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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Conqueror – Bryan Litfin

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Good news for readers who love Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series! Following the stories of a Barbarian warrior, a senator’s daughter, widespread wars and political upheaval, Bryan Litfin’s new Constantine’s Empire series brings readers into the intriguing and perilous realm of fourth century Rome. Welcome to the Index, Bryan!

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It is AD 312. Rome teeters on the brink of war. Constantine’s army is on the move. On the Rhine frontier, Brandulf Rex, a pagan Germanic barbarian, joins the Roman army as a spy and special forces operative. Down in Rome, Junia Flavia, the lovely and pious daughter of a nominally Christian senator, finds herself embroiled in anti-Christian politics as she works on behalf of the church.

As armies converge and forces beyond Rex’s and Flavia’s controls threaten to destroy everything they have worked for, these two people from different worlds will have to work together to bring down the evil Emperor Maxentius. But his villainous plans and devious henchmen are not easily overcome. Will the barbarian warrior and the senator’s daughter live to see the Empire bow the knee to Christ? Or will their part in the story of Constantine’s rise meet an untimely and brutal end?

Travel back to one of the most pivotal eras in history–a time when devotion to the pagan gods was fading and the Roman Empire was being conquered by the sign of the cross.

Bryan’s Website

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Questions about Bryan’s Story

What inspired this story?

The ancient church era has so many stories that need to be told! It was a time when the Christian faith was just getting established and was setting the trajectories that would last for the next two thousand years and beyond. The Roman Empire is the perfect setting for a great tale like this. Against a backdrop of corruption and decadence, of imperial power and ruthless cruelty, of pagan temples and their ancient gods, the light of the Christian gospel was beginning to dawn and show a different way. In the early church era, it was time at last for the subjects of Caesar to bow the knee to a new Lord.

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

I think a lot of men would identify with the main character, Rex, and would want to be like him. He’s a kick-butt warrior, yet a guy with a soft side, too. He’s virile and capable, though not too tough to cry. Although he always tries hard, he doesn’t always get things right. He’s sometimes rash, impetuous, and hot-headed. But when you’re headed into the battle of your life, you want this guy at your side. He naturally protects the vulnerable and honors women. He’s a spiritual man, yet he’s still exploring the Christian God and trying to figure it all out. Rex is a volatile mixture of many masculine traits: brash, cocky, romantic, brave, strong, heroic, stubborn, compassionate . . . a tender warrior if ever there was one. Men want to be like Rex, and women want a Rex in their lives.

What research did you have to look up to make your character(s) authentic?

I think one of the unique things about The Conqueror is that I’ve been researching its subject matter for more than twenty-five years. I have a master’s degree and a doctorate in ancient Christianity. I taught it to undergraduates for sixteen years, and it’s still my professional academic field. I’ve published numerous articles and written several non-fiction books on the subject of the early Christians. I say all this not to brag, but just to point out that I’ve been living in my story world for quite a long time. This means that its themes, its Christian outlook, its theological and historical preoccupations all come naturally to me. Few historical fiction authors are also academics who participate in the scholarly discourse about their chosen era. I hope this background allows me to bring a certain realism to my stories, born from long exposure and intimate familiarity with the ancient church.

What do you hope readers learn from this story?

Christianity is not for the weak of heart! It is for resolute and brave people who take a stand for Christ even when it costs them. No one understood this better than the ancient Christians. Although society might hate the people who profess the Name and demand that they worship other gods, Jesus alone is Lord, and he alone deserves our allegiance. Although he calls us into costly discipleship, his presence goes with us and his resurrection power resides within us. He is worth any sacrifices that we have to make as we follow him toward our heavenly home.

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Questions about Bryan’s Reading

What other Christian Historical Novels are similar to yours in setting or storyline?

My Constantine’s Empire trilogy will probably remind some readers of Francine Rivers’s Mark of the Lion series. Both emphasize the grandeur and decadence of ancient Rome during the time when the church was still young. Both focus on the struggles of the early Christians to live faithfully in a culture that hates them. Both recount a sweeping saga in an epic landscape with a diverse cast of aristocrats, barbarians, soldiers, slaves, and everyday Christians. However, there is one key difference: Rivers sets her novels in the first century while mine take place in the fourth. This means that the ancient church has reached a more theologically and liturgically mature stage; and the rise of Emperor Constantine adds an interesting plot twist as he brings persecution to an end and begins the process by which Rome will bow the knee to Christ.

If your job was to sell one author’s historical fiction (besides your own) which author’s wares would you want to peddle? And which is your favorite by that author?

I’m a fan of Stephen R. Lawhead’s work, especially his historical fiction, more so than his fantasy. I really enjoyed his Byzantium. The historical period Lawhead describes is a few centuries after mine, but the setting overlaps: the European and Mediterranean worlds, particularly Byzantium itself. This is the city that Emperor Constantine re-founded as “New Rome,” and which came to be named for him (Constantinople). Lawhead tells an adventurous tale that sweeps across an epic landscape. I also enjoyed his Patrick because it portrays this great Irish saint as a fallen, fallible, and very human hero. (However, I have to admit, I have my doubts that Patrick drew his theology from ancient druidism, as the plot suggests!)

Bryan is giving away one print copy (USA and Canada Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter the 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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The Light at Wyndcliff by Sarah E. Ladd

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1820 – England

In the small Cornish village of Pevlyn, secrets are as treacherous as the rocky English shores.

Cornwall, England, 1820

Raised on the sprawling and rugged Wyndcliff Estate near the dangerous coast of South Cornwall, Evelyn Bray lives with her grandfather, a once-wealthy man now reduced to the post of steward. Evelyn is still grieving her father’s death and her mother’s abandonment when a passing ship is dashed against the rocks.

Liam Twethewey is a mere two and twenty when he inherits Wyndcliff Estate from his great uncle. His optimistic plans of opening a china clay pit to employ the estate’s tenants meets unexpected resistance, and rumors of smuggling and illegal activity challenge his newfound authority.

Brought together by troubling questions surrounding the shipwreck, Evelyn and Liam uncover even darker mysteries shrouding the estate. But as they untangle truth from deception, their loyalties separate them—and their budding love might not be strong enough to overcome the distance.

Watercolors by Lorna Seilstad

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1865 – Iowa

Strong-willed watercolor artist Amelia York thought she could paint the scenes of her own life – that is until she finds herself responsible for getting her brother, a paralyzed war veteran, home to Iowa and must deal with the moody Army captain God has painted into her life.

Captain Braedon McCrae is ruled by honor and a strong sense of duty. Still, the deaths of two people close to him have left him angry at God and vowing to never love again.

After a steamboat incident forces Amelia and Braedon to marry, Amelia must decide if she will accept Braedon’s offer of an annulment or keep the sacred vows she made before God.

The more Amelia attempts to control her future, the more she muddies the picture, like watercolors in the hand of a child. Can she learn to love, respect, and trust a man she barely knows?

The Conqueror by Bryan Litfin

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312 – Italy

It is AD 312. Rome teeters on the brink of war. Constantine’s army is on the move. On the Rhine frontier, Brandulf Rex, a pagan Germanic barbarian, joins the Roman army as a spy and special forces operative. Down in Rome, Junia Flavia, the lovely and pious daughter of a nominally Christian senator, finds herself embroiled in anti-Christian politics as she works on behalf of the church.

As armies converge and forces beyond Rex’s and Flavia’s controls threaten to destroy everything they have worked for, these two people from different worlds will have to work together to bring down the evil Emperor Maxentius. But his villainous plans and devious henchmen are not easily overcome. Will the barbarian warrior and the senator’s daughter live to see the Empire bow the knee to Christ? Or will their part in the story of Constantine’s rise meet an untimely and brutal end?

Travel back to one of the most pivotal eras in history–a time when devotion to the pagan gods was fading and the Roman Empire was being conquered by the sign of the cross.

Joy to the World by Various Authors

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Inspirational Regency romance with a Christmas twist from three best-selling authors

In Joy to the World, three popular romance authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness.

“Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller
Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they ever overcome both their obligations and their fears to find their way back into each other’s arms?

“Far as the Curse Is Found” by Amanda Barratt
One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts?

“Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch
A Scots portrait painter finds work at a noble manor house over the holidays. He never imagined he’d fall in love with the emotionally frozen widow there. Now he wants nothing more than to thaw her heart.

Legacy of Honor by Renee Brumbaugh Green

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1882 – Texas

He’s been raised to carry on the legacy.

After her mother’s untimely death, Emma Monroe’s dreams to become a teacher are dashed. She takes a job as maid and cook at the local Stratton Ranch, where she endures humiliation and hardship in order to provide for her ailing father and younger brother. Only Riley Stratton, her childhood friend and heir to the Stratton fortune, sees her heart. When she’s asked to care for Skye, the young half-Indian girl most family members refuse to claim, Emma finally finds the purpose she craves.

Riley Stratton has it all, or so it seems. Growing up as the youngest son of the rich and powerful John Stratton, Riley stands to inherit a legacy of greatness in the Stratton Ranch. On the surface, his family looks like they have it all, but manipulation, deceit, and an ever-present quest for power leave him desperate for change. Yet his father has made it clear: do things the Stratton way, or face alienation and disinheritance.

As Riley and Emma choose between honor, dreams, and expectations—not to mention the love they can no longer deny—their first steps prove how quickly the situation can spin into danger. When their best efforts threaten the lives and hopes of those closest to them, it becomes clear the decisions they make will change the course of their lives forever. 

A Haven for Her Heart by Susan Anne Mason

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1939 – Canada

Homeless after being released from a women’s reformatory in 1939
Toronto, Olivia Rosetti is taken in by an angel of mercy, Ruth Bennington. The two discover they share a painful past and together decide to open a maternity home for troubled women.

Despite the success of the home, Olivia is haunted by her inhumane treatment at the reformatory and the way her newborn son was taken from her. She feels undeserving of love–until she meets businessman Darius Reed. Although his attention makes her heart soar, he can never learn of her past.

Greek widower Darius Reed is determined to protect his daughter from the prejudice that killed her mother. He’ll ensure her future by marrying a woman from a respected Toronto family. But when Darius meets Olivia, he’s immediately drawn to her beauty and compassion.

Can love prove stronger than prejudice and past mistakes? Or will Olivia’s secrets destroy any chance at a future together?

Love at First flight by Linda Shenton Matchett

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1944 – Texas

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love?

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training…the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancé, Jasper MacPherson.

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.

Kaetlyn’s Cup of Christmas Cheer by Marilyn Turk

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1910 – Ireland

Soon after Kaetlyn Murphy lands in America, she is hired as a housemaid to a wealthy family. Her new friend, fellow Irishman Trevor Lewis finds work as a delivery man, and soon love blossoms between the two. But when Trevor loses interest in her, Kaetlyn is certain she has said the wrong thing once again. With Christmas approaching, Kaetlyn leaves town for her employers’ winter estate. Will she ever see Trevor again?

The Lost Heir by Candee Fick

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1812 – England

In Regency England, news travels slowly. Especially in Yorkshire.

Overnight, Kathleen Harris, a foundling raised by a vicar and his wife, becomes the ward of the Earl of Wiltshire and is set on a direct path to a London season. Now miles from home, will her heart outgrow her small Yorkshire village and the love of her childhood friend?

Reuben Cooke, a quality weaver in a region where the woolen industry thrives, supports his widowed mother and hopes to marry soon. However, after the local vicar dies, his dreams of a quiet life with Kathleen at his side quickly unravel as they are ripped apart by societal conventions.

Can true love survive the distance when the road back to happily-ever-after is littered with secrets, a scandal, and a shocking revelation?

Forever by Your Side by Tracie Peterson

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1880 – Oregon

After years of schooling on the East Coast, Constance Browning returns to Oregon and the reservation where she grew up with her missionary parents. She is accompanied by Thomas Lowell, her best friend and colleague, and together they embark on a project to catalogue the native peoples of Oregon for the Bureau of American Ethnology. But Connie and Tom have another purpose–to prove her parents are not involved in a secret conspiracy to goad the oppressed tribes into a doomed war.

Connie finds life on the reservation much bleaker than she remembered, and she is glad to have Tom by her side. But she also becomes reacquainted with Clint Singleton, the government agent on whom she had a crush as a girl. Now that she’s back, Clint finally seems interested in her, but Connie is no longer sure of her feelings. As tensions on the reservation rise and war looms ever closer, Connie and Tom search for whoever is truly behind the uprising. With danger unfolding amid shocking revelations, Connie will also have a revelation of the heart.

Her Secret Song by Mary Connealy

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1874 – Colorado

After a rough winter spent alone, Ursula Nordegren realizes she must overcome her fears of the outside world and begins a trek down Hope Mountain. Along the way she finds a badly wounded stranger and realizes God may have used her decision to leave as a way of saving the man.

Wax Mosby was climbing Hope Mountain in part to atone for his terrible choices. He was hired to drive out the Warden family and now knows he was duped. But when he’s wounded during the climb, the last person he expects to rescue him is a beautiful blond woman with the voice of an angel.

As both Ursula and Wax weigh the costs of living new lives, the two find an unlikely bond. And they’re joined by Ursula’s sisters and the Warden family as the final showdown over the family ranch looms with the coming of spring.

The Shepherd’s Wife by Angela Hunt

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30s – Israel

Yeshua of Nazareth has two sisters: Damaris, married to a wealthy merchant’s son, and Pheodora, married to a simple shepherd from Bethlehem. When Pheodora’s husband suffers an unexpected reversal of fortune and is thrown into debtor’s prison, she returns to Nazareth, where she pins her hopes on two she-goats who should give birth to spotless white kids that would be perfect for the upcoming Yom Kippur sacrifice.

In the eighteen months between the kids’ birth and the opportunity to sell them and redeem her husband from prison, Pheodora must call on her wits, her family, and her God in order to provide for her daughters and survive. But when every prayer and ritual she knows is about God’s care for Israel, how can she trust that God will hear and help a lowly shepherd’s wife?

The Red Ribbon by Pepper Basham

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1912 – Virginia

An Appalachian Feud Blows Up in 1912
 
Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
 
In Carroll County, a corn shucking is the social event of the season, until a mischievous kiss leads to one of the biggest tragedies in Virginia history. Ava Burcham isn’t your typical Blue Ridge Mountain girl. She has a bad habit of courtin’ trouble, and her curiosity has opened a rift in the middle of a feud between politicians and would-be outlaws, the Allen family. Ava’s tenacious desire to find a story worth reporting may land her and her best friend, Jeremiah Sutphin, into more trouble than either of them planned. The end result? The Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912.

Setting Two Hearts Free by Janet Grunst

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1789 – Virginia

Would their love survive the invisible wounds of war?

Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.

Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her. 

Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost; Setting Two Hearts Free?

A Heart’s Delight by Linda Ford

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1887 – Canada

Marriage of convenience? Not to this man.

Laura has been lied to before and vows to guard her heart. Especially from the likes of Cody Remington who seems not to take life seriously for one minute.

Cody was erreneously charged with murder. And the one woman he trusted—the woman he thought he loved—left him to hang. Trusting a woman is a mistake Cody doesn’t intend to repeat.

Neither Cody nor Laura can turn away from two abused and hungry children. When they are stranded overnight caring for the children, the townspeople insist they must marry.

How can Laura marry a man she can’t trust? Can Cody overcome his past to become the man Laura needs?

Colors of Truth by Tamera Alexander

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1866 – Tennessee

In a town battered and bruised by war, one woman embarks upon an impossible search–and one man must face the past in the very place that almost destroyed him.
   
Tennessee, 1866. According to the last letter Irish immigrant Catriona O’Toole received from her twin brother, Ryan, he was being dispatched to Franklin, Tennessee, where–as a conscripted Confederate soldier–he likely endured the bloody Battle of Franklin that claimed the lives of thousands. Catriona leaves behind the lush green of their Irish homeland in search of him, with nothing to her name except the sum of cash Ryan sent to their family. Now the sole provider for her seven-year-old spitfire sister, Nora, Catriona hopes to reunite the siblings–the only surviving members of their devastated family.
   
Wade Cunningham is a former Federal soldier who now works for the newly formed United States Secret Service and is trying to uncover counterfeiting rings in the postwar South. In order to infiltrate their sophisticated enterprise, he must pose as a former Confederate in Franklin–a town where counterfeit greenbacks run rampant. When Wade meets Catriona, he is immediately intrigued by her and the little redheaded scamp in her care–but what he doesn’t anticipate is that the cash in Catriona’s possession is some of the most convincing counterfeit money he’s ever seen. Soon the object of Wade’s affection is also the suspect in a major crime–one he’s expected to prosecute.
  
With rich historical detail and multifaceted prose, USA TODAY bestselling author Tamera Alexander tells a riveting tale of truth, betrayal, and unlikely romance that unveils the many shades of God’s perfect redemption.

Sacred Honor by Lori Bates Wright

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1865 – Georgia

Her heart is shattered. Her home is left in shambles.
And she is forced to give up the only man capable of putting the pieces back together.

Aurora Haverwood has loved Zachery Saberton for as long as she can remember. Her dreams of being his wife are cruelly dashed when the American Civil War draws to a close with news that Zach is missing and presumed dead. Refusing to believe he will never return to her, she sets out to find the truth.

Captain Zach Saberton, notorious blockade runner for the Confederate Navy, has outfoxed the Yankee War Department once too often. In order to save his neck, Zach agrees to go undercover in London to help the Union recover a million dollars’ worth of gold bullion missing from the failed Confederate Treasury.

When Aurora discovers Zach Saberton is alive and well in England, attending one social affair after another, she decides to pay a visit to her uncle, the Earl of Kendal, in hopes of finding some answers. The journey from her devastated homeland to elegant London society plunges her into a web of danger.

Zach, desperately trying to avoid another civil rebellion, soon comes to realize that it’s Aurora who holds the key to their survival.

But in accepting her help, he risks losing her forever.

The Samurai’s Honor by Walt Mussell

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1577 – Japan

Younger daughter of the area’s most prominent swordsmith, Sen’s life is marked with jealousy, curiosity, and love. Jealousy that her older sister, Haru, gets to marry her father’s handsome apprentice. Curiosity about her father’s important customers. Love from a family that is planning her next step to adulthood. But when a high-ranking samurai visits her father to order a sword, Sen’s curiosity gets the best of her. She and her sister find themselves eyewitnesses to a murder and on the cusp of a plot that seeks the samurai’s demise. Will Sen’s curiosity lead to her own death?

Palmer Girl by Dawn Klinge

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1893 – Illinois

When insurance tycoon, Cornelius Nordeman, is recruited to work for the Exposition Corporation, the New Yorker brings his family to live at the Palmer House Hotel, far away from any reminders of a recent tragedy. He’s hopeful this move will offer respite from his family’s grief.

Elizabeth Nordeman, his daughter, has something to prove, which leads her to seek work as a florist at Marshall Field’s, Chicago’s finest department store.

John Lewis knows something is different and intriguing about the new florist he hired. When his boss, Marshall Field, informs him that Elizabeth is the Nordeman heiress, his job suddenly becomes more complicated–especially when he finds himself falling for her.

On the eve of the Columbian Exposition of 1893, Chicago prepares to prove that it’s a first-class city, and the brightest minds from around the country will plan the most spectacular fair the world has seen.

The World’s Fair will bring change and innovation into a society bound tightly by class and tradition. Elizabeth’s heart longs to push against those boundaries, so what’s holding her back?

Enduring Dreams by Sandra Ardoin

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1897 – Indiana

Loving her might be a blueprint for disaster.

Claire Kingsley once dared to assert herself into the male world of 1890s architecture. It cost her husband both his life and an heir. Now fear controls her choices and her dreams. When offered a chance to create another design, she fights against the pull, afraid of further disaster. But disturbing news ignites a fierce loyalty to her past love and a powerful attraction to a new one—an attraction she resists…for his sake.

Mark Gregory’s first architectural project in town comes with the proviso that he works with a female. He balks, even though Claire stirs his heart like no other woman. Yet, with a loan payment looming, risking his business on someone of unknown talent invites failure, a word he’s struck from his vocabulary.

When bigotry and Claire’s fears threaten an important commission, will she summon the courage to help Mark succeed, or will she destroy another man’s dream?

Read the heartwarming historical romance, Enduring Dreams, the first novel in the Widow’s Might series.

Light in the Mountain Sky by Misty Beller

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1831 – Idaho Territory

This epic journey may seal her fate forever.

Determined to prove her worth, Meksem fiercely fought to earn her place among the warriors in her Nez Perce camp. When her half-sister is captured by an enemy tribe, she refuses to trust the rescue to anyone else. But her new friends insist on joining her mission, and she battles between relief and frustration at their presence. Especially the white man who peers at her as if he can see through the face of the warrior she struggles so hard to maintain.

Spaniard Adam Vargas thrives on adventure wherever his travels take him. He’s fallen in love with this Rocky Mountain wilderness, as well as the spotted horses the Nez Perce tribe raise. His fascination with this Indian maiden-turned-warrior catches him off guard though, including the way she seems to be fighting for more than her sister’s safe return.

The journey proves more perilous than any of the group expects, and the secret Meksem hides becomes impossible to conceal. If they live through this mission, the life they knew will never be the same again.

Beholden by Jody Hedlund

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Medieval – Fictitious Kingdom/Country

In a land where being the fairest maiden is a curse…

A beautiful noblewoman with a terrible secret, and a prince subjected to slavery.

Upon the death of her wealthy father, Lady Gabriella is condemned to work in Warwick’s gem mine. As she struggles to survive the dangerous conditions, her kindness and beauty shine as brightly as the jewels the slaves excavate. While laboring, Gabriella plots how to avenge her father’s death and stop Queen Margery’s cruelty.

Prince Vilmar of Scania enslaves himself in Warwick’s gem mine as part of a royal test to prove himself the most worthy of three brothers to become the king’s successor. Amidst the hardships, he doesn’t anticipate his growing compassion for the other slaves, especially tenderhearted Gabriella.

As the annual summer ball looms nearer, Gabriella sets into motion her plan to end Queen Margery’s evil. When Vilmar learns of Gabriella’s intentions, he resolves to come to her aid and fight against Warwick’s queen. But doing so may require him to give up his chance of becoming Scania’s next king, perhaps even cost him his life.

Mercy’s Refuge by Rita Gerlach

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1620 – England/Holland

A young woman’s journey to the New World.

Inspired by William Bradford’s ‘Of Plymouth Plantation’, Mercy’s Refuge is a sweeping historical novel of romance and adventure in the year 1620. Mercy McCrea, orphaned as a child and raised by her aging grandparents, lives in poverty. The only thing keeping her and her family from starvation is to work as a kitchen servant for a rich nobleman.

When catastrophe strikes and Mercy’s life is in danger, she flees England for her uncle’s farm in Holland. There she meets Caleb, a carpenter, and finds refuge among the Separatists who fled the wrath of the English King. Beginning in Ipswich, a North Sea port town in Suffolk, England, the novel takes the reader on a voyage across the English Channel to Holland, and then aboard the Mayflower.

When Mercy and Caleb face the dangers of the sea, their faith and love for each other is strengthened by the strong bonds of a people whose courage forged a nation.

Five Simple Gifts by Sondra Kraak

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1893 – Connecticut

Langley Taft is a firm believer in the narrow way. She trained to work alongside her father in their lumber dynasty and married the man of her parents’ choosing. A man who turned around and issued her a humiliating divorce. Left alone to raise her sister’s illegitimate son, she defies her family to do what she knows is right: deliver the baby to his father—even if that man is Wilder Monaghan, the irresponsible heir to a rival lumber company who lives on the other side of the country. And who happens to be the scoundrel she once fancied in her youth.

A lover of adventure, opportunity, and all things exciting, Wilder isn’t prepared for the surprise appearance of the son he thought was dead, or for the woman who shows up with her life shaded by unjust accusations but determined to help him raise his son. Parenting alongside the stringent Langley might be his most challenging adventure yet. Or his most rewarding, provided he can teach her how to have fun and in the process win her affections. But why would a studious, responsible woman like Langley Taft look twice at him, a reprobate trying to find his course back to the narrow way?

As secrets are revealed, driving a wedge between Wilder and Langley, they both must humble themselves to receive a gift they did not earn, a gift not bought with money or charm: the gift of a second chance.

The Refrain Within by Liz Tolsma

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1944 – Hungary

To save a life, would you betray everyone you love?

Hungary in 1944 is a dark place. The Nazis have invaded and turned the country upside down, their evil making its way into every life.

Clarinetist Eva Bognar is engaged to conductor and composer Patrik Kedves, happily planning her wedding. At first she doesn’t think the war will affect her directly; everyone around her can be trusted to do the right thing. Then her Jewish best friend and sister-in-law Zofia goes missing–and instead of the Gestapo being to blame, a friend says it was Patrik who led Zofia away. Has he betrayed Eva and everything the family stands for?

When the rest of the family’s lives are directly threatened, Patrik’s secrets must come to light. The Bognars flee for the border in hopes of getting out of the country to the safety of Palestine. Eva must put her life and the lives of everyone she loves in the hands of the very man who betrayed her–and they may not all make it out of the war alive . . .

Magnolia’s Measure by Kimberly Grist

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1892 – Tennessee

Choosing to participate in a matrimonial agency as a mail-order bride, Magnolia proceeds methodically and uses her skills as a cook to create the perfect recipe for a husband.

A successful businessman, the idea of putting another person’s needs in front of his own is foreign. He’s shocked when a young cook from an orphanage intrigues him. Can he measure up?

The Secret Place of Thunder by Alicia Ruggieri

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1936 – Kentucky

The mountains have imprisoned her long enough…

Edna Sue O’Connell came back to the Kentucky hills out of duty and can’t wait for the chance to escape again. Her work as a horseback librarian in rural Appalachia provides enough income for her invalid father to survive in the midst of the Great Depression, but it affords her with little else.

When an opportunity arises for Edna to take on an additional book delivery area, she spies a glimmer of hope that she might find a way out of Willow Hollow after all… and that she might actually make something of her life apart from the tragedy that has filled it thus far.

But the new routes give Edna more than she ever bargained for. Slowly, she finds that the mountains contain many valuable secrets – if she has the grit to meet them.

The Secret Place of Thunder is part of the Librarians of Willow Hollow multi-author novella collection. Each novella stands on its own but is connected to the others in this historical Christian fiction series set in 1930s Appalachia.

A Heart of Gold by Stacy Henrie

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1898 – Montana/Canada

They’ll have to conquer more than the Klondike Trail to reach her father in time—they’ll have to overcome their past too.

After months of silence from her father in the Klondike, Tava Rutherford finally receives word from him. Only the outdated letter reveals that her father is ill and may be dying. Desperate to discover his fate, Tava resolves to make the journey to the wilds of northwestern Canada. But Jess Lawmen, her ranch foreman and the man who broke her heart, insists she doesn’t go alone. Jess intends to keep his promise to look out for her—even if that means traveling thousands of miles with Tava, the woman he claims to feel just friendship for but has never stopped loving.

With their own ragtag group of travelers in tow, Tava and Jess confront one challenge after another as they join the hundreds of stampeders scrambling to reach the goldfields. But as the two of them come face to face with their past hurts and mistakes in their race to reach Tava’s father, they will have to decide whether to cling to safety or risk their hearts for something even greater.

Remember Me by Mario Escobar

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1934 – Spain

Amid the shadows of war, one family faces an impossible choice that will change their lives forever.

Madrid, 1934. Though the Spanish Civil War has not yet begun, the streets of Madrid have become dangerous for thirteen-year-old Marco Alcalde and his younger sisters, Isabel and Ana. When Marco’s parents align themselves against General Franco and his fascist regime, they have no inkling that their ideals will endanger them and everyone they love—nor do they predict the violence that is to come.

When the Mexican government promises protection to the imperiled children of Spain, the Alcaldes do what they believe is best: send their children, unaccompanied, across the ocean to the city of Morelia—a place they’ve never seen or imagined. Marco promises to look after his sisters in Mexico until their family can be reunited in Spain, but what ensues is a harrowing journey and a series of heartbreaking events. As the growing children work to care for themselves and each other, they feel their sense of home, family, and identity slipping further and further away. And as their memories of Spain fade and the news from abroad grows more grim, they begin to wonder if they will ever see their parents again or the glittering streets of the home they once loved.

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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1936 – Kentucky

A traveling librarian ventures into the mining towns of Kentucky on horseback—and learns to trust the One who truly pens her story—in this powerful novel from the best-selling author of A Silken Thread.
 
During the Great Depression, city-dweller Addie Cowherd dreams of becoming a novelist and offering readers the escape that books had given her during her tragic childhood. When her father loses his job, she is forced to take the only employment she can find—delivering books on horseback to poor coal-mining families in the hills of Kentucky.
 
But turning a new page will be nearly impossible in Boone’s Hollow, where residents are steeped in superstitions and deeply suspicious of outsiders. Even local Emmett Tharp feels the sting of rejection after returning to the tiny mountain hamlet as the first in his family to graduate college. And as the crippled economy leaves many men jobless, he fears his degree won’t be worth much in a place where most men either work the coal mine or run moonshine.
 
As Addie also struggles to find her place, she’ll unearth the truth about a decades-old rivalry. But when someone sets out to sabotage the town’s library program, will the culprit chase Addie away or straight into the arms of the only person who can help her put a broken community back together?

Bride by Blackmail by Debbie Lynne Costello

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1880 – South Carolina

A broken heart, a controlling father, and an intrusive Scot leave Charlotte Jackson reeling. Accused of stealing an heirloom pin, she must choose between an unwanted marriage and the ruin of her family name. With the futures of her three younger sisters at stake, as well as her own reputation, Charlotte must navigate through injustice to find forgiveness and true happiness. Eager to find the traitor that caused the death of his brother, Duncan Mackenzie comes to America and attempts to fit in with Charleston society. But when the headstrong Charlotte catches his eye, Duncan takes on a second mission—acquiring the lass’s hand. After being spurned several times, he uses unconventional ways of winning her heart.

Patriot’s Courage by Penelope Marzec

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1794 – Ohio Territory

In retaliation for his brother’s death, Ryan McGowan vows to kill every Indian in Ohio territory. When his captain assigns him to teach English to a woman found sobbing over a dead warrior, he resents the task. But the woman melts away his vengeance. He begins to understand the way to peace is through forgiveness. Then he learns the woman carries the child of her Indian husband in her womb.

Màxkchulëns, a white woman adopted by the Lenape at the age of four, is confined at the fort and longs to return to her people. Though Ryan leads her to recall part of the faith her biological parents held dear, she struggles to understand it and the power of grace.

Can she rely on that grace in desperate times? And will faith protect her unborn child as well?

The Heart of the Midwife by Various Authors

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Four Women Fight for the Right to Life and Love
 
Love Charm by Cynthia Hickey
Ozark Mountains, 1868
Bound by a common bond of wanting to help the Missouri hill people they’ve grown to love, Phoebe Hudson, socialite-turned-midwife, and Luke Morris, the schoolteacher, find themselves mediators in a family feud.
 
Love’s Rebirth by Darlene Franklin
Denver, 1871
Dr. Vaughan Strahan, a war veteran, wants to work with expectant mothers so others don’t die like his wife and child, but there is already a midwife working in the old mining district whose approval he is determined to win.
 
If Not For Grace by Patty Smith Hall
New York City, 1889
After her friend’s death in childbirth, Grace Sullivan converts her family home into a haven for immigrant families preparing for the birth of a child. But when the city threatens to close her down, her only hope is to ask for help from an unlikely source—her former friend, Patrick O’Leary.
 
Between Two Worlds by Marilyn Turk
New Orleans, 1890
Camille Duval confronts Madam Lafleur, the local voodoo queen, when she attends one of her first births since moving to New Orleans. How can Camille convince the young mother to trust her instead of voodoo for the health of her baby? Can Camille enlist the support of the young family physician, Julian Charbonnet who doesn’t seem interested in “women’s affairs”?

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