time and determination, and despite the very unfriendly and possibly dangerous doctor she works for… the side we see are those left behind who have to deal with the loss of loved ones.

Phoebe is a very different woman. Very tall, ungraceful and mannish, after all her brothers leave to fight in the war, she cuts her hair, dons men’s clothes and enlists. From Phoebe’s story we learn the horror of the war on the front lines. Men blown up in front of you when just a moment you were talking to them, the bad food, the mud and the loss of humanity.

This book is book two in her Refiner’s Fire series. The first is Candle in the Darkness and the third is A Light to My Path. The first is told from the viewpoint of a southern woman, the third from a slave. I highly recommend this series. Fire by Night kept my up very late. There were times I felt like crying at the senseless loss of life. Yes the Civil War was necessary, but you almost with there would have been a bloodless way we could have solved it.

-Christine

What’s New (and not so new) in Amish Fiction

I have been a fan of Beverly Lewis’ Amish fiction novels since The Shunning when it came out in the 90’s. Since then there have been so many authors writing these novels that it has almost become its own genre.  I myself consider Beverly still one of the best, and her newest book, The Bridesmaid does not disappoint.  This book is the second in the Home to Hickory Hollow series.  The protagonist in this story is Joanna, who befriended Amelia in the first book The Fiddler.  This time Joanna goes out of town for a funeral and meets Eben, a young Amish man from Shipshewana, Indiana. So begins a long distance courtship which for an Amish couple means letter writing and an occasional phone call.  Joanna and Eben wonder if their relationship can work out. If they marry where will they live, Pennsylvania or Indiana?   Joanna being a friend to many has now been asked to be a bridesmaid for the third time, is that mean she is doomed to be single forever? Is the old saying, Three times a bridesmaid, never a bride true?

You may also want to check out the last book in the Riverhaven Years series by historical novelist B.J. Hoff, called River of Mercy.  I also enjoyed His Love Endures Forever by Beth Wiseman, or the trilogy by Cindy Woodsmall called the Sisters of the Quilt, the first book is When the Heart Cries. All three of these novels feature a romance between an Amish-English (or non-Amish) couple, a common storyline in these books.  There is also an interesting series by Dale Cramer in which a group of families in the 1920’s move to Mexico so they do not have to send their children to school beyond 8th grade.  I can also recommend The Kauffman Amish Bakery series by Amy Clipston.  This four book series centers around Rebecca Kauffman, who gains custody of her two teenage nieces after her sister is killed in a car accident. If you are fascinated by Amish culture as I am, I am sure you will enjoy any of these titles.

See you in the fiction section!

Kim- Fountaindale Intern

Women in the Civil War: On the Frontlines

Wedded to War is the debut novel by Jocelyn Green which depicts the struggle of the women who volunteered to nurse during the Civil War.  The lead character is 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly, who leaves a life of privilege and wealth to be one of the first nurses for the Union Army. She faces much prejudice from the doctors who feel it is not a woman’s place to be in the medical field. But Charlotte perseveres, becoming an asset to the field despite the obstacles thrown her way.  Women of her time and station were expected to marry and marry well, but Charlotte wants something different. The novels secondary character, an Irish immigrant named Ruby O’Flannery, facing starvation and homelessness, does the unthinkable and in her act is tied to Charlotte. When they meet up later, they become friends as Ruby also assists the Union Army in the field hospitals.

I know a book is good, when I stop every so often to look up things that the author presents. For example, I was unaware that Brooks Brothers made Union uniforms that were so shoddy, that they fell apart in the rain.  As soon as I read that, I went right to Google and sure enough there was the whole story as to how the uniforms were actually pressed threads and scraps held together by glue.

The story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey’s letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured. Ms. Green’s novel has been endorsed by historians and professors for its historical accuracy and detail. From reading Ms. Woolsey’s letters and journals, to reading other historic Civil War documents and studying clothing at the time, this author did her homework. I eagerly anticipate her next book, The Widow of Gettysburg, which if it is anything like this book, will be outstanding. As my husband said, when stopping for the umpteenth time, I shared another section of the book with him, “Wow, you really like that book!”

You can visit the author’s website at http://www.jocelyngreen.com/ . It has all sorts of articles and links to Civil War studies and you can also vote as to what authentic period dress the heroine in The Widow of Gettysburg will wear on the cover.

-Christine

Families of Honor Series by Shelley Shepard Gray

I read a lot of Amish fiction. One of my favorite authors of this genre is Shelley Shepard Gray. Recently she had a 3 book series out called “Families of Honor”. These books were unlike the usual Amish fiction I have read, yet they still retained the theme of love, family and faith. In them, we see that the Amish deal with many of the same social issues we deal with in the “English” world.

The first book in the series is “The Caregiver”. This book follows the recently widowed, Lucy, who is traveling by train to Jacob’s Crossing in order to take care of her cousin Mattie, who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.  On the train she meets Caleb Miller and his little sister Lucy. Lucy’s late husband was an abusive spouse as an Amish woman, she could never divorce him. Part of her is glad he is dead, the other part is racked with guilt.  Can Lucy come to terms with her feelings?  Can she trust again, or will she always be afraid that every man is out to hurt her? We also meet Caleb’s Uncle John, who left the Amish community before his baptism. He moves back seeking a simpler life. A very compelling story.

In the second book of the series “The Protector”, we meet Ella, a rather plain young woman.  Following her mother’s death, Ella had to auction off the family farm and home. Her father had died before that and she is unable to take care of the farm by herself. She moves into town and works at the town’s library (there are even mentions of childrens story times and summer reading program!).  The town’s most eligible and handsome bachelor, Loyal Weaver, secretly buys the farm hoping one day Ella might live there again as his wife! Throw in an obsessive co-worker, Mattie’s battle with breast cancer and Uncle John’s confusion of going back to his faith and you have a page turner!

The final book in the series is “The Survivor”, which follows Mattie’s , who having successfully survived breast cancer, finds herself hoping to find someone to love her and marry her.  When all the other Amish girls her age were out courting, she was in and out of the hospitals, going through chemo and just trying to make it day-to-day. Her best friend is Graham Weaver, who has been with her throughout her treatment.  He is an amazing character, as is Mattie. Mattie is in love with him, but is he just her best friend and nothing more?  Can he possibly turn out to be the one? But there is gossip being spread that he is the father of a young woman’s baby. Is it true?  Find out! Uncle John’s story also continues as he falls in love with an Amish widow and we do peek in on the lives of Lucy and Ella.

All these books can be found at the Fountaindale Public Library District, along with several other of the author’s books.  You will not be able to put them down! And keep a Kleenex nearby too! Good reading!

-Christine

What I’m Reading

I just finished “The Girl in the Gatehouse” by Julie Klassen. It is not what I typically read – you know serial killer tries to outsmart police while trying to kill the main character. For a change of pace (and for our Readers’ Advisory genre of the month book) I picked up a historical fiction/romance. I did not want your typical historical romance (heaving bosoms, Viking warriors, pirates (unless it is Johnny Depp) …) and in this case you can judge a book by its cover.

Go ahead – pick up any historical romance book. Notice the bare chest, long flowing hair (on both the man and the woman), the background of a ship or mountains, and you can guess how the book will be.

So you can imagine how excited I was to find this on the new book shelf! Notice that the cover was nothing like my two examples? When I read the back cover it intrigued me. A young woman is banished from her home by her father at age 19 with only her former governess for a companion. Sent to live on her beloved aunt’s estate, Mariah Aubrey is relegated to live in the gatehouse, and is unwelcome in her aunt’s home. Hmmm…. what could she have done? Is she (gasp) pregnant? Did she have an illicit romance with a married man? I wanted to know.

Her father gives her a small stipend which is quickly spent on medicine and food. How will she support herself? By writing novels that’s how! Now keep in mind – novel writing was considered an improper occupation for ladies. To top it off, novels written by a woman who was involved in a mysterious scandal were twice as bad.

Well, I won’t tell you more – you will have to read it for yourself. I really enjoyed this book, and I give it four stars! Come into the Fountaindale Public Library and check out this book for yourself!

– Lynnette