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A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

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1885 – India/England

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

Sword of Trust by Debbie Lynne Costello

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1399 – England

Deirdre Mackenzie has spent her life hiding from her father and hating the English. However, when she is caught stealing from an English laird, his unexpected kindness begins to melt away her hatred and strums lonely heartstrings longing for love. Bryce Warwick discovers the “boy” caught with his livestock is actually a young woman. After several attempts to lure the truth from her, he determines she is as deceitful as his late fiancée who nearly cost him his life. But the woman is the least of his worries with the turbulence brought on by threats of another border war and by King Richard’s distrust of the nobles.
With old wounds in need of healing and adversaries who would ruin their chances at true love, both must learn to trust in a way they never knew possible.
The stakes are high, secrets prevail, and treason is just a kiss away.

Biltmore Girl by Dawn Klinge

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1968 – New York

Elka Hansen, a former teen cover girl, is done with modeling. Now she’s a hostess for the Palm Court restaurant in the beautiful Biltmore Hotel. As she sees it, Elka’s other job is to watch out for her younger sister, Colleen, an idealistic but reckless college student at Barnard.

With her sister, Elka attends her first civil-rights protest, and there, she runs into Jacob Lewis, a co-worker from the Biltmore. He’s a student at Columbia University and a friend of Colleen’s. Jacob becomes an unexpected ally when rescuing her sister from trouble becomes more than Elka can handle independently. Out of this turmoil, a romance grows between Jacob and Elka, but can it last?

Redeemed Love by Linda Ford

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1849 – California

Hope White is one of the preacher’s daughters. She’s a loving, giving person who plans to start missionary work in California.

Clay Adams was raised by a strict preacher grandfather who constantly criticized him and treated him harshly. Now all he wants is adventure and freedom. But his first venture into ‘freedom’ landed him in hot water with a bad bunch. He wants to leave behind this particular adventure and tries to flee to California. On the journey, he grows ill and lies dying on the desert floor.

Hope and her father find Clay and care for him. But there are spots on his chest to indicate he has typhoid fever so the wagon master insists they must keep their distance. While her pa drives the wagon, Hope tends the sick man. As he becomes lucid, they talk, and learn things about each other that convince them they are the worst person in the world for the other.

As they cross the mountains, more of Clay’s secrets are revealed. Hope’s trust is shattered, but when the family wagon breaks an axle, she has no choice but to rely on Clay.

Can she trust him to rescue both her and her father? Can she trust her heart and God? Will Clay prove he’s a changed man?

Reluctant Love by Linda Ford

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1849 – California

Sarah Goodine lost her husband on their journey across the Great Plains. After a herd of stampeding buffalo rampage over her wagon, she has nothing left. Nothing other than the three children depending on her. How can she get them to safety in California? This journey was meant to protect her six-year-old son, but now the little family is in dire straits.

Davis Carpenter’s wife and newborn baby died on the trail. He has his hands full dealing with his two remaining children. His dream of joining his cousin on a ranch in California seems unimportant now but he has no choice but to continue on.

There is only one thing that will help Sarah and Davis complete this journey—a marriage of convenience. They have no intention of falling in love. Can their children help them see that a real family requires love?

Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts by Regina Jennings

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1868 – Texas

When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with his new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. After her job is put on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?

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From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes

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1945 – Texas

WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters. . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they’ve shared be enough to give their future flight?

 

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Inn for a Surprise by Karen Witemeyer

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1891 – Texas

Despite her own life being void of romance, spinster Phoebe Woodward adores love stories, especially those connected to the local Kissing Tree. Determined to foster romance in the lives of others, she builds an inn by the tree that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make the venture a success, however, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted at every turn by stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, but when the two bleed into her personal life, Phoebe’s spinster heart may be in for a surprise.

Find this book in print HERE.

Author Interview and Giveaway – My Dear Miss Dupre – Grace Hitchcock

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This month’s author never fails to bring sweet romance, vibrant characters and exciting adventures. With an elite courting contest, hidden motives, and dual identities…My Dear Miss Dupre is sure to follow suit. Welcome to the Index, Grace!

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My Dear Miss Dupre

Willow Dupré never thought she would have to marry, but with her father’s unexpected retirement from running the prosperous Dupré sugar refinery, she is forced into a different future. The shareholders are unwilling to allow a female to take over the company without a man at her side, so her parents devise a plan–find Willow a spokesman king in order for her to become queen of the business empire.

Willow is presented with thirty potential suitors from the families of New York society’s elite group called the Four Hundred. She has six months to court the group and is told to to eliminate men each month to narrow her beaus until she chooses one to marry, ending the competition with a wedding. Willow reluctantly agrees, knowing she must do what is best for the business. She doesn’t expect to find anything other than a proxy . . . until she meets a gentleman who captures her attention, and she must discover for herself if his motives are pure.

Grace’s Website

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Questions about Grace’s Story

Did any of the characters in this book “surprise” you?

Fritz Blythe was a complete astonishment in how he became one of the lead gentlemen! As Fritz is a budding flower dictionary author, I enjoyed researching for his vocation and in that research, his character bloomed and it made me emotional when his story had to take a turn . . . which I cannot reveal without spoilers!

Which scene (give us the chapter) is your favorite, the one you never tired of working with? Give us a reason to look forward to it.

Chapter 15 has one of my favorite scenes that was one of the very last I added after the first round of major edits with my publisher. In this scene, I have the characters visit Bailey’s Beach for the day where Willow has a series of quite calamitous events happen to her that had me laughing while writing and hopefully will have the reader laughing as well.

Did you include a real historical character or incident in your story?

The Vanderbilt ball, in all its lavishness, is one of the most famous balls in history. So, most of the outlandish costumes you see in those chapters, as well as the mention of quadrilles, are factual. In researching for the ball scenes, I was amazed at the grandeur and the amount spent for a single night of entertainment for New York’s elite families, $6 million in today’s money.

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Questions about Grace’s Reading

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

Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz. This is the third time I’ve read this beauty from Laura and it is, in a word, MAGICAL. Get ready to neglect everything when you open this romantic, action-packed tale from Laura Frantz! With wonderful characters and a dreamy romance, you will find yourself on the frontier with Morrow thanks to the author’s rich descriptions.

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

Jen Turano! During a time where I needed to laugh, I discovered her works, but not only do her stories help the world fade away, there is always a spiritual thread that makes the reader pause and reflect.  A Most Peculiar Circumstance will have readers laughing one moment and on the edge of their seats the next with this delightful tale filled with humor, romance, and suspense.

Grace is giving away two paperbacks, US Only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter the 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

Painted Memories by A. M. Heath

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1956 – Tennessee

She moved on when the love of her life died in the war, but what will happen when she finds out he’s alive?  

Olivia Jernigan never thought she’d get over Grady. But three years after his death, she’s on the verge of marrying Kenneth Wade when she receives a new painting by her deceased fiance. Olivia flees home to learn what really happened to the man she thought died in the Korean War. The man she thought loved her enough to come home for her.

Grady Barnes woke up three years ago in a hospital room with no knowledge of his identity. The only memory to resurface is the image of a woman he can’t stop painting. When she suddenly shows up at his painting class, she may help him discover where he really belongs or she may disrupt the life he was building for himself.

Olivia and Grady have a history. But now, they wonder if they still have a future … or perhaps, their love is just a painted memory. 

The Curator’s Daughter by Melanie Dobson

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1940 – Germany

A young girl, kidnapped on the eve of World War II, changes the lives of a German archaeologist forced into the Nazi Party and―decades later―a researcher trying to overcome her own trauma.
1940. Hanna Tillich cherishes her work as an archaeologist for the Third Reich, searching for the Holy Grail and other artifacts to bolster evidence of a master Aryan race. But when she is reassigned to work as a museum curator in Nuremberg, then forced to marry an SS officer and adopt a young girl, Hanna begins to see behind the Nazi facade. A prayer labyrinth becomes a storehouse for Hanna’s secrets, but as she comes to love Lilly as her own daughter, she fears that what she’s hiding―and what she begins to uncover―could put them both in mortal danger.

Eighty years later, Ember Ellis is a Holocaust researcher intent on confronting hatred toward the Jewish people and other minorities. She reconnects with a former teacher on Martha’s Vineyard after she learns that Mrs. Kiehl’s mother once worked with the Nazi Ahnenerbe. And yet, Mrs. Kiehl describes her mother as “a friend to the Jewish people.” Wondering how both could be true, Ember helps Mrs. Kiehl regain her fractured childhood memories of World War II while at the same time confronting the heartache of her own secret past―and the person who wants to silence Ember forever.

Wagon Train Weekend by Stephenia McGee

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1857 – Oregon

It was just one night at a Victorian B&B. Until they woke up in 1857.

Collette Donaldson never should have taken her boyfriend to her cousin’s wedding. Or introduced him to her parents. After a disastrous weekend, all she wants is to get back home and sort out the mess that had once been their relationship. A heartbreaking fight, a flat tire, and an inconvenient storm force her and Seth to stay the night at a quaint bed and breakfast. But when Collette finds an antique photograph of herself, circumstances quickly shift from weird to unimaginable.

Seth Stone was ready to propose. Now he isn’t sure if he and Collette even have a relationship. People he’d never want to be his in-laws, an irritable girlfriend, and now he has to spend the night in a creepy old Victorian inn. He should have never wondered how things could possibly get worse. When they wake up stranded on a wagon train in 1857, Seth is determined to get home. But the only way to get out of the past is to face the problems stealing their future.

Destined For You by Tracie Peterson

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1869 – Minnesota

In 1869, Gloriana Womack’s family is much smaller since smallpox killed her mother and two of her siblings. She lives in a modest cottage in Duluth, Minnesota, with her father and young brother, and she has dedicated her life to holding her tiny, fractured family together–especially as her father is frequently gone on long fishing trips. Their livelihood may come from the waters of Lake Superior, but storms on the lake can be dangerous, even to those who know it well.

Luke Carson has come to Duluth to help shepherd the arrival of the railroad to the city’s port, and he’s eager to be reunited with his brother, Scott, who recently moved there with his pregnant wife. Competition for the railroad is fierce, with the neighboring city of Superior, Wisconsin, fighting for the tracks to come through their town instead. But the real danger lies in a resident of Duluth who is determined to have his revenge upon Luke.

When tragedy brings Gloriana and Luke together, they help each other through their grief and soon find their lives inextricably linked. If they survive the trials ahead, could it be possible they’ve been destined for each other all along?

My Dear Miss Dupre by Grace Hitchcock

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1883 – New York

Thirty suitors, six months of courting . . .
would it be enough time for her to fall in love?

Willow Dupré never thought she would have to marry, but with her father’s unexpected retirement from running the prosperous Dupré sugar refinery, she is forced into a different future. The shareholders are unwilling to allow a female to take over the company without a man at her side, so her parents devise a plan—find Willow a spokesman king in order for her to become queen of the business empire.

Willow is presented with thirty potential suitors from the families of New York society’s elite group called the Four Hundred. She has six months to court the group and is told to eliminate men each month to narrow her beaus until she chooses one to marry, ending the competition with a wedding. Willow reluctantly agrees, knowing she must do what is best for the business. She doesn’t expect to find anything other than a proxy . . . until she meets a gentleman who captures her attention, and she must discover for herself if his motives are pure.

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.

Rain by Dana McNeely

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870 BC – Israel

He is destined to be high priest—but at what cost to those he loves?

In ancient Samaria, Aban anticipates his rites of passage with excitement and dread. He yearns to join the priesthood of Ba’al Melqart, unlock the power of the rain god, and hear the deity’s voice. He’s been warned the licentious ceremony can take a dangerous turn, but as eldest son of the high priestess, he holds a privileged position. If he can make it through the ceremony, one day he’ll rise to high priest.

On the eve of the rituals, Aban’s mother confesses a dark secret about the bloody sacrifice demanded by Melqart. Aban may have escaped the flames, but if he is to save his brother, Aban must take his destined position of power as soon as possible.

When the mysterious prophet Elijah interrupts the rites, overturns the idol, and curses the land with drought, Aban’s world is shaken. The current high priest and the king appear powerless, but even more confusing is the fact that the rain god does nothing.

Against his better judgment, Aban conceals the strange prophet’s whereabouts, forfeiting the high priesthood. Now an enemy of the relentless Queen Jezebel, Aban has little time to question his fading commitment to Ba’al Melqart as he and his loved ones flee. But the conflict in Samaria is much larger than just a high priestess and her sons. Soon, Aban will have to choose a side in Yahweh’s war against the Ba’als—and it may cost him his life.

The Purple Nightgown by A. D. Lawrence

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1912 – Washington

Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victim of her twisted greed.
 
Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffer and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?

The Incredible Winston Browne by Sean Dietrich

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1955 – Florida

In the small, sleepy town of Moab, Florida, folks live for ice cream socials, Jackie Robinson, and the local paper’s weekly gossip column. For decades, Sheriff Winston Browne has watched over Moab with a generous eye, and by now he’s used to handling the daily dramas that keep life interesting for Moab’s quirky residents. But just after Winston receives some terrible, life-altering news, a feisty little girl with mysterious origins shows up in his best friend’s henhouse. Suddenly Winston has a child in desperate need of protection—as well as a secret of his own to keep.

With the help of Moab’s goodhearted townsfolk, the humble and well-meaning Winston Browne still has some heroic things to do. He finds romance, family, and love in unexpected places. He stumbles upon adventure, searches his soul, and grapples with the past. In doing so, he just might discover what a life well-lived truly looks like.

A Song for Her Enemies by Sherri Stewart

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1940s – Netherlands

She has the voice of an angel. But the devil is listening. 

After Nazi soldiers close the opera and destroy Tamar Kaplan’s dream of becoming a professional singer, she joins the Dutch Resistance, her fair coloring concealing her Jewish heritage. Tamar partners with Dr. Daniel Feldman, and they risk their lives to help escaping refugees. When they are forced to flee themselves, violinist Neelie Visser takes them into hiding.

Tamar’s love for Daniel flowers in hardship, but she struggles with the paradox that a loving God would allow the atrocities around her. When Tamar resists the advances of a Third Reich officer, he exacts his revenge by betraying the secrets hidden behind the walls of Neelie’s house. From a prison hospital to a Nazi celebration to a concentration camp, will the three of them survive to tell the world the secrets behind barbed wire?  

Braced for Love by Mary Connealy

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1870 – Wyoming

Left with little back in Missouri, Kevin Hunt takes his younger siblings on a journey to Wyoming when he receives news that he’s inheriting part of a ranch. The catch is that the ranch is also being given to a half brother he never knew existed. Turns out, Kevin’s supposedly dead father led a secret and scandalous life.

But danger seems to track Kevin along the way, and he wonders if his half brother, Wyatt, is behind the attacks. Finally arriving at the ranch, everyone is at each other’s throats and the only one willing to stand in between is Winona Hawkins, a nearby schoolmarm.

Despite being a long-time friend to Wyatt, Winona can’t help but be drawn to the earnest, kind Kevin–and that puts her in the cross hairs of somebody’s dangerous plot. Will they all be able to put aside their differences long enough to keep anyone from getting truly hurt?

Dreams Rekindled by Amanda Cabot

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1856 – Texas

Though she hopes for a quiet, uncomplicated life for herself, Dorothy Clark wants nothing more than to stir others up. Specifically, she dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers–until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is.

Brandon Holloway has seen the disastrous effects of challenging others and has no intention of repeating that mistake. Instead of following his dreams, he’s committed to making a new–and completely uncontroversial–start in the Hill Country.

As Dorothy’s involvement in the fledgling newspaper grows from convenient to essential, the same change seems to be happening in Brandon’s heart. But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who’s determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon’s livelihood.

With this second novel in the Mesquite Springs series, bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites you to discover the healing power of truth.

Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly

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1858 – California

Richard Stevens isn’t who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name.

Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey’s singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn’t suffer for her foolishness.

Richard Stevens’s life hasn’t turned out as he expected, and when a shocking letter turns even his past into a mystery, he travels to San Francisco in search of guidance. On the way, he encounters a mysterious young woman hiding beneath a veil. That night he experiences a dream that sends him on a quest to find the bride God has chosen for him. He never imagines she’s already told everyone they’re married.

Richard wants a true marriage, but Clarinda’s not interested in love, only a chance to save her child. Can he help her rise above the pain that runs deeper than her scars to accept a love worth every risk?

Berserker by Camille Elliot

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1810s – England

A dire situation

Mr. Solomon Drydale and his team are reeling. After only a single act of mayhem by underworld lord Apothecary Jack, one of their group is down and another is missing.

An urgent plea

Desperate, Sol acts on his forbidden knowledge of an agent for the Crown who is known only to the highest levels of government—le petit prince, master of disguises. He defies his superiors and asks the Prince for help.

A hazardous hunt

Now, the team must learn to work with a new member to save one of their own. But time is running out before Jack finds him and breaks him—and puts all of their lives at risk.

The Lady and Her Champion by Sara Turnquist

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1400s – Czechoslovakia

She needs someone to fight for her. He needs to be rescued.
 
Karin and Pavel have become separated by war and the destruction of his family’s home. When Pavel hears of Karin’s predicament, he rushes to his beloved. But what will he find? Will the pull to remain by her side be stronger than the tug to return to the front lines?

Zdenek and Eva are blissfully happy after finding one another. Then his father summons him home. It is a reunion Zdenek dreads. How will his father react to Zdenek’s involvement with a merchant’s daughter? More…what will Zdenek do if the man does not accept her?

Radek, who has recently defected, finds himself caught between two worlds. He stumbles upon a Hussite captive in the Royalist camp in dire need of a champion. Can he defy yet another army? Ostracize himself and limp back to the Hussites for the sake of a woman he owes nothing to?

While the Hussites maintain a tenuous hold on their lands, will internal conflict prove their undoing?

In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas

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1702 – Connecticut

Yarrow Fenn, the talented spinster sister, was passed over when her intended walked out on her years before. She’s content with her life – for the most part – until Peter Maltby arrives in town. A journeyman fuller, Peter comes to Milford, Connecticut, not to woo the young women, but to rise to the rank of master fuller and return to Boston for some unfinished business. When their lives intersect over an orphan lamb, sparks are kindled. But their budding romance will have to survive revealed secrets when someone else shows up in Milford.

Prince of Spies by Elizabeth Camden

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1902 – Washington DC

Luke Delacroix has the reputation of a charming man-about-town in Gilded Age Washington, DC. In reality, he is secretly carrying out an ambitious agenda in Congress. His current mission is to thwart the reelection of Congressman Clyde Magruder, his only real enemy in the world.

But trouble begins when Luke meets Marianne Magruder, the congressman’s only daughter, whose job as a government photographer gives her unprecedented access to sites throughout the city. Luke is captivated by Marianne’s quick wit and alluring charm, leading them both into a dangerous gamble to reconcile their feelings for each other with Luke’s driving passion for vital reforms in Congress.

Can their newfound love survive a political firestorm, or will three generations of family rivalry drive them apart forever?

Waves of Love by Lynn A. Coleman

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1882 – Massachusetts

Overwhelmed by the family legacy, Cherry Sinclair tries to navigate her responsibilities after the death of her Grandmother, the family patriarch. Captain George Buchanan sails in with a group of mourners, becomes her protector and helps her navigate the sea of responsibility. Can two people from entirely different backgrounds be caught in the waves of love?

The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

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1939 – France

Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquarters. But when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation. Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.

Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen

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1861 – Kansas

This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . . and their hearts

Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary.Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.

Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.

A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love–and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.

Author Interview and Giveaway – A Dance in Donegal – Jennifer Deibel

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This month, Jennifer Deibel brings us her delightful debut novel, A Dance in Donegal. I’ve got to say, this cover makes me want to visit the setting. Windswept fields, a village and cliffs by the sea… Let’s find out more about the story and the author behind it. A warm welcome to the Index, Jennifer!

A Dance in Donegal

All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother’s descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother’s wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland.

After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira’s mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she’s journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends–and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced–as she seeks to navigate a life she’d never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel delights the senses, bringing to life the sights, sounds, smells, and language of a lush country and a colorful people. Historical romance fans will embrace her with open arms.

Jennifer’s Website 

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Questions about Jennifer’s Story

What inspired this story?

This story began as a way for me to process our own experiences after living in rural Donegal for two years early on in our marriage. Those years were some of the hardest, yet most incredible, years of our lives. And when we returned to the States, I found myself struggling to come to terms with all we’d been through. Then, one day, the idea for a story about a girl who moves to Donegal to teach came to me. What began as a personal cathartic exercise, turned in to the story of my heart—a love letter to a land and people to whom I will forever be knitted.

Moira’s experiences navigating the newness—and deep curiosity—of a rural Irish village is true to our own. And yet, she ends up connecting deeply with the people—and the land—much as we did. I wanted to share the incredible depth, culture, beauty, and charm of Ireland with the world. It’s my prayer that those who will never be able to visit her shores themselves, will feel as though they have after reading this book. And that they will see how God has moved and orchestrated their own lives in order to put them where they are for a reason—for such a time as this—and that they will be inspired to say yes to whatever He asks them to do next.

Is there anything in this book that is inspired by/modeled after something in your own life or someone you know in real life?

So very much of my own life and experiences have colored this story. Having lived in rural Irish villages for a total of almost 6 years, I know what it like to be the “blow-in.” So, much of what Moira experiences her first weeks in Ballymann mirror my own—particularly from our time in Donegal.

Many of the characters are an amalgamation of people I know and love in Ireland, but there is one who is directly inspired by a real person. The character Bríd is inspired by a lovely woman named Maire who runs the Teac Campbell Guest House in Bunbeg, Donegal. Maire is every bit as warm, inviting, and kind as Bríd—and just as good a cook! The people of Ireland are so warm, and see the world like no one else. I strove to bring that same unique view to the page.

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

I feel like I’m “supposed” to say it’s the hero or heroine, but as much as I adore Sean and Moira, I must admit that Colm has stolen my heart. He’s so full of joy, kindness, and a wisdom that runs far deeper than it would seem. He is one of the most well respected men in Ballymann, which is more than he is due based upon his station in life alone. As a lowly master-thatcher, his trade is respected, to be sure. But the people of Ballymann almost revere him. And I’ve come to do the same.

Colm loves and accepts people as they are. And yet, he loves them too much to let them remain as they are. His gentle wisdom and godly outlook help shape Moira, Sean, and countless others, and leaves a lasting legacy in the village. I pray that everyone has a Colm in his or her life.

 

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Questions about Jennifer’s Reading

What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done? Tell us a bit about what it taught you.

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green literally took my breath away. Her impeccable research, the way she drew me in to care about the characters—even the hard to love ones—awed me. But, perhaps what struck me most was the beautiful and seamless way she presented the hope and grace of the Gospel. Her presentation of what it means to belong to Christ is one of the most poignant, breath-taking scenes I’ve ever read. She weaves it all throughout the story, and then all of a sudden, the weight and glory of the grace of forgiveness and belonging hits you. I literally gasped out loud. This is one of my favorite books of all time, and it cemented Jocelyn Green as one of my must-read authors.

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

This is almost like asking me to choose a favorite child. There are so very many Christian historical authors whose work I love, and whom I personally respect so very much. I’ve already sung the praises of Jocelyn Green, and she is one whose work I would absolutely love to sell—in fact, I served on a couple of her launch teams before I was published! But, I think I’m going to have to say Julie Klassen. Her regency romances are so well written, so swoon-worthy, rich and full of character, charm, and a good bit of drama. I’m hard-pressed to choose a favorite of hers, but I’d have to say either the Ivy Hill Series, or The Girl in the Gatehouse.

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that you read that made you think, “Man, I wish I’d written that”?

Ummmm….all of them? Ha! But seriously, the Scottish trilogy by Liz Curtis Higgs inspired me deeply. A Thorn in My Heart, Fair is the Rose, and Whence Came a Prince captivated my mind, heart and soul. I’ve read the whole series at least 5 times. I love how Higgs immerses us in sixteenth-century Scotland, and the heart-wrenching experiences of the characters gut me every time. I cry every time I read them. I also laugh and cheer every time. If I could attain even half the level of culture, charm, love, drama, and grace that she does, I’d be happy!

Jennifer is giving away a paperback copy, US entrants only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Sparks fly and Cecilia must deny her heart if she hopes to keep her job. But what’s more important? Duty or love?

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1865 – Massachusetts

Two women, one living in present day Massachusetts and another in Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House soon after the Civil War, overcome their own personal demons and search for a place to belong.

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2019
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A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

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1920 – Ireland

All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother’s descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother’s wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland.

After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira’s mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she’s journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends–and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced–as she seeks to navigate a life she’d never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

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