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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?
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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.
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.
All She Left Behind
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?
The Queen’s Daughters
1891 – England
Inspired by a dream, Dr. Kate Bushnell writes to Josephine Butler, famous crusader who frees women from sex slavery in Victorian England. Kate tells Mrs. Butler she is planning to travel to Great Britain. Though she she doesn’t have a cent for the journey from America, God provides, and months later Kate arrives in London.
Once there, Kate and her friend Bess are invited to tea with Mrs. Butler. “When I read of your experiences rescuing girls in the lumber camps in Wisconsin,” Mrs. Butler says, “I thought you might be able to help us in India. We need proof for Parliament that the military entices or buys girls for the brothels on the bases.”
Kate glances at Bess. She sees a streak of fear in her eyes.
Mrs. Butler goes on, “I warn you, you would have to enter as secretly as possible. General Roberts, the commander-in-chief, would make sure you’d never enter another base again.” She pats Kate’s hand as if to soften her words. “I’m afraid this will be one of the hardest assignments you’ve undertaken…”
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1678 – England
In seventeenth-century London, thirteen years after the plague and twelve years after the Great Fire, the restoration of King Charles II has dulled the memory of Cromwell’s puritan rule, yet fear and suspicion are rife. Religious turmoil is rarely far from tipping the scales into hysteria.
Elizabeth Cellier, a bold and outspoken midwife, regularly visits Newgate Prison to distribute alms to victims of religious persecution. There she falls in with the charming Captain Willoughby, a debtor, whom she enlists to gather information about crimes against prisoners, so she might involve herself in petitioning the king in their name.
“Tis a plot, Madam, of the direst sort.’
With these whispered words Willoughby draws Elizabeth unwittingly into the infamous Popish Plot and soon not even the fearful warnings of her husband, Pierre, can loosen her bond with it.
This novel is the incredible true story of one woman ahead of her time and her fight against prejudice and injustice.
1763 – Pennsylvania
Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.
Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?
Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.
The Soldier who Killed a King
30 – Israel
A stunning story of Holy Week through the eyes of a Roman centurion
Watch the triumphal entry of the donkey-riding king through the eyes of Marcus Longinus, the centurion charged with keeping the streets from erupting into open rebellion.
Look behind the scenes at the political plotting of King Herod, known as the scheming Fox for his ruthless shrewdness.
Get a front-row seat to the confrontation between the Jewish high priest Caiaphas and the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.
Understand as never before the horror of the decision to save a brutal terrorist in order to condemn the peaceful Jew to death.
If you’ve heard the story of Passion Week so often it’s become stale, now is the time to rediscover the terrible events leading from Jesus’s humble ride into the city to his crucifixion. The Soldier Who Killed a King will stun you afresh with how completely Christ’s resurrection changed history, one life at a time.
Egypt’s Sister: A Novel of Cleopatra
50-40s BC – Rome
Five decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria’s royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what–but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery.
Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life.
Bread of Angels
25 – Philippi (Greece)
Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.
But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.
With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances—along with her father’s precious dye—help her become one of the city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.
1757 – Pennsylvania
Jakob Hochstetler’s refusal to take up arms against the Indians who attacked his Amish family’s home on the Pennsylvania frontier during the brutal raids of the French and Indian War cost the lives of his wife and two of his children. Carried away with his younger sons, Jakob is enslaved by the Seneca, while Joseph and Christian are adopted into different divisions of the Lenape tribe and struggle to adapt to new lives.
Jakob plots a perilous escape in spite of overwhelming odds against succeeding. But even if he can get away, could he survive a harrowing journey over the hundreds of miles of rugged terrain that lie between him and his Northkill community? Does home still exist? Are his older son and daughter, Johannes and Barbara, still alive? Will he ever find his boys and bring them home?
Building Benjamin: Naomi’s Journey
BC – Israel
Love Grows Where God Grafts the Tender Shoot. Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife. As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her own tribe.
With Love, Wherever You Are
1941 – Illinois/Missouri/Europe
Everyone knows that war romances never last . . .
After a whirlwind romance and wedding, Helen Eberhart Daley, an army nurse, and Lieutenant Frank Daley, M.D. are sent to the front lines of Europe with only letters to connect them for months at a time.
Surrounded by danger and desperately wounded patients, they soon find that only the war seems real—and their marriage more and more like a distant dream. If they make it through the war, will their marriage survive?
Based on the incredible true love story, With Love, Wherever You Are is an adult novel from beloved children’s author Dandi Daley Mackall.
1297 BC – Israel
When famine visits Bethlehem, Boaz holds out hope for rain while his relative Elimelech moves his wife Naomi and their sons to Moab. For a while, it appears the Lord is blessing Elimelech’s family, and his sons marry two lovely Moabite women. But calamities strike, one after another, leaving Naomi alone in a foreign land with only her childless daughters-in-law for comfort. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Bethlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law’s homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it.
Combining meticulous research with her endless imagination, Jill Eileen Smith gorgeously renders one of the most beautiful stories in Scripture. Readers will adore this third installment of the inspiring Daughters of the Promised Land series.
Five Nights With Pharaoh
BC – Egypt
Shortly after entering Egypt with her husband, Sarai is taken into Pharaoh’s harem as his newest, most favored concubine. The breathtaking, ageless beauty is forced to cling to her faith in God as she prays for the strength to accept her new position and endures a series of mysterious plagues that can only be indicative of a wrathful deity’s divine judgment.