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Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

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1943 – Poland

Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.

On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.

After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.

Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.

Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.

The Secret Heir by Janice Broyles

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1022 BC – Israel

Years before, he was anointed future king of Israel. Now if the sitting king learns of his secret, it will mean death for David and everyone in his family. David’s secret destiny becomes more complicated when he falls in love with King Saul’s daughter, Michal. He will do whatever it takes to secure her heart, provided she doesn’t find out that David is the rumored rival to her father’s throne.

Now that Michal is of age, the Queen determines her daughter must be married as soon as possible. Michal resigns herself to a pre-arranged marriage with a man she does not love. Then by fate or God’s providence she meets the handsome, young lyre player standing outside her father’s chambers.

One lives in a palace; the other sleeps under the stars. Though they come from vastly different worlds, Michal and David are drawn together. When King Saul uncovers David’s secret and vows to kill him, Michal is torn between her love for her father and feelings for David. Two kings, two men she deeply loves but for different reasons — one heart broken in two.

River to Redemption by Ann Gabhart

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1840s – Kentucky

Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She’s determined to find a way to buy Louis’s freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she’ll face an uphill battle.

Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart’s latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.

In the Shadow of Salem by Donna Gawell

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1692 – Massachusetts

She began life as the bastard child of a prosperous landowner and his indentured servant. Now her stepmother despises the girl and views her as cursed by God.

For Mehitabel Braybrooke, life in Puritan New England becomes unbearable when her orphan cousin arrives to live with her family. Jealousy and lies result in Mehitabel being “sent out” as a servant to a neighbor’s home. There, foolishness and bad judgment lead her to commit the unspeakable: Mehitabel commits crimes that warrant a death sentence: not once, but twice — the first time for arson, the second for witchcraft.

Rich in historical detail, In the Shadow of Salem is a fascinating portrayal of a real historical Puritan woman. The history records have not been kind to Mehitabel, but what was the real story behind her scurrilous reputation? Would she ever be redeemed from her lifelong curse? Or was Mehitabel as wicked as the Essex Court Records suggest?

Paul, Apostle of Christ by Angela Hunt

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60s – Italy

Paul, Apostle of Christ is the story of two men. Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life every time he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, held captive in Nero’s bleakest prison cell. Before Paul’s execution, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians.

Paul has survived so much–floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure–yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past. He wonders if he has been forgotten . . . and if he has the strength to finish well.

Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to bequeath the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

Hell-Bent on Blessings by Heather Blanton

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1850s – California

Left bankrupt and homeless by a worthless husband, Harriet Pullen isn’t about to lay down and die. Finding a temporary home for her children, she heads to the gold rush town of Blessings, California to start over. One carefully planned step at a time, she’s going to make a home for her family, regain her financial independence, and build a new ranch–bigger and better than the one she lost. God help the man who ever gets in her way again.

Jason Meredith, an old friend, has a few things he’d like to say to Harriet, especially now that she’s a widow. He might have better luck surviving a bear attack, though, than thawing her frozen heart. He’s got his work cut out for him, but Jason’s a patient man. At least, he used to think he was… 
BASED ON A TRUE STORY!

A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith

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1141 BC – Israel

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband’s new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah’s cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

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732 BC – Israel

In this epic Biblical narrative, ideal for fans of The Bible miniseries, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah’s household rises to capture the heart of the future king.
 
Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name–Zibah, delight of the Lord–thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet’s home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah’s lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation.

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt

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168 BC – Israel

Seeking peace and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she can rest easily. But the land is ruled by Antiochus IV, descended from one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and when he issues a decree that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws upon pain of death, devout Jews risk everything to follow the law of Moses.

Judah’s father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands his son to pick up his sword and continue the fight–or bear responsibility for the obliteration of the land of Judah. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband’s decision–what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long? 

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah’s wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice. 

Jerusalem Rising: Adah’s Journey by Barbara Britton

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BC – Israel

When Adah bat Shallum finds the governor of Judah weeping over the crumbling wall of Jerusalem, she learns the reason for Nehemiah’s unexpected visit God has called him to rebuild the wall around the City of David. Nehemiah challenges the people of God to labor on the wall and in return, the names of their fathers will be written in the annals for future generations to cherish. But Adah has one sister and no brothers. Will her father, who rules a half-district of Jerusalem, be forgotten forever? Adah bravely vows to rebuild her city’s wall, though she soon discovers that Jerusalem not only has enemies outside the city, but also within. Can Adah, her sister, and the men they love, honor God’s call? Or will their mission be crushed by the same stones they hope to construct?

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

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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.

Lydia, Woman of Philippi by Diana Wallis Taylor

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First Century – Macedonia

Smart, strong, and a follower of the Jewish God, Lydia has nonetheless always quietly conformed to the expectations of the wealthy Roman society surrounding her. Even though married off at fifteen to a man she dislikes, she is determined to be a faithful wife. But when her husband is killed some years later, Lydia vows never to remarry and returns to her father’s house in Thyatira with her twelve-year-old daughter. There, a new life begins to emerge.

As she is trained in the family dye business, Lydia’s shrewd management quickly creates profit, prestige—and envy. At odds with her jealous brother, who is a staunch Roman and can’t understand her obsession with the Jewish religion, Lydia finds herself yet again at the mercy of a patriarchal society. Will fleeing to Philippi be enough to protect herself and those under her care? Will she keep her vow to widowhood when a handsome Greek God-fearer turns out to be more than just an employee? And when she meets a strange man named Paul the apostle by the river one Sabbath day, will Lydia have the courage to once more let her life be dramatically changed—this time forever?

The Queen of Sheba by Jill Eileen Smith

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953 BC – Middle East

What questions did the Queen of Sheba come to ask King Solomon? Come explore her story with me as I look at the historical queen (two different versions of her tale) and try to determine a plausible story that imagines what might have been. Her experience and the outcome of her story might surprise you.

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Loving Luther by Allison Pittman

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1505 – Germany

In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows—a choice more practical than pious—but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

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All She Left Behind by Jane Kirkpatrick

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1860s-1880s – Oregon

Already well-versed in the natural healing properties of herbs and oils, Jennie Pickett longs to become a doctor. But the Oregon frontier of the 1870s doesn’t approve of such innovations as women attending medical school. To leave grief and guilt behind, as well as support herself and her challenging young son, Jennie cares for an elderly woman using skills she’s developed on her own. When her patient dies, Jennie discovers that her heart has become entangled with the woman’s widowed husband, a man many years her senior. Their unlikely romance may lead her to her ultimate goal–but the road will be winding and the way forward will not always be clear. Will Jennie find shelter in life’s storms? Will she discover where healing truly lives?

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