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Aboard Providence by Keely Brooke Keith

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Aboard Providence

Pre-civil War – At Sea

Jonah Ashton is determined to finish medical school before rumors of Southern rebellion erupt into all-out war. Despite accusations of wrongdoing that threatens his career, when he learns his father plans to join a group of families who are sailing away from America to form a new settlement, he travels to Virginia to say goodbye. However, an accident forces Jonah to accompany them to serve as the ship’s physician. He boards the Providence with the plan to escort his family to their new settlement in South America and then return to Pennsylvania to clear his name. What he doesn’t count on is getting lost at sea and Marian Foster. When the settlers finally reach land, Jonah makes a startling discovery that changes everything, but will it change his heart?

Refining Fire by Carol Cox

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Refining Fire

1869 – Arizona

Orphaned, then traded to a saloonkeeper by her unscrupulous guardian, Jenny Davis has learned some hard lessons in life.

For one thing, she knows beyond a doubt that God doesn’t love her. How could He, when He has allowed such terrible hardships to befall her? Jenny decides any happiness she may find will have to come about through her own efforts and moves to Tucson in hopes of beginning a new life.

Andrew Garrett came to Arizona Territory to scout out mining opportunities for a group of Colorado investors. He intends to finish the job he was hired to do, then return home…until he takes one look at Jenny. But digging ore out of hard rock may be easier than breaking down the walls of distrust Jenny has erected around herself.

Will a false accusation and an encounter with the law bring Jenny to her wit’s end–forcing her finally to trust God and acknowledge the love she has for Andrew?

Child of the River by Irma Joubert

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Child of the River

1938 – South Africa

Persomi is young, white, and poor, born the middle child of illiterate sharecroppers on the prosperous Fourie farm in the South African Bushveld. Persomi’s world is extraordinarily small. She has never been to the local village and spends her days absorbed in the rhythms of the natural world around her, escaping the brutality and squalor of her family home through the newspapers and books passed down to her from the main house and through her walks in the nearby mountains.

Persomi’s close relationship with her older brother Gerbrand and her fragile friendship with Boelie Fourie—heir to the Fourie farm and fortune—are her lifeline and her only connection to the outside world. When Gerbrand leaves the farm to fight on the side of the Anglos in WWII and Boelie joins an underground network of Boer nationalists, Persomi’s isolated world is blown wide open. But as her very small world falls apart, bigger dreams become open to her—dreams of an education, a profession, a native country that values justice and equality, and of love. As Persomi navigates the changing world around her—the tragedies of war and the devastating racial strife of her homeland—she finally discovers who she truly is, where she belongs, and why her life—and every life—matters.

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Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette

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Shadow of the Storm

BC – Egypt

Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira’s gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife.

When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is?

Such a Hope by Sondra Kraak

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Such a Hope

1871 – Washington

Anna Warren grew up on the seat of a wagon, the daughter of Seattle’s busiest freighter. After her father’s death—a tragedy away from home—she returns to their cabin on the outskirts of Seattle, seeking the sense of belonging that eluded her childhood. But will her desire to pray for miraculous healing for the sick and wounded endear or alienate her to the community? Her most aggravating challenger is also her staunchest defender and has brown hair and eyes, stands six feet tall, and farms with unchecked tenacity. Tristan Porter. This farmer her father had befriended holds more secrets than Yesler’s Mill holds logs.

When ugly rumors arise about her spiritual gift and her property, Anna fears her quest to find belonging will be thwarted.

Tristan holds the truth to set her free, but revealing it will require him to face the disappointments of his past and surrender his plans for the future—a sacrifice he’s not sure he can make.

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming by Various Authors

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Cowboy Christmas Homecoming

They’ve weathered a lot worse than winter. For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She’d call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can’t help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart.

Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. Some hired help over the holidays doesn’t change that. And even if Roy does take care of her, that doesn’t mean he cares for her or that he’ll stay past Christmas.

Pastor Colton McCabe is having the opposite problem. He’s not sure he’ll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can’t seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart.

And no one longs for a home more than Connie Lancaster. She’s determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she’s been waiting for isn’t to a place but a person.

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Unseen Love by Nancy Kimball

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Unseen Love

79 – Rome

She has an uncertain future. He has a hidden past. Can a forbidden romance set them free?

In the shadows of pagan Rome, Laelia Ricarri’s recent blindness destroys her hopes of a betrothal to escape her abusive father. For Drusus, his new mistress is more capable, and beautiful, than she knows. Still tormented by the sins of his past, the only thing he fears more than falling in love with his mistress is failing her in his task. But his newfound faith has made him an enemy of Rome, and the reemergence of an old feud with a calculating rival threatens to ensnare Laelia within its dark grasp. As Drusus reawakens Laelia’s inner strength, his patient encouragement is awakening her heart. She’s learning to trust, as Drusus must also learn to trust in his God. When the indiscriminate tide of tragedy sweeps through Rome, Drusus and Laelia will have to put their faith in each other to survive. Even if that means being parted forever.

Author Interview and Giveaway – Lynn Austin – Waves of Mercy

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Isn’t this a gorgeous cover? I’m excited to have Lynn Austin here to share about her new book! PLUS if you were here last month, author Rachel McMillan mentioned that she got to read an advanced copy of this and had this to say about Lynn’s work: “I think what I love most about Austin’s books is that they encourage you to accept that God uses all manner of people.  Her heroines always validate me as a woman who has never quite felt that she fit into a traditional woman’s role.”

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Waves of Mercy

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.

Lynn’s Website

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Questions about Lynn’s Story

What inspired your story?

The story of the Dutch immigrants who settled Holland, Michigan has interested me since I first visited Holland, Michigan as a Hope College freshman. I saw how proud the community was of their faith and their Dutch heritage—so much so, that they imported a 250 year-old windmill from the Netherlands as the showpiece of their town, and planted nearly 4 ½ million tulips in parks and gardens and along city streets. The annual Tulip Time Festival brought swarms of tourists in cars and buses and motor homes to the otherwise quiet town. All of this impressed me as a young college student.

I met my husband Ken while we were students at Hope College, and although he grew up in Holland, he didn’t know very much about his Dutch ancestry. In the years since, we’ve learned that his great-great-grandfather immigrated to Holland, Michigan with his family in 1871, when the town was only 25 years old. When Ken and I decided to move back to Michigan two years ago, I began researching Holland’s history to see if it would make a good novel, and I wasn’t disappointed! The first Dutch settlers arrived here in 1846 for religious freedom after suffering persecution and famine in the Netherlands. Since that’s been true of so many other immigrant families over the years, I knew the story would resonate with many readers. The commitment that the Dutch community had to each other and to God is very impressive.

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

Before I began researching “Waves of Mercy,” I had no idea how much hardship and suffering these early settlers endured. They decided to come to America in 1846 because of religious persecution in the Netherlands. They left behind beautiful, centuries-old cities to move to the virgin wilderness of Michigan and live in crude log cabins. Their first summer here, malaria struck the community killing many settlers. A year later, a ship called the Phoenix, carrying 225 passengers, including 175 Dutch immigrants, caught fire and sank in Lake Michigan, five miles from their destination. 180 men, women and children died. As the bewildered immigrants buried their loved ones, they must have asked, “Did we really hear from God? How could He allow these tragedies to happen?”
I found it hard to write about all of these things in a realistic way because I’ve never had to endure such tragedies. But it was also difficult for me because I needed to portray their spiritual questioning in a realistic way—how did they endure and not become bitter toward God? This is an issue that many Christians still face, and I wanted to do it in a way that would bring hope without resorting to “pat” answers.

What research book or website used to write this book was your favorite to peruse?

One resource that really sparked my imagination were the wonderful programs presented by a local group called the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association. This group of divers search for sunken ships in the Great Lakes using historic records, then film their underwater dives as they explore the wrecks. Along with their website, they’ve also published several books that document the history of various vessels, detailing how and why they sank. The Association’s books and presentations gave me a peek into the sometimes-dangerous world of sailing on Lake Michigan in the 19th Century and inspired me to include a shipwreck (or two!) in my upcoming novel, “Waves of Mercy.”  

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Questions about Lynn’s Reading

Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals?

It would have to be “The Zion Chronicles” by Bodie Thoene, published back in the late 1980s. Book One was “The Gates of Zion” and tells of the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948. I was just beginning to think about writing back then, and these books were all the rage in our church library in Canada. The books were among the very first to be categorized as Christian Historical Fiction and really paved the way for the variety of historical fiction published today.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one Christian Historical Novel, which would you pick?

I would choose “Christy” by Catherine Marshall. It was released in 1967, long before Christian books became popular, but it is an all-time classic. Her characters are unforgettable and she deals with issues of faith in a realistic, appealing way. The fact that it was based on the true story of her mother’s experiences makes it even more fun to read.

Lynn is giving away a copy of her book (Paperback – US only) and I’m giving away winner’s choice of any available ebook of the books mentioned above. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter Rafflecopter, tell me in a comment below: “I’m not entering the rafflecopter, but please throw me in the hat” so I can manually put you in there for a chance.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall

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The Cautious Maiden

1892 – Maine

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents’ New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks but when Violet’s own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance&, Vance Everstone.

As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU.

With danger stalking her and a new fiancé who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust, and who to leave behind.

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The Honorable Heir by Laurie Alice Eakes

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The Honorable Heir

1900 – New York

An American heiress and widow of a rakish English earl, Catherine has returned to New York high society determined to make amends for the scandal she caused when she crossed the Atlantic to elope with her best friend’s suitor and win the title of Lady Bisterne. But a ruined reputation isn’t the only thing that’s followed her home: Lord Tristram Wolfe, the rightful heir to the Bisterne estate, has vowed to track down his family’s stolen jewels—gems he’s certain Catherine stole.

Catherine has more to think about than charming, handsome Tristram and his accusations, even if he’s beginning to change her mind about never returning to England. Back at her family’s Tuxedo Park estate, she resolves to restore her honor by earning the forgiveness of her best friend and protecting her younger sister from other fortune-seeking Englishmen with dubious titles, all while abiding by the etiquette of the Gilded Age.

Yet when Tristram’s quest takes a dangerous turn, she must decide whether to follow the rules or save her accuser’s life.

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