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The Other Side of Freedom by Cythia Toney

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1925 – Louisiana

In a southern U.S. farming community in 1925, thirteen-year-old Salvatore and his Italian immigrant father become involved against their will in a crime that results in the murder of an innocent man and family friend. Will Sal keep the secrets about that night as his father asks, or risk everything he and his family cherish in their new homeland, including their lives?

Amidst bigotry, bootlegging, police corruption, and gangland threats, Sal must discover whom he can trust in order to protect himself and his family and win back his father’s freedom. Sal’s family, their African-American farmhand, and the girl who is Sal’s best friend find their lives forever changed as dreams are shattered and attitudes challenged in a small community called Freedom.

Playing by Heart by Carmela Martino

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1736 – Italy

Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as much as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, her position as “second sister” means she’ll likely be sent off to a convent instead. Ironically, Emilia’s pious older sister, Maria, would gladly become a nun. But Father won’t allow it—her brilliant language skills are too important to his quest for noble status. Emilia’s only hope to avoid the convent is to prove that her musical talents are as indispensable as Maria’s skills. First, Emilia must earn the respect of the music tutor who has always disdained her, simply for being a girl. But before Emilia can carry out her plan, Mamma, her greatest supporter, dies in childbirth. In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching her music theory alongside handsome violinist Antonio Bellini, the great-nephew of a wealthy marquis. The two begin as rivals, but making music together gradually melds their hearts. When Antonio abruptly quits their lessons, Emilia assumes it’s because her family isn’t nobility. More determined than ever to help Father acquire a title, she dedicates a set of compositions to Archduchess Maria Teresa. The archduchess is so impressed that she helps Father become a count. Having finally won Father’s favor, Emilia expects she’ll now be betrothed to Antonio. But the repercussions of her family’s new status threaten not only her dreams, but her sister’s very life.

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Dead Calm, Bone Dry by Eddie Jones

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Dead Calm, Bone Dry

Time Travel – Caribbean

Just as Ricky is about to be tried for piracy, an ill wind blows a wretched soul into the ship’s brig. A mysterious seaman, William Shakespeare, tells of fleeing the Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship sailed by the dead, demons and worse. Before Ricky can learn more about this outlandish tale, he’s sentenced to hang. As the hangman is about to tighten the noose around Ricky’s neck, the young man bolts from the gallows and dives head-long into the sea.

Now, with the lives of a crew of misfit orphans in peril and the heart of the governor’s daughter on the line, Ricky faces a battle with pirates – both dead and alive – where the destiny of the living and those yet-to-be born hang in the balance.

Will he reach his deceased father before it’s too late? Or will both father and son face eternal damnation due to Ricky’s bitter heart?

The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

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The Lost Girl of Astor Street

1920 – Illinois

When her best friend vanishes without so much as a good-bye, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail takes on the role of amateur sleuth in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. Given that Piper’s tendency has always been to butt heads with high-society’s expectations of her, it’s no surprise that she doesn’t give a second thought to searching for answers to Lydia’s abduction from their privileged neighborhood.

As Piper discovers that those answers might stem from the corruption strangling 1924 Chicago—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

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The Baker’s Daughter by D.P. Cornelius

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The Baker’s Daughter – Braving Evil In WW II Berlin

1943 – Poland

While chaos reigns over WW II Berlin, seventeen-year-old Liddy returns to her family’s bakery only to be confronted by a new customer — Keppler, a Nazi officer. Marek, a young man with a secretive past, labors just a few paces away in the kitchen, but where do his loyalties lie? With the Nazis? With Liddy?

Liddy’s father, Klaus, secures a night job as a prison guard where anti-Nazi dissident, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is being held. Klaus smuggles out the pastor’s letters, but tensions rise as Keppler establishes a tenuous relationship with Liddy’s young brother, Willy. Does the Nazi officer wish to recruit Willy, or is Keppler there to spy on Liddy’s family?

From air raids to the Hitler Youth, Liddy becomes enmeshed in a world of spies intent on betrayal. When Liddy makes a critical mistake that endangers a loved one, she faces a decision that puts her own faith on the line and her family’s safety in jeopardy.

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The Last Ride by Susan K Marlow

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The Last Ride

1884 – California

Andrea Carter is turning sweet sixteen and life could not be better. School’s almost over for good, and there will be plenty of time to train the colt of her treasured horse, Taffy. Best of all, big brother Chad is giving Andi more responsibilities on the ranch she loves.

Her first job is to teach city-slicker cousin Daniel how things work on the Circle C. There’s just one big problem: Daniel wants nothing to do with ranch life. Charming one minute and outrageously rude the next, he ignores common sense, defies authority, and proves a danger to everyone, including himself.

When Andi stumbles onto a horrifying secret about Daniel, he warns her to stay silent or face the deadly consequences. But all bets are off when Daniel’s actions set off a chain of events that leave Andi brokenhearted and bitter. Can anyone break through the wall around Andi’s heart and help her find healing?

Chivalrous by Dina Sleiman

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Chivalrous

1217 – England

Strong and adventurous Gwendolyn Barnes longs to be a knight like her chivalrous brothers. However, that is not an option for her, not even in the Arthurian-inspired Eden where she dwells. Her parents view her only as a marriage pawn, and her domineering father is determined to see her wed to a brutish man who will break her spirit. 

When handsome, good-hearted Allen of Ellsworth arrives in Edendale searching for his place in the world, Gwendolyn spies in him the sort of fellow she could imagine marrying. Yet fate seems determined to keep them apart. Tournaments, intrigue, and battles–along with twists and turns aplenty–await these two as they struggle to find love, identity, and their true destinies.

Heartbreak Trail by Susan K. Marlow

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Heartbreak Trail

1883 – California

Andrea Carter can ride, rope, and cut out cattle with the best of her brothers’ ranch hands. Yet, her mother has always held the family’s youngest daughter back from fully participating in ranch activities.
With the approach of her fifteenth birthday, even the ranch boss, big brother Chad, can’t deny that his baby sister is better at ranch skills than some of his cowhands. When Andi announces that her quinceañera birthday wish is to join the upcoming cattle drive, her family is stunned. But after further discussion and multiple newspaper clippings about spirited women who balked at society’s expectations, even Mother agrees that the only way to get this cattle-drive notion out of Andi’s head is by letting her and her cousin Levi go along as Cook’s helpers. Andi is elated. What can go wrong on a two-week drive to Los Angeles?
Andi quickly discovers that a cattle drive is a dirty, dangerous business with little sleep and the same food day after day. Between late nights, dust, mosquitos, and an abrasive cowhand trying to win Andi’s attention, it is definitely not a holiday. Andi grimly determines she will stick it out. When a river crossing goes wrong and Chad is shot in a gunfight with suspicious men who have been shadowing the herd, Mitch the trail boss finds himself dangerously shorthanded. Andi and Levi can no longer just give Cook a hand. It’s time to pitch in and help Mitch get their cattle to market―any way they can.

Dauntless by Dina Sleiman

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Dauntless

Medieval – England

Born a baron’s daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father’s failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village–a group that becomes known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he’s forced to reexamine everything he’s known.

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An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

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An Uncertain Choice

Medieval – Fictitious Country

Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice–if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the convent is the best place after all. If only one of the knights–the one who appears the most guilty–had not already captured her heart.

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