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Shadow among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens

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1861 – England

A Timeless, Beautiful Allegory of the Biblical Love Story of Ruth and Boaz
 
The Great Rebellion of 1857 was a remarkably bloody business. At a time when Britain’s imperial influence in India was sparking brutal clashes on both sides, no one could have expected Rena, an Indian woman, to marry a British officer—nor do they understand her decision to follow her mother-in-law to England after her husband’s tragic death. 

Once the two widows are in Abbotsville, the stern yet compassionate Lord Barric attempts to help them despite his better judgment. Soon he is torn between the demands of reputation and his increasing desire to capture Rena’s heart for his own.

This Daring Journey by Misty Beller

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1866 – Canada

The only hope to keep her newborn baby alive is to reach the safety of her Indian people… This mountain man is the last person she should trust to get her there.

As a half-Indian raised among her Peigan tribe, Moriah Clark knows better than to trust white people. The tragedy that resulted in her birth is proof enough. But when her trusted grandfather marries her to a white man, she has no choice but to obey and hope this new life isn’t her downfall. Her white husband turns out to be a decent sort, but his unexpected death left her to birth a newborn baby among hostile mountain men. She wants nothing more than to retreat to the safe haven of her tribal upbringing. When a mysterious frontiersman arrives on her doorstep seeking her deceased husband, his offer to escort her and the babe to her people seems like the opportunity she’s been praying to find. But can she trust him?

Samuel Grant has been sent to retrieve Henry Clark for his sister’s wedding, but the sight that greets him at the little cabin in the woods is not what he expected. Not only has the man died, but Henry’s wife is fighting off an aggressive gang of men at gunpoint—while trying to conceal a newborn. He can’t leave the pair unattended, so helping her travel into the mountain country to reach her family seems like the only option. If he can win her trust, that is.

Such a grueling journey with a three-week-old baby will be risky, but the challenges that arise test them far more than either expected. When a devastating surprise increases the danger ten-fold, Moriah focuses all her efforts on keeping her newborn daughter alive. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t realize how much of her heart belongs to the mountain man—until it’s too late.

The Chaplain’s Daughter by Kathleen Maher

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1862 – Virginia

A feisty army laundress must disarm a grieving Confederate captain’s pride to win his heart.

A minister’s daughter abandoned during war must rely on faith to survive. A wounded widower feels God has forsaken him. Will her devout care bring medicine to his soul or rub salt in his wounds?

Ellen White is assigned to attend a debilitated artillery captain after the Battle of Second Manassas. She offers God’s strength, but Gideon Sharpe would rather rely on his own. He would prove himself devoted to his motherless infant daughters, the sort of father he never had.

Ellen longs for the security of a home and to feel cherished. Can a jaded and broken man be God’s plan to fulfill her fondest hopes?

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

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1849 – California

The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues when Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the rush for gold. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope.

Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot

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1881 – Texas

As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it’s time for a change. With her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek’s midwife, she has no intention of remarrying and trying for another child. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn’t sure her heart can take it.

Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn’t concerned only with the baby’s welfare. He’s been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated–and he’ll need Thea’s help if he’s ever to find the justice he seeks.

Convenient Amish Proposal by Jan Drexler

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1934 – Indiana

Suddenly a Mother

When Bethany Zook’s childhood friend returns to Indiana Amish country a widower, with an adorable little girl in tow, she’s willing to aid him in any way. But there’s just one thing Andrew Yoder needs—a mother for little Mari. And he seems convinced Bethany is the answer, just as she’s sure any union between them would be one strictly of convenience…

Andrew thought Bethany had married another. Now, determined to keep Mari despite his mother-in-law’s interference, he offers Bethany marriage in name only. But she’s quickly becoming more than a housekeeper and a mamm. Can he leave the past behind to claim a family of the heart?

Rayne’s Faith by Rayne’s Faith

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1886 – Kansas

Faith Manning has lost everything–her husband, her home, and her hope. With few options available, she accepts the position of nanny to the three-year-old daughter of local rancher, Rayne Harding.

Rayne isn’t at all happy about having to hire someone to care for his beloved child, but his mother’s recent accident leaves him no choice. Promise Joy needs someone looking after her, and the little girl seems smitten with the young widow she calls “Annie Faith.” Part of Rayne’s opposition to having Faith under his roof stems from an unexpected attraction for her. A man who so recently buried his wife shouldn’t have feelings for another woman. So he steels himself against Faith’s tender attention to his daughter and kindness to his mother. Despite his determination to remain aloof, affection blooms, but when a stranger arrives—a man who claims to be Faith’s dead husband back from the grave—Rayne and Faith are faced with choices neither anticipated.

Do they satisfy self, or do they trust God to guide both of them to the love they’re meant to hold?

War’s Respite by Elaine Marie Cooper

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1763 – Connecticut

In 1763, the war with the French came to a close. While most Connecticut colonists breathe in relief, others are faced with unexpected conflicts as battles of a different nature ensue at home.

Veteran Abijah Whitney regrets leaving his pregnant wife behind when he was called away to war. The news of her death during childbirth as well as the ugly brutalities of war have left their mark. His only comfort is the knowledge that his daughter survived. But his plans for her upon his return will cause an uproar in many lives, including the aunt who raised her.

Primrose Allan’s sole consolation after the death of her sister in childbirth is the baby girl who lived. The aunt raises the girl as her own, fearing that one day the girl’s father might return for her. But Primrose never imagined the nightmare that would ensue.

Dr. Isaac Northrup is a friend caught in the middle of the turmoil. Always desiring to bring healing, he feels helpless in the events that cause pain and heartache to others, as well as himself.

Jonas Wooding, the town’s blacksmith, is caught in the strife, made all the worse by a serious epidemic. Bound by constrictions of local law and forced to face his own grief, Jonas’s trust in God is stretched beyond endurance.

When all seems lost, will faith endure?

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

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1752 – Virginia

Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning–together.

Wagon Train Christmas by Linda Ford

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1848 – Colorado

Sophia Lorenzo is a young widow. And she’s in hiding at Bent’s Fort with her one-year-old son. Her late husband’s parents are powerful and determined to take her son from her. To protect them both, she must hide her true identity.

Buck Williams is the wagon master for the wagon train recently arrived at the Fort. He has been a loner since his wife died on a wagon train headed for Oregon. He guards his heart against further hurt.

Buck knows Sophia, but doesn’t know why she is lying about her identity. When she reveals the trouble she is in and asks for his help, Buck finds new hope that protecting this woman and child will atone for his failure to protect his wife.

But trouble is on Sophia’s trail. Can Buck protect the woman and child he’s come to love?

Romancing the Bride by Melissa Jagears

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1884 – Wyoming

Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.

Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?

Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall

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1893 – Massachusetts

Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again–this time for love…and to someone safe

As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of “what if” at bay?

This book was originally published in the Timeless Love: Romantic Stories That Span the Ages collection.

Freedom’s Light by Colleen Coble

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1776 – Massachusetts

A young lighthouse keeper must navigate the dangerous waters of revolution and one man’s obsession with her to find safe harbor with the sea captain she loves. 

Hannah Thomas believes she’s escaped Galen Wright’s evil intentions by marrying an older lighthouse keeper. Seemingly safe in faraway Massachusetts, her world is upended when John is killed in one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War. Hannah is allowed to continue the difficult task of tending the twin lighthouses in John’s place, though she faces daily disapproval from John’s family. She thinks her loneliness will subside when her younger sister arrives, but she finds Lydia’s obsession with Galen only escalates the dangerous tides swirling around her.

A stormy night brings a shipwrecked sea captain to Hannah’s door, and though he is a Tory, her heart is as traitorous as the dark-eyed captain. Even though she discovers Birch Meredith isn’t the enemy he seemed at first, Hannah isn’t sure their love will ever see the light of freedom.

A Christmas Prayer by Wanda Brunstetter

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1850 – Missouri to California

Previously released in the The Westward Christmas Brides Collection

Only the brave—or foolhardy—would attempt a cross-country journey late in the season. Three wagons meet up in Independence, Missouri, in April 1850, and their owners decide to keep forging ahead despite many setbacks and delays. December finds them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when a sudden snowstorm traps them, obscuring the trail.
 
Cynthia Cooper is traveling with her mother and the man she has promised to marry. But as Christmas is upon them and they are hunkered down in a small cabin, she is forced to reevaluate her reasons for planning to marry fellow-traveler Walter Prentice. When a widowed father heading to a California ranch and a gold prospector both show an interest in Cynthia, she weighs her dreams for marriage alongside her responsibility to care for her mother. Can love win over her timid heart?

This Freedom Journey by Misty M Beller

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1833 – Canada

Adrien Lockman is through with the political unrest and bloodshed in his home country of France, so he sets off to the Canadian territory’s mountain frontier, in search of a place where a man can live his own life in peace. The last thing he expects to find is a woman, half-starved and half-frozen in a shack nestled among the towering peaks of the great Rocky Mountains.

Mary Standish thought she’d finally found a place where she was accepted, trapping with her husband for the Hudson Bay Company. But when he dies after a gruesome grizzly fight, she determines to carry on their work. After all, life in these remote mountains is better than enduring the scorn and snubs of “civilized” folk. When she’s forced to face a winter harder than any she’s endured yet, her stubbornness may just be the death of her. Until a stranger appears at her ramshackle door.

Adrien had planned to explore the mountain country all winter before he settles down to build a farm in the spring, but he can’t leave this woman to die in the elements. Even though she seems desperate for him to go. As Mary regains strength, she’s torn between wanting to save her dignity, and craving the respect of this man who’s slipped past her defenses. As the winter worsens, the truth becomes all too real–the only way they’ll survive is together.

Lord Harrow’s Heart by Susan Baganz

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1812 – England

Lord Theodore Harrow has watched three of his closest friends fall in love and suffer for it, but now they are content, and he is left on the outside. When an accident brings him face-to-face with the woman of his dreams, he hopes his single days will be over, without the drama. Mrs. Valeria Wilson is not looking for another husband to replace the one she buried with great relief. Now, while trying to hide from her evil father-in-law and protect her young son, The last thing she needs is a peer of the realm pursuing her. When his friends get involved, life turns upside down for Valeria. Can Valeria keep her heart safe and her secret preserved while taking advantage of some of the help these people have to offer her in her desperate straits? Fighting her ex-father-in-law puts them all in a direct battle with the Black Diamond himself— not only for their lives, but the future of Britain.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

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1890 – Virginia

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of nineteenth-century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins—three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred-acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where—and whether—to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

The Widow’s Plight by Mary Davis

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1893 – Washington

When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?

Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first, but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother.

Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?

To Catch a Bride by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham

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1865 – Montana

Across the vast Montana Territory, dreams have no limits . . . and prayers can be answered in the most unexpected ways.

After the untimely death of her husband, Marilyn Svenson has one option to keep her isolated ranch in Montana Territory: Remarriage. Of the two men in the rough mining town of Helena who fit her criteria for a husband, the charming resale shop owner is her preferred choice. Logically, she proposes.

David Pawlikowski came west to escape past heartbreak. Just when he thinks he’s content, Marilyn shakes up his bachelor life with her innovative spirit and unexpected marriage proposal. As much as David would like to say yes to the beautiful widow, he’s thinks Marilyn would be better off with the town’s dapper new lawyer. But when real danger closes in, only Marilyn can decide whom to keep close to her side forever.

Where the Snowy Owl Sleeps by Mimi Milan

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1852 – California

Known as “Snowy Owl” amongst her people, Kela Tukumu is less interested in taking a husband than she is in becoming the first medicine woman of her Miwok tribe. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she is rather fierce to behold–taller and stronger than all the other women, and even many of the men… or maybe it is simply due to the terrible tragedy she heard all her life–the one that took away her grieving mother before Kela had the chance to even know her. Regardless of the reason, Kela is determined to stay the course. With the influx of new settlers in the territory, her people have suffered much. She has decided it is her responsibility to help them heal. However, doing so may require an alliance with the local town doctor in ways she never imagined.

If Jonathan Edwards could turn back the hands of time, he would have never left his medical practice back east. His wife warned him it would be their undoing and, sure enough, it was. Now he has his wife’s blood on his hands, as well as the responsibility of raising their two small children alone. Worse, the town’s mayor has charged him with yet another undertaking–unite the townsfolk with the local Miwok tribe. Yet, how can he possibly do so when the very real likelihood exists that it was one of their men who murdered his wife? The last thing he wishes is to betray her memory… an increasingly difficult task when the Miwok’s shaman turns out to be the most capable woman he’s ever known.

Will sharing their knowledge with one another open a way to healing, or only produce more hurt for both them and their peoples?

A Cowboy of Convenience by Stacy Henrie

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1901 – Wyoming

A real home—it’s what Vienna Howe dearly wants for her young daughter. Yet the ramshackle property she just inherited hardly qualifies. She can’t afford the repairs—until foreman West McCall suggests they start a dude ranch together. For propriety’s sake, they’ll need a marriage in name only…a practical solution for two wary hearts.

Years ago, West convinced Vienna to marry a man of means, never realizing how cruel her husband could be. Guilt-ridden, he intends to secure the lovely widow’s future. But despite his reluctance to get close to anyone, this union might do more than fix Vienna’s ranch. It could open the door to a warm, loving future…

A Blessed Dream by Danica Favorite

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1852 – California

Newly arrived in Blessings, Louisa Davidson’s only goal is to support her sisters while they search for clues about their father’s murder. However, their neighbor’s unruly children keep disrupting her work and she finds herself longing for a dream she thought lost to her: that of being a schoolteacher. With her father’s murderer on the loose, she cannot think of her own dreams, but of justice.

Jonah Hastings’s dreams died along with his wife. He’s doing the best he can to keep his children out of trouble, but as his family falls apart, the person to save them may also be the greatest threat to walls around his heart. As Jonah and Louisa try to hold the shattered pieces of their hearts together, can letting go be the very thing that saves them all?

Temporary Bride by Linda Ford

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1885 – North Dakota

Lena Stevens has lived through more than her share of troubles. After losing her mother and father when she was young, Lena learned that every kindness came with obligation. Now a widow with a small child, Lena has lost the one thing she had left: her house. She has no desire to be a burden on her neighbor, even if the man was foolish enough to promise her late husband to watch out for her. But when propriety demands a marriage, Lena makes Anker vow to annul it come spring.

Anker has longed for a wife–but not like this. A forced marriage. A pretend marriage. He will do what he must to protect Lena and Charlie throughout the winter. But as days stretch into months, his admiration for the spirited young woman begins to turn to something else. Something more…

Anker and Lena both had their reasons for wanting a temporary marriage. But when spring arrives, will they regret their vow to end the union?

The Widow of Rose Hill by Michelle Shocklee

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1865 – Texas

Widowed during the war, Natalie Ellis finds herself solely responsible for Rose Hill plantation. When Union troops arrive with a proclamation freeing the slaves, all seems lost. How can she run the plantation without slaves? In order to save her son’s inheritance she strikes a deal with the arrogant, albeit handsome, Colonel Maish. In exchange for use of her family’s property, the army will provide workers to bring in her cotton crop. But as her admiration for the colonel grows, a shocking secret is uncovered. Can she trust him with her heart and her young, fatherless son?

Natalie Ellis is everything Colonel Levi Maish loathes: a Southern slave owner. When he and his men arrived in Texas with the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves still in bondage despite the war having ended, he feels little concern for the trail of plantation owners left in its wake without workers. But the plight of the beautiful Widow Ellis stirs to life his compassion and the heart he’d thought cold as stone after witnessing the carnage of war. While the army camps on her land, Levi finds himself contemplating a future with Natalie and Samuel. But when he learns where her husband perished during the war, he knows a life with Natalie is impossible. How could she ever forgive him for what he’d done in battle on the banks of the Bull Run?

This Treacherous Journey by Misty M. Beller

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1851 – Texas to Canada

Widowed and with child, Emma Malcom is fleeing from the reward offered for her arrest. She’s innocent of the dirty dealings her deceased husband orchestrated, but the angry townspeople didn’t stop to listen to her defense before she narrowly escaped with her life. Now, she and her twin brother, Joseph, must battle the mountain wilderness of the Rockies to reach Canada and the clean start she craves. But when a fall from the rocky cliff leaves Joseph wounded and weak, could the strange mountain man they encounter be God’s gift to see them to safety?

Simeon Grant makes bad choices. His deceased wife and twin babies are lost to him now because of his reckless decisions, and the penance he pays by living alone in this mountain wilderness is only a small piece of what he thinks he deserves. When a city woman, heavy with child, appears on his doorstep with her injured brother, her presence resurrects the memories he’s worked so hard to forget. And when she asks for his help to travel deeper into the mountain country, he can’t help wonder why God would force him to relive the same mistakes he’s already suffered through. Or maybe taking these two to safety could be the way to redeem himself.

But when their travels prove more treacherous than he imagined, Simeon finds himself pressing the limits of his ability to keep Emma and her brother safe. Can he overcome the past that haunts him to be the man she needs? Will Emma break through the walls around Simeon’s heart before it’s too late, or will the dangers of these mountains be the end of them all?

The Rancher’s Temporary Engagement by Stacy Henrie

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1898 – Wyoming

The Pinkerton agent that Edward Kent hired is intelligent, capable—and unexpectedly female! Though shocked to learn that Maggy Worthing will be investigating the threats to his Wyoming horse ranch, Edward needs to find the culprit. And if that means a temporary engagement to give Maggy a cover story, he’ll play along with the feisty detective.

Maggy always gets her man—at least when it comes to solving crimes. The young widow refuses to marry again and land under another husband’s thumb. Unmasking Edward’s enemies will earn her a longed-for promotion…but the heart has its own mysteries. Could working together with the handsome English aristocrat spark a real and loving partnership?

Honor-Bound Lawman by Danica Favorite

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1884 – Colorado

When Laura Booth’s dangerous ex-husband escapes from prison, she turns to the one man who can protect her: Owen Hamilton. Living with the widowed former lawman—who once helped put her ex in jail—and his adorable twin daughters on their Colorado ranch is a welcome respite. For the first time, Laura feels safe—but after her troubled past, she’ll never trust her heart again.

Owen would like to say only obligation draws him to Laura’s side. But in his gut he knows his feelings for the gentle beauty run deeper than duty—and it stops him cold. After guarding their wary hearts for years, can Owen and Laura give love a second chance?

An Inconvenient Marriage by Christina Miller

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1866 – Mississippi

Widowed reverend Samuel Montgomery is excited to start over with his daughter in Natchez, Mississippi—until he learns he’ll lose his job if he doesn’t marry. His solution: a marriage in name only to heiress Clarissa Adams, who needs a husband to win her inheritance. Though the beautiful music teacher will make a good wife, Samuel doubts he can ever truly capture her heart.

Marriage satisfies only the first provision of Clarissa’s grandfather’s will, which pits her against her cousin. And fulfilling the remaining stipulations won’t be easy between caring for Samuel’s rebellious daughter and managing an orphanage. But Samuel seems determined to stand by her side…and maybe even prove their marriage could be more than just convenient.

Locket Full of Love by Heather Blanton

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1867 – Texas

Was her husband a sinner or a saint? A spy or a traitor? For years Juliet Watts has believed her husband died saving nothing more than a cheap trinket–but the locket he risked his life for turns out to hold a mysterious key. Together, Juliet and military intelligence officer Robert Hall go on a journey of riddles and revelations. But Juliet is convinced Robert is hiding something, too. Maybe it’s just his heart…

Out of the Ashes by Tracie Peterson

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1926 – Alaska

After the death of their father, Collette and Jean-Michel Langelier are no longer tied to post-war France. While his sister dreams of adventure, Jean-Michel is hoping to finally escape reminders of the horrors he faced in the war. When Jean-Michel receives an unexpected invitation for them to visit Alaska and the Curry Hotel, it seems an opportunity for a change he needs.

Katherine Demarchis is a young widow who does not grieve the dangerous husband she was forced to marry. Now she just wants to retreat to a quiet life, content to be alone. First, though, she’s agreed to accompany her grandmother on a final trip, but never expects to see a man from her past.

Katherine and Jean-Michel once shared a deep love that was torn apart by forces beyond their control. Reunited now, have the years changed them too deeply to rediscover what they had? And when Jean-Michel’s nightmares return with terrifying consequences, will faith be enough to heal what’s been broken for so long?

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.

A Mother For His Family by Susanne Dietze

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1819 – Scotland

Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for.

All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always.

Would-Be Mistletoe Wife by Christine Johnson

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1871 – Michigan

Worried she might lose her teaching job if funding is cut for her boarding school, widow Louise Smythe must consider marriage. But the only prospective groom in town is lighthouse-keeper Jesse Hammond, and he wants children—something she may never be able to provide. While Jesse waits for the ideal woman to make his wife, though, Louise can’t help but long for something more than his friendship.

If he wants to be promoted to head lighthouse keeper, Jesse needs to find a wife suited to his rustic lifestyle. But as he and Louise partner to give the town’s homeless orphans a joyous holiday, he’s drawn to the petite woman. Will the light of Christmas finally inspire them to trust in each other’s hearts?

A Child’s Christmas Wish by Erica Vetsch

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1875 – Minnesota

The only Christmas gift Oscar Rabb’s four-year-old daughter prays for is one the widower can’t provide: a baby sibling. And when his neighbor’s house burns down, he’s willing to open his home to pregnant and widowed Kate Amaker and her in-laws—but not his heart. Even if his little girl’s convinced Kate’s unborn child is the answer to her wish. 

Kate quickly sees the generous but aloof Oscar has little interest in growing closer to his houseguests. Still, she intends to make the coming Christmas a season to remember for his daughter. And as Oscar starts to open up to her, Kate can’t help picturing just how wonderful the holidays—and a future together—might be.

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna’s Choice by Angie Dicken

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1910 – Utah

Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him.  When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Rock. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

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