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1860-1890 – Illinois/Egypt
In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert–and into a sandstorm.
Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies’ maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place.
Waves of Mercy
1846-1896 – The Netherlands and Michigan
Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from The Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she is asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions that have remained buried all these years, including the story of her one true love.
A few miles away at the Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of her broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after the violent storm her steamship encounters on her journey across the lake, stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.
Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.
On This Foundation
473 BC – Persia
When news reaches him that Jerusalem’s wall is shattered and its gates burned with fire, a distraught Nehemiah seeks God’s guidance in fasting and prayer. Granted an unexpected leave from his duty as cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah sets out for Jerusalem to rebuild the city wall–never anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.
The leaders of the surrounding nations become his fierce enemies, plotting to assassinate him and stop the wall’s reconstruction forever. A drought, meanwhile, has left the country impoverished, with many families resorting to selling their children as bondservants just to keep from starving.
Capturing the rebuilding of the wall through the eyes of a number of characters, On This Foundation is the powerful conclusion to The Restoration Chronicles. This exploration of faith in the midst of oppression offers hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand of God is upon those who believe.
Keepers of the Covenant
473 BC – Persia
In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king’s palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future–of family and love–seem impossible. In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God’s unwavering love for His people.
Return to Me (The Restoration Chronicles Book #1)
539 BC – Middle East
After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo’s prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God’s chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain. Zechariah, Iddo’s oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather’s ancient beliefs and the comfort and success his father enjoys in Babylon. But he soon begins to hear the voice of God, encouraging him to return to the land given to his forefathers. Bringing to life the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Return to Me tells the compelling story of Iddo and Zechariah, the women who love them, and the faithful followers who struggle to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.
All Things New
1865 – Virginia
The war is over. The South has lost.
Josephine Weatherly struggles to pick up the pieces of her life when her family returns to their Virginia plantation. But the realities of life after the war cannot be denied: her home and land are but a shell of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken.
Her life of privilege, a long-ago dream.
Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival–and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine’s mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak…but a bitter hatred fuels her.
Can hope–and a battered faith in God–survive amid the devastation?
1936 – Illinois and Kentucky
Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But happily-ever-after life she’s planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.
Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal.
But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated–not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. While Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and mystery–and especially romance–are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.
While We’re Far Apart
1943 – New York
In an unassuming apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, three lives intersect as the reality of war invades each aspect of their lives. Young Esther is heartbroken when her father decides to enlist in the army shortly after the death of her mother. Penny Goodrich has been in love with Eddie Shaffer for as long as she can remember; now that Eddie’s wife is dead, Penny feels she has been given a second chance and offers to care for his children in the hope that he will finally notice her and marry her after the war. And elderly Mr. Mendel, the landlord, waits for the war to end to hear what has happened to his son trapped in war-torn Hungary.
But during the long, endless wait for victory overseas, life on the home front will go from bad to worse. Yet these characters will find themselves growing and changing in ways they never expected–and ultimately discovering truths about God’s love…even when He is silent.
Though Waters Roar
Harriet Sherwood has always adored her grandmother. But when Harriet decides to follow her footsteps to fight for social justice, she certainly never expected her efforts to land her in jail. Nor did she expect her childhood enemy and notorious school bully, Tommy O’Reilly, to be the arresting officer.
Languishing in a jail cell, Harriet has plenty of time to sift through the memories of the three generations of women who have preceded her. As each story emerges, the strength of her family–and their deep faith in the God of justice and righteousness–brings Harriet to discovery of her own goals and motives for pursuing them.
Until We Reach Home
At Sea to Illinois
Life in Sweden seems like an endless winter for three sisters after their mother’s death and father’s suicide. Elin feels the weight of responsibility for her sisters’ welfare, and when circumstances become unbearable, she writes to her relatives in Chicago, pleading for help.
Joining sixteen million other immigrants who left their homelands for America between 1890 and 1920, Elin, Kirsten, and Sofia begin the long, difficult journey. Enduring the ocean voyage in steerage and detention on Ellis Island, their story is Americas story. And in a journey fraught with hardships, each woman will come to understand her secret longings and the meaning of home.
A Proper Pursuit
1893 – Illinois
20-year-old Violet Hayes is distressed to learn that her father is remarrying-and that her mother, whom Violet believed lay recovering from a mysterious illness in a sanitarium somewhere, had in fact simply abandoned her family and filed for divorce. To escape a stepmother-to-be she can’t stand, Violet heads to Chicago to stay with her grandmother and great-aunts. Although she’s recently graduated from a genteel school for young ladies, it’s in Chicago that Violet’s real education begins. One great-aunt tries to persuade her to join the suffrage movement, while another introduces Violet to elite society and urges her to catch a wealthy husband. Her grandmother, who takes her cues from Jane Addams, introduces Violet to the world of revivalist Christianity and inner-city good works, prompting Violet to re-examine her own faith. Two questions drive the plot: will Violet find her mother, and will she encounter true love? Readers will enjoy accompanying Violet as she discovers the answers, her calling and her adult self.
A Woman’s Place
1942 – Michigan
They watched their sons, their brothers, and their husbands enlist to fight a growing menace across the seas. And when their nation asked, they answered the call as well. Virginia longs to find a purpose beyond others’ expectations. Helen is driven by a loneliness money can’t fulfill. Rosa is desperate to flee her in-laws’ rules. Jean hopes to prove herself in a man’s world. Under the storm clouds of destruction that threaten America during the early 1940s, this unlikely gathering of women will experience life in sometimes starling new ways as their beliefs are challenged and they struggle toward a new understanding of what love and sacrifice truly mean.
Candle in the Darkness (Refiner’s Fire, Book 1)
1860 – Virginia
CAUGHT in a nation splitting apart.
ANGERED by those who would enslave others.
EMBOLDENED by a passion to make a difference.
TORN between the one she loves and a truth she can’t deny.
Here is Caroline Fletcher’s story.
Candle in the Darkness, Book One in the Refiner’s Fire series, tells the story of a timid southern girl who finds her voice as she begins to tell the truth about the atrocities around her. A short stay in the North confirms her abolitionist feelings, but when she returns to the South she finds herself torn between her home, a beloved suitor who doesn’t share her feelings, and the principles she knows are true. Standing for right may mean standing alone. Does she have the courage?