1895 – Texas
Sarah Novak has an impossible dream. She wants to be a schoolteacher, but everyone in Riverford, Texas, in 1895 knows that immigrant farm girls do not become teachers. It’s an absurd notion, and the sooner it’s squashed, the better! These things can get out of hand, you know.
Riverford has another problem – a troublesome newcomer named Victoria Hodges. She’s a Bohemian nonconformist who ran off to Europe 20 years ago to become an artist. How she managed to hook wealthy, local businessman, Hayden Hodges, is more than a body can understand. One thing’s for certain. She’s a corrupting force who must be removed from decent society! These things can get out of hand, you know.
Fortunately, Edith Bellows knows how to nip these things in the bud. A united stand of all the decent ladies, a cold-shouldered shut out of such radicalism – that’s the ticket.
But Mrs. Bellows barely gets her campaign underway when mutiny in the ranks occurs. Why on earth would genteel Christine Boyd, daughter of famed Confederate Gen. Gibbes of Charleston, South Carolina, befriend those two reprobates? Bless her heart! Doesn’t she understand that the very life blood of Southern womanhood – propriety – is at stake?
There will be no skirting of tradition on Mrs. Bellows’ watch!
Or will there?
A Heart Set Free
1770 – Virginia
In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.
Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blond standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife?
When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her, and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.
But in the Virginia countryside, Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . . and love will finally set her heart free.
Waves of Mercy
1846-1896 – The Netherlands and Michigan
Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from The Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she is asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions that have remained buried all these years, including the story of her one true love.
A few miles away at the Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of her broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after the violent storm her steamship encounters on her journey across the lake, stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.
Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.
My Sister’s Prayer
1705 – Virginia and Present Day
Celeste Talbot is usually such a sensible young woman—until she falls for an English soldier reassigned to the Colonies. Leaving her Huguenot family behind, she sets sail for America, only to realize that her younger sister Berta has been kidnapped and forced on board the very same ship. Whom can Celeste trust? The dashing soldier? Or the vigilant carpenter who remains by their side in the perilous New World?
Virginia, present day
Madeline “Maddee” Talbot has her hands full when she agrees to take in her younger sister Nicole following a serious car accident. The young women grew apart when Nicole fell into drug addiction, and Maddee prays this will be the start of a better life for her sister. But as they investigate a trauma from their childhood, Maddee must keep a diligent eye on Nicole—and the shadowy figure watching them from afar.
From the Christy Award-winning team of Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould, My Sister’s Prayer tells an epic tale of two women compelled to protect their sisters, confront their fears, and navigate the muddy waters of betrayal to find true love.
A Lesson in Love and Murder
1912 – Canada, Illinois
The legacy of literary icon Sherlock Holmes is alive and well in 1912 Canada, where best friends Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts continue to develop their skills as consulting detectives.
The city of Toronto has been thrown into upheaval by the arrival of radical anarchist Emma Goldman. Amid this political chaos, Benny Citrone of the Royal North-West Mounted Police arrives at Merinda and Jem’s flat, requesting assistance in locating his runaway cousin—a man with a deadly talent.
While Merinda eagerly accepts the case, she finds herself constantly butting heads—and hearts—with Benny. Meanwhile, Jem has her hands full with a husband who is determined to keep her out of harm’s way.
As Merinda and Jem close in on the danger they’ve tracked from Toronto to Chicago, they uncover a sinister plot to assassinate presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt. Will they be able to save the day and resolve the troubles threatening their future happiness before it’s too late?
1934 – California
Newly married to her childhood sweetheart, twenty-one-year-old Ruth Warren is settling into life in a Depression-era, East Texas oil town. She’s making a home when she learns that her young husband, Charlie, has been killed in an oil rig accident. Ruth is devastated, but then gets a chance for a fresh start: a scholarship from a college in Pasadena, CA. Ruth decides to take a risk and travel west, to pursue her one remaining dream to become a teacher.
At college Ruth tries to fit into campus life, but her grief holds her back. When she spends Christmas with some old family friends, she meets the striking and compelling Thomas Everly, whose own losses and struggles have instilled in him a commitment to social justice, and led him to work with Mexican migrant farmworkers in a camp just east of Los Angeles. With Thomas, Ruth sees another side of town, and another side of current events: the numerous forced deportations without due process of Mexicans, along with United States citizens of Mexican descent.
After Ruth is forced to leave school, she goes to visit Thomas and sees that he has cobbled together a night school for the farmworkers’ children. Ruth begins to work with the children, and establishes deep friendships with people in the camp. When the camp is raided and the workers and their families are rounded up and shipped back to Mexico, Ruth and Thomas decide to take a stand for the workers’ rights—all while promising to love and cherish one another.
1903 – New York
In Sofia’s Tune, we meet Sofia Falcone, a young woman who has been living in New York only a short time when she is stunned to discover a family secret, one that soon sends her beloved mother into a mental institution. Scrambling to keep her job and care for her mother, Sofia is convinced confronting the past will heal all wounds, but her old world Italian family wants to keep the past in the past.
During this time, she encounters Antonio, a Vaudeville pianist with a street-smart dog, seeking to discover why his father was mysteriously killed. Their crossed paths uncover a frightening underworld in Little Italy. Bringing the truth to light may cost Sofia’s mother’s sanity, Antonio’s career, and the livelihoods of countless immigrants. Change is on the horizon, but it may not bring what they expect.
1840’s – Ireland
Previously published under the same title ten years ago, but since revised. This book is the first in a three-book series and does not wrap up all the story threads in the first book. While some threads are completed, some continue on into the second book. The series is a continuation, and comes to its completion on all story threads at the end of book three.
Rory O’Leary, orphaned then raised by wealthy relatives, is summoned home for a family wedding. While there, he has a chance meeting with Shannon Cahill, a young peasant woman. Although their stations in life couldn’t be more different, they are immediately drawn to each other. After a brief meeting in a rose garden they can neither forget, they go their separate ways.
When Rory’s uncle passes away, his cousin William, who inherits the estate, cuts off all funds to Rory and his brother and has them removed from the only home they know. Rory feels his best option is to leave Ireland.
Meanwhile, Shannon and her family have fallen on hard times due to a potato famine. Her ailing parents scrape together funds and insist that Shannon and her sister immigrate to America. Shannon fears she’ll never again see the man who stole her heart in the rose garden.
As both Rory and Shannon set about to start new lives away from their beloved Ireland, God intervenes and weaves together a cord that can never be broken.
1911 – New York
Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he’s put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.
Brianna, a quiet girl with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry–as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards of the ideal groom. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant relative Rylan Montgomery visits Long Island during his seminary training, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans.
As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, James O’Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father’s machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?