Be Still My Soul (The Cadence of Grace #1) by Joanne Bischof
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Multnomah Books
What it’s about: Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith. But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.
Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.
Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life. What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?
Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?
Beth’s Comments: I’ve basically been meaning to read this series since the first book came out! This summer will be the summer that I at least get Be Still My Soul read. I have gotten so many recommendations to read this one, plus the setting sounds perfect for me.
The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
What it’s about: Sophie Dupont, daughter of a portrait painter, assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. She often walks the cliffside path along the north Devon coast, popular with artists and poets. It’s where she met the handsome Wesley Overtree, the first man to tell her she’s beautiful.
Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother’s neglected duties. Home on leave, he’s sent to find Wesley. Knowing his brother rented a cottage from a fellow painter, he travels to Devonshire and meets Miss Dupont, the painter’s daughter. He’s startled to recognize her from a miniature portrait he carries with him–one of Wesley’s discarded works. But his happiness plummets when he realizes Wesley has left her with child and sailed away to Italy in search of a new muse.
Wanting to do something worthwhile with his life, Stephen proposes to Sophie. He does not offer love, or even a future together, but he can save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he believes he will, she’ll be a respectable widow with the protection of his family.
Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie agrees to marry a stranger and travel to his family’s estate. But at Overtree Hall, her problems are just beginning. Will she regret marrying Captain Overtree when a repentant Wesley returns? Or will she find herself torn between the father of her child and her growing affection for the husband she barely knows?
Beth’s Comments: Julie has written some of my most favorite books, and I will read every book of hers that releases. Sadly, I have made it nearly halfway into 2016 without reading this one – that released in December! Since she has a new series starting this December, I have got to read this one ASAP!
The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
What it’s about: Before he became the sainted church father of Christianity, Augustine of Hippo began a love affair with a young woman whose name has been lost to history. They were together for over thirteen years, and she bore him a son. This is her story.
She met Augustine in Carthage when she was just seventeen years old. She was the daughter of a tile-layer. He was a student and the heir to a fortune. They fell in love, despite her lower station and Augustine’s dreams of greatness. Their passion was strong, but the only position in his life that was available to her was as his concubine. When Augustine’s ambition and family compelled him to disown his relationship with the her, X was thrust into a devastating reality as she was torn from her son and sent away to her native Africa.
A reflection of what it means to love and lose, this novel paints a gripping and raw portrait of ancient culture, appealing to historical fiction fans while deftly exploring one woman’s search for identity and happiness within very limited circumstances.
Beth’s Comments: I love stories about little-known characters, and it doesn’t get much more “little-known” then titling a book The Confessions of X. The fact that it’s in first-person is a big draw for me as well since it’s not widely used in Christian fiction. Thus far, I’ve heard only good things about this novel, so I definitely want it to be in my summer reading pile.
Together at the Table (Two Blue Doors #3) by Hillary Manton Lodge
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
What it’s about: Three months ago, Juliette D’Alisa’s world changed.
In a bittersweet series of events, her mother’s health took a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.
As autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she’s finally on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrien are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront lands a familiar face into her path.
Rather than dwell on her personal life, Juliette throws herself into work and research. After reading her grandmother’s letters from war-torn Paris, she still wants to know the full story – and she’ll travel across countries and oceans to find it.
But even Juliette can’t outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love?
Beth’s Comments: I’ve mentioned this novel on the site before, ahem, maybe once or twice, about how it’s one of my most looked forward to books of 2016, so I absolutely have to get to it this summer. It features another main character and family that I’ll be sad to say goodbye to, but I’m really eager to see how things turn out for Juliette.
The Progeny (Descendants of the Blood Countess #1) by Tosca Lee
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Publisher: Howard Books
What it’s about: New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brings a modern twist to an ancient mystery surrounding the most notorious female serial killer of all time. A fast-paced thriller for fans of Ted Dekker’s The Books of Mortals, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and BBC America’s hit series Orphan Black.
Emily Jacobs is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.
She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.
Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. A story about the search for self filled with centuries-old intrigues against the backdrop of atrocity and hope.
Beth’s Comments: Reading Tosca’s books are a no-brainer for me. I’ve been a fan of hers since reading Havah for the first time. Her books always touch on a unique subject and are always such a great mix of story-telling elements. I haven’t read a book of hers that I haven’t liked. The summary of this one truly seems to be one of a kind.
Forever Safe (Beacons of Hope #4) by Jody Hedlund
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
Publisher: Northern Lights Press
What’s it about: Race Point, Massachusetts, 1876. Will she ever be able to stop running, even when she believes she’s finally safe?
Heiress to a vast fortune, Victoria Cole has everything she wants, including the perfect fiancé. Having left two other men at the altar, Victoria is sure that now she’s found her true love and will finally live happily ever after. As her wedding draws near, however, Victoria’s life is threatened. To keep her safe, Victoria’s father hires a bodyguard.
Tom Cushman’s number one priority is protecting his clients, which means no personal entanglements. But he’s never guarded someone as beautiful and winsome as Victoria. After a near-kidnapping, the wedding is cancelled, and Tom hides Victoria at Cape Cod’s Race Point Lighthouse until her attacker can be found. Appointed as assistant light keeper with Victoria posing as his wife, Tom believes the isolation of the lighthouse will keep her safe.
As Victoria struggles to live without familiar luxuries, her heart betrays her with growing feelings for her protector. Determined to help Tom stop fleeing from his haunted past, can the runaway bride learn to face her own fears? With the attacker closing in, will both of them ever be able to stop running and find the safety they long for?
Beth’s Comments: “It’s a Jody Hedlund novel” pretty much covers any reasons I have for wanting to read Forever Safe, but I’m happy to elaborate. Initially, I didn’t realize that her Beacons of Hope series was going to have a fourth book, and though she is self-publishing this title, in design and description it appears to be set at the same caliber of the earlier novels in the series. This particular title seems like it’s going to make the series come full circle, so I’m happy to see that she decided to publish it. I’m eager to read this one, but also sad to see such a lovely series end.
The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
Publishers: Tyndale House Publishers
What it’s about: When Leora Ebersole sees the small plane crash in her Old Order Mennonite community, she has no idea it’s a foreshadowing of things to come. Once the young pilot, Moses Hughes, regains consciousness, they realize his instruments were destroyed by the same power outage that killed the electricity at the community store, where Englischers are stranded with dead cell phones and cars that won’t start.
Moses offers a sobering theory, but no one can know how drastically life is about to change. With the only self-sustaining food supply in the region, the Pacifist community is forced to forge an alliance with the handful of stranded Englischers in an effort to protect not only the food but their very lives.
In the weeks that follow, Leora, Moses, and the community will be tested as never before, requiring them to make decisions they never thought possible. Whom will they help and whom will they turn away? When the community receives news of a new threat, everyone must decide how far they’re willing to go to protect their beliefs and way of life.
Beth’s Comments: Here is another one that I’ve been talking about for a long time, but for good reason. Jolina is one of my favorite authors, one that I trust implicitly to create a story that is thought-provoking and engrossing. The synopsis of this one sounds so unique, too. In Jolina’s hands, I know I’m in for a wonderful read.
Jilted (Mended Hearts #3) by Varina Denman
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
Publisher: David C. Cook
What it’s about: Lynda Turner has struggled with depression since her husband abandoned her and their young daughter fifteen years ago. Yet unexpected hope awakens when a local ex-convict shows interest. As long-hidden secrets resurface, Lynda must fight for her emotional stability and for a life where the shadow of shame is replaced by the light of love.
Jilted tells of a woman who has lost the joy of living, a man determined to draw her back toward happiness, and a town that must—once and for all—leave the past where it belongs. It is a gentle reminder that all things can work together for good.
Beth’s Comments: After I read book one, Jaded, I knew if any character needed her own story, it was Lynda Turner. I am so eager to read Lynda’s story and see just how that unfolds. Varina has a style of writing that pulls me into the story with ease, grounding me solidly in the small Texas town setting.
To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
What it’s about: In the winter of 1885, Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester sets out with his men on an expedition into the newly acquired territory of Alaska. Their objective: to travel up the ferocious Wolverine River, mapping the interior and gathering information on the region’s potentially dangerous native tribes. With a young and newly pregnant wife at home, Forrester is anxious to complete the journey with all possible speed and return to her. But once the crew passes beyond the edge of the known world, there’s no telling what awaits them.
With gorgeous descriptions of the Alaskan wilds and a vivid cast of characters — including Forrester, his wife Sophie, a mysterious Eyak guide, and a Native American woman who joins the expedition – TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD is an epic tale of one of America’s last frontiers, combining myth, history, romance, and adventure.
Beth’s Comments: Eowyn’s first novel, The Snow Child, is one of my all-time favorite novels. Her upcoming novel is set in the Alaska as well, which is a setting she brought into vivid focus in her first story. I am looking forward to more beautiful historical details, as well as a storyline touched with a mythical element.
A Heart Most Certain (Teaville Moral Society #1) by Melissa Jagears
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Bethany House
What it’s about: While Lydia King’s reasons for joining the Teaville Moral Society might be suspect to some members, her heart is in the right place. Because of her father’s debts and her mother’s illness, her best chance at securing her future and curing her mother is to impress the politician courting her. Her first task–to ask the town’s wealthiest man to donate–seems simple enough . . . until he refuses.
Despite appearances, Nicholas Lowe wants to help others, but prefers to keep his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, but Nicholas still intends to do things his own way. Neither predicts what they’ll learn about true charity or foresee the complications their actions will bring to the town, forcing Lydia to decide where her beliefs and heart truly align.
Beth’s Comments: Melissa’s first series, “Unexpected Brides” was such an enjoyable one for me. Her characters are endearing and the romance and plot found in her stories are so well-balanced and complimentary to one another. I’m really looking forward to this start of a new series.