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Jacob’s Bell by John Snyder

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1944 – Illinois and Maryland

For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Melody Carlson comes JACOB’S BELL, a heartwarming Christmas story about how an unlikely friendship between an old man and a little girl saved a family.

Sometimes the road to forgiveness and restoration can be a rocky one. Set in Chicago and Baltimore in 1944 with flashbacks to the 1920s, JACOB’S BELL follows Jacob MacCallum on his arduous journey to redemption.
 
At one time, Jacob had it all: wealth, a wonderful family and a position as one of the most respected businessmen in Chicago. Then he made some bad decisions and all that changed. For the past twenty years he lived in an alcohol-induced haze, riddled with guilt for the dreadful things he had done to his family and his role in the untimely death of his wife. Estranged from his children and penniless, he was in and out of jail, on the street and jumping freight trains for transportation. Realizing he needed a drastic change, Jacob embarked on a journey to find his children, seek their forgiveness, and restore his relationship with them. Befriended by a pastor at a Salvation Army mission, he struggled to transform his life. Yet finally he overcame his demons, but not without a fair number of setbacks. Jacob became a Salvation Army Bell Ringer at Christmastime. While ringing his bell on a street corner one snowy day, he met a young girl who, through a series of strange coincidences, led him back to his children and facilitated Jacob’s forgiveness just in time for Christmas.

The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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17th and 19th century – Massachusetts

After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when they should marry and whom–a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father’s thieving business partner.

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will’s conditions, they’ll be faced with obstacles on every side–and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

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1388 BC – Israel

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy

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1868 – Nevada

Union army officer Cameron Scott is used to being obeyed, but nothing about this journey to Lake Tahoe has gone as expected. He’s come to fetch his daughter and nephew, and seek revenge on the people who killed his brother. Instead he finds himself trapped by a blizzard with two children who are terrified of him and stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness, who he worries may be trying to keep the children.

When danger descends on the cabin where they’re huddled, Cam is hurt trying to protect everyone and now finds Gwen caring for him too. He soon realizes why the kids love her so much and wonders if it might be best for him to move on without them. When she sees his broken heart, Gwen decides to help him win back their affection–and in the process he might just win her heart as well.

Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

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1897 – Illinois

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can’t seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she’s learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her find the truth. But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden.

At the same time, unflattering stories about Anna are leaked by someone who would love to see her disgraced and her engagement broken. And as Anna tries to share her faith with her society friends, she understands that her choice to seek God’s purpose for her life isn’t as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje’s been helping new Dutch immigrants, including a teen with a haunted past, adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

In the Shadow of the Queen by Kim Stokely

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BC – Jerusalem

For the first time in history, a woman rightfully reigns over Israel. The queen’s rule gives Anna, a gifted young seamstress, opportunities for work and education she never thought possible. But to achieve her dreams, Anna must enter a world festering with intrigue and deceit. Those living within the queen’s shadow already plot to seize the throne when she is dead. Even Lev, Anna’s first love, is drawn into this underlying world of power, pleasure and political maneuvering.

Torn between her own desires and the traditions of her people, Anna’s story is one of enduring courage and her inspired belief in God’s love and faithfulness in all circumstances.

The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love through the Generations

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In Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson, a man far above her station.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Albright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local banker. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.

In Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?

A Heart for Freedom by Janet Grunst

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1775 – Virginia

Matthew Stewart wants only to farm, manage his inn, and protect his family. But tension between the Loyalists and Patriots is mounting. When he’s asked to help the Patriots and assured his family will be safe, he agrees.

She’s seen the cost of fighting England, and she wants no part of it.

In Scotland, Heather Stewart witnessed the devastation and political consequences of opposing England. She wants only to avoid war and protect the family and peace she finally found in Virginia. But the war drums can be heard even from their home in the countryside, and she has no power to stop the approaching danger.

The consequences are deadly.

When Matthew leaves for a short journey and doesn’t return, Heather faces the biggest trial of her life. Will she give up hope of seeing him again? Will he survive the trials and make his way home? What will be the consequences of his heart for freedom?

Wagon Train Matchmaker by Linda Ford

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1848 – New Mexico

Mary Mae Clark has learned the hard way not to trust what a man says. Broken promises have made her wary and now she only wants to return to Santa Fe to help her friend Sophia keep her wee son.

Warren Russell has been freighting on the Trail for four years. He likes it that way. No ties. No family. No love. He doesn’t deserve it after his neglect of his wife and small son resulted in their deaths.

But the accidental death of his best friend on the trail leaves Warren as guardian to the man’s ten-year-old niece, Polly. He gratefully accepts Mary Mae’s help with the child but only while they are on the trail. Then he and Polly will move on. Only Polly has other ideas. Matchmaking ideas…

Can Polly match Mary Mae and Warren in time for her to have a family for Christmas?

The Sound of Distant Thunder by Jan Drexler

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1862 – Ohio

Katie Stuckey and Jonas Weaver are both romantics. Seventeen-year-old Katie is starry-eyed, in love with the idea of being in love, and does not want to wait to marry Jonas until she is eighteen, despite her parents’ insistence. So much can happen in a year. Twenty-year-old Jonas is taken in by the romance of soldiering, especially in defense of anti-slavery, even though he knows war is at odds with the teachings of the church. When his married brother’s name comes up in the draft list, he volunteers to take his brother’s place. But can the commitment Katie and Jonas have made to each other survive the separation?

From the talented pen of Jan Drexler comes this brand new Amish series set against the backdrop of the Civil War. She puts her characters to the test as they struggle to reconcile their convictions and desires while the national conflict threatens to undermine and engulf their community.

Flame in the Night by Heather Munn

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1942 – France

In occupied France, a teen is torn between hate and love
Julien Losier has just turned eighteen. But this is Vichy France in 1942, and his coming of age is marred by the Nazi occupation of his homeland. His father has always taught him that evil is resisted by the power of God, not by the gun. But when the roundups of Jews begin and both his best friend and the girl he’s falling for become targets, Julien must question where real power lies. Can he be a man who protects the people he loves if he follows his father’s ways of peace?

His hometown is a fragile fortress where hundreds of Jewish youth hide in plain sight, protected only by the goodwill of their neighbors. Julien takes part in the intricate system of sentries and alert codes that keep them safe, doing what he can to resist the Nazis. As the Germans close in, he can see the moment coming when all the town’s careful defenses will fail. He’s torn between the faith of his father and his increasing surety that fighting violence with violence is the only way to win. How can the meek inherit the earth when the strong hold all the cards?

Now the young Jewish woman who has captured his heart comes under deadly threat, and there are no good choices. But for Elise, there’s nothing Julien won’t risk.

Based on actual events in Vichy France, Flame in the Night is a powerful examination of the strength of faith and peaceful resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.

Christmas Stitches

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Return to Christmases of yesteryear with three women who use their sewing talents to succeed in the late 1800s. But can love also be stitched into their lives?
 
A SEAMLESS LOVE by Judith Miller
1888 – Pullman, Illinois
Hannah Cooper possesses a special talent for embroidered fancywork and design which secures her a position in the Dressmaking and Millinery Shop in the Pullman Arcade near Chicago. There she encounters childhood friend Daniel Price who is disappointed to learn Hannah is being courted by a Chicago businessman. With two men vying for her attention, will Hannah seek God’s direction or ignore the warning signs He sets before her?
 
PIN’S PROMISE by Nancy Moser
1906 – Summerfield, England
Penelope (Pin) Billings and Jonathan Evers have loved each other since they were children, promising to one day get officially engaged. Both have distinct talents: Pin for sewing dresses and teaching others to sew, and Jonathan—a doctor right out of school—for helping the people of the village. As they become adults and the time to fulfill their promise seems right, a tragic event pulls them apart, making both question their future. Will they discover they are stronger together than apart?
 
MENDED HEARTS by Stephanie Grace Whitson
1890 – Nebraska
Rachel Ellsworth has always been encouraged to pursue her passion for art. She looks forward to taking the Grand Tour on her honeymoon and experiencing the great museums of Europe. But when tragedy strikes, Rachel’s plans are put on hold and she is forced to stay with two maiden aunts in a small Nebraska town where the most exciting things that ever happen are quilting bees and the county fair. Rachel expects her stay in Lost Creek to be temporary—until a letter from home changes everything. How can a budding artist who loves the big city expect to find happiness in the middle of nowhere? 

The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear

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1794 – Kentucky

Thomas Bledsoe and Kate Gruener are traveling the Wilderness Road when conflicts between natives and settlers reach a peak that will require each of them to tap into a well of courage.

In 1794, when Kate Gruener’s father is ready to move the family farther west into the wilderness to farm untouched land, Kate is eager to live out her own story of adventure like she did during the War for Independence and to see untamed lands. And she sets her sights on learning more about their scout, Thomas Bledsoe. Thomas’s job is to get settlers safely across the Kentucky Wilderness Road to their destination while keeping an ear open for news of Shawnee unrest. But naïve Kate’s inquisitive nature could put them both in the middle of a rising tide of conflict. Is there more to Thomas’s story than he is willing to tell? Is there an untapped courage in Kate that can thwart a coming disaster?

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.

Never Past Hope by Janine Mendenhall

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1795 – England

Miss Mary Hope Adsley always considered herself to be the sensible one. But now, her sensibilities are unraveling around a man she thought she knew. After he attempted to marry her best friend—for money, no less—authorities charge Sir Steven Likebridge with masquerading as a gentleman and abduction. With his execution days away, Mary Hope desperately seeks to learn the truth about the man she loves.

Will the truth turn out to be worse than his lies?

The Captain’s Conquest by Susan Baganz

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1814 – Scotland

Captain Jared Allendale is weary of war, but Wellington gives him one final assignment before he is free of his obligation to the Crown: retrieve a package in Scotland and return it safely to London. Easy assignment for a man who’s been an aide-de-camp for the past several years—until the package turns out to be Lucy Cameron, daughter of the Duke of Diamond. Lord Diamonte was banished to France for his treasonous acts. As Jared fights old demons, the dangerous journey south begins. The spectre of death hovers over them as Lord Diamonte’s minions hunt Lucy and Jared. It will take love, gifts and their faith in God to help them overcome the evil that looms. Can Jared deliver his without either of them losing their lives…and their hearts?

 

Author Interview & Giveaway – Hidden Among the Stars – Melanie Dobson

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Hidden Among the Stars

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan―even their very lives―in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

Melanie’s Website

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Questions about Melanie’s Story

What inspired your story?

A castle in Austria! My husband and I backpacked across Europe to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary, and our favorite stop was the ancient town and alpine lake called Hallstatt. Along the lakeshore was a medieval castle that captured my attention, but it took me years to uncover its story.

On this trip, we discovered that this Austrian region is often called “Devil’s Dustbin” because the Nazis retreated through these Alps near the end of World War II, throwing all sorts of valuable items in the lakes. Because of the water’s depth and the many hiding places in the underwater forests, caves, and shifting sands, people continue searching for World War II artifacts here today.

Which scene is your favorite, the one you never tired of working with? 

The first chapter with Max Dornbach digging in the cemetery was my favorite scene to write. Annika, the girl who helps care for the Dornbach property, is watching her friend Max as he digs in this plot behind his family’s estate, and the first paragraph hints at the future for her character. Then the scene transitions into her longing to be loved by him.

I loved writing this chapter, because I wanted readers to hear Annika’s heart and see Max from her point of view. Also, I wanted readers to wonder what Max is burying in the cemetery.

Were there any historical facts that you discovered in your research that made you change something in your story?

A historical fact that I uncovered completely changed the direction in the second half of the story. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what it is because this unusual fact is pivotal to my contemporary character finding resolution to the almost eighty-year-old mystery in the book. 🙂

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Questions about Melanie’s Reading

secretsshekeptlostcastle

 

What other Christian Historical Novels are similar to yours in setting or storyline?

Cathy Gohlke’s Secrets She Kept and Kristy Cambron’s The Lost Castle are both fascinating time-slip novels with stories set partially during World War II.

Julie

Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals?

Catherine Marshall’s Julie compelled me to read and then write inspirational historical fiction. I empathized with the main character (a young writer) and was inspired by the powerful themes of faith and love in the story.

solaceofwater

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

I just finished reading The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts. It’s a beautifully-written story about three women, set during the 1950s in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. Elizabeth is a gifted wordsmith and invites readers into her fictional world in such a way that you feel deeply for the characters and their heartache, hoping they will find healing for their pain.

Melanie is giving away a paperback copy (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

For more chances to win a paperback, Melanie is giving away ten on her website here. And there is a Goodreads giveaway from 9/4 – 10/4.

Magnolia Summer by Melanie Dickerson

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1880 – Alabama

Truett’s hometown needed a doctor, so after finishing medical school, he returned to Bethel Springs. Fighting a secret war with a corrupt lawman wasn’t in his plans, but Sheriff Suggs thinks he’s above the law and can lynch anyone who crosses him. When Suggs threatens his childhood friend, Truett dons a cape and hood and rescues him—placing “the Hooded Horseman” in Sheriff Suggs’s crosshairs.

Celia Wilcox arrives in Bethel Springs, Alabama, in June of 1880. She’s come from Nashville to help her sister care for their younger siblings. She hopes only to be on the small farm for the summer, just until her mother recovers from the shock of Celia’s father’s death. She must return to Nashville to fulfill her dream of opening her own dress shop, especially now, to provide for her family.

The lovely Celia catches Truett’s eye, and he finds himself wanting to impress her. But she flatly refuses to flirt with him or to fall for his—if he does say so himself—considerable charm.

Celia’s growing attraction to the young Dr. Beverly terrifies her, and even if she could marry him, which she cannot, what will happen when Sheriff Suggs discovers Truett is the Hooded Horseman? Will Celia be able to prevent the sheriff from carrying out one last lynching?

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson

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1938/Present Day – Austria

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

 

An Hour Unspent by Roseanna White

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1915 – England

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge–and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger–and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape.

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund

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1395 – Wales

A desperate noblewoman, a rebellious peasant, and a forbidden love.

While fleeing an arranged betrothal to a heartless lord, Lady Isabelle becomes injured and lost. Rescued by a young peasant man, she hides her identity as a noblewoman for fear of reprisal from the peasants who are bitter and angry toward the nobility.

Cole Warwick cannot turn his back on a person in need and soon finds himself falling for Izzy, the gentle and beautiful runaway who is mending in his cottage. As the leader of an imminent uprising against the nobility, he tries to resist his growing feelings for Izzy to protect her from the dangerous life he’s chosen. But the longer she stays, the more he hopes she’ll never leave.

When Izzy’s true identity is revealed, Cole feels betrayed. With the rebellion underway, can Cole forgive Izzy and find a way to save her from an unhappy marriage? Or will he and his peasant army be destroyed before he has the chance to fight for the people and the woman he loves?

Everything She Didn’t Say by Jane Kirkpatrick

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1870s-1920s – Several States

In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir entitled Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, which shared some of the most exciting events of 25 years of traveling and shaping the American West with her husband, Robert Strahorn, a railroad promoter, investor, and writer. That is all fact. Everything She Didn’t Say imagines Carrie nearly ten years later as she decides to write down what was really on her mind during those adventurous nomadic years.

Certain that her husband will not read it, and in fact that it will only be found after her death, Carrie is finally willing to explore the lessons she learned along the way, including the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man and the courage it takes to accept her own God-given worth apart from him. Carrie discovers that wealth doesn’t insulate a soul from pain and disappointment, family is essential, pioneering is a challenge, and western landscapes are both demanding and nourishing. Most of all, she discovers that home can be found, even in a rootless life.

With a deft hand, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick draws out the emotions of living–the laughter and pain, the love and loss–to give readers a window not only into the past, but into their own conflicted hearts. Based on a true story.

In Times Gone By by Tracie Peterson

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1906 – California

After getting left at the altar, Kenzie Gifford flees to San Francisco to start her life over, determined never to love again. She’s made new friends and has a good job in the office of her cousin’s chocolate factory. The only thorn in her side is Dr. Micah Fisher, who insists on pursuing her despite her constant rejection.

Then the Great 1906 Earthquake strikes the city, and everything changes. The devastation all around her makes Kenzie reevaluate her outlook on life–and possibly even her feelings for Micah. But then her world is rocked again when her ex-fiancé appears, full of apologies and determined to win her back. But Arthur already broke her heart once. Does she dare trust him again? The sudden arrival of a hidden danger will expose the motivations of all involved, but it could cost Kenzie her life–as well as her heart.

Deep Calling Deep by Carole Towriss

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61 – Rome

Praetorian Prefect Sextus Burrus has spent his life fighting for the glory of Rome, but that glory has lost its shine. As both his health and his career crumble, he is drawn toward the seemingly inexhaustible peace of one of his Jewish prisoners, the Apostle Paul. The moment Timothy hears his mentor and surrogate father Paul has been arrested, he rushes to Rome. Under the looming threat of execution, Timothy struggles to make sense of what is happening. Finally, an unexpected crisis requires him to reexamine everything, and places their hope for Paul’s freedom on the shoulders of Praetorian Prefect Sextus Burrus.

Enya’s Son by Cindy Thomson

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6th Century – Ireland

Is love enough for a mother who must be separated from her son? 

Having escaped a violent childhood, Enya is safe living with her husband’s powerful clan. When her long-awaited son is born, she must fulfill a vow made in desperation—the boy is dedicated to God and goes to live with the local priest. Still, she clings to the hope that the church’s influence will eradicate any trace of her bloodline’s temperament. The monks rename him Columcille, which means Dove of the Church. 

In a prophetic dream, Enya learns her son will grow in power and influence, and her heart is at peace. But while Enya understands her son’s influence will be for the good of the church, others believe the prophecy predicts political influence, and try to prevent Columcille from seeking temporal power—though he does not desire it. As he rises to prominence in the church, Columcille’s temper erupts when a king’s decision goes against him, and he calls his clan to arms. The consequences are more devastating than anyone could have imagined—and changes his life forever.

This retelling of the early life of St. Columcille and his mother will usher readers on a fateful journey through ancient Ireland’s monastic centers, her wild coastline islands, and the land Columcille believed was filled with holy angels, a place where he felt safe … yet was destined to abandon.

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?

The Victorian Christmas Brides Collection

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Faced with the daily extremes of gluttony and want in the Victorian Era, nine women seek to create the perfect Christmas celebrations. But will expectations and pride cause them to overlook imperfect men who offer true love?
 
Paper Snowflake Christmas by Vanessa Riley
1837 Framlingham, England
How can widow Ophelia Hanover give her son a perfect Christmas when his guardian, the Earl of Litton, arrives early to take permeant custody of the boy?
 
One Golden Ring by C.J. Chase
1855 Devonshire, England
Wounded soldier Tristram Nowell returns home to indulge his mother’s wish for a family Christmas–and encounters Marianna Granville. Can he forgive the former heiress who jilted him years before?
 
Love Brick by Brick by Kathleen L. Maher
1857 Elmira, New York
SarahAnn Winnifred overcomes orphanhood apprenticing with pioneering doctors. Rufus Sedgwick, relocating his English estate, seeks help for his ailing Mum. Christmas reveals the secret wish of both hearts–for love.
 
The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Detroit, Michigan
When Canadian barrister Percy Gladstone finds his aristocratic British family unexpectedly descending upon him for Christmas, he turns to American social reformer Eugenie Mott and her fledgling catering crew for help.
 
Star of Wonder by Susanne Dietze
1875 County Durham, England
This Yuletide, Bennet Hett, Viscount Harwood, offers Lady Celeste Sidwell matrimony and the Star of Wonder diamond necklace, as their fathers arranged. When the diamond disappears, will they find a greater treasure?
 
Father Christmas by Lorna Seilstad
Chicago, Christmas 1880
Widowed harpist Beatrix Kent believes love can only come once in a lifetime, but this Christmas, carpenter Hugo Sherman hopes to pull on the musician’s heartstrings and prove her wrong.
 
The Perfect Christmas by Erica Vetsch
1880s London
Melisande Verity might be in over her head trying to create the perfect Christmas window display, but if she succeeds, will she finally attract the attention of her boss, Gray Garamond?
 
A Christmas Vow by Gabrielle Meyer
London, England, Christmas 1899

Lady Ashleigh Pendleton is hosting a houseful of guests for Christmas when railroad executive Christopher Campbell unexpectedly arrives from America with a mysterious agreement signed by their fathers before their birth. 
 
The Holly and the Ivy by Rita Gerlach
1900. Small town along the Potomac near Washington DC
A glass ornament. Love letters tied in red Christmas ribbon. Lily Morningstar and British antiquities expert Andrew Stapleton are drawn into a family secret that binds their hearts together.

Old West Christmas Brides

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It is hard for a woman to make a decent living in the Wild West of the late 1800s, and as the Christmas season approaches, prospects for a happy celebration seem dim.
 
A Pony Express Christmas by Margaret Brownley
Stranded alone in Nebraska Territory in 1882 with a broken wagon and two stubborn mules, Ellie-Mae Myers has no way to continue searching for her twin brother along the deserted Pony Express route or of returning home to Kentucky. Could a man on the verge of being hanged be the answer to her prayers?
 
A Wife in Name Only by Rosey Dow
Katherine Priestly seeks a job to help support her mother and brother. A local ranch seeks a cook, but by 1884 standards, the owner, Brett Masten, will only hire a married woman to work among his men. Desperate, Catherine claims she is a married woman at the tender age of eighteen. Will her charade become a barrier to true love and send her home without enough money to buy Christmas presents?
 
Lucy Ames, Sharpshooter by Darlene Franklin
Lucy Ames’ dreams come true when her sharp shooting makes her the star act of Major Paulson’s Wild West Show in 1891. Gordon Paulson is traveling with his parents for one last season before accepting a teaching position at West Texas Christian College. As Lucy’s and Gordon’s love for each other grows, will God weave their gifts and dreams into a single calling?
 
A Badlands Christmas by Marcia Gruver
Noela Nancarrow and her pampered sister have been dragged into the Badlands by their adventurous father to live penniless in a sod house in 1885. When a local rancher invites Noela to a lavish Christmas party, will her holiday spirit return or will she learn a lesson far greater from the experience?
 
Unexpected Blessings by Vickie McDonough
Anna Campbell sets out to deliver two small orphans to their uncle in Texas during December of 1880. Erik Olson knows it’s impossible for those cute little pests to be his brother’s and refuses to accept them—regardless of Anna’s persistence. Little do they know that behind the scenes, Erik’s Uncle Lars and his buddies are doing a little matchmaking, hoping to give the children a father and a mother. 
 
A Grand County Christmas by Debra Ullrick
In 1883, Awnya O’Crean is on the brink of starvation and homeless in the Colorado Mountains. When she goes hunting for food, God places her in the path of Amadeus Josef. Will Christmas with the Josef family teach Awnya how God works in mysterious ways?

Wagon Train Wedding by Linda Ford

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1848 – New Mexico

Judith Russel is devastated by the death of her fiancé and vows to never again trust her feelings toward a man.

Gil Trapper is the wagon train scout and owner of several freight wagons. Freighting is going to give him the future he’d thought he lost. He has no interest in love after the woman he intended to marry broke his heart.

Judith and Gil are forced to marry after they spend a night alone together saving a lost child. Their marriage of convenience doesn’t change anything. Judith can’t trust Gil and Gil will never open his heart to Judith. But as they work together to care for the tiny child that needs them, they can’t help growing closer to each other.

Will time spent together facing the challenges of the trail, the joy of the child, and the truth about their past experiences force them to admit their growing love or drive them apart forever?

A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

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1853 – England

Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life, for there’s nothing more mundane than serving customers day after day. Every minute she can, she reads and dreams of someday becoming a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming but penniless rogue. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his scheming cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t. So does William. Deceiving the old man breaks both their hearts. When the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.

Can two hearts survive such deception?

Author Interview & Giveaway – Thief of Corinth – Tessa Afshar

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I had the privilege of reading this book early and recommend it. Those that prefer that the romance does not take center stage and those that want something of a romance involved should both be happy. If you’ve ever read Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion trilogy and have ever wanted to read something else like it, this book has the same feel without all the gladiator games. Ancient Corinth/Athens, underhanded Romans, the early church. Skilled writing.

Greece, , , , , , , , , ,  

Thief of Corinth

First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It’s also filled with danger and corruption—the perfect setting for Ariadne’s greatest adventure.

After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father’s home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city’s corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.

Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father’s apprentice. As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire. But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future—and very lives—hanging in the balance.

When they befriend a Jewish rabbi named Paul, they realize that his radical message challenges everything they’ve fought to build, yet offers something neither dared hope for.

Tessa’s Website

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Questions about Tessa’s Story

What inspired your story?

The apostle Paul had a special affection for the people of Corinth. Perhaps this was because he founded the first church there through his personal ministry. Many of Corinth’s inhabitants were on the naughty side. In his letter to the house churches he helped to build, Paul says they had been greedy, immoral, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers before Jesus grabbed a hold of them (1Corinthians 6:9-11). I wanted to write about a character that fit this mold. Someone who was a bit of a rascal, with a lot of spunk, and yet managed to be lovable. My favorite books are often about imperfect characters, people who make wrong choices and land themselves in deep pits. That is how my character Ariadne was born. A woman who seemed to have it all, but turned to theft in order to solve the mounting financial problems of her beloved family.

Why did you choose the year your book is set?

Most of this story takes place around 50 AD, smack in the middle of Paul’s second missionary journey. It is an exciting time both in history and in the world of faith. The Romans are at the height of their power and ingenuity. The city of Corinth sparkles with engineering marvels. They have figured out ways to install glass in their windows, an art which is subsequently lost for centuries. They have indoor plumbing (a fact I use to advantage in one of Ariadne’s heists. I’m afraid I have a weakness for bathroom humor.) The Roman Empire of the first century is one of the most exciting time periods to write about. Subtly running beneath this grand display of power is the river of faith that is flowing through the work of men like Paul. As a writer, I can’t ask for a better period to write about.

If you could be guaranteed to publish a book set anywhere and at anytime, what setting would you love to set a novel in?

I am known for writing biblical fiction. But I would love to write a historical novel based in England during Jane Austen times.

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Questions about Tessa’s Reading

Isaiah's Daughter

What other Christian Historical Novels are similar to yours in setting or storyline?

Biblical fiction is growing in popularity, and many writers are contributing to the genre. From Ted Dekker to Davis Bunn, Christian authors are penning stories based on Bible events and times. Other writers include the lovely Mesu Andrews, who recently released Isaiah’s Daughter, a novel set in the Old Testament era.

avoiceinthewind

Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals?

Hard to say. I have always been a fan of historical fiction. I think my first specifically Christian historical novel was A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. Of course I became a fan after that!

Tessa is giving away a paperback copy (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.**

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The Reckless by MaryLu Tyndall

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1694 – Caribbean

Captain Reena Charlisse Hyde always gets what she wants. She wanted to be the best female pirate on the Caribbean and she is. She wants to find the mythical Fountain of Youth and she knows the location of the map. And now after searching across the Caribbean for the man she intends to marry, she has found him. There are only two problems. He doesn’t want to be found, and he’s on board a Royal Navy frigate—the last place a pirate should venture.

Frederick Carlton thought he was finally safe from the woman who held his heart. But her attempt to rescue him labels him a deserter from the Royal Navy. He’s turned his life over to God and plans on being a preacher, but every moment he spends with Reena drives him deeper into a past he longs to forget.

Mutinies, deserted islands, treasure maps, battles, traitors, and villains send the couple sailing on a tsunami of adventure throughout the Caribbean in search of the Fountain of Youth. Frederick longs to escape the lure of the woman he loves. Reena longs for Frederick to love her again. But in the end, they will both have to choose between eternal youth or the lives of everyone they love.

Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

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1st Century AD – Greece

First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It’s also filled with danger and corruption—the perfect setting for Ariadne’s greatest adventure.

After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father’s home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city’s corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.

Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father’s apprentice. As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire. But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future—and very lives—hanging in the balance.

When they befriend a Jewish rabbi named Paul, they realize that his radical message challenges everything they’ve fought to build, yet offers something neither dared hope for.

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

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1943 – Poland

Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.

On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.

After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.

Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.

Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.

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