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1531 – Netherlands
What is the secret of the hidden meetings, which are held in the woods at night?
Anna had hoped to escape the violence of the Reformation when she moved to Amsterdam. But now, in November 1531, Charles V has sent his Spanish officials to this ‘nest of heretics’ in the Netherlands, determined to rid his empire of all those who refuse to attend the state church. The obstinate shall be executed unless they swear allegiance to the Holy Roman Emperor and the Catholic church, and citizens must report any disloyal activity they notice or suffer the same fate. But Anna can hardly betray Maeyken, her only friend in Amsterdam. The last thing Anna will do is listen to the Anabaptists, let alone join the traitorous sect!
If Charles V succeeds, the Anabaptists will be annihilated. Especially the leaders of the new faith, such as Adriaen, a new widower. Anna is embarrassed to be falling for Adriaen, not believing he could ever return her love. Besides, as an Anabaptist preacher, he is unlikely to survive the purging of heretics.
In Sword of Peace, struggle with Anna on her journey to find faith, peace, truth and love in this sweeping and romantic historical novel, set during the Reformation in the Netherlands. In those turbulent days, the seeds for the present-day Amish and Mennonites were planted.
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.
The Samurai’s Heart
1587 – Japan
Sen must find a husband to marry into her family’s swordsmith business. She seeks a Christian husband, though Christianity is banned.
Enter Nobuhiro. Third son of a high-level samurai, Nobuhiro fled his harsh father and apprenticed himself to a swordsmith. He yearns to prove his worth.
They seem an ideal match. But for Sen, the choice is faith or family. For Nobuhiro, choosing a Christian ends any reconciliation with his family. Can love be forged from the impossible?
An Offering: The Tale of Therese
1504 – Germany
Eight year-old Therese longs for a home. Fatherless and living in one, small room with her mother, Therese is sent to visit her grandparents in the next town when men come to visit. She’s hoping this man will be the one who marries her mother and gives them a home.
But on this day, while heading to her grandparents, she stops to pick up vegetables that have fallen off a passing wagon and is accused of being a beggar and attacked with stones. Rescued by a nun from the local convent, she brings Therese to the church, where she is cared for. In the loving arms of the nun, Therese wishes she could stay.
Leaving the convent for her grandparent’s house, Therese is welcomed in for the first time. Again, she longs to make this her home along with her mother, but realizes that grace and forgiveness don’t come easy. What must be sacrificed to see her dream come true?
The Sound of Emeralds
1567 – England
What once was blazing hatred has turned to lasting love, but could the union of a wild heart with that of a lady ever result in more than heartache?
With the help of an old friend with uncertain loyalties, Dirk inches ever closer to clearing his name. Gwyneth throws her faith into good tidings and the promise of a future as a family. But an old evil comes to call, just as tragedy rips apart a fledgling truce. Enemies from the past and grief for the future threaten to tear asunder what God had brought together…
As the date of Dirk’s trial approaches, his fate and his family hang in the balance. Will he be proven innocent of Gwyneth’s parents’ murders or separated from her forever? How much pain does it take to erode a love steadfast?
The Sound of Silver
1566 – England
The stalwart saint, fighting for faith…and the redeemed rebel, fighting for honor.
After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Now truly orphaned yet not alone, Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.
Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?
Luther 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.
The Sound of Diamonds
1566 – The Netherlands
Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.
With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle’s castle. She doesn’t dare to trust him…and yet doesn’t dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.
Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her—but what is he to do when those goals clash?
The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope…or be overcome.
Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I
1565 – England
From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court. Like Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage–or your life?
In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between her unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust–a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.
Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.
The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr
1540s – England
The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII as a young woman is caught between love and honor. Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father’s business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn Parr.
Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his concerns with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that Juliana would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in Parr’s household for “finishing” and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly.
For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king’s daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.
As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII’s court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will undo everything she holds dear.