A Sojourner Christmas by Linda Brooks Davis

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1923 – Texas

She relinquished her childhood home. Abandoned her former life. And set off for a faraway valley that’s touted as magical. As an aspiring newspaper reporter, Blossom Evans expects to find plenty of material with which to carve out a career. But alarming tales about the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas abound. Barely tamed, rugged brush land. Mexican bandits. Wildcats, rattlesnakes, and tarantulas as big around as dinner plates. Where will she find the courage to face—and overcome—such foes, even for her dream career?The first hint of an answer lies in the sleepy little West Texas town of Winters. An unexpected conflict is brewing, one that could launch a reporter’s career—or crush it before it begins. How will Blossom be lured into the fray? And where will she find the temerity to confront this particular brand of evil? It’s Christmas Eve 1923, and Blossom Evans is about to discover what’s she made of.

The Rose Keeper by Jennifer Lamont Leo

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1915/1944 – Illinois

July 1944. Chicago nurse Clara Janacek has spent her whole life taking care of other people. Grumpy yet loveable, all she wants now is to live out her life in peace, tending her roses and protecting her heart. But beneath the gruff exterior lies a story, and when new neighbors move in and shake up her quiet world, Clara must grapple with long-buried realities.

July 1915. The picnic across Lake Michigan was to be the highlight of the summer for young nurse Clara—a day filled with laughter, dancing, and budding romance aboard a stately excursion steamer. But when unspeakable tragedy strikes, Clara’s life is changed forever.

By turns funny, tender, and bittersweet, The Rose Keeper celebrates the redemptive hope found in friendship, faith, and the search for belonging.

Miriam’s Song by Jill Eileen Smith

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1500s BC – Egypt/Middle East

In her eventful lifetime, Miriam was many things to many people: protective older sister, song leader, prophetess, leper. But between the highs and the lows, she was a girl who dreamed of freedom, a woman who longed for love, a leader who made mistakes, and a friend who valued connection.

With her impeccable research and keen eye for detail, bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith offers this epic story to fill in the gaps and imagine how Miriam navigated the challenges of holding onto hope, building a family in the midst of incredible hardship, and serving as a leader of a difficult people, all the while living in her brother’s shadow.

Follow Miriam’s dusty journey from childhood to motherhood, obscurity to notoriety, and yearning to fulfillment as she learns that what God promises he provides—in his own perfect timing.

A Voice within the Flame by Henry O. Arnold

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1100s BC – Israel

A son of the vow…a voice for a nation.

For many long years, Hannah prayed for a son; a son finally granted to her only when she promised him back to God. Samuel, son of the vow, grows up in the Tabernacle, his childhood spent in the company of priests and Levites, in service to a God who was always silent. Samuel watches in dismay as the sons of the High Priest flaunt their wicked behavior, yet he knows that Yahweh will eventually have a reckoning. It is not until he hears a Voice call to him from within the flames of the altar that he realizes he has a part to play in this drama.

This young man hears another voice from a maiden who captures his heart, and he begins to dream of a future beyond the confines of the Tabernacle. But when Israel’s enemies threaten to destroy his world, it appears as though everything Samuel ever held dear may come tumbling down around him.

Not even a great prophet, whose words never fall to the ground, can keep Israel from crying out for a king. The Lord calls upon Samuel to guide the nation and her new king through the years of turmoil they must face.

In this tale of triumph and scorn, deepest love and burning rivalries, the new epoch is given a voice…and it is a song of prophets and kings.

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Green

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1944 – Minnesota

Headstrong Johanna Berglund, a linguistics student at the University of Minnesota, has very definite plans for her future . . . plans that do not include returning to her hometown and the secrets and heartaches she left behind there. But the US Army wants her to work as a translator at a nearby camp for German POWs.

Johanna arrives to find the once-sleepy town exploding with hostility. Most patriotic citizens want nothing to do with German soldiers laboring in their fields, and they’re not afraid to criticize those who work at the camp as well. When Johanna describes the trouble to her friend Peter Ito, a language instructor at a school for military intelligence officers, he encourages her to give the town that rejected her a second chance.

As Johanna interacts with the men of the camp and censors their letters home, she begins to see the prisoners in a more sympathetic light. But advocating for better treatment makes her enemies in the community, especially when charismatic German spokesman Stefan Werner begins to show interest in Johanna and her work. The longer Johanna wages her home-front battle, the more the lines between compassion and treason become blurred–and it’s no longer clear whom she can trust.

The Samurai’s Honor by Walt Mussell

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1577 – Japan

Younger daughter of the area’s most prominent swordsmith, Sen’s life is marked with jealousy, curiosity, and love. Jealousy that her older sister, Haru, gets to marry her father’s handsome apprentice. Curiosity about her father’s important customers. Love from a family that is planning her next step to adulthood. But when a high-ranking samurai visits her father to order a sword, Sen’s curiosity gets the best of her. She and her sister find themselves eyewitnesses to a murder and on the cusp of a plot that seeks the samurai’s demise. Will Sen’s curiosity lead to her own death?

The Secret Place of Thunder by Alicia Ruggieri

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1936 – Kentucky

The mountains have imprisoned her long enough…

Edna Sue O’Connell came back to the Kentucky hills out of duty and can’t wait for the chance to escape again. Her work as a horseback librarian in rural Appalachia provides enough income for her invalid father to survive in the midst of the Great Depression, but it affords her with little else.

When an opportunity arises for Edna to take on an additional book delivery area, she spies a glimmer of hope that she might find a way out of Willow Hollow after all… and that she might actually make something of her life apart from the tragedy that has filled it thus far.

But the new routes give Edna more than she ever bargained for. Slowly, she finds that the mountains contain many valuable secrets – if she has the grit to meet them.

The Secret Place of Thunder is part of the Librarians of Willow Hollow multi-author novella collection. Each novella stands on its own but is connected to the others in this historical Christian fiction series set in 1930s Appalachia.

Remember Me by Mario Escobar

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1934 – Spain

Amid the shadows of war, one family faces an impossible choice that will change their lives forever.

Madrid, 1934. Though the Spanish Civil War has not yet begun, the streets of Madrid have become dangerous for thirteen-year-old Marco Alcalde and his younger sisters, Isabel and Ana. When Marco’s parents align themselves against General Franco and his fascist regime, they have no inkling that their ideals will endanger them and everyone they love—nor do they predict the violence that is to come.

When the Mexican government promises protection to the imperiled children of Spain, the Alcaldes do what they believe is best: send their children, unaccompanied, across the ocean to the city of Morelia—a place they’ve never seen or imagined. Marco promises to look after his sisters in Mexico until their family can be reunited in Spain, but what ensues is a harrowing journey and a series of heartbreaking events. As the growing children work to care for themselves and each other, they feel their sense of home, family, and identity slipping further and further away. And as their memories of Spain fade and the news from abroad grows more grim, they begin to wonder if they will ever see their parents again or the glittering streets of the home they once loved.

Under the Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee

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1929 – Tennessee

Sixteen-year-old Lorena Leland’s dreams of a rich and fulfilling life as a writer are dashed when the stock market crashes in 1929. Seven years into the Great Depression, Rena’s banker father has retreated into the bottle, her sister is married to a lazy charlatan and gambler, and Rena is an unemployed newspaper reporter. Eager for any writing job, Rena accepts a position interviewing former slaves for the Federal Writers’ Project. There, she meets Frankie Washington, a 101-year-old woman whose honest yet tragic past captivates Rena.

As Frankie recounts her life as a slave, Rena is horrified to learn of all the older woman has endured—especially because Rena’s ancestors owned slaves. While Frankie’s story challenges Rena’s preconceptions about slavery, it also connects the two women whose lives are otherwise separated by age, race, and circumstances. But will this bond of respect, admiration, and friendship be broken by a revelation neither woman sees coming?

A Strand of Hope by Amanda Tero

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1936 – Kentucky

Journey with a horseback librarian into the hidden crevices of Kentucky mountains….

Lena Davis is the daughter her mom never wanted. But she survived. Through stories. Because books didn’t judge. Books weren’t angry she was alive. Books never expected her to be anything but who she was.

As she grows up, her beloved library becomes her true home. So when the library is designated part of President Roosevelt’s Packhorse Library Project, Lena is determined to get the job of bringing books to highlanders, believing she’ll finally be free of her mom forever.

But earning the trust of highlanders is harder than she imagined, and her passion for books might not be enough to free her from her chains.

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

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1810s/Present Day – England

Lucy Clairmont’s family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it’s Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she’s discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers–and the healing–they so desperately seek.

An Appalachian Summer by Ann Gabhart

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1933 – Kentucky

In 1933 Louisville, Kentucky, even the ongoing economic depression cannot keep Piper Danson’s parents from insisting on a debut party. After all, their fortune came through the market crash intact, and they’ve picked out the perfect suitor for their daughter. Braxton Crandall can give her the kind of life she’s used to. The only problem? This is not the man–or the life–she really wants.

When Piper gets the opportunity to volunteer as a horseback Frontier Nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains for the summer, she jumps at the chance to be something other than a dutiful daughter or a kept wife in a loveless marriage. The work is taxing, the scenery jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the people she meets along the way open up a whole new world to her. The longer she stays, the more an advantageous marriage slips from her grasp. But something much more precious–true love–is drawing ever closer.

The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse

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1947 – Georgia

Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents’ devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams, Lisa Wallace.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined–namely, the key to his unknowable father, a reunion with Lisa, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

Through poignant prose and characters so real you’ll be sure you know them, Valerie Fraser Luesse transports you to the storied Atlantic coast for a unique coming-of-age story you won’t soon forget.

Love’s Silver Bullet by Julie Lessman

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1872 – Nevada

She’s targeting his love. He’s aiming to steer clear. ‘Til true love picks them off in a bull’s-eye of the heart.

Eighteen-year-old Sheridan Donovan has been in love with Jake Sullivan since the age of four, when she used to tag after him and her big brothers on the Silver Lining Ranch. From little on, Jake has been her hero, convincing her brothers to play school and wedding with her whenever she’d begged and cried. From horsey rides and tickle fests to his sweet willingness to be her pretend groom, Jake’s gentleness and affection had nurtured two dreams in Sheridan’s heart—becoming both a teacher and Mrs. Jake Sullivan. Preferably not in that order.

At the age of thirty, Jake figures he pretty much has everything he needs at the moment. A good job as the Assistant Foreman for Silver Lining Ranch, great friends in Blaze and Dash Donovan, and a true mentor in their uncle and owner of the ranch, Finn McShane, the man who’d given him a family to replace the one he lost. But when Finn’s niece, Sheridan—Blaze’s and Dash’s little sister to whom Jake became a big brother as well—turns eighteen, Jake discovers there’s one more thing he needs: distance and lots of it. From pinafores and bows at age six to overalls and dirt till age fifteen, the grown-up Sheridan looks nothing like the little girl who’d once been his constant shadow, now transformed into a young woman who races his heart. Painfully aware that Sheridan is determined to win his love, Jake is equally determined to keep a promise to her uncle, a promise that not only shoots a hole in his well-ordered life, but in his heart as well.

What Momma Left Behind by Cindy K. Sproles

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1898 – Tennessee

Worie Dressar is 19 years old when influenza and dysentery ravage her Appalachian Mountain community in 1898, leaving behind a growing number of orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Worie’s mother has been secretly feeding a number of these little ones on Sourwood Mountain. But when she dies suddenly, Worie is left to figure out why and how she was caring for them.

Plagued with two good-for-nothing brothers–one greedy and the other a drunkard–Worie fights to save her home and the orphaned children now in her begrudging care. Along the way, she will discover the beauty of unconditional love and the power of forgiveness as she cares for all of Momma’s children.

Storyteller and popular speaker Cindy K. Sproles pens a tender novel full of sacrifice, heartache, and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Rowdy by Chris Mullen

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1870s – Missouri/New Mexico

Thrust to the mercy of the Mississippi river, thirteen-year-old Rowdy floats safely away as he watches the smoke rise from his burning farmhouse. His father, dead. His brother, dead. Both gunned down in front of him by a murderous gang of bandits. Now alone in the world, his perilous journey of survival begins, challenging and shaping him into the young man his father would want him to become. Pulled from the waters, he is given a chance by a lone river Captain and his mate. Working the trade routes between St. Louis and New Orleans, he learns to navigate safe passage but more importantly identify dangers both in and on the water. Rowdy has grown strong working the river but must use his wit as well as his strength to confront a bullying crewman and survive a surprise attack by river pirates. Growing up on the Mississippi river was a start for Rowdy, but a new beginning is just around the next bend. Dodge City, Kansas proves it has its own challenges but gives Rowdy the one thing he has been longing for, companionship. He was warned about Patrick Byrne but was smart enough to procure a sickly horse from Dodge City’s most powerful rancher. Rowdy’s care for his new horse, Delilah, sees the blossoming of a magnificent animal and loyal friend, yet the rumble of a dark cloud forms over him. Byrne wants the horse back and will go to great lengths to get what he wants. Facing life and death decisions, Rowdy’s only option is to run. Survival is what Rowdy has come to know all too well. His escape across the plains towards Lincoln, New Mexico nearly claims his life. Through a stranger’s help, Rowdy recovers but is faced with questions about his rescuer’s motives. Deciding to quietly move on, Rowdy finally discovers Lincoln, New Mexico, acquiring a new friend along the way. Rowdy must prove that he is who he says he is, not just to the people of Lincoln, but to himself. Rowdy is finally settling in when hired guns sent by Patrick Byrne find and confront him. Blood, bullets, and tears bring Rowdy’s world to a showdown. Fighting for what was right is his code, living life for others becomes his way, and staring danger in the face is what he must do if he can truly be Wild and Mean, Sharp and Keen.

Isaiah’s Legacy by Mesu Andrews

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693 BC – Israel

At eight years old, Shulle has known only life in a small village with her loving but peculiar father. When Uncle Shebna offers shelter in Jerusalem in exchange for Shulle’s help tutoring King Manasseh, Judah’s five-year-old co-regent who displays the same peculiarities as her father, she’s eager to experience the royal court. But Shulle soon realizes the limits of her father’s strict adherence to Yahweh’s Law when Uncle Shebna teaches her of the starry hosts and their power.

Convinced Judah must be freed from Yahweh’s chains, she begins the subtle swaying of young Manasseh, using her charm and skills on the boy no one else understands. When King Hezekiah dies, twelve-year-old Manasseh is thrust onto Judah’s throne, bitter at Yahweh and eager to marry the girl he adores. Assyria’s crown prince favors Manasseh and twists his brilliant mind toward cruelty, beginning Shulle’s long and harrowing journey to discover the Yahweh she’d never known, guided with loving wisdom by Manasseh’s mother: Isaiah’s daughter, the heartbroken Hephzibah. Amid Judah’s dark days, a desperate remnant emerges, claiming the Lord’s promise, “Though we’re helpless now, we’re never hopeless–because we serve El Shaddai.” Shulle is among them, a girl who becomes a queen through Isaiah’s legacy.

The Hope of Christmas Past by Stephenia McGee

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Late 1800s/Time Travel – Tennessee

When a mysterious painting offers her a trip to the past, will Isla find new hope for her future?

On the brink of aging out the foster system, the last thing Isla Laird wants is to spend Christmas in an old-fashioned plantation. What’s the point of bonding with her foster mom when it’s too late to ever be adopted? But when a mysterious painting suddenly thrusts her into the nineteenth century, Isla is forced to face hurts and memories she’s long tried to bury. With time running out and her heart in tatters, can God use an impossible miracle to bring Isla hope for a new future?

The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts

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1930s/40s & 1990s – Pennsylvania

The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home—the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann, has educated and raised Brighton, whose mother is a patient at the hospital. But Joann has also kept vital information from Brighton—secrets that if ever revealed would illuminate Brighton’s troubling past and the circumstances that confine her to Riverside. Brighton’s best friend is a boy she calls Angel, and as they grow up together and face the bleak future that awaits them, they determine to make a daring escape.

Nothing can prepare Brighton and Angel for life beyond Riverside’s walls. They have no legal identities, very little money, and only a few leads toward a safe place to land. As they struggle to survive in a world they’ve never seen before, they must rely on each other and the kindness of strangers—some of whom may prove more dangerous than the asylum they’ve fled.

The Awakening of Miss Adelaide by Linda Brooks Davis

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1918 – Italy/Oklahoma

Orphaned as an infant, Oklahoma heiress Adelaide Fitzgerald has enjoyed every advantage. She possesses a unique gift for music and has excelled on the opera stage in Italy. As a philanthropist, she’s adored from America to Europe.

But Miss Adelaide is about to awaken in a 1918 nightmare.

When the “Great War” and the “Great Influenza” knock, Adelaide finds her uninvited guests more than unwelcome. They threaten her life and alter her identity and purpose.

Snatched from a quiet life in an Italian villa, Miss Adelaide is thrust into conflicts others have created. What battle scars will she sustain? And where will love lead her?

Lane Steen by Candace West

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1908 – Arkansas

To let go of the past she must confront it.
When Lane Steen discovers her father kidnapped her years ago, her fractured world shatters. A different world and a new family await to welcome her if she’ll only take the chance.
Will they love her? Or will she trade one hostile home for another?

Perhaps the journey will only raise more questions.

Who is her father, really? And what happened to him? Will she ever be able to forgive him so that love can heal her heart?
Valley Creek may be her prison, but perhaps it holds the unexpected. True love, purpose, grace, and redemption.
Join Lane on her search for the truth today!

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

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1960s – Alabama

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete–and the people he loves most–will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

Rebecca Stubbs: The Vicar’s Daughter by Hannah Buckland

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1860s – England

Rebecca Stubbs, the beloved daughter of a conscientious village vicar in Victorian England, has always enjoyed a sheltered, idyllic childhood. Her parents work tirelessly for their small farm community, aiding both the church and the poor.

When an unexpected outbreak of fever rages through the town, Rebecca must face growing up alone.

As she matures into womanhood, Rebecca finds that she is ill-prepared for her new world. With no home, no family, and few prospects, she is determined to make her own way in life.

As a housemaid at Barton Manor, she struggles to find her place in a world of double standards and man-made rules.

Can she keep her faith strong amidst a lonely life of domestic service? Must she always be a bystander, watching other people’s lives unfold and flourish? Or is there something else in store for her servant heart?

The Measure of a Man by Carol Cox

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1800s – New Mexico Territory

Growing up on the Double B Ranch has given Lizzie Bradley ample opportunity to indulge her tomboy whims. At nineteen, Lizzie has yet to realize she’s on the threshold of womanhood-though Adam McKenzie, one of her father’s ranch hands, is very much aware of her maturing appeal. When handsome Tom Mallory makes a dramatic entry into her life, Lizzie begins to sense her own womanhood in the light of his open admiration. Tension mounts as both Tom and Adam vie for Lizzie’s favor. Lizzie swings from elation to despair before she learn to gauge a man’s worth according to God’s standards-and to find the joy of a relationship grounded in Christ.

Glimpses of Paradise James Scott Bell

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1920s – California

A sweeping historical epic about dreams and dreamers, love and lovers, and the glitter factory of Hollywood

Two high school kids in small town Nebraska have their dreams. Zee, a minister’s daughter, wants to be a movie star. Doyle, the son of a wealthy lawyer, expects to follow in his father’s footsteps and practice law.

But World War I explodes and changes everyone forever. When Doyle ends up on the battlefields of France, though he performs ably, he comes home disillusioned. Rejecting his parents’ pleas to return to school, he finds himself in Los Angeles on the bottom rung of society.

Zee Miller is also in L. A., having run away from her father and the religion of her youth. But a stunning string of events, resulting in a charge of murder, will see their lives intersecting again in a way that may shatter them both.

Fire by Night Lynn Austin

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1861 – Virginia

Two young women in a land shattered by war test the limits of their strength.

Lovely Julia Hoffman has always enjoyed the carefree life of her well-to-do Philadelphia family. But when she fails to attract the attention of Nathaniel Greene, a fierce abolitionist, she shocks her family by becoming a Union nurse. Will that be enough to win Nathaniel’s heart?

Phoebe Bigelow, from western Virginia, has always been a misfit, and when her brothers join the Union army, she also enlists–under false pretenses.

Soon, both have their eyes opened to the realities of war and suffering. Neither is quite ready for the demands of her new life, but their journeys of sacrifice and love are sure to change them in unexpected ways.

His Watchful Eye by Jack Cavanaugh

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1943/1989 – Russia/US

World War II. The army of the Third Reich. Konrad Reichmann, a model of Hitler’s youth movement, becomes disillusioned as the reality of the Russian front bears no resemblance to the glory the Fuhrer portrayed in his speeches. Even lower than his unit’s morale are supplies and fuel as Russia’s winter sets in. When the slaughter of innocents opens his eyes to the true nature of the Reich, Konrad embarks upon a bold and dangerous plan to put a stop to the horror and change the course of history.

 

Romey’s Place by James Calvin

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1950s – Wisconsin/Michigan

“What’s it like having an old man who’s a saint?” The question came from the depths of Romey Guttner’s troubled soul. It was as honest as the hot sun that beat down on him and his best friend, Lowell, as they picked beans that unforgettable summer in the late fifties. They were just boys, one the son of the town’s pillar of faith and one the neglected child of a man whose anger spilled onto everyone in his path. Despite their disparate upbringings, Romey and Lowell were like brothers, inseparable in their pursuit of adventure. But events were brewing that would force them to confront the reality of their differences for the first time.

From This Day Forward by Kathleen Karr

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1800s – Ohio

What could be more precious than the gift of words–unless it was the man who brought them to her?

Young Maggie McDonald was athirst for knowledge–and books contained knowledge–but Maggie couldn’t read!

Then lively Johnny Stewart burst in to the routine of her life on a warm in Ohio, bringing excitement, and peddling the very thing she craved most in all the world–a McGuffy’s Reader!

The year Johnny taught Maggie to read was the year she fell in love with him, but it would be seven more before they would wed. Then, driven by wanderlust and a desire to share their knowledge of God, they trekked across the face of frontier America with their books and Bibles, leaving behind them strengthened spirits and a rich legacy of love.