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1863/Present – Georgia
Claire Powell’s life is turned upside down when her beloved husband admits to a “near affair.” But when Stephen accepts a partnership with an Atlanta law firm without consulting her and buys a historic Southern home sight-unseen—it pushes their already-fractured marriage to the breaking point. Claire’s world spirals, and she soon finds herself in a marriage she no longer wants, in a house she never asked for.
In 1863, Charlotte Thursmann, pregnant and trapped in a marriage to an abusive husband, struggles to protect her unborn child and the enslaved members of her household. Desperate, she’s determined to right the evils her husband and others like him commit. But how can one woman put an end to such injustice? Especially if her husband makes good on his threat to kill her?
Both Claire and Charlotte discover truths about themselves they never realized, along with secrets long hidden that hold the power to bring God’s restoration—if only they choose to let it.
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1955 – Michigan
It’s 1955, when scandalous affairs are never talked about, divorce is rare, a wife is a “homemaker” more often than not, and every Christian home displays its family Bible front and center. Certainly, a well-respected pastor in the conservative city of Muskegon, Michigan, would never be caught in the middle of a heinous secret that could ruin his career and break up his beautiful marriage and family. Or would he?
When Henry Griffin was stationed in occupied Japan in the mid-1940s, he met Rina Hamada, a Japanese woman who fell head over heels for him. Despite having a young wife and baby daughter waiting at home in the States, Henry had too much to drink one night, and one thing led to another… He knew it was wrong. He struggled with guilt and expressed his resistance, but she professed her love and continued to pursue him.
Now, ten years later, a letter from Japan arrives and threatens to upend Henry’s world. What to do and how to tell his wife are just the beginning of his troubles. Tough questions about faith, redemption, and preserving his reputation bring us here, under the shade of The Mercy Tree.
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1884 – Wyoming Territory
It’s a match made in heaven…as long as they don’t fall in love!
The ranch Nolan Key has spent decades working for, even lost a leg for, is now his—or at least it should be. But an absurd clause in his father’s will means he’s in danger of losing the place to his lazy, undeserving cousin. Nolan finds himself scrambling to save his home—by proposing marriage to the town laundress.
Corinne Stillwater’s hands have betrayed her. Numb from hours of doing the same work over and over, her hands will only heal, according to the town doctor, if she gives up the laundry and marries. But she’s been stung repeatedly by love before, so that is one remedy she can’t swallow.
When Nolan offers Corinne a marriage in name only, how can she refuse? Such a partnership could give them the security they seek, but what if the ranch isn’t as secure as they believe, and their lives—and dreams—aren’t quite as compatible as they thought?
Pretending to Wed is the second book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like marriage of convenience stories that deal with the nitty-gritty of making a relationship work, you’ll love this authentic romance set in a time gone by that tackles issues still relevant for today.
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1675/Present Day – Massachusetts
Two women, three hundred years apart, must face the devastation of all they hold dear…
Suspecting her husband is having an affair, Sarah Rodrigues fights to appear unbroken while attempting to salvage her family. Though distracted by her own troubles, Sarah is summoned to an elderly friend’s deathbed for an unusual request—find a long-lost daughter and relay a centuries-old family story.
Determined not to fail her friend, Sarah pieces together the story of her neighbor’s ancestor, Elizabeth Baker, a young colonist forced into an unwanted betrothal but drawn to a man forbidden by society.
While Sarah’s family teeters on the edge of collapse, her world is further shaken by the interest of a caring doctor and a terrible accident that threatens a life more precious than her own.
Inspired by the unconditional love she uncovers in Elizabeth’s story, Sarah strives to forgive those who’ve wounded her soul. But when light shines on the dark secrets of her neighbor’s past and the full extent of her husband’s sins, will looking to a power greater than herself rekindle lost hope?
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1895 – Georgia/Florida
Three years after her marriage to Hamilton, former debutante Lydia Barrington Scarbrough is dissatisfied with life. She has yet to have children, and she spends most of her days sitting in a circle of women chatting about homemaking. She thought life would be more than what it’s turned out to be. Hamilton travels on business and never takes her with him. What’s a lonely wife to do when she has no children to raise? She longs for adventure and romance, and really, she longs for the fulfillment of her purpose in life. A purpose beyond being a wife and raising children. Lydia faces a series of hardships that stretch her faith beyond capacity. Leaving her childhood home in Florida for Georgia proves to be more difficult than she ever imagined, and her marriage may not survive the trials. Lydia’s own personal battles drive a wedge between them. What will it take to make Hamilton attempt to save their marriage and draw Lydia back to him? As Lydia strives to etch out a place for herself in a new world full of unfamiliar prejudice against the poor and uneducated, and she attempts to overcome her private battles of infertility and insignificance, she must help Hamilton understand her deepest longings and learn the true meaning of joy. Will she surrender her will in order to find her purpose? Will her future hold a happier marriage, motherhood, and a calling greater than she could ever have imagined? They won’t find their place in this world until they find their way back to each other.
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1923 – Arizona
Working as a Harvey Girl at the luxury resort of El Tovar, located on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Alexandra Keegan feels she is in a dream come true. But when her father’s indiscretions come to light and her mother is suspected of murder, Alex finds herself the center of some unwelcome attention. Will she soon find herself alone in the world?