Bygone Christmas Brides: Six Stories of Old-Fashioned Christmas Romance

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Light a candle in the window and sit down to a slice of fruitcake as you delight in six 19th Century romances that welcome love at Christmastide. Many traditions held dear today have their roots in the British Isles and have been practiced for over a hundred years. In these six delightful historical stories, romance is nurtured amidst baking Scottish shortbread and English mince pies, burning the yule log, and hanging kissing boughs. But each couple is also plagued by worries of the day. As Christmastide draws to a close, will faith and love endure for future celebrations?

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The Queen’s Daughters by Lorry Lutz

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The Queen’s Daughtersqueensdaughter

1891 – England

Inspired by a dream, Dr. Kate Bushnell writes to Josephine Butler, famous crusader who frees women from sex slavery in Victorian England. Kate tells Mrs. Butler she is planning to travel to Great Britain. Though she she doesn’t have a cent for the journey from America, God provides, and months later Kate arrives in London.

Once there, Kate and her friend Bess are invited to tea with Mrs. Butler. “When I read of your experiences rescuing girls in the lumber camps in Wisconsin,” Mrs. Butler says, “I thought you might be able to help us in India. We need proof for Parliament that the military entices or buys girls for the brothels on the bases.”

Kate glances at Bess. She sees a streak of fear in her eyes.

Mrs. Butler goes on, “I warn you, you would have to enter as secretly as possible. General Roberts, the commander-in-chief, would make sure you’d never enter another base again.” She pats Kate’s hand as if to soften her words. “I’m afraid this will be one of the hardest assignments you’ve undertaken…”

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Mail-Order Marriage Promise by Regina Scott

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Mail-Order Marriage Promisemailordermarriagepromise

1874 – Washington

Stunned that his sister ordered him a mail-order bride, John Wallin insists he’s not the husband Dottie Tyrrell needs. The scholarly logger knows Dottie will make the perfect wife—for some other man. Yet he’s compelled to invite the lovely widow and her infant son to stay with his family…but only until she can find her own way. 

Dreams of true love are for other women. Betrayed by her baby’s father, Dottie just wants a safe home for her precious child. But who could resist a man with John’s quiet strength? When her secret past brings danger to their door, they may yet find this mail-order mix-up to be the perfect mistake…

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The Promise Bride by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham

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thepromisebrideThe Promise Bride

1887 – Montana

In a booming frontier town, a heavenly match may be in store for mail-order brides seeking a fresh start . . . women of strength and spirit who embrace the challenges of life and love in the wild Montana Territory.
 

Determined to save her father and siblings from a crumbling Chicago tenement, Emilia Stanek becomes the long-distance bride of a Montana rancher. But when she arrives in Helena, a rugged lawman shatters her plans with the news that her husband is dead—and deeply in debt.
 
County sheriff Mac McCall can’t afford to be distracted by the pretty young widow, not with scandalous secrets emerging as he investigates his friend’s suspicious death. Mac’s gruff order that she leave town at once only spurs Emilia’s resolve to take ownership of her late husband’s ranch and face his debtors. But as her defenses soften, Emilia begins to accept Mac’s help, feel compassion for his own wounded heart—and learns that trust means taking a leap of faith . . .

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Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson

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1958 – England

In the spring of 1958, Jenny Winter embarks on a two-month adventure to one of the most enchanting places on earth, a quaint village in England’s magical Lake District. With a new camera and an eye for capturing the beauty others miss, she can’t wait to explore the heathery fells and mystical waters. Adrian Kemp, a handsome and enigmatic local, makes the sightseeing even more beguiling—and he’s about to invite Jenny into one of the area’s most enduring legends.

When Adrian shows Jenny his late father’s abandoned dream, a deserted island amusement park, she glimpses a kindred spirit in this reckless, haunted young man. Yet as she opens her heart to Adrian, the two stumble into a labyrinth of mystery leading back a generation to an unforgettable romance and an unsolved murder that still casts a shadow over the lakes. As long-held secrets come to light, it’s left to Jenny and Adrian to put the past to rest and restore a lost dream.

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Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

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Many Sparrows manysparrows

1774 – Ohio/Kentucky

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son…especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do—be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

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Liar’s Winter by Cindy Sproles

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Liar’s Winterliarswinter

1893 – Tennessee

Lochiel Ogle was born with a red-wine birthmark–and it put her life in jeopardy from the moment she entered the world. Mountain folks called it “the mark of the devil,” and for all the evil that has plagued her nineteen-year existence, Lochiel is ready to believe that is true. And the evil surely took control of the mind of the boy who stole her as an infant, bringing her home for his mother to raise.

Abused and abandoned by the only people she knows as family, Lochiel is rescued by a peddler and given the first glimpse of love she has ever known. The truth of her past is gradually revealed as is the fact that she is still hunted by a brother driven to see her dead. Unsure if there’s anyone she can truly trust, Lochiel is faced with a series of choices: Will she continue to run for escape or will she face her past and accept the heartbreaking secrets it reveals? Which will truly free her?

Set in the wild and beautiful Appalachian Mountains of nineteenth-century East Tennessee, Liar’s Winter is an unflinching yet inspirational exploration of prejudice and choice.

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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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A Plain and Sweet Christmas Romance Collection

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aplainandsweetchristmascollectionA Plain and Sweet Christmas Romance Collection

Enjoy a simple Christmas, sweetened by love, in historical communities of plain faith people. Four romances develop among the Ohio River Valley Quakers of the mid-1800s. Two Mennonite couples face influences from outside their old traditions. Two Amish couples from the early 1900s are affected by world events. And in an Amana community, childhood sweethearts are reunited. Each story also includes a recipe for a sweet traditional treat.

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Bleak Landing by Terrie Todd

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bleaklandingBleak Landing

1934 – Canada

In the dead-end Canadian town of Bleak Landing, twelve-year-old Irish immigrant Bridget O’Sullivan lives in a ramshackle house and dreams of another life, even as the Great Depression rages. Routinely beaten by her father and bullied by schoolmate Victor Harrison, the waifish yet fiery redhead vows to run away and never return. Just a few short years later, run she does—fleeing the unspeakable repercussions of her father’s gambling. In Winnipeg, Bridget lands a job at a garment factory, the first step on her journey to shed her past and begin anew.

When her father dies, Bridget—now a striking and accomplished woman—returns home to claim her inheritance. But she has no identification to prove her stake, and no one in town recognizes her—except Victor, who has become a pastor and a candidate for town mayor. Though war has wounded him, his secret affection for Bridget remains, and now he’s the only one who can help her prove her integrity. But can he also prove he’s a changed man worthy of her forgiveness?

As Victor preaches of freedom in faith, will his words spark Bridget’s once-hopeless heart and lead her to the life she’s been seeking?

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When Gambling by Anne Garboczi Evans

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whengamblingGoodreads ~ Purchase ~ Sample

105 – Britain/Roman Empire

Cara of Camulodunum dreams of traveling the world, but as the daughter of a blacksmith, the height of her exploration is the plebian carpenter’s shop of her intended. Then she meets the patrician’s son, Eric Paterculi, who regales Cara with tales of Greece and Hercules.

The sons of Roman noblemen are meant to become soldiers and politicians, and Eric’s father, the Legate of Britannia has illustrious plans for Eric. However, Eric fails rhetoric class and seems more interested in training for the Olympic Games than for statesmanship.

At the training grounds, Victor Ocelli, a member of the Viri piracy ring, befriends Eric in order to use him against his father.
The more Cara learns about Eric, the more she desires to break free from the restrictive rules of her intended. But breaking the rules lands Cara in a bondage worse than she could have imagined. Only Eric can save her, but will a patrician defy his familia to rescue a plebeian?

For Life or Until by Anne Garboczi Evans

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85 – Britain/Roman Empire

Subduing the barbaric hordes came easy, until he married one of them.

Everyone in the Celtic Catuvellauni village assumed Ness would marry the man she had loved since age fifteen. Their eventual matrimony seemed preordained. His inscrutable rejection of Ness sends shock through the entire community. Heartbroken but resilient, Ness accepts a marriage proposal from a most unlikely eligible bachelor.

Battle scarred and weary of solitude, Roman Tribune Aquilus trained to do just one thing all his life—stoically serve the empire. The beautiful tribeswoman perfectly answers a long ignored call from deep within his soul. Though he adores his new bride, when Ness harms a political connection, Aquilus lays down the law.

But Celtic women aren’t inclined to submit to inconvenient rules, and the only obstacle standing between Ness and a Celtic divorce is Aquilus’s garrison of legionaries.

Will Roman might, Celtic stubbornness, or something else entirely prevail?

The Popish Midwife by Annelisa Christensen

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1678 – England

In seventeenth-century London, thirteen years after the plague and twelve years after the Great Fire, the restoration of King Charles II has dulled the memory of Cromwell’s puritan rule, yet fear and suspicion are rife. Religious turmoil is rarely far from tipping the scales into hysteria.

Elizabeth Cellier, a bold and outspoken midwife, regularly visits Newgate Prison to distribute alms to victims of religious persecution. There she falls in with the charming Captain Willoughby, a debtor, whom she enlists to gather information about crimes against prisoners, so she might involve herself in petitioning the king in their name.

“Tis a plot, Madam, of the direst sort.’ 

With these whispered words Willoughby draws Elizabeth unwittingly into the infamous Popish Plot and soon not even the fearful warnings of her husband, Pierre, can loosen her bond with it.

This novel is the incredible true story of one woman ahead of her time and her fight against prejudice and injustice.

 

Author Interview and Giveaway – Freedom’s Ring – Heidi Chiavaroli

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Welcome to my friend, Heidi, whose adorable accent I miss. If you need to know my opinion of this book, just check out the endorsement on page 1! 🙂

Heidi has penned an intriguing tale of two women separated by time connected through their search for a strength they desperately need. History and the present are so deftly entwined, readers will be turning pages to keep up with the story tugging on their hearts.” ~Melissa Jagears

Freedom's Ring Cover

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Freedom’s Ring

Boston ~ 2015

Although two years have passed since the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David continues to be haunted by the call to be Boston Strong. She knows the truth: she is far from strong. She cannot seem to release two burdens left to her that tragic day—guilt over a crippled niece, and an old ring that evokes a hazy hero’s face. But when she finds a business card with the same emblem as the ring, she’s finally able to discover her hero…and the story of the woman behind the ring.

Boston ~ 1770   

As a single woman in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When tensions mount in the form of the Boston Massacre, her world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Overcome with anger at all redcoats, she plans to leave her employment at the British Officers’ Home. But upon her return she is attacked by the roguish captain when Lieutenant Alexander Smythe isn’t there to rescue her. In her fury she leaves the home with all of her belongings and a ring that belonged to her dear Alexander. Suddenly her attraction to him is tarnished by the uniform he wears.

The Boston Massacre sparked the American Revolution; the Boston Marathon bombing set a city on edge. Both became the proof of where true strength lies.

Heidi’s Website

heidi

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Questions about Heidi’s Story

Did you include a real historical character or incident in your story?

Yes, James Caldwell was a real victim of the Boston Massacre, but he had no known family. I decided to give him familial connections—a sister, Liberty Caldwell.

Did you stumble upon anything in your research for this book that made you sad?

Oh my, yes. Reading about the experiences of those in the Boston Marathon bombing was heartbreaking. At the same time though, so many were determined to not let evil have the last word. I was very inspired by that.

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Questions about Heidi’s Reading

What Christian Historical Novel did you reread last, and why did you reread it?

I almost never reread books, but I have reread A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. The first time I read it, I had only just begun writing. The second time, I wanted to study it. Why was it so, so good?!

Which was the last Christian Historical Novel you read, and what was your favorite thing about it?

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar. I loved that this explored a story from Acts, which is one of my favorite books in the Bible. Tessa really brought Lydia’s story to life.

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that made you cry?

Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson. I was blubbering by the end.

Heidi is giving away a copy paperback (usa only) and I’m giving away winner’s choice of ebook of any 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

ALSO! Don’t miss out on Heidi’s Boston Themed Giveaway!! Go here to enter.

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The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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The Returnreturn

1763 – Pennsylvania

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.

Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.