The Bonfires of Beltane by Mark Fisher

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The Bonfires of Beltane

432 – Ireland

Since before anyone can remember, Taran’s Celtic, island people have
sacrificed children to Crom Cruach, the dread sun god. His whole clan
accepts this atrocity, yet in his heart he knows it’s wrong.

Now, Taran is about to be inducted into his clan’s circle of leaders.
He promises Laurna, his betrothed, he’ll hide his doubts. But at the
ceremony beside the bent idol of gold, he can’t help but question
the druids’ rule. He blames the clan’s miserable fortunes on Crom
Cruach, calling it a demon.

As a result, the druids order his banishment. Instead of a wedding
with Laurna, he faces a tearful parting. As a storm darkens the horizon,
Taran paddles his wee craft into a vast, raging sea. Thus begins
Taran’s adventure in A.D. 432.

Beyond the sea lies ancient, Celtic Ireland. There wait the Roman
evangelist, Patrick, and two kingdoms ruled by powerful kings and
their druid advisors. It’s a proud land where tradition is
everything and travel through the wild can mean slavery
or death. The druids will stop at nothing to remain in power and
prevent Patrick and his followers from changing their ancient ways.

Will Taran find the spiritual truth he desperately seeks? Can he
escape wrathful kings and conniving druids? Will he ever be
able to return home and rejoin his beloved Laurna?

Forever Safe by Jody Hedlund

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Forever Safe

1876 – Massachusetts

Heiress to a vast fortune, Victoria Cole has everything she wants, including the perfect fiancé. Having left two other men at the altar, Victoria is sure that now she’s found her true love and will finally live happily ever after. As her wedding draws near, however, Victoria’s life is threatened. To keep her safe, Victoria’s father hires a bodyguard.

Tom Cushman’s number one priority is protecting his clients, which means no personal entanglements. But he’s never guarded someone as beautiful and winsome as Victoria. After a near-kidnapping, the wedding is cancelled, and Tom hides Victoria at Cape Cod’s Race Point Lighthouse until her attacker can be found. Appointed as assistant light keeper with Victoria posing as his wife, Tom believes the isolation of the lighthouse will keep her safe.

As Victoria struggles to live without familiar luxuries, her heart betrays her with growing feelings for her protector. Determined to help Tom stop fleeing from his haunted past, can the runaway bride learn to face her own fears? With the attacker closing in, will both of them ever be able to stop running and find the safety they long for?

Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love

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Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray

1820s-1870s – Virginia

A general’s wife and a slave girl forge a friendship that transcends race, culture, and the crucible of Civil War.

Mary Anna Custis Lee is a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and heiress to Virginia’s storied Arlington house and General Washington’s personal belongings.

Born in bondage at Arlington, Selina Norris Gray learns to read and write in the schoolroom Mary and her mother keep for the slave children and eventually becomes Mary’s housekeeper and confidante. As Mary’s health declines, Selina becomes her personal maid, strengthening a bond that lasts until death parts them.

Forced to flee Arlington at the start of the Civil War, Mary entrusts the keys to her beloved home to no one but Selina. When Union troops begin looting the house, it is Selina who confronts their commander and saves many of its historic treasures.

In a story spanning crude slave quarters, sunny schoolrooms, stately wedding parlors, and cramped birthing rooms, novelist Dorothy Love amplifies the astonishing true-life account of an extraordinary alliance and casts fresh light on the tumultuous years leading up to and through the wrenching battle for a nation’s soul.

A classic American tale, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray is the first novel to chronicle this beautiful fifty-year friendship forged at the crossroads of America’s journey from enslavement to emancipation.

Author Interview and Giveaway – The Beautiful Pretender – Melanie Dickerson

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Two fairy tale retellings for the price of one. 🙂 I’m excited to have Melanie and her new release here today!

Beautiful Pretender final

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The Beautiful Pretender

After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences.

Melanie’s Website

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Questions about Melanie’s Story

What inspired your story?  

This story was inspired by the Princess and the Pea fairy tale and the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Some have said it reminds them of the story of Esther, which is somewhat warranted, even though I never thought about it. And some have called it a Medieval version of “The Bachelor,” but I have never watched that show! I’m not much of a TV fan.

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

The hardest part for me is always the beginning, when I’m still getting a feel for the characters and deciding which directions to take the plot. And getting the hero’s characterization right was also difficult. He had to come across as very gruff, especially at the beginning, but not too unlikeable. He also had to change and gradually become kinder and gentler. I had to make him be angry with the heroine for longer than I really wanted to. I’m too much of a softie when I write these kinds of heroes and I have to reel myself in.

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Questions about Melanie’s Reading

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

I don’t actually do much reading of fiction these days, for various reasons, mostly because I am writing three books a year and have so little time, but I did reread A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley a year or so ago. It was comforting to read something I’d read before, something really different from what I write, but which also has a wonderful Medieval setting. I also just really love the heroine in that book. Rereading it was like visiting a friend.

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

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

 

If your job was to sell one author’s historical fiction (besides your own) which author’s wares would you want to peddle?

I think I might have to say Siri Mitchell, just because I think her writing is so brilliant.

Melanie is giving away a copy of her book (Paperback – US 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

Melanie is also having a Once Upon a Kindle Giveaway where you can win a kindle, gift card, book, and Belle Doll.

Bride by Arrangement by Karen Kirst

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Bride by Arrangement

1868 – Kansas

Newly minted Cowboy Creek sheriff Noah Burgess doesn’t want a wife—despite his friends insisting that he needs one. So when they send for a big-city single mother to be his mail-order bride, he’s fit to be tied. Even if vivacious Grace Longstreet might just be the only person who can see past Noah’s scars…and help him heal. 

Grace needs a husband to keep her and her twin daughters out of her brother-in-law’s grasp. And she’ll do anything—including taking on her cousin’s identity—to find one. But as the attraction between Grace and the lawman sparks higher, she begins hoping for a real marriage. So she needs to tell the truth…or a mail-order match that’s meant to be could crumble.

Once More a Family by Lily George

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Once More a Family

1905 – Texas

To bring his daughter home to Texas, widowed rancher Jack Burnett needs a wife. And the well-bred Ada Westmore, his neighbor’s niece, will surely meet his father-in-law’s approval. Not willing to open his heart again to love, Jack proposes a marriage in name only. But his independent bride proves more intriguing than he expected. 

Needing to support her sisters after the collapse of their father’s fortune, Ada reluctantly agrees to the handsome cowboy’s proposal. The transformation from New York belle to prairie wife—and mother—is challenging for the onetime suffragist. But when their little family faces the threat of being torn apart, Ada and Jack must decide whether their marriage of convenience can become a marriage of love.

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer

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No Other Will Do

1894 – Texas

Men are optional. That was the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts taught her and why she established Harper’s Station, a women’s colony that offers a fresh start to females in need. But when a dangerous and shadowy assailant tries repeatedly to drive the women out, Emma is forced to admit they might need a man after all. One who can fight. And there is only one man she trusts enough to ask.

Malachi Shaw has finally earned the respect he’s always craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s telegram arrives, he rushes back to Texas to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.

As the danger intensifies, Emma, Mal, and the ladies of Harper’s Station must choose between safety or risking everything to fight for their future.

A Nanny for Keeps by Janet Lee Barton

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A Nanny for Keeps

1898 – New York

With no teaching positions open, Georgia Marshall agrees to become the temporary nanny for the two little girls next door. But she soon becomes enamored of the precocious children and their dashing but distant widowed father. Though she’s falling for him, she can’t help but think that the nobleman is out of her reach. 

After the tragic loss of his wife, Tyler Walker swore he’d never again give his heart away. Until his neighbor brightens his home and brings some much-needed stability to his motherless family. But he refuses to allow this arrangement with the pretty teacher to become permanent…no matter how much he wants Georgia by his side—forever.

Pony Express Hero by Rhonda Gibson

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Pony Express Hero

1860 – California

Pony Express rider Jacob Young is a man of action, which is why when he sees a little girl caught in the middle of a stampede, he races to her rescue. And he soon discovers the child is the half sister he hadn’t known he had. The more time Jacob spends with adorable Daisy and her beautiful guardian, ranch owner Lilly Johnson, the more he realizes they’re filling all the lonely corners of his heart. 

Wary Lilly can’t deny the cherished feelings that overcome her when Jacob vows to protect her and Daisy from any harm. And she can’t help but hope that maybe they can put their past hurts aside and forge a future together as a full-fledged family.

A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawanna Blackwell

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A Haven on Orchard Lane

1880 – England

Famed actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career–only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte’s estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother’s rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists, at least for a time.

Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she’s happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it’s time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn’t there for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?

But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions–ones that jeopardize those they care about most.