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The Bonfires of Beltane by Mark Fisher

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bonfiresofbeltaneThe Bonfires of Beltane

432 – Ireland

Since before anyone can remember, Taran’s Celtic, island people have sacrificed children to Crom Cruach, the dread sun god. His whole clan accepts this atrocity, yet in his heart he knows it’s wrong.

Now, Taran is about to be inducted into his clan’s circle of leaders. He promises Laurna, his betrothed, he’ll hide his doubts. But at the ceremony beside the bent idol of gold, he can’t help but question the druids’ rule. He blames the clan’s miserable fortunes on Crom Cruach, calling it a demon.

As a result, the druids order his banishment. Instead of a wedding with Laurna, he faces a tearful parting. As a storm darkens the horizon,
Taran paddles his wee craft into a vast, raging sea. Thus begins Taran’s adventure in A.D. 432.

Beyond the sea lies ancient, Celtic Ireland. There wait the Roman evangelist, Patrick, and two kingdoms ruled by powerful kings and
their druid advisors. It’s a proud land where tradition is everything and travel through the wild can mean slavery or death. The druids will stop at nothing to remain in power and prevent Patrick and his followers from changing their ancient ways.

Will Taran find the spiritual truth he desperately seeks? Can he escape wrathful kings and conniving druids? Will he ever be able to return home and rejoin his beloved Laurna?

A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawanna Blackwell

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ahavenonorchardlaneA Haven on Orchard Lane

1880 – England

Famed actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career–only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte’s estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother’s rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists, at least for a time.

Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she’s happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it’s time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn’t there for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?

But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions–ones that jeopardize those they care about most.

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt

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delilahDelilah: Treacherous Beauty

1200 BC – Middle East

Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.

When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits.

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

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beautifulpretenderThe Beautiful Pretender

1363 – Germany

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences.

Chasing The Butterfly by Jayme Mansfield

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1931 – France

From a vineyard in the south of France to the sophisticated city of Paris, Ella Moreau searches for the hope and love she lost as a young girl when her mother abandoned the family. Through a series of secret paintings, her art becomes the substitute for lost love—the metaphor of her life. But when her paintings are discovered, the intentions of those she loves are revealed.

Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah Ladd

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Dawn at Emberwildedawnatemberwilde

1817 – England

Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.

For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would enable her to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.

 The unexpected arrival of a stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel’s small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.

 At her new family’s invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. Perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.

 At Emberwilde Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But first she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.

No Neutral Ground by Terri Wangard

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noneutralgroundNo Neutral Ground

1943 – Sweden

Germany rejected him. America took him in. Now he’s back, at war with his homeland and his father, who turned his back.

After his father divorces his mother because of her Jewish ancestry, Rafe and the rest of his family leave Germany. As a B-17 navigator, he returns to Europe. On the ocean voyage, he meets Jennie, an artist journeying to Sweden to work with the OSS.

Sweden may be neutral, but its full of intrigue. When Rafe’s damaged bomber lands in Sweden, he teams with Jennie in the effort to gain intelligence and frustrate the Germans.

Along the way, he overcomes his anger and forgives his father’s betrayal.

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The Sound of Emeralds by Rachelle Rea

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soundofemeraldsThe Sound of Emeralds

1567 – England

What once was blazing hatred has turned to lasting love, but could the union of a wild heart with that of a lady ever result in more than heartache?

With the help of an old friend with uncertain loyalties, Dirk inches ever closer to clearing his name. Gwyneth throws her faith into good tidings and the promise of a future as a family. But an old evil comes to call, just as tragedy rips apart a fledgling truce. Enemies from the past and grief for the future threaten to tear asunder what God had brought together…

As the date of Dirk’s trial approaches, his fate and his family hang in the balance. Will he be proven innocent of Gwyneth’s parents’ murders or separated from her forever? How much pain does it take to erode a love steadfast?

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The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M White

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thereluctantduchessThe Reluctant Duchess

1912 – Scotland/England

Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she has never felt good enough–not for her father, not for the man she thought she’d marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she’s willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping Loch Morar.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has found himself in possession of a rare treasure his enemies are prepared to kill for. While Brice has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, the last thing he needs is the distraction of Lady Rowena, who finds herself in a desperate situation. But when Rowena’s father tries to trap Brice into marrying his daughter, Brice makes a surprising decision.

Rowena wanted to escape the Highlands, but she’s reluctant to marry a notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she’s about to end up directly in the path of everything she was trying to avoid.

Miriam by Mesu Andrews

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BC – Egypt

The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel
and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.
 
 Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?
 
Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.

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A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund

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daringsacrificeA Daring Sacrifice

1390 – England

In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. All the while, she fights against her cruel uncle who has taken over the land that is rightfully hers. Forced to live in the woods and hide with the poor people she’s grown to love, she works to save and protect them, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she’s come to despise.

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Friends & Enemies by Terri Wangard

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Friends and Enemies friends&enemies

1943 – Germany

Aiding downed enemy airmen is punishable by death in Nazi Germany, but he’s an old friend. How much will she risk to help him?

Widowed seamstress Heidi Wetzel finds new meaning in life by caring for evacuated children on a farm in war-torn western Germany. Never a supporter of National Socialism, she takes pleasure in passive resistance, but must exercise caution around neighbors who delight in reporting to the Gestapo. Having lived in the United States, she wonders about her friend Rachel. Flying cadet Paul Braedel’s wife dies while he trains for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following bereavement leave, he joins a navigation class. He’s lost his zest for life and heads to England, not caring if he lives or dies.

When he and his crew are shot down over Germany, he evades capture and, for the first time since Rachel’s death, hears the voice of God whisper guidance. “Find Heidi.” Heidi meets a man she recognizes from her high school days in America. Aiding a downed airman is punishable by execution, but she agrees to help.

She takes him to the farm to pose as a convalescing German soldier. Through her brother’s underground contacts, Paul acquires German ID papers. Before he can journey along an escape route, they’re betrayed and the Gestapo comes calling. Together, Paul and Heidi flee across Germany in a desperate journey for Allied lines.

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The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

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goldenbraidThe Golden Braid

Medieval – Germany

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel in turn rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to this knight than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery is about to be revealed after seventeen years of lies. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

The Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert

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girlfromthetrainThe Girl from the Train

WWII – Germany, Poland, South Africa

Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Aushwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

The Sound of Silver by Rachelle Rea

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soundofsilverThe Sound of Silver

 1566 – England

The stalwart saint, fighting for faith…and the redeemed rebel, fighting for honor.

After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Now truly orphaned yet not alone, Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?

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