The Hope of Christmas Past by Stephenia McGee

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Late 1800s/Time Travel – Tennessee

When a mysterious painting offers her a trip to the past, will Isla find new hope for her future?

On the brink of aging out the foster system, the last thing Isla Laird wants is to spend Christmas in an old-fashioned plantation. What’s the point of bonding with her foster mom when it’s too late to ever be adopted? But when a mysterious painting suddenly thrusts her into the nineteenth century, Isla is forced to face hurts and memories she’s long tried to bury. With time running out and her heart in tatters, can God use an impossible miracle to bring Isla hope for a new future?

The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts

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1930s/40s & 1990s – Pennsylvania

The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home—the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann, has educated and raised Brighton, whose mother is a patient at the hospital. But Joann has also kept vital information from Brighton—secrets that if ever revealed would illuminate Brighton’s troubling past and the circumstances that confine her to Riverside. Brighton’s best friend is a boy she calls Angel, and as they grow up together and face the bleak future that awaits them, they determine to make a daring escape.

Nothing can prepare Brighton and Angel for life beyond Riverside’s walls. They have no legal identities, very little money, and only a few leads toward a safe place to land. As they struggle to survive in a world they’ve never seen before, they must rely on each other and the kindness of strangers—some of whom may prove more dangerous than the asylum they’ve fled.

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

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1960s – Alabama

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete–and the people he loves most–will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

Rebecca Stubbs: The Vicar’s Daughter by Hannah Buckland

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1860s – England

Rebecca Stubbs, the beloved daughter of a conscientious village vicar in Victorian England, has always enjoyed a sheltered, idyllic childhood. Her parents work tirelessly for their small farm community, aiding both the church and the poor.

When an unexpected outbreak of fever rages through the town, Rebecca must face growing up alone.

As she matures into womanhood, Rebecca finds that she is ill-prepared for her new world. With no home, no family, and few prospects, she is determined to make her own way in life.

As a housemaid at Barton Manor, she struggles to find her place in a world of double standards and man-made rules.

Can she keep her faith strong amidst a lonely life of domestic service? Must she always be a bystander, watching other people’s lives unfold and flourish? Or is there something else in store for her servant heart?