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The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

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theconfessionsofxThe Confessions of X

300s – Carthage

Before he became a father of the Christian Church, Augustine of Hippo loved a woman whose name has been lost to history. This is her story.

She met Augustine in Carthage when she was seventeen. She was the poor daughter of a mosaic-layer; he was a promising student and with a great career in the Roman Empire ahead of him. His brilliance and passion intoxicated her, but his social class would be forever beyond her reach.  She became his concubine, and by the time he was forced to leave her, she was thirty years old and the mother of his son. And his Confessions show us that he never forgot her. She was the only woman he ever loved.

In a society in which classes rarely mingled on equal terms, and an unwed mother could lose her son to the burgeoning career of her ambitious lover, this anonymous woman was a first-hand witness to Augustine of Hippos’s anguished spiritual journey from religious cultist to the celebrated Christian saint and thinker.

Giving voice to one of history’s most mysterious women, The Confessions of X tells the story of Augustine of Hippo’s nameless lover, their relationship before his famous conversion, and her life after his rise to fame. A tale of womanhood, faith, and class at the end of antiquity, The Confessions of X is more than historical fiction . . . it is a timeless story of love and loss in the shadow of a theological giant.

The Prophetess by Jill Eileen Smith

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The Prophetesstheprophetess

BC – Israel

Outspoken and fearless, Deborah has faith in God but struggles to see the potential her own life holds. As an Israelite woman, she’ll marry, have a family, and seek to teach her children about Adonai–and those tasks seem to be more than enough to occupy her time. But God has another plan for her. Israel has been under the near constant terror of Canaan’s armies for twenty years, and now God has called Deborah to deliver her people from this oppression. Will her family understand? Will her people even believe God’s calling on her life? And can the menace of Canaan be stopped?

The Centurion by Ken Gire

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centurionThe Centurion

30s-60s – Middle East/Roman Empire

An ambitious Roman soldier. A stunning crucifixion. An unlikely romance. A long war and a chance reunion—the moving parts that make The Centurion a gripping story of love, duty, and sacrifice.

Lucius has always dreamed of military conquest and Roman glory. Little does he know how a routine crucifixion will change him forever.

Curious about this “King of the Jews,” Lucius seeks out His followers and falls for one Mary Magdalene. But all is interrupted when Lucius is called to lead military campaigns. There the hardships of war, year after year, wear him down to nearly nothing.

When Lucius finally returns to Rome, the city has lost its allure. A chance encounter tests his allegiances, and he must decide who he is, what is real, and what is worth dying for.

This work of historical fiction includes an extensive annotated list of sources.

Esther by Rebecca Kanner

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estherEsther

BC – Persia

A glittering Persian king has a vast empire that reaches farther than where the sun meets the horizon. He is bathed in riches and commands a frightening military force. He possesses power beyond any other mortal man and rules his kingdom as a god. Anything he desires, he has. Any woman he wants, he possesses. Thousands of them. Young virgins from all across his many lands.

A Jewish girl is ripped from her hut by the king’s brutish warriors and forced to march across blistering, scorched earth to the capitol city. Trapped for months in the splendid cage of the king’s palace, she must avoid the ire of the king’s concubines and eunuchs all while preparing for her one night with the king. Soon the fated night arrives, and she does everything in her power to captivate the king and become his queen.

But wearing the crown brings with it a new set of dangers. When a ruthless man plies the king’s ear with whispers of genocide, it is up to the young queen to prevent the extermination of the Jews. She must find the strength within to violate the king’s law, risk her life, and save her people.

This is a story of finding hidden depths of courage within one’s self. Of risking it all to stand up for what is right.

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

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lutherandkatharinaLuther and Katharina

1520s – Germany

She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.  

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
 
His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.
 
Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.
 
But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.
 
Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

On This Foundation by Lynn Austin

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On This Foundationonthisfoundation

473 BC – Persia

When news reaches him that Jerusalem’s wall is shattered and its gates burned with fire, a distraught Nehemiah seeks God’s guidance in fasting and prayer. Granted an unexpected leave from his duty as cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah sets out for Jerusalem to rebuild the city wall–never anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.

The leaders of the surrounding nations become his fierce enemies, plotting to assassinate him and stop the wall’s reconstruction forever. A drought, meanwhile, has left the country impoverished, with many families resorting to selling their children as bondservants just to keep from starving.

Capturing the rebuilding of the wall through the eyes of a number of characters, On This Foundation is the powerful conclusion to The Restoration Chronicles. This exploration of faith in the midst of oppression offers hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand of God is upon those who believe.

Valley of the Shadow by J. M. Hochstetler

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Valley of the Shadow valleyoftheshadow

1777 – Many American States

Can he save them both from the Valley of the Shadow? Following a humiliating defeat at Philadelphia and a rival’s stunning victory at Saratoga, Washington’s army faces yet another bitter winter, this time at Valley Forge. Meanwhile, General Jonathan Carleton races to save Elizabeth Howard from the horrors of the prison ships in the British stronghold at New York, while British General William Howe plots to execute them both.

From heart-pounding battles on the high seas, to the rigors of Valley Forge and the Shawnee’s savagely fought wars to preserve their ancestral lands, Valley of the Shadow continues the thrilling saga of America’s founding in an inspiring story of despair, courage, and triumph.

A Basket Brigade Christmas by Various Authors

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A Basket Brigade Christmasabasketbrigadechristmas

A 3-in-1 collection of Civil War Christmas novellas inspired by the true story of the Basket Brigade women of Decatur, Illinois. . . . In A Pinch of Love by Judith Miller, Sarah McHenry is drawn to Jacob Curtis, but can he control his jealousy over her care for other soldiers. In A Stitch in Time by Stephanie Grace Whitson, Lucy Maddox wins the attention of a handsome private. . .but his intentions don’t seem noble to Silas Tait, who has loved Lucy secretly for years. In Endless Melody by Nancy Moser, word of Zona Evans’s musical ministrations reaches her long-lost love, Dr. Cardiff Kensington. 

Bathsheba by Angela Hunt

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batheshebaBathsheba

996 BC – Middle East

One of the Bible’s most misunderstood and misjudged women, Bathsheba comes to life in this new biblical reimagining from Angela Hunt. Combining historical facts with detailed fiction, this is an eye-opening portrait that will have you reconsidering everything you thought you knew about her.

After receiving God’s promise of a lifelong reign and an eternal dynasty, King David forces himself on Bathsheba, a loyal soldier’s wife. When her resulting pregnancy forces the king to murder her husband and add her to his harem, Bathsheba struggles to protect her son while dealing with the effects of a dark prophecy and deadly curse on the king’s household.

The Shepherdess by Jill Eileen Smith

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theshepherdessThe Shepherdess

973 BC – Middle East

Abishag may not be living the joyful life she once had before her oldest brother took over the household, but she can always escape to the fields for solace. There she can let down her veil, sing to the flowers and the sheep, and bask in the warmth of a sun-drenched sky of purest blue. And there she can meet Yaron, the young man she has loved as long as she can remember. Yet even this will be taken from her when men come searching out a beautiful woman to attend the aged King David.

Enclosed within the high palace walls as part of the king’s harem, Abishag wonders what happened to the life she had planned to live. As the king’s health deteriorates, his sons contend with each other, hoping to succeed him and take possession of what was his–including his beautiful young attendant . .

Oswald: Return of the King by Edoardo Albert

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oswaldGoodreads ~ Purchase ~ Sample

635 – England

The exiled family of King Aethelfrith of Northumbria arrive, after much hardship, on the island of Iona, where the monastery founded by St Columba has become a centre of worship and learning. Young Oswald becomes firm friends with a novice, Aidan. When Aidan professes his final vows, Oswald and his little brother Oswiu are received into the church. As befits a young prince, Oswald learns to fight. However, Aidan’s example attracts him and he is on the point of deciding to become a monk when news reaches Iona that his half brother, Eanfrith, has been killed by Cadwallon, the king who defeated Edwin. Oswald sails back to Northumbria and meets Cadwallon in battle, defeating and killing him. Oswald, now undisputed king of Northumbria, gives Aidan the island of Lindisfarne as his base. But Penda, the last great pagan king in England, is raising troops against him.

Shadow of the Mountain by Cliff Graham

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Shadow of the Mountainexodus

BC – Middle East

Caleb and Joshua Roar to Life in this High-Impact Old Testament Saga

Two men were brave enough to tell the truth about what awaited the Hebrews in Canaan. This is their story. From the slave pits of Egypt to the efforts of an eighty-five-year-old Caleb as he drives out the last of the giants, Shadow of the Mountain is a vivid portrait of two of God’s chosen champions, and a meditation on masculine mentorship and the challenges and blessings of growing older.

For the sake of his new God and his loyalty to his friend Joshua, Caleb will not spend his twilight years resting, but taking the battle to the enemies of God’s people until his dying breath. From his early days as a mercenary for Pharaoh in Egypt watching the Hebrews suffer under the yoke of slavery, all the way through a desperate fight with giants in the dark forests of the hill country, this is a story filled with epic battles, gritty intensity, and supernatural events that made Graham’s Lion of War series a hit. Shadow of the Mountain is sure to ignite a love for the Old Testament in popular culture.

Behold the Man by Brock and Bodie Thoene

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beholdthemanBehold the Man

30- Israel

Behold the Man is the culmination of the Jerusalem Chronicles and brings readers to an encounter with the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

How could Jesus—who preached righteousness before God, and love and mercy toward neighbors—be so hated and pursued? To the Temple officials, he was a threat to the livelihood and authority of the priesthood. To Herod Antipas, he was a threat to his ambition to be the King of the Jews. And to the Roman overlords, he was seen as a dangerous threat; a man who commanded an army of the common people. He could heal wounds, offer miraculous provisions, and even raise from the dead. If Jesus had accepted popular acclaim and become an earthly king, he would have been unstoppable.

Jesus’s last days are explored through three people who interacted with him: Governor Pilate, for whom Judea will either make or break his career; Pilate’s wife, Claudia, desperately seeking aid for her much loved, crippled son; and Centurion Marcus Longinus, caught in the middle between loyalty to the Empire, love for Claudia, and an ever-increasing belief in Jesus as the Son of God. After encountering Jesus, none of them will ever be the same.

The Pharaoh’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

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The Pharaoh’s Daughterpharaohsdaughter

BC – Egypt

Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives—women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile.

     When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.

  As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan—for them all?

The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem

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tombThe Tomb

33 – Middle East

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

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