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Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

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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.

Land of Promise by Carol Cox

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Land of Promise

1867 – Arizona

Elizabeth Simmons longs to escape the mold society has for her and realize her dreams of independence.

When offered a job caring for an injured family acquaintance, Elizabeth gladly leaves her pampered life in Philadelphia behind and sets off for the newly-formed Arizona Territory. However, she soon discovers the awful truth behind her new arrangement.

Michael O’Roarke stepped away from bright prospects back East in order to keep tabs on his unprincipled father in frontier Arizona. That burden, along with the demands of starting his own freighting business, claims all his attention…until he finds himself captivated by the feisty Elizabeth.

Will losing her heart to Michael undermine the independence Elizabeth has worked so hard to achieve? Or could this land of danger and hardship also prove to be her land of promise?

The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray

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The Loyal Heart

1867 – Texas

Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda’s home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip’s name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone. 

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He’s mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.

He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn’t prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well. 

Counterfeit Courtship by Christina Miller

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Counterfeit Courtship

1865 – Mississippi

Returning home, Confederate hero Colonel Graham Talbot faces his toughest battle yet—avoiding the marriage-minded young ladies in town vying for his attentions. With a stepmother and orphaned niece to support, the penniless soldier has no intention of marrying. Neither does the woman he once loved, his next-door neighbor Ellie Anderson. But Ellie has a proposal of her own: a pretend courtship to keep their unwanted admirers at bay. 

Ellie’s unpredictable childhood left her determined to safeguard her independence—and her plantation. Blaming herself for driving Graham away to war, she devises a plan to help them both. But when it goes awry, Ellie will face a choice: save her beloved property…or trust in a relationship that’s becoming undeniably real.

Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love

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Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray

1820s-1870s – Virginia

A general’s wife and a slave girl forge a friendship that transcends race, culture, and the crucible of Civil War.

Mary Anna Custis Lee is a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and heiress to Virginia’s storied Arlington house and General Washington’s personal belongings.

Born in bondage at Arlington, Selina Norris Gray learns to read and write in the schoolroom Mary and her mother keep for the slave children and eventually becomes Mary’s housekeeper and confidante. As Mary’s health declines, Selina becomes her personal maid, strengthening a bond that lasts until death parts them.

Forced to flee Arlington at the start of the Civil War, Mary entrusts the keys to her beloved home to no one but Selina. When Union troops begin looting the house, it is Selina who confronts their commander and saves many of its historic treasures.

In a story spanning crude slave quarters, sunny schoolrooms, stately wedding parlors, and cramped birthing rooms, novelist Dorothy Love amplifies the astonishing true-life account of an extraordinary alliance and casts fresh light on the tumultuous years leading up to and through the wrenching battle for a nation’s soul.

A classic American tale, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray is the first novel to chronicle this beautiful fifty-year friendship forged at the crossroads of America’s journey from enslavement to emancipation.

Bride by Arrangement by Karen Kirst

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Bride by Arrangement

1868 – Kansas

Newly minted Cowboy Creek sheriff Noah Burgess doesn’t want a wife—despite his friends insisting that he needs one. So when they send for a big-city single mother to be his mail-order bride, he’s fit to be tied. Even if vivacious Grace Longstreet might just be the only person who can see past Noah’s scars…and help him heal. 

Grace needs a husband to keep her and her twin daughters out of her brother-in-law’s grasp. And she’ll do anything—including taking on her cousin’s identity—to find one. But as the attraction between Grace and the lawman sparks higher, she begins hoping for a real marriage. So she needs to tell the truth…or a mail-order match that’s meant to be could crumble.

Pony Express Hero by Rhonda Gibson

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Pony Express Hero

1860 – California

Pony Express rider Jacob Young is a man of action, which is why when he sees a little girl caught in the middle of a stampede, he races to her rescue. And he soon discovers the child is the half sister he hadn’t known he had. The more time Jacob spends with adorable Daisy and her beautiful guardian, ranch owner Lilly Johnson, the more he realizes they’re filling all the lonely corners of his heart. 

Wary Lilly can’t deny the cherished feelings that overcome her when Jacob vows to protect her and Daisy from any harm. And she can’t help but hope that maybe they can put their past hurts aside and forge a future together as a full-fledged family.

Messenger by Moonlight by Stephanie Grace Whitson

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Messenger by Moonlight

1860 – Missouri

Orphaned Annie Paxton and her brothers may have lost the only home they’ve ever known, but they’re determined to make a better future in St. Joseph, Missouri. Annie dreams of a pretty house with window boxes, and having friends, and attending church every week. But then her brothers spot the ad for a new venture called the Pony Express. “Wanted,” it reads, “Young, skinny fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders and willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.” Sure enough, both her brothers land jobs as Express messengers, and Annie puts her dreams on hold to work as a cook at Clearwater Ranch, a station along the Pony Express route.

Annie struggles to adapt to her new job–work made all the more challenging when she has so many to feed and few ingredients. The gruff station owner, George, doesn’t seem inclined to make her life any easier, or at least not at first. But slowly a friendship builds between them. When Annie attracts the attention of a refined, dashing lieutenant from the nearby fort, she’ll have to learn how to trust her instincts and follow her heart, even if she’s conflicted about which way it’s leading her.

The Reluctant Bridegroom by Shannon Farrington

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The Reluctant Bridegroom

1865 – Maryland

Marriage for any reason but love was once unthinkable to Maryland councilman Henry Nash. But when an innocent encounter with a criminal puts Henry’s reputation in jeopardy, he’ll make any sacrifice to maintain custody of his orphaned nieces. And an alliance with a powerful politician’s daughter could secure the little girls’ futures. As long as gentle Rebekah Van der Geld never hears the rumors surrounding her new groom… 

Refusing her father’s choice of husband wasn’t an option for dutiful Rebekah. But Henry’s kindness is a happy revelation, and she’s quickly falling for his adorable nieces—so she allows herself to hope this unconventional arrangement could become much more. But can it survive a shattering revelation that puts their new family in danger?

Special Delivery Baby by Sherri Shackleford

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Special Delivery Baby

1868 – Kansas

An abandoned baby is the last thing town founder Will Canfield expects on his doorstep. He’s not the father—and the mother’s unknown. But the precious little girl needs a protector. And Will never backs down from a challenge, even if it means caring for a newborn…or dealing with spitfire cattle driver Tomasina Stone. 

With her father gone, Tomasina’s trail life has ended. Yet becoming a polished city lady feels far out of her reach. All she wants is a place where she’ll be appreciated, respected…maybe loved. And the more time she spends helping Will care for the baby, the more she wonders if she’s found it. She’s never wanted to settle down…but Cowboy Creek—by Will’s side—might finally give her heart a lasting home. 

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