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Sword of Peace by Louisa Bauman

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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.

Loving Luther by Allison Pittman

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Loving Lutherlovingluther

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.

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The Samurai’s Heart by Walt Mussell

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samuraisheartThe 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?

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An Offering: The Tale of Therese by Allison Pittman

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offeringAn 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 by Rachelle Rea

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soundofemeraldsThe 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?

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The Sound of Silver by Rachelle Rea

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soundofsilverThe 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 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.

The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea

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soundofdiamondsThe 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 by Sandra Byrd

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Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth Iroseshavethorns

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 by Sandra Byrd

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The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parrthesecretkeeper

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.

As the Sparks Fly Upward by Gilbert Morris

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asthesparksflyupwardAs the Sparks Fly Upward

1500s – England

Young Colin Winslow grows up feeling altogether different from the rest of his family. Not bold and rough like his charismatic brother, Adam, or headstrong and spoiled like his sister, Adara, he is a gentle soul with a special love for natural things. His interest in animals, medicine, and healing brings him in contact with a strange woman who lives in the woods, Meg Caradoc. She teaches him the fine art of using a variety of herbs to quell sickness and pain.

When Colin studies at Oxford, an eccentric but brilliant professor, Dr. Phineas Teague, guides the young man to a career in medicine. The formal knowledge Professor Teague imparts, combined with knowledge of Meg’s herbal remedies, make Colin an insightful and successful doctor—one with the approving eye of Queen Elizabeth on him. Colin’s skill quickly earns him many patients, some highly placed in the courts of both his queen and her sister Mary Queen of Scots. This once shy and uncertain young man finds himself in the midst of court intrigue and a key player in quelling assassination plots and passing vital information to the queen’s court. When Colin faces his most difficult case—curing the wounds his brave brother suffered in battle—he must confront his attraction to Adam’s wife, his unsteady faith in God, and his command of medicine: will he abandon his noble role and succumb to temptation, or will he take his place as the new hero of the Breed of Winslow?

To Die For by Sandra Byrd

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To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyntodiefor

1530s – England

To Die For, is the story of Meg Wyatt, pledged forever as the best friend to Anne Boleyn since their childhoods on neighboring manors in Kent. When Anne’s star begins to ascend, of course she takes her best friend Meg along for the ride. Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling at first, but as Anne’s favor rises and falls, so does Meg’s. And though she’s pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what the test, Meg just might lose her greatest love—and her own life—because of it.  Meg’s childhood flirtation with a boy on a neighboring estate turns to true love early on. When he is called to follow the Lord and be a priest she turns her back on both the man and his God. Slowly, though, both woo her back through the heady times of the English reformation. In the midst of it, Meg finds her place in history, her own calling to the Lord that she must follow, too, with consequences of her own. Each character in the book is tested to figure out what love really means, and what, in this life, is worth dying for.

Though much of Meg’s story is fictionalized, it is drawn from known facts. The Wyatt family and the Boleyn family were neighbors and friends, and perhaps even distant cousins. Meg’s brother, Thomas Wyatt, wooed Anne Boleyn and ultimately came very close to the axe blade for it. Two Wyatt sisters attended Anne at her death, and at her death, she gave one of them her jeweled prayer book—Meg.

When the Heavens Fall by Gilbert Morris

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whentheheavensfallWhen the Heavens Fall

1500s – England

Brandon Winslow would rather gamble and frequent taverns than attend church. So how does he find himself at the forefront of the resistance to Bloody Mary’s attempt to eliminate—at sword’s point, if need be—the Protestant faith?

During the reign of Mary I of England—”Bloody Mary”—young Brandon Winslow (son of Stuart, protagonist of Honor in the Dust, the first book in the Winslow Breed series) finds himself in dire straits. After being flogged and then drummed out of the military for seducing the wife of his commanding officer, he sinks into a life of gambling and petty fraud along with Lupa, the fair gypsy woman who nursed him back to health.

After Mary weds Prince Philip of Spain, she begins to work in earnest to establish Catholicism as the only faith in England—and to execute Protestants. When Brandon sees several people burned at the stake in London for their faith, the experience changes him: Even though he has been only a nominal member of the Church of England, he finds himself compelled to stop those responsible for these outrages—and to do so before his uncle Quentin, a pastor, is himself burned at the stake. Unfortunately, the only way to save Quentin and so many others is to make Princess Elizabeth (who is herself in danger of dying at Mary’s hand) queen. And that, of course, would be treason. Punishable by death.

But then, Brandon has always been a gambler . . .

Wolves Among Us by Ginger Garrett

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Wolves Among Uswolvesamongus

1538 – Germany

Dinfoil, Germany, 1538. In a little town on the edge of the Black Forest, a double murder stirs up festering fears. A lonely woman despairs of pleasing her husband and wonders why other women shun her. An overworked sheriff struggles to hold the town—and himself—together. A priest begins to doubt the power of the words he shares daily with his flock. And the charismatic Inquisitor who arrives to help—with a filthy witch in a cage as an object lesson—brings his own mix of lofty ideals and treacherous evil. Under his influence, ordinary village fears and resentments take a deadly turn. Terror mounts. Dark deeds come to light. And men and women alike discover not only what they are capable of, but who they are…and what it means to grapple for grace.

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner

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Lady in Waitingladyinwaiting

1550s & Present Day – England & New York

Content in her comfortable marriage of twenty-two years, Jane Lindsay had never expected to watch her husband,  rad, pack his belongings and walk out the door of their Manhattan home. But when it happens, she feels powerless to stop him and the course of events that follow Brad’s departure.

Jane finds an old ring in a box of relics from a British jumble sale and discovers a Latin inscription in the band along with just one recognizable word: Jane. Feeling an instant connection to the mysterious ring bearing her namesake, Jane begins a journey to learn more about the ring—and perhaps about herself.

~

In the sixteenth-century, Lucy Day becomes the dressmaker to Lady Jane Grey, an innocent young woman whose fate seems to be controlled by a dangerous political and religious climate, one threatening to deny her true love and pursuit of her own interests.

As the stories of both Janes dovetail through the journey of one ring, it becomes clear that each woman has far more infl uence over her life than she once imagined. It all comes down to the choices each makes despite the realities they face.

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