Biltmore Girl by Dawn Klinge

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1968 – New York

Elka Hansen, a former teen cover girl, is done with modeling. Now she’s a hostess for the Palm Court restaurant in the beautiful Biltmore Hotel. As she sees it, Elka’s other job is to watch out for her younger sister, Colleen, an idealistic but reckless college student at Barnard.

With her sister, Elka attends her first civil-rights protest, and there, she runs into Jacob Lewis, a co-worker from the Biltmore. He’s a student at Columbia University and a friend of Colleen’s. Jacob becomes an unexpected ally when rescuing her sister from trouble becomes more than Elka can handle independently. Out of this turmoil, a romance grows between Jacob and Elka, but can it last?

Night Bird Calling by Cathy Gohlke

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1941 – North Carolina

When Lilliana Swope’s beloved mother dies, Lilliana gathers her last ounce of courage and flees her abusive husband for the home of her only living relative in the foothills of No Creek, North Carolina. Though Hyacinth Belvidere hasn’t seen Lilliana since she was five, she offers her cherished great-niece a safe harbor. Their joyful reunion inspires plans to revive Aunt Hyacinth’s estate and open a public library where everyone is welcome, no matter the color of their skin.

Slowly Lilliana finds revival and friendship in No Creek—with precocious eleven-year-old Celia Percy, with kindhearted Reverend Jesse Willard, and with Ruby Lynne Wishon, a young woman whose secrets could destroy both them and the town. When the plans for the library also incite the wrath of the Klan, the dangers of Lilliana’s past and present threaten to topple her before she’s learned to stand.

With war brewing for the nation and for her newfound community, Lilliana must overcome a hard truth voiced by her young friend Celia: Wishing comes easy. Change don’t.

The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark

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1946 – Alabama/Charleston

Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie’s past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton–the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman–boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they’ve both dreamed of. But it’s not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.

Under the Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee

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1929 – Tennessee

Sixteen-year-old Lorena Leland’s dreams of a rich and fulfilling life as a writer are dashed when the stock market crashes in 1929. Seven years into the Great Depression, Rena’s banker father has retreated into the bottle, her sister is married to a lazy charlatan and gambler, and Rena is an unemployed newspaper reporter. Eager for any writing job, Rena accepts a position interviewing former slaves for the Federal Writers’ Project. There, she meets Frankie Washington, a 101-year-old woman whose honest yet tragic past captivates Rena.

As Frankie recounts her life as a slave, Rena is horrified to learn of all the older woman has endured—especially because Rena’s ancestors owned slaves. While Frankie’s story challenges Rena’s preconceptions about slavery, it also connects the two women whose lives are otherwise separated by age, race, and circumstances. But will this bond of respect, admiration, and friendship be broken by a revelation neither woman sees coming?

Trail of Fears by Sara Turnquist

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1830s – Georgia

He’s a steadfast missionary. She’s a proud Cherokee. Can their love survive the brutal Trail of Tears?

Thomas Greyson believes God had called him to spread the gospel. He leaves his sheltered world behind to live among the native peoples and teach in their school. But as the government tightens its grip, not everyone is ready to listen to the gospel’s message of love… least of all the stubborn beauty who stole his heart.

Adsila resists bending her knee to the white man’s God when Thomas seemingly tries to steal away the last remaining shreds of her heritage. Is she prepared to fight him tooth and nail? But when he stands with her people in the face of hardship, her soul begins to long for the curious stranger and his unshakeable faith.

Against impossible odds and staggering loss, can Thomas and Adsila find the strength to follow their hearts’ true path?

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.

Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke

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1939 – Germany

Increasingly wary of her father’s genetic research, Rachel Kramer has determined that this trip with him to Germany—in the summer of 1939—will be her last. But a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, changes everything. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter, Amelie, deaf since birth, as a blight on his Aryan bloodline.

Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he’s as dangerous as the swastikas that hang like ebony spiders from every government building in Berlin. She fears her father’s files may hold answers about Hitler’s plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems “unworthy of life.” She risks searching his classified documents only to uncover shocking secrets about her own history and a family she’s never known.

Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young—a driven, disarming American journalist and unlikely ally—who connects her to the resistance and to controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Forced into hiding, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife’s edge, risking their lives—and asking others to do the same—for those they barely know but come to love.

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

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1864 – Georgia

Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war—little knowing what that promise will cost him.

As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?

Safe at Home by Richard Doster

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1953 – Small Southern Town

The spring of ’53 started out like any other for sports columnist Jack Hall, as he and the rest of his small southern town, Whitney, eagerly awaited the magical first pitch that would open the Bobcat’s season. But when ticket sales wane with the new distractions of air conditioning and I Love Lucy, the Bobcats face an early end not only to the season but to their careers as well. The team needs a white knight to save them and ironically, that white knight seems to be a 17 year old “colored kid”, Percy Jackson, who’s got a .364 batting average and has never seen a grounder he couldn’t chase down.

Not everyone—not even most people—though can wrap their heads around an integrated baseball field, even if they have seen them on TV. This is Whitney. Things don’t change and they don’t need to change. Do they?

Hearts, minds, faith and tradition will be tested as will friendships and marriages when this sleepy southern town comes to grips with itself amid the early years of the Civil Rights Movement.

To Love Somebody by Lyn Cote

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tolovesomebodyTo Love Somebody (formerly titled Leigh)

1963 – Maryland

A child of the sixties, Leigh Sinclair always knows what she wants. So why does her mother Bette always try to hold her back? Leigh senses there must be something behind her mother’s inclination to overprotect her. But her mother will not let go and it builds a wall between them.

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, sets in motion his March on Washington in 1963, no one least of all, Leigh, could have predicted how this would impact her life especially when she meets handsome but forbidden Frank Dawson III.

Leigh faces all the challenges of the 1960’s, the Cold War, Vietnam, a turbulent time in the US and the world. With the change in women’s rights, she confronts so many new possibilities and choices her grandmother Chloe never faced. Falling for the wrong man brings her consequences she never envisioned. Falling in love with the right man proves heart-breaking too. Will she never get it right? Then one day the worst she could imagine happens. Who can help her make this come right?

Meant for Me by Lyn Cote

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meantformeMeant for Me (formerly titled Chloe)

1920s – Maryland and New York

Award-winning author Lyn Cote delivers the first story in her moving Women of Ivy Manor series about four generations of women, set against the sprawling tapestry of the twentieth century. Chloe Lorraine Kimball is born at the estate of Ivy Manor in the wee hours of the twentieth century. She is the apple of her grandmother’s eye, if not her mother and father’s. For despite a home filled with everything a young girl could desire, she lacks the one thing she wants above all else-unconditional love from her parents. Thinking she can win that love through her actions, she creates a successful life for herself in Washington, DC, as the belle of her father’s political career. Bright and beautiful, she revels in the attention she receives from the capitol’s major players. But in the end, as her world comes crashing down amid the opening months of the Depression, Chloe must realize that whether or not she’s capable of giving and receiving love is something entirely up to her. And perhaps she can finally find happiness on her own terms.

The Color of the Soul by Tracey Bateman

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1860s/1948 – Georgia

A Pandora’s box opens when reporter Andy Carmichael, too light skinned for acceptance by blacks and too dark skinned for acceptance by whites, is sent to Georgia to interview Miss Penbrook, an icon of Southern literature. From her deathbed, the mysterious Miss Penbrook gives Andy journals that reveal a surprising twist – her story and his own meld into one.

All the Way Home by Ann Tatlock

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1930s/1960s – California/Mississippi

From a rough section of Los Angeles during the late Depression years, to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s in the South, this novel is a searing portrayal of one family trapped by alcoholism and another living the typical middle class life. A true American story told through the eyes of two girls, best friends, separated by the internment camps of World War II.

Passing by Samaria Sharon Ewell Foster

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1919 – Mississippi

The date is 1919—a time of unrest and drastic change. For Alena, though, life in Mississippi is perfect, and she prays she will never leave her home. That prayer is shattered when she makes a horrible discovery—a discovery that leads her to challenge all she believes. Against the backdrop of the Great Migration, from a quiet, country setting, Alena is catapulted to Chicago, the “city of broad shoulders.”

There, amidst riots, misplaced love, and post-war confusion, the outspoken young woman struggles to find herself and the one true thing that will save her.