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A Dream Fulfilled by Julie Lessman

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1935 – Massachusetts

She’s always dreamed of a best friend.
He’s always dreamed of a large family.
Until hope intervenes with a dream fulfilled.

Katie O’Connor McGee learned early on not to let anyone get too close. Picked on mercilessly in school because of an unsightly handicap, she kept everyone at arm’s length, including three big sisters seven to fourteen years older. As far as Katie was concerned, friends were meant to be restricted, not embraced. But when she meets Arlene Campbell and her little girl, Addie, during playtime at a park with her own children, she discovers a friendship for which she’s waited a lifetime. A dream hidden deep in her soul she didn’t even know existed until she connected with a woman who would change her life forever, teaching her the depth and sacrifice of true friendship.

Luke McGee has dreamed of having a large family since he roamed the streets of Boston as a virtual orphan, finally finding a home—and his heart—in a marriage to Katie O’Connor and their two young girls. However, once Katie’s time and affection shifts toward a new friend who needs her, it creates turmoil in Luke’s happy home. It doesn’t help that as Director for the Boston Children’s Aid Society, Luke works long hours providing homes and hope for troubled children on the streets. But when he reaches out to one hardened little boy, his hope to make a difference suddenly coincides with that of his wife’s, sowing the seeds of a dream fulfilled for them all.

 

Author Interview & Giveaway – Jacob’s Bell – John Snyder

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Are you in the mood for Christmas? Doesn’t the cover look like one you ought to read by a fire?

jacobsbell

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Jacob’s Bell

At one time, Jacob had it all: wealth, a wonderful family and a position as one of the most respected businessmen in Chicago. Then he made some bad decisions and all that changed. For the past twenty years he lived in an alcohol-induced haze, riddled with guilt for the dreadful things he had done to his family and his role in the untimely death of his wife. Estranged from his children and penniless, he was in and out of jail, on the street and jumping freight trains for transportation. Realizing he needed a drastic change, Jacob embarked on a journey to find his children, seek their forgiveness, and restore his relationship with them. Befriended by a pastor at a Salvation Army mission, he struggled to transform his life. Yet finally he overcame his demons, but not without a fair number of setbacks. Jacob became a Salvation Army Bell Ringer at Christmastime. While ringing his bell on a street corner one snowy day, he met a young girl who, through a series of strange coincidences, led him back to his children and facilitated Jacob’s forgiveness just in time for Christmas.

John’s Website

johnsnyder

 

 

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Questions about John’s Story

What inspired your story?

I am intrigued by people, family dynamics and overcoming obstacles. Jacob’s Bell: A Christmas Story encompasses all of this. I also, love Christmas and how the holiday can transform peoples’ hearts.

What character in your book turned out to be your favorite?

Jacob! Absolutely hands down.

If you could be one of your characters, who would you choose to be and why?

Jacob. His life was such a roller coaster, and at some points, such a train wreck, but he overcame his obstacles and achieved his goal; forgiveness. What a journey!

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John is giving away FIVE books (USA only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter Rafflecopter, tell me in a comment below: “I’m not entering the rafflecopter, but please throw me in the hat” so I can manually put you in there for a chance.**

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Mist O’er the Voyageur by Naomi Musch

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1807 – Canada

After her aunt’s death, Métis woman Brigitte Marchal finds herself alone in Montreal. Uninterested in the convent and desperate to flee a loathsome suitor, she disguises herself as a young man to travel west by voyageurs’ brigade in search of her long-absent, fur-trader father. But her inexperience and disguise don’t hide her for long.

René Dufour yields to the unwelcome position of shielding Brigitte, but he cannot hide her identity forever. Keeping her safe while meeting his North West Company obligations and honoring his family promises may prove to be more disquieting to his heart than he imagined.

As Brigitte adjusts to the voyageur life on Lake Superior, she struggles to justify the faith she grew up in with the mysticism around her, but greater still is the conflict her heart must settle over who to trust in this rugged, unfamiliar country.

This Courageous Journey by Misty Beller

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1854 – Montana

As the fifth daughter in a family of nine, Noelle Grant spent her life striving to be unique. Her love of telling stories helps define her goal—to be known around the country as one of the top news correspondents of her time. And what better way to uncover sensational tales than to travel through the mountain wilderness to visit her brother? The trip comes together perfectly as she journeys with family friends who will be settling in the same area. Her first inkling that things may not be as perfect as she’d imagined shows up in the form of the mountain man hired as their guide for the final leg of the journey.

When Daniel Abrams agrees to guide the small group of easterners along his usual route northward to the Canadian mountains, his gut tells him he’s making a terrible decision. But if he doesn’t take them, who will? The crew’s leader refuses to consider turning back. As they start out, Daniel can’t help but notice the woman traveling under the care of her friends. Though she appears too genteel to last long in these mountains, she soon reveals a strength that draws him more than he should allow.

When the dangers of this wilderness become more than the group bargained for, Noelle must choose to delay her trip northward or proceed alone with the man she’s come to trust against all reason. She never dreams her decision will place her—and the man she loves—in a situation more hazardous than any story her imagination could conjure.

Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall

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1893 – Massachusetts

Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again–this time for love…and to someone safe

As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of “what if” at bay?

This book was originally published in the Timeless Love: Romantic Stories That Span the Ages collection.

Eternity Between Us by Stephania McGee

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1861 – Virginia

An unnatural thunder rumbled through the air, carrying with it not thoughts of rain but of smoke and trepidation…
 
After being forced to use a pistol against invaders, Evelyn Mapleton is no longer the timid girl her extended family expects. The more her aunt and cousin resent her new independence, the more Evelyn is determined she’ll make her missing father proud by taking up his cause and aiding Confederate soldiers–even if she has to outmaneuver the Yankees guarding her home to do it. 
 
Samuel Flynn’s life is consumed with two priorities: learning to become a proper guardian for the young orphans he’s adopted and obtaining his physicians license. When his final testing sends him to a Federal Army field hospital, the last thing he expects is to be entranced by a mysterious woman. But when Evelyn’s misguided exploits put her life in danger, will he risk everything he’s worked for to save a woman he thinks is his enemy?
 
Based on first-hand accounts from the Civil War and with a strong romantic thread, this is a tale of faith, espionage, hope, and courage historical fiction fans won’t want to miss.

Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

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1866 – England

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

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1943 – Poland

Natia has a secret—and she’s hiding him right beneath her captor’s nose.

In 1943 Poland, the Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their peaceful farm to the harsh confines of a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, and Teodor is sent to work in the factory. Despite the strict camp rules—and the consequences for disobeying them—Natia finds a way to communicate with Teodor by sending messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory.

The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the overseer’s doorstep. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear—but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price. . .

True Nobility by Lori Bates Wright

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1860 – Georgia

Alone in an unfamiliar country where her noble title is useless. Everything she believes in is shattered. Driven by desperation, she risks it all to return to the one man whose love promises to be true.

Lady Victoria Haverwood, beloved daughter of a widowed Earl, has spent years at a fashionable boarding school longing for the day she can come home to finally take her place as mistress of Wrenbrooke. But when she becomes the target of a murderous plot, her idyllic plan is swiftly turned upside down. Nicholas Saberton, an accomplished American Naval Captain, is commissioned to escort the earl and his daughter safely across the ocean to the lively shores of Savannah, Georgia. Pledged to protect her with his life, Nicholas is determined to remain immune to Victoria’s innocent charm. Focused on building his shipping empire, the Haverwood heiress and her quirky relatives become an irresistible diversion. Danger shadows them. Soon the repercussions of her father’s past ensnare Victoria in a web of deception that threatens to consume her. Only her love for Nicholas will give her strength to discover the truth. But will it be too late?

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

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1940s-1960s – New York and England

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice. 

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy. 

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had. 

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

Jacob’s Bell by John Snyder

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1944 – Illinois and Maryland

For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Melody Carlson comes JACOB’S BELL, a heartwarming Christmas story about how an unlikely friendship between an old man and a little girl saved a family.

Sometimes the road to forgiveness and restoration can be a rocky one. Set in Chicago and Baltimore in 1944 with flashbacks to the 1920s, JACOB’S BELL follows Jacob MacCallum on his arduous journey to redemption.
 
At one time, Jacob had it all: wealth, a wonderful family and a position as one of the most respected businessmen in Chicago. Then he made some bad decisions and all that changed. For the past twenty years he lived in an alcohol-induced haze, riddled with guilt for the dreadful things he had done to his family and his role in the untimely death of his wife. Estranged from his children and penniless, he was in and out of jail, on the street and jumping freight trains for transportation. Realizing he needed a drastic change, Jacob embarked on a journey to find his children, seek their forgiveness, and restore his relationship with them. Befriended by a pastor at a Salvation Army mission, he struggled to transform his life. Yet finally he overcame his demons, but not without a fair number of setbacks. Jacob became a Salvation Army Bell Ringer at Christmastime. While ringing his bell on a street corner one snowy day, he met a young girl who, through a series of strange coincidences, led him back to his children and facilitated Jacob’s forgiveness just in time for Christmas.

The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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17th and 19th century – Massachusetts

After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when they should marry and whom–a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father’s thieving business partner.

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will’s conditions, they’ll be faced with obstacles on every side–and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

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1388 BC – Israel

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy

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1868 – Nevada

Union army officer Cameron Scott is used to being obeyed, but nothing about this journey to Lake Tahoe has gone as expected. He’s come to fetch his daughter and nephew, and seek revenge on the people who killed his brother. Instead he finds himself trapped by a blizzard with two children who are terrified of him and stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness, who he worries may be trying to keep the children.

When danger descends on the cabin where they’re huddled, Cam is hurt trying to protect everyone and now finds Gwen caring for him too. He soon realizes why the kids love her so much and wonders if it might be best for him to move on without them. When she sees his broken heart, Gwen decides to help him win back their affection–and in the process he might just win her heart as well.

Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

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1897 – Illinois

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can’t seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she’s learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her find the truth. But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden.

At the same time, unflattering stories about Anna are leaked by someone who would love to see her disgraced and her engagement broken. And as Anna tries to share her faith with her society friends, she understands that her choice to seek God’s purpose for her life isn’t as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje’s been helping new Dutch immigrants, including a teen with a haunted past, adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

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