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Night at the Opera by Stacy Henrie

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1908 – England

When American heiress Gwen Barton aids an injured gentleman in an opera box in London, she shares a kiss with the stranger that changes her life. More determined than ever to be herself, in spite of the limp she’s sustained since childhood, she will marry for love and not a title. She also resolves to learn the identity of the man she helped—and kissed. Surely he can’t be the irritating Avery Winfield, though. But as circumstances continue to throw Gwen and Avery together, she begins to wonder if there is more to this man than she first thought.

While most of London only knows him as the nephew of a duke, Avery Winfield is actually working for the Secret Service Bureau to ferret out German spies from among the ton. It’s a profession that gives him purpose and a reason to remain a bachelor. But the more he interacts with Gwen Barton, an heiress from America, the more he begins to question his plans and neglected faith. Then he learns Gwen is the young lady from the opera box who helped him. Now his most important mission may have nothing to do with saving Britain from danger and everything to do with risking his heart for the woman he met that night at the opera.

Author Interview & Giveaway – Jacob’s Bell – John Snyder

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Are you in the mood for Christmas? Doesn’t the cover look like one you ought to read by a fire?

jacobsbell

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Jacob’s Bell

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.

John’s Website

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Questions about John’s Story

What inspired your story?

I am intrigued by people, family dynamics and overcoming obstacles. Jacob’s Bell: A Christmas Story encompasses all of this. I also, love Christmas and how the holiday can transform peoples’ hearts.

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

Jacob! Absolutely hands down.

If you could be one of your characters, who would you choose to be and why?

Jacob. His life was such a roller coaster, and at some points, such a train wreck, but he overcame his obstacles and achieved his goal; forgiveness. What a journey!

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John is giving away FIVE books (USA only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Mist O’er the Voyageur by Naomi Musch

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1807 – Canada

After her aunt’s death, Métis woman Brigitte Marchal finds herself alone in Montreal. Uninterested in the convent and desperate to flee a loathsome suitor, she disguises herself as a young man to travel west by voyageurs’ brigade in search of her long-absent, fur-trader father. But her inexperience and disguise don’t hide her for long.

René Dufour yields to the unwelcome position of shielding Brigitte, but he cannot hide her identity forever. Keeping her safe while meeting his North West Company obligations and honoring his family promises may prove to be more disquieting to his heart than he imagined.

As Brigitte adjusts to the voyageur life on Lake Superior, she struggles to justify the faith she grew up in with the mysticism around her, but greater still is the conflict her heart must settle over who to trust in this rugged, unfamiliar country.

This Courageous Journey by Misty Beller

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1854 – Montana

As the fifth daughter in a family of nine, Noelle Grant spent her life striving to be unique. Her love of telling stories helps define her goal—to be known around the country as one of the top news correspondents of her time. And what better way to uncover sensational tales than to travel through the mountain wilderness to visit her brother? The trip comes together perfectly as she journeys with family friends who will be settling in the same area. Her first inkling that things may not be as perfect as she’d imagined shows up in the form of the mountain man hired as their guide for the final leg of the journey.

When Daniel Abrams agrees to guide the small group of easterners along his usual route northward to the Canadian mountains, his gut tells him he’s making a terrible decision. But if he doesn’t take them, who will? The crew’s leader refuses to consider turning back. As they start out, Daniel can’t help but notice the woman traveling under the care of her friends. Though she appears too genteel to last long in these mountains, she soon reveals a strength that draws him more than he should allow.

When the dangers of this wilderness become more than the group bargained for, Noelle must choose to delay her trip northward or proceed alone with the man she’s come to trust against all reason. She never dreams her decision will place her—and the man she loves—in a situation more hazardous than any story her imagination could conjure.

Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall

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1893 – Massachusetts

Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again–this time for love…and to someone safe

As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of “what if” at bay?

This book was originally published in the Timeless Love: Romantic Stories That Span the Ages collection.

Eternity Between Us by Stephania McGee

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1861 – Virginia

An unnatural thunder rumbled through the air, carrying with it not thoughts of rain but of smoke and trepidation…
 
After being forced to use a pistol against invaders, Evelyn Mapleton is no longer the timid girl her extended family expects. The more her aunt and cousin resent her new independence, the more Evelyn is determined she’ll make her missing father proud by taking up his cause and aiding Confederate soldiers–even if she has to outmaneuver the Yankees guarding her home to do it. 
 
Samuel Flynn’s life is consumed with two priorities: learning to become a proper guardian for the young orphans he’s adopted and obtaining his physicians license. When his final testing sends him to a Federal Army field hospital, the last thing he expects is to be entranced by a mysterious woman. But when Evelyn’s misguided exploits put her life in danger, will he risk everything he’s worked for to save a woman he thinks is his enemy?
 
Based on first-hand accounts from the Civil War and with a strong romantic thread, this is a tale of faith, espionage, hope, and courage historical fiction fans won’t want to miss.

Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

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1866 – England

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma

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1943 – Poland

Natia has a secret—and she’s hiding him right beneath her captor’s nose.

In 1943 Poland, the Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their peaceful farm to the harsh confines of a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, and Teodor is sent to work in the factory. Despite the strict camp rules—and the consequences for disobeying them—Natia finds a way to communicate with Teodor by sending messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory.

The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the overseer’s doorstep. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear—but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price. . .

True Nobility by Lori Bates Wright

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1860 – Georgia

Alone in an unfamiliar country where her noble title is useless. Everything she believes in is shattered. Driven by desperation, she risks it all to return to the one man whose love promises to be true.

Lady Victoria Haverwood, beloved daughter of a widowed Earl, has spent years at a fashionable boarding school longing for the day she can come home to finally take her place as mistress of Wrenbrooke. But when she becomes the target of a murderous plot, her idyllic plan is swiftly turned upside down. Nicholas Saberton, an accomplished American Naval Captain, is commissioned to escort the earl and his daughter safely across the ocean to the lively shores of Savannah, Georgia. Pledged to protect her with his life, Nicholas is determined to remain immune to Victoria’s innocent charm. Focused on building his shipping empire, the Haverwood heiress and her quirky relatives become an irresistible diversion. Danger shadows them. Soon the repercussions of her father’s past ensnare Victoria in a web of deception that threatens to consume her. Only her love for Nicholas will give her strength to discover the truth. But will it be too late?

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

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1940s-1960s – New York and England

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice. 

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy. 

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had. 

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

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 Kitchen Marriage by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham

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1888 – Montana

When French immigrant Zoe de Fleur is forced out of her position as household cook for a high society New Yorker, the pretty and talented chef seizes an unexpected chance to head west for a new beginning. She pursues what she thinks is a prestigious job in the frontier’s “finest kitchen,” but instead finds herself in a matchmaker’s agency . . .
 
Isaak Gunderson is one of Helena, Montana’s most eligible bachelors, but he’s too focused on running for mayor and his family’s business to think about a wife and family. His twin brother, Jakob, is supposed to be too busy as well, yet sends for a mail-order bride anyway. Isaak doesn’t want to fuel an ongoing rivalry with his twin, but this tempting newcomer can’t be ignored. If only she’d come to Helena a different way and loving her wasn’t a betrayal . . .

 

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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Heidi Chiavaroli Endorsement - HATS

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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.

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