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Treasured Christmas Brides

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Six historical Christmas romances prove life’s most priceless gifts come not in the form of polished gold or silver—but from the vast riches of a loving heart.
 
The Christmas Star Bride by Amanda Cabot
Wyoming, 1885—Esther Hathaway lost her one true love at Gettysburg twenty years ago, but she is still willing to celebrate her niece’s wedding by commissioning Jeremy Snyder to paint her portrait. Will Esther’s prayers for God to ease her loneliness be answered by a wounded vet?
 
A Token of Promise by Rebecca Germany
Alaska, 1897—Promised in marriage to a man she has never met in exchange for a place to call home, Charlotte Vance is headed to the Klondike and struggling not to fall in love with the wrong man. Gabe Monroe has found a bride perfect for his brother. A wife will help his brother run his supply business and raise his daughter, and Gabe will be freed to seek riches in the Yukon rivers after the spring thaw. But what will become of Charlotte when both brothers refuse to marry her—even though one loves her?
 
Band of Angel’s by Cathy Marie Hake
Colorado, 1893—The first time Jarrod McLeod dips his pan in the river, he strikes gold—a wedding ring!  Sure the woman who lost it must be beside herself, he goes upriver to return it. He meets laundress Angel Taylor. She did lose the ring; however, she refuses to take the ring back. Jarrod’s first impressions of Angel are scandalous, but he soon discovers the truth, bringing her a Christmas gift to span the perimeters of time.
 
Winterlude by Colleen L. Reece
Alaska, 1930s—A single out-of-place snowflake in San Diego lures Ariel Dixon home to Ketchikan, Alaska, despite her wealthy fiancé’s protests. When she encounters slim, handsome Jean Thoreau, a childhood friend presumed dead, a swift rush of events changes the course of Ariel’s life. Drawn back to the home she loves, Ariel finds peace in the arms of the man who would not break a promise made long ago.
 
Christmas Bounty by MaryLu Tyndall
California, 1855—Caroline is a widowed mother alone in a small California town that is suddenly exploding with gold fever. When she sees the ship’s captain who once saved her and her husband’s lives on a scaffold to be hung, she must do something—even propose marriage.
 
Goldrush Christmas by Michele Ule
Alaska, 1897—When Samantha and her twin Peter book passage to Alaska in search of their missionary-minded father, they never imagined getting caught up in the rush for gold or that their neighbor would follow them. Soon their youth and inexperience is challenged on all fronts.

Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

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1850s – England

Two repackaged and One new novella

Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan favorite Michelle Griep:
 
12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.
 
A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?
 
The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

Something New by Joanne Bischof

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(Repackaged novella once featured in the historical compilation, Heirloom Brides)

1893 – Virginia

After waiting four years for her best friend to return from sea, Wren Cromwell’s dream of building a life with Tate Kennedy has wilted during his unexpected absence. Then, just as suddenly as he departed the mountain of their childhood, he returns, bringing with him tales of Norway’s icy fjords and his time aboard ship on the North Sea. As spring unfurls around them, so unfolds a new hope in Wren’s heart, and a new chance at love on the horizon. But with Tate’s longing for exciting voyages still alive, will he vanish to the high seas again, or will this land he’s returned to, and Wren’s steadfast love, be enough to nurture his adventurous spirit?

Rancher’s Bride by Linda Ford

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1884 – Montana

Tilly Kinsley carries physical and emotional wounds home to Glory, Montana Territory, after being rejected by the family she hoped to become a part of. The town is familiar—and so is the gossip mill. Uncomfortable with the curious stares she constantly receives, she volunteers to care for two young girls on a ranch out of town. The ranch gives her a place to hide. But she can’t escape the notice of the girls’ stepfather.

Lance has had a difficult time since his wife died. Her daughters hate him, and he doesn’t know why. He wonders if he’s doing the right thing in keeping them. Out of sheer necessity, he accepts Tilly’s offer of help. He doesn’t want another wife… but he can’t ignore the woman with the haunted eyes.

Caring for the girls, dealing with a crazed bear, struggling to save an injured colt, and enduring the disapproval of Lance’s father forces them to work together. Can this unlikely pair find healing and hope together?

Evermore by Jody Hedlund

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Medieval 820s – Mercia (England)

An ancient key. A secret treasure. And a princess destined to use them both to fight evil and restore peace.

Raised by a noble family, Lady Adelaide has always known she’s an orphan. Little does she realize she’s one of the lost princesses and the true heir to Mercia’s throne…until a visitor arrives at her family estate, reveals her birthright as queen, and thrusts her into a quest for the throne whether she’s ready or not.

Unable to tolerate King Ethelwulf’s cruelty and lawlessness, Christopher Langley left Mercia years earlier, training a group of rebels in neighboring Norland. When he returns home after his mother’s death, he discovers that not only is Adelaide all grown up, but she’s also the rightful queen of Mercia.

When King Ethelwulf discovers Adelaide’s location, he’ll stop at nothing to capture her and the key she holds to the ancient treasure. Christopher is just as determined to protect Adelaide so she can lead the growing rebellion. When feelings ignite between the two old friends, forces threaten to destroy their love and rip them apart forever.

 

Four Dreams of You by Sondra Kraak

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1893 – Washington

Unfulfilled dreams have left Grace Thomas vowing not to let her imagination roam wild again. Resigning herself to the goal of owning a dress shop, she accepts a position as a housekeeper at Monaghan Lumber Camp in order to earn funds. The plan is simple, easy, and safe. But Torin Monaghan is not. The reclusive brother who seems indifferent to her presence is ironically the one stirring up her imagination.

Torin Monaghan will not be deterred from his passion to preserve the beauty of nature. Even if it appears as if he’s going against his family. Even if the quirky and wistful seamstress invading his space is proving a distraction. To his frustration, Grace Thomas is not easily dismissed, and neither are the ways she’s opening his eyes to a different sort of beauty.

When past threats bring new trouble to Pine Creek, Torin and Grace must become vulnerable—to each other and their community—and through risk, discover that reality is more fulfilling than their dreams.

Journey to Joy by Anne Perreault

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1837 – Massachusetts

Can she find joy where there has only been defeat and dishonor?

Tricked into indentured servitude, Joy Richards finds herself working for an abusive innkeeper. Her life is so destitute, she feels God has forsaken her. After one last desperate cry to God, a kind stranger steps in to take her away.

Can she trust this new circumstance?

Andrew Lloyd-Foxx abhors injustice. He can’t walk away from it. When he steps in on the young woman’s behalf, his own life is turned upside down. Burdened with his own loss, he has no room for anyone else.

Will the journey prove too difficult?

The Return of the King’s Ranger by Angela Couch

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1785 – New York

The war for American freedom is over, and the British have gone back to England. Not knowing what has become of his family since he was forced into the Continental Army nine years earlier, Myles Cunningham wants to go home as well. He returns to the Mohawk Valley with the understanding that he is believed to have been shot for deserting—fiction that might be made real if anyone recognizes him as the son of a Tory and a King’s Ranger.

Everything is wonderful in the growing community along the Mohawk River, except Nora Reid is still alone. With her brother happily settled and both her younger sisters starting families of their own, Nora feels the weight of her twenty-four years. A long walk leads her to the overgrown rubble of the Cunningham homestead where a bearded stranger begins to awaken feelings she’d lost hope of ever experiencing.

With secrets abounding—including whether Myles even cares for her—Nora must determine what she is ready to give up and how far she will go to secure his affections. She begins to break through his defenses, but Myles can’t risk staying. Not if he loves her.

Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Davidson Politano

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1871 – England

Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

Love’s Allegiance by Linda Shenton Matchett

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1943 – Maryland

With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.

Conscientious Objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.

Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?

The Cowboys Collection

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Healing Heart

Lonnie Holt’s external scars remind him of his failures, his internal scars torment him. Genny Collins seeks safety at the ranch once owned by Lonnie’s uncle. When Lonnie and his brother arrive, sparks fly and distrust abounds. While Lonnie and Genny fight the love growing between them, his past haunts him, and her past pays them a visit.

Becoming Brave

When Coy Whittaker stumbles upon a grisly scene littered with bodies, he wants nothing more than to get his boss’s cattle out of Indian Territory. But when a bloodstained Aimee Kaplan draws down on him, his plans—and his heart—screech to a halt.

Trail’s End

Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother.

Loving a Harvey Girl

Eva Knowles can’t imagine why the local preacher doesn’t like Harvey Girls—women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she’ll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth, and home!

Surf Smugglers by Melody Carlson

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1917 – Oregon

In the summer of 1917, US troops join the allied forces in the Great War. Back in Sunset Cove, Oregon, other battles wage. Anna McDowell continues to fight old fashioned stereotypes as she runs a newspaper committed to truth. Despite opposition, she’s determined to expose ongoing rum-running and prohibition lawlessness.

Adding to Anna’s frustrations, her good friend Dr. Daniel seems to run hot and cold. He loves Oregon, and maybe Anna too, but he’s pulled by his East Coast family responsibilities. Even the lure of a new modern Sunset Cove hospital doesn’t seem enough to keep him in Sunset Cove.

Meanwhile, Anna’s strong-willed daughter Katy continues to develop her dress shop by inviting family friend Sarah Rose to help out. But the woman’s presence tests the small town’s tolerance. And Anna’s concern that her daughter is growing up too fast is confirmed when Katy’s romantic life takes an unexpected turn, which Anna fears is influenced by the pressure of a devastating war that is not only changing the entire world but Sunset Cove as well.

Always by Jody Hedlund

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Medieval 820s – Mercia (England)

A fierce elite guard. A loyal lady in waiting. They must work together to save three princesses from certain death.

On the verge of dying after giving birth to twins, the queen of Mercia pleads with Lady Felicia to save her infant daughters. With the castle overrun by King Ethelwulf’s invading army, Lady Felicia vows to do whatever she can to take the newborn princesses and their three-year old sister to safety, even though it means sacrificing everything she holds dear, possibly her own life.

Gravely wounded in battle and knowing all is lost to his enemy, the king of Mercia tasks Lance, one of his fiercest elite guards, to protect his family along with keys to an ancient treasure. As Lance makes plans to sneak the princesses out of the capital city, he doesn’t need or want Lady Felicia’s help.

With the dark enemy in pursuit, Lance and Felicia must put aside their differences to outrun King Ethelwulf and prevent him from killing the princesses. In a desperate attempt to hide the young girls, Lance and Felicia agree to a marriage of convenience, a decision that will change their lives—and hearts—forever.

Author Interview and Giveaway – The Yellow Lantern – Angie Dicken

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Have you been checking out this historical series based on true crimes? Such an interesting premise for a series! I’ve always wanted a book cover with a lantern, and Angie’s not only has that, but a plot revolving around grave robbing, so intriguing. Welcome Angie to the Index!

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The Yellow Lantern

Josephine Clayton is considered dead by everyone in her Massachusetts village–especially the doctor she has assisted for several months. Yet, she is still very much alive.
 
After the doctor’s illegal dealing with his body snatcher to obtain her body, Josephine awakens, positioned as the next corpse for his research. To cover up his crime, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. They strike a deal–Josephine will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission–posing as a mourner to help the body snatcher procure her replacement.
 
At the mill though, Josephine is praised for her medical remedies among the other female workers, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager, Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.
 
What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?

Angie’s Website

Angie Dicken Bio

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Questions about Angie’s Story

What inspired this story?

There are a couple of things that inspired me. One, my father is a doctor and grave-robbing is a curious part of medical history in the U.S. And two, I had read Charles Dickens’ American Notes about his visit to Lowell cotton mill in Massachusetts—a fascinating corner of women’s history. Gloughton Mill is modeled after what I learned about Lowell.

Why did you choose the year your book is set?

I chose the year 1824 because this is after grave-robbing became officially illegal in Massachusetts (yeah, it wasn’t written into law until 1815!), and cotton mills had been established in America.  

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

The National Geographic Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine! Because my heroine loves healing, this book shared different plants and their historical medical uses in different parts of the world. It is a fascinating reference book!

Did you stumble upon anything in your research for this book that you thought was strange or surprising?

How common grave-robbing was throughout history, and how the pressure from the deceased’s families is what led to implementing laws in the U.S.

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Questions about Angie’s Reading

lordofherheart

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

Sherrinda Ketchersid’s Lord of Her Heart. I loved reading in the medieval time period. We don’t see many books set there in the Christian Fiction category, and it’s a fascinating time period!

seamstress

What Christian Historical Novel in your To Be Read pile is begging you to make time to plop down with it right now?

The Seamstress by Alison Pittman. I am so excited about the premise of this book. I love the concept of looking into an actual literary figure and speculating the story behind the story.

Angie is giving away a choice copy (USA Only for print). 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

A Song of Joy by Lauraine Snelling

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1911 – Minnesota

Nilda Carlson is torn between society life in the city of Blackduck and spending time with her family back home on the farm. Her employer, Mrs. Schoenleber, gives her more and more responsibility and experience, including recommending new opportunities for her philanthropy. Still new to America herself, Nilda focuses on the area’s immigrant community, but she’ll have to fight to get her ideas accepted by the locals and donors alike.

In the meantime, one of her greatest joys is her weekly piano lesson with the handsome schoolteacher, Fritz. But just as Nilda is beginning to realize she has feelings for him, a stylish, affluent young woman moves to Blackduck and monopolizes Fritz’s attention. With her humble background, how can Nilda hope to compete with such a sophisticated beauty?

King’s Shadow by Angela Hunt

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37 BC – Judea

Two women occupy a place in Herod’s court. The first, Salome, is the king’s only sister, a resentful woman who has been told she is from an inferior race, a people God will never accept or approve. 

The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion. 

Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless–both women struggle to reach their goals and survive in Herod the Great’s tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.

A Perfect Silhouette by Judith Miller

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1850 – New Hampshire

In 1850, Mellicent “Mellie” Blanchard takes a job at a mill in Manchester, New Hampshire, to help support her family. In search of additional earning opportunities, she approaches a daguerreotype shop owner with the proposal that he hire her to make paper cuttings or silhouette portraits for those who can’t afford an expensive daguerreotype.

When a particularly charming customer–whose broad smile and twinkling eyes catch her off guard–asks to escort her home, the seeds of romance begin to blossom. All the pieces of her new life seem to have fallen perfectly into place, but when her new venture brings her an unexpected opportunity, she is confronted with the truth that all is not as it seems. Will Mellie, who is keeping secrets of her own, find happiness in the new life she has carved out for herself in the busy mill town?

Annabelle’s Joy by Betty Thomason Owens

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1957 – Tennessee

She’s waited too long.

When Tom proposed last year, Annabelle wasn’t ready to open her heart to another man. Pain still held a thin crust around it. Time has healed her heart, but with a new woman in town, one who clearly has her sights set on Tom, does it matter if Annabelle’s heart is ready to love again?

Folks in town are keeping a close eye on their pharmacist, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. He’s been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate.

 

 

Cowboy Preacher by Linda Ford

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1884 – Montana

Clara Redd has a secret. The little boy that everyone believes is her brother is really her son. She lives in fear that her son’s father will find her and claim Louie.

Alex Keystone has recently graduated from seminary and has come to Glory, Montana to help the overworked Preacher Kinsley. His family legacy is being a preacher. He doesn’t need any distractions as he prepares to live the life his father and grandfather have molded him for. But his heart is drawn to Clara as they spend time together. He senses her hurt and wishes he could help her.

But can Clara learn to trust him, trust God, trust love enough to be honest with him about her past and the danger that threatens? Or will learning the truth destroy all of them?

The Lady and the Lawman Collection

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Lawmen and Ladies of the Old West Team Up to Track Down Outlaws
 
Mistaken Marshal by Crystal L. Barnes
Texas, 1875
First day on the job, Marshal Beau Bones accidentally interrupts a robbery and arrests an outlaw who is disguised as a man. Just as Jo Ross is hiding the God-fearing girl her parents raised, Beau is hiding that he can’t shoot and doesn’t deserve the town’s respect. Is there any way for Beau to free Jo without losing the faith the town has placed in him?
 
On Track for Love by Vickie McDonough
Missouri, 1875
A new job and a move to a new state put Railroad Agent Landry Lomax on track to meet Cara Dixon—a spirited woman holding a derringer on a train robber. This stubborn woman is not one he wants around his young sister, but then they end up in the same St. Louis boardinghouse. But could Cara’s gumption help him trap a gang of train robbers?
 
Love Conquers Oil by Annette O’Hare
Texas, 1901
When a murderous bank robber threatens Fern Fisher’s life, she accepts a mail-order bride inquiry and heads for Beaumont, Texas. Only problem is the proposed groom, Jesse Stewart didn’t send for her. His memaw did. Will drilling for oil together produce a “gusher” of love, or will their pasts trigger a “blowout” for their fledgling relationship?
 
Rocky Mountain Regrets by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Colorado, 1889
While posing as her niece’s mother, Eloise Broderick travels to Colorado to find her brother with the help of Zeke Potter, a man renowned for tracking skills. But when Zeke realizes the man Eloise seeks is the same man he blames for his family’s death, will he use Eloise to get vengeance?

The Brightest Hope by Naomi Musch

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1924 – Wisconsin

Five years after the Great War…

Holly Allen is a well-adjusted war widow with a knack for running the family press. She’s over the days of waiting for a white knight to ride in and sweep her away from her cares. Besides, if Hugh Phelps is a knight, he’s certainly a black one—with his prison record, personal demons, and the ghosts of war that haunt him.

When Holly hires Hugh, despite her reservations, it isn’t long before she sees the man he could really be, and as Hugh finds his niche at Allen’s Printing, he finds his lady boss equally appealing. Despite the attraction, however, Holly won’t let herself fall for a faithless man, and Hugh isn’t on gracious terms with God.

Then, just when new beginnings seem possible, old heartaches from the war come calling. Now it might only be in letting go of everything dear that they both discover what real love is.

Field of Redemption by Lori Bates Wright

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1864 – Georgia

They say confession is good for the soul.
But, revealing too much could prove deadly.

When devoted governess, Abigail McFadden, discovers her charge has run off to join the Union army on his fourteenth birthday, her impetuous decision to go after him catapults her behind enemy lines and into a life-changing fight for survival.

Failing to locate the boy, Abby is stranded in Confederate Georgia with no means to get home. After taking a nursing position in Macon’s confederate hospital, she comes under suspicion as a union spy. Her only consolation is the work she does outside of the hospital walls in a shanty town of unwanted orphans.

Confederate Officer, Ian Saberton, a theological graduate of Yale, is thrust into war and forced to choose sides. His greatest struggle becomes a fight for his soul as his faith and deep convictions are put to the test.

When Sherman advances on Atlanta, Ian is sent to prepare his home state for enemy invasion. Headquartered in Macon, he encounters a town full of civilians oblivious to the imminent danger bearing down on them. He and his men must see the city secured, while avoiding a passel of matchmaking socialites determined to see him married.

When Abby is brought up on false charges and scheduled to be hanged, she has no choice but to trust the handsome Confederate officer who offers the only way of escape.

But will deep secrets pitting them on opposite sides destroy the fragile bond between them?

Underestimating Miss Cecilia by Carolyn Miller

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1819 – England

Shy, sweet Cecilia Hatherleigh has always been in love with Edward Amherst, the boy next door. Yet he’s never seen her as anything but the quiet girl in the background as he flirts with the other vivacious women of the ton.

When a near tragedy brings Edward’s attention to his family duties, this prodigal son decides he needs to settle down with a proper wife. Cecilia hopes to convince him to choose her—but God may want her to forget the wayward nobleman and put her future in His hands alone.

These two try to find their way toward happiness, but prejudice, political riots, and the changing face of England’s societal structures begin to block them at every turn. Can their struggles turn to triumph—or will their paths permanently diverge?

The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken

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1824 – Massachusetts

Josephine Clayton is considered dead by everyone in her Massachusetts village–especially the doctor she has assisted for several months. Yet, she is still very much alive.
 
After the doctor’s illegal dealing with his body snatcher to obtain her body, Josephine awakens, positioned as the next corpse for his research. To cover up his crime, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. They strike a deal–Josephine will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission–posing as a mourner to help the body snatcher procure her replacement.
 
At the mill though, Josephine is praised for her medical remedies among the other female workers, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager, Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.
 
What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?

Author Interview and Giveaway – Where Dandelions Bloom – Tara Johnson

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Isn’t this a gorgeous cover? And to know it’s based on a real person is always cool. I’m so happy to have Tara on the Index!

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Where Dandelions Bloom

Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.

Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?

Tara’s Website

pic_FULL_Johnson_Tara

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Questions about Tara’s Story

What inspired your story?

Where Dandelions Bloom was inspired by real-life Civil War hero Sarah Emma Edmonds. I discovered this larger-than-life hero while doing research for another story and was immediately entranced with Emma’s courage. Not only did it take guts for her to run from her abusive father to find shelter in the chaos of war, but she was so remarkable as a soldier, her commanders took note and had her work with James Pinkerton as a spy. At one point, she was a woman playing the part of a man playing the part of a woman. Talk about courage!

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

Writing Cassie’s mental and emotional break-down was extremely difficult. Soldiers endure so much both on and off the battlefield. Compound that trauma with the continual deception of being a spy, as well as the scars of running from an abusive father, and trying to write inside Cassie’s viewpoint was emotionally exhausting.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?

God has a unique way of testing me on what I write. It makes me think twice before embarking on a new story! Where Dandelions Bloom was written at a time in my life when I was struggling with forgiving someone. God used Cassie and Gabe’s story to tenderly remind me that holding on to that anger and bitterness only keeps me strapped to the one who hurt me. Forgiving cuts the cords and removes the weight, allowing me to enjoy freedom and joy again.

God also taught me of the resilience of the dandelion…beauty that continues to bloom among the hard places. He showed me that sometimes He doesn’t remove us from our hard circumstances because He’s more concerned about shaping us into the image of His Son through those circumstances. That’s when something amazing blossoms.

What character in your book turned out to be your favorite?

Jonah Phifer. How could anyone not love such a fun-loving, precocious little bundle of trouble? He was the dandelion in this story…a beam of light during the shadows of war.

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Questions about Tara’s Reading

wingsofthemorning

Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals?

When I was a young teen, my Mom had a collection of books by Janette Oke and Lori Wick. I would gobble up everything they wrote. While reading Lori Wick’s The Californians series and Wings of the Morning, I realized I could do nothing but read historicals for the rest of my life and be completely content.

avoiceinthewind

Who is your favorite Christian Historical heroine?

Hadassah from Francine Rivers’ A Voice in the Wind. Her transformation from a trembling girl who questions her faith to a brave, heroic woman of God is inspiring and deeply touching.

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Stars of Alabama by Sean Dietrich

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1930s-40s – Alabama

When fifteen-year-old Marigold becomes pregnant amid the Great Depression, she is rejected by her family and forced to fend for herself. And when she loses her baby in the forest, her whole world turns upside down. She’s even more distraught upon discovering she has an inexplicable power that makes her both beautiful and terrifying—and something of a local legend.

Meanwhile, migrant workers Vern and Paul discover a violet-eyed baby and take it upon themselves to care for her. The men soon pair up with a widow and her two children, and the misfit family finds its way in fits and starts toward taking care of each other.

As survival brings one family together, a young boy finds himself with nary a friend to his name as the dust storms rage across Kansas. Fourteen-year-old Coot, a child preacher with a prodigy’s memory, is on the run with thousands of stolen dollars—and the only thing he’s sure of is that Mobile, Alabama, is his destination.

As the years pass and a world war looms, these stories intertwine in surprising ways, reminding us that when the dust clears, we can still see the stars.

Hadassah, Queen Esther of Persia by Diana Wallis Taylor

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BC – Persia

One of the great heroines of the Old Testament, Hadassah was a beautiful, graceful young woman who put her faith in God and her guardian, her cousin Mordecai.

She dreams of marrying Shamir, a tall, handsome, studious young man who is the rabbi’s son. Her heart beats faster when she hears the sound of his deep voice as he reads the Torah. And she hopes that he will visit Mordecai soon to present a betrothal request.

Then, an upheaval in King Xerxes’s palace changes everything. Queen Vashti has been banished and an edict goes out for all qualified young virgins throughout the empire to be taken to the palace as he searches for a new queen.

Fear strikes in the hearts of many, including Mordecai, as he realizes Hadassah will be taken. To hide her identity as a Jew, he tells her to go by the name of Esther. Since he works as a record-keeper at the king’s gates, he can keep tabs on how she is doing.

Midnight on the River Grey by Abigail Wilson

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1813 – England

After her elder brother’s mysterious death, Rebecca Hunter vows to expose the man she believes responsible: Mr. Lewis Browning—known by the locals as the Midnight Devil and by Rebecca as her new guardian.

Summoned to his reclusive country estate to await her London season, Rebecca plans her own secret investigation among the darkened corridors of the mysterious Greybourne Hall. Yet Lewis Browning is not as she once imagined, and his motivation is horribly unclear. Recurrent nightmares and Rebecca’s restless feelings are further complicated by the shadow of her mother’s prior descent into madness and wondering if she, too, will follow the same heartbreaking path.

Even as midnight rides, strange injuries, and further murders lead back to Mr. Browning, Rebecca can’t ignore the subtle turn of her heart. Has she developed feelings for the man she swore to see hanged? And moreover, can she trust him with her uncertain future?

Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette

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1380 BC – Israel

Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband’s brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protections of her father, Kedesh’s head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but he never imagined his older brother’s death would mean wedding her himself. After her disappearance, he throws himself into the ongoing fight against the Canaanites instead of dwelling on all he has lost. But with impending war looming over Israel, Rivkah’s father comes to Malakhi with an impossible request.

As the enemies that Rivkah and Malakhi face from without and within Israel grow more threatening each day, is it too late for the restoration their wounded souls seek?

Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham

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1883 – Iowa

For three years, Penny Ercanbeck has been opening other people’s mail. Dead ends are a reality for clerks at the Dead Letter Office. Still she dreams of something more–a bit of intrigue, a taste of romance, or at least a touch less loneliness. When a letter from a brokenhearted man to his one true love falls into her hands, Penny seizes this chance to do something heroic. It becomes her mission to place this lost letter into the hands of its intended recipient.

Thomas left his former life with no intention of ending up in Azure Springs, Iowa. He certainly didn’t expect a happy ending after what he had done. All he wanted to do was run and never look back. In a moment of desperation, he began to write, never really expecting a reply.

When Penny’s undertaking leads her to the intriguing man who touched her soul with his words, everything grows more complicated. She wants to find the rightful owner of the letter and yet she finds herself caring–perhaps too much–for the one who wrote it.

Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson

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1860s – Virginia and Michigan

Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.

Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?

Thimbles and Threads

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Enjoy four historical romances that celebrate the arts of sewing and quilting. When four women put needle and thread to fabric, will their talents lead to love?

Bygones by Mary Davis
Texas, 1884
Drawn to the new orphan boy in town, Tilly Rockford soon became the unfortunate victim of a lot of Orion Dunbar’s mischievous deeds in school. Can Tilly figure out how to truly forgive the one who made her childhood unbearable? Now she doesn’t even know she holds his heart. Can this deviant orphan-train boy turned man make up for the misdeeds of his youth and win Tilly’s heart before another man steals her away?
 
The Bridal Shop by Grace Hitchcock
Charleston, South Carolina, June 1886
Alice Turner, the owner of one of Charleston’s finest bridal shops, is determined never to be dependent on a man for anything after the disgrace of her father’s prison time. When her best friend requests Alice to be her maid of honor, she reluctantly sets aside her feelings on marriage and dons a stylish bridesmaid’s gown, never intending to catch the eye of the handsome groomsman. Will he be able to convince her to open her heart again and finish the quilt once intended for her father?
 
Mending Sarah’s Heart by Suzanne Norquist
Rockledge, Colorado, 1884
Sarah doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. With four brothers to mentor her boys and income as a seamstress, she seeks a quiet life. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away?
 
Binding Up Wounds by Liz Tolsma
Regent, Wisconsin, 1865
Melissa Bainbridge is a quirky designer of rag dolls who raises raccoons and never really fit into the small farming town. When Lance Witherspoon arrives in town to thank her for the Sanitary Commission quilt she made that saved his life, she is shocked to learn Lance is a Confederate. Can she and Lance confront the town’s prejudices – along with their own?

The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

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1860 – Utah

The Wilderness Is a Great Place to Hide
Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Jackie can’t decide if Elijah is friend or foe. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

Boy in the Darkness by Anne Schroeder

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Past/Present – Oregon

A young indentured Chinese boy is injured and left behind by his Oregon-bound wagon train. Trapped in an underground pit, incapacitated and terrified, his pleading is mistaken for that of an evil spirit by the Indians who hear him. Gifts of food and water appear as if from nowhere. The wailing moans frighten some and intrigue others, including a young slave girl who thinks he is the wanagi spirit of her lost warrior.

His struggle to survive occupies his mind, body and spirit with surprising results. A hundred and fifty years later the echoes of his struggle remain when a Lakota Indian advisor finds signs of his passage in the limestone cave.

The Reluctant Brides Collection

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Take an adventurous ride along on the bumpy trail to love as six independent women of yesteryear are cautiously courted into matrimony by men they have both intrigued and hurt. Will troubles douse the sparks of love before anyone can become a bride?

An Unexpected Surprise by Rosey Dow
Angie McDonald has placed an ad for a mail-order bride—for her widowed brother-in-law and his motherless daughter. But when the beautiful Saundra arrives, Angie wonders if she’s made a mistake and woven a very tangled web. When will Angie learn to leave matters in the hand of God?

Ribbon of Gold by Cathy Marie Hake
Carter Steadman recently inherited ownership of the Steadman Mills. He is shamed when Isabel Shelly, one of his workers, boldly informs him of the inhuman working conditions at his mill. Carter is inexplicably drawn to this woman who has so little, yet gives so much. Her mere presence is forcing him to make a decision beyond his wildest imaginings.

Light Beckons the Dawn by Susannah Hayden
Percy Morgan has hidden her past and stifled her future with a gruff exterior and immersed herself in work at a remote lumber camp. Faced with friendships offered by the few women in camp and the attentions of the camp doctor, Percy must decide if she can take a risk and reopen the pain of the past so that healing can begin.

Reluctant Schoolmarm by Yvonne Lehman
When Christa Walsh steps off a train in the backwoods of  North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and reluctantly into the role of teacher, she finds the job more rewarding than she expected, winning the hearts of the children—and along the way, warming the heart of the man whose deception landed her the position.

School Bells and Wedding Bells by Colleen L. Reece
Freshly jilted and ready to take on the world, Meredith Rose Macrae enters an isolated Idaho hamlet with the force of a tornado. Neither she nor Last Chance will ever be the same. And Brit Farley, rugged head of the local school board, faces the challenge of exchanging the new teacher’s school bells for wedding bells.

Rose Kelly by Janet Spaeth
Rose believes a woman can do any job just as well as a man. But moving to Dakota Territory for six months to write articles on the homesteaders, she suddenly realizes that she may have taken on more then she can handle when trampling upon Eric Johansen private past.

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