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Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

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1940s-1960s – New York and England

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice. 

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy. 

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had. 

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

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1388 BC – Israel

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

In the Shadow of the Queen by Kim Stokely

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BC – Jerusalem

For the first time in history, a woman rightfully reigns over Israel. The queen’s rule gives Anna, a gifted young seamstress, opportunities for work and education she never thought possible. But to achieve her dreams, Anna must enter a world festering with intrigue and deceit. Those living within the queen’s shadow already plot to seize the throne when she is dead. Even Lev, Anna’s first love, is drawn into this underlying world of power, pleasure and political maneuvering.

Torn between her own desires and the traditions of her people, Anna’s story is one of enduring courage and her inspired belief in God’s love and faithfulness in all circumstances.

Flame in the Night by Heather Munn

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1942 – France

In occupied France, a teen is torn between hate and love
Julien Losier has just turned eighteen. But this is Vichy France in 1942, and his coming of age is marred by the Nazi occupation of his homeland. His father has always taught him that evil is resisted by the power of God, not by the gun. But when the roundups of Jews begin and both his best friend and the girl he’s falling for become targets, Julien must question where real power lies. Can he be a man who protects the people he loves if he follows his father’s ways of peace?

His hometown is a fragile fortress where hundreds of Jewish youth hide in plain sight, protected only by the goodwill of their neighbors. Julien takes part in the intricate system of sentries and alert codes that keep them safe, doing what he can to resist the Nazis. As the Germans close in, he can see the moment coming when all the town’s careful defenses will fail. He’s torn between the faith of his father and his increasing surety that fighting violence with violence is the only way to win. How can the meek inherit the earth when the strong hold all the cards?

Now the young Jewish woman who has captured his heart comes under deadly threat, and there are no good choices. But for Elise, there’s nothing Julien won’t risk.

Based on actual events in Vichy France, Flame in the Night is a powerful examination of the strength of faith and peaceful resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.

Everything She Didn’t Say by Jane Kirkpatrick

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1870s-1920s – Several States

In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir entitled Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, which shared some of the most exciting events of 25 years of traveling and shaping the American West with her husband, Robert Strahorn, a railroad promoter, investor, and writer. That is all fact. Everything She Didn’t Say imagines Carrie nearly ten years later as she decides to write down what was really on her mind during those adventurous nomadic years.

Certain that her husband will not read it, and in fact that it will only be found after her death, Carrie is finally willing to explore the lessons she learned along the way, including the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man and the courage it takes to accept her own God-given worth apart from him. Carrie discovers that wealth doesn’t insulate a soul from pain and disappointment, family is essential, pioneering is a challenge, and western landscapes are both demanding and nourishing. Most of all, she discovers that home can be found, even in a rootless life.

With a deft hand, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick draws out the emotions of living–the laughter and pain, the love and loss–to give readers a window not only into the past, but into their own conflicted hearts. Based on a true story.

Deep Calling Deep by Carole Towriss

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61 – Rome

Praetorian Prefect Sextus Burrus has spent his life fighting for the glory of Rome, but that glory has lost its shine. As both his health and his career crumble, he is drawn toward the seemingly inexhaustible peace of one of his Jewish prisoners, the Apostle Paul. The moment Timothy hears his mentor and surrogate father Paul has been arrested, he rushes to Rome. Under the looming threat of execution, Timothy struggles to make sense of what is happening. Finally, an unexpected crisis requires him to reexamine everything, and places their hope for Paul’s freedom on the shoulders of Praetorian Prefect Sextus Burrus.

Enya’s Son by Cindy Thomson

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6th Century – Ireland

Is love enough for a mother who must be separated from her son? 

Having escaped a violent childhood, Enya is safe living with her husband’s powerful clan. When her long-awaited son is born, she must fulfill a vow made in desperation—the boy is dedicated to God and goes to live with the local priest. Still, she clings to the hope that the church’s influence will eradicate any trace of her bloodline’s temperament. The monks rename him Columcille, which means Dove of the Church. 

In a prophetic dream, Enya learns her son will grow in power and influence, and her heart is at peace. But while Enya understands her son’s influence will be for the good of the church, others believe the prophecy predicts political influence, and try to prevent Columcille from seeking temporal power—though he does not desire it. As he rises to prominence in the church, Columcille’s temper erupts when a king’s decision goes against him, and he calls his clan to arms. The consequences are more devastating than anyone could have imagined—and changes his life forever.

This retelling of the early life of St. Columcille and his mother will usher readers on a fateful journey through ancient Ireland’s monastic centers, her wild coastline islands, and the land Columcille believed was filled with holy angels, a place where he felt safe … yet was destined to abandon.

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.

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