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Firing Line by Mike Hollow

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1940s – England

Flames leap skyward from a blitzed factory in West Ham as an air raid destroys all in its path. When the blaze threatens neighbouring houses a volunteer fireman breaks in to rescue a trapped resident – but instead finds only the body of a young woman, strangled in her bedroom. For Detective Inspector John Jago the scene brings back memories of the Soho Strangler. He suspects this woman had a secret – that she is not what she seems – and that this may be the root of her untimely end. Investigation reveals a drunken sailor may hold the key to what happened in Joan Watson’s flat. But his information points Jago towards family jealousies, violence, robbery, and the underworld of political terrorism. Was Joan as innocent as her friends claim, or was she mixed up in crime? Jago must unpick multifarious motives if he hopes to reach the truth.

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

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1944 – England

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

 

The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma

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1943 – Czechoslovakia

It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.

Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke

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1940 – England

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing—spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends—has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.

Set in England’s lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.

Crooked Path by Irma Joubert

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1940s – South Africa

Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.

Marco’s experience in the second world war have robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends. Marco is Lettie’s first patient, and their relationship grows as she aids him on the road back to restored health.

In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find a happiness that neither of them thought possible. With that joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.

The Gift of the Inn by Golden Parson Keyes

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1944 – Colorado

Despite her best efforts to go through the motions and the good fortune to have a husband stationed stateside rather than in the midst of the brutal combat unfolding in Europe and the Pacific, Christmas Eve is a less than festive time for innkeeper Naomi Lockhart. It’s been especially hard since she, her husband, Quenton, and their daughters restored her parents’ Colorado boarding house and turned it into a charming inn. Residing in the setting of the tragedy and haunted by a heartbreaking and terrible loss, Naomi can’t help but relive the Christmas Eve so many years ago when her infant child disappeared without a trace.

Gracie brushed aside comments about how little she resembled her parents for most of her life without really understanding why they made her feel so odd. A slip of the tongue by her grandmother brings the discovery that the people who raised her are not her birth parents and acts as a catalyst for the start of a search for her real identity. After a whirlwind romance with a young, Europe-bound GI and subsequent elopement in defiance of her affluent, traditional parents, Gracie flees Texas for Colorado, following one of the few clues that she has about her real identity. She finds herself alone and working as a waitress in blizzard-prone Colorado Springs, Colorado at the end of her pregnancy. Snow bound, she struggles to bring her child into the world as she becomes ever more confident that the innkeeper from across the road, who acts as a midwife of necessity, may hold the answers she seeks. Meanwhile, her wounded husband desperately tries to reach her side.

Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, this final novel from beloved writer Golden Keyes Parsons is an engaging story of love, loss and reunion.

The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson

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1944 – California

When she receives the news in late 1944 that her baby’s father was shot down in the South Pacific, Amelia Richards loses hope. Jobless and broke, she has nowhere to turn for help but her infant’s paternal grandparents. The only problem is, they don’t know that she–or their grandson–exists. When Amelia discovers that the family is wealthy and influential, dare she disclose the truth of her relationship with their son? Or could the celebration of the arrival of another unexpected baby nearly two thousand years ago be the answer to her dilemma?

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These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart

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1945 – Kentucky

Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII’s end writes to tell her he’s in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.

Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

When Francine’s and Ben’s paths intersect, it’s immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.

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Under Fire by Linda Shenton Matchett

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1942 – New Hampshire, England, Ireland

Under Fire tells the story of Ruth Brown whose missing sister Jane is declared dead. Convinced her sister is still alive, Ruth follows clues from their small New Hampshire town to war-torn London trying to find her. Discovering that Jane has been murdered results in a faith crisis for Ruth, and she decides she must find Jane’s killer. With the help of a German resistance member, Ruth catches the culprit and renews her relationship with God.

Enemy Action by Mike Hollow

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Enemy Action

1940s – England

A thirteen-year-old boy finds a man stabbed to death in a public air-raid shelter early in the morning. Detective Inspector Jago learns that he is Paul Ruckland, a school teacher with no known enemies and a pacifist–a member of the Peace Pledge Union. On searching his flat they’re surprised to find a packed suitcase containing a revolver, a strange item for a pacifist to be carrying. Did he have enemies after all, or was he intent on harming someone–or even himself?

As the investigation gets under way, DI Jago discovers that Paul was not the only one whose pacifist convictions are challenged when the going gets tough. For many, anger and violence lie just below the surface. But who has a motive for murder?

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