June 2018, Christian Romance Giveaway

Enter to win both a 7-inch Kindle Fire and a $25 Amazon Gift Card
or for 2nd Place, choose 10 ebooks for Free:

Click HERE to enter.

Posted in A Highland Ruby, Christian, Contest, historical heartbeats, Inspirational Romance, Sweet Romance | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Memorial Day Remembrance

We are celebrating Memorial Day, a special time set aside to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. So many have fallen and will fall defending the freedoms we hold so dear. Freedom is not free. This time of remembrance brings us to a closer understanding of what the Savior experienced when he purchased our freedom with his life.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NLT)

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The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short-haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father’s, but he has never collected unemployment either.

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He’s a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten-year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

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He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient.

He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you’re thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

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He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life – or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat, and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to’ square-away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

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He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot… A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.

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When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our ground troops, sailors on ships, and airmen in the air, and for those in Iraq, Afghanistan and all foreign countries.

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Of all the gifts you could give an US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine, or Airman, prayer is the very best one.

 

Posted in Brenda B. Taylor, historical heartbeats, Memorial, Memorial Day, Soldier | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Castles, Part 2

Historical Heartbeats is featuring part two of the blog on Castles. The chiefs of Clan Munro in the Highland Treasures series made their home in Fàrdach Castle. Fàrdach was of the typical motte and bailey type castle with the keep being the residence of the chief and his family. Guards and the luchd-taighe (chief’s household men and body guards) resided in the inner bailey’s barracks. Smaller outer buildings housing support personnel and their shops were located in the outer bailey with the village of Drumainn close by.

The villagers and castle personnel worked the chief’s estate, paid him rent in the form of food and clothing, and supplied all the necessities to maintain his lifestyle. The chief was expected to protect his clansmen from invading maurders and reivers. He entertained lavishly and fed his people in times of need from the castle storerooms. The chief and his family were the celebraties of the day. The clansmen held him in high esteem and discussed his comings and goings in great detail. The Munro chiefs in the Highland Treasures series were mighty warriors, capable of governing well, and worthy of their clan’s fealty (loyalty).

 

Castle’s Keep and Bailey

 

Bailey and Enceinte

A bailey, also called a ward, was a fortified enclosure. It was a common feature of castles, and most had at least one. The keep on top of the motte was the domicile of the lord in charge of the castle and a bastion of last defense, while the bailey was the home of the rest of the lord’s household and gave them protection. The barracks for the garrison, stables, workshops, and storage facilities were often found in the bailey. Water was supplied by a well or cistern. Over time the focus of high status accommodation shifted from the keep to the bailey; this resulted in the creation of another bailey that separated the high status buildings – such as the lord’s chambers and the chapel – from the everyday structures such as the workshops and barracks.

From the late 12th century there was a trend for knights to move out of the small houses they had previously occupied within the bailey to live in fortified houses in the countryside. Although often associated with the motte-and-bailey type of castle, baileys could also be found as independent defensive structures. These simple fortifications were called ring works. The enceinte was the castle’s main defensive enclosure, and the terms “bailey” and “enceinte” are linked. A castle could have several baileys but only one enceinte. Castles with no keep, which relied on their outer defenses for protection, are sometimes called enceinte castles; these were the earliest form of castles, before the keep was introduced in the 10th century.

 

A Castle’s Keep

 

The Keep

A keep was a great tower and usually the most strongly defended point of a castle before the introduction of concentric defense. “Keep” was not a term used in the medieval period – the term was applied from the 16th century onwards – instead “donjon” was used to refer to great towers, or turris in Latin. In motte-and-bailey castles, the keep sat atop the motte.”Dungeon” is a corrupted form of “donjon” and means a dark, unwelcoming prison. Often the strongest part of a castle and a last place of refuge if the outer defenses fell, the keep became the residence by the lord who owned the castle, or his guests or representatives. At first this was used only in England, when after the Norman Conquest of 1066 the “conquerors lived for a long time in a constant state of alert”. The Lord’s wife presided over a separate residence (domus, aula or mansio in Latin) close to the keep, and the donjon was a barracks and headquarters. Gradually, the two functions merged into the same building, and the highest residential stories had large windows. The massive internal spaces seen in many surviving donjons can be misleading. They would have been divided into several rooms by light partitions, as in a modern office building. Even in some large castles the great hall was separated only by a partition from the laird’s “chamber”, his bedroom and to some extent his office.

 

Castle’s Curtain Wall

 

Curtain Wall

Curtain walls were defensive walls enclosing a bailey. They had to be high enough to make scaling the walls with ladders difficult and thick enough to withstand bombardment from siege engines which, from the 15th century onwards, included gunpowder artillery. A typical wall could be 10 ft thick and 39 ft tall, although sizes varied greatly between castles. To protect them from undermining, curtain walls were sometimes given a stone skirt around their bases. Walkways along the tops of the curtain walls allowed defenders to rain missiles on enemies below, and battlements gave them further protection. Curtain walls were studded with towers to allow enfilading fire along the wall. Arrowslits in the walls did not become common in Europe until the 13th century, for fear that they might compromise the wall’s strength.

 

 

Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

 

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. The novel tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.

 

 

Book Trailer:  https://youtu.be/5-mYnAJd_Hc

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Posted in A Highland Emerald, Castles, historical heartbeats, Scottish historical romance, Sweet Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spirit Filled eBooks Contest and Giveaway

Spirit Filled eBooks Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a Kindle Fire or (Second Prize) your choice of 10 of Christian Romance eBooks:

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A Highland Pearl, med

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a Kindle Fire or (Second Prize) your choice of 10 of these Christian Romance eBooks:

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Prizes

 

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A Mother’s Day Memorial

I belong to the Germanna Foundation, an organization for the descendants of the first German settlers who came to Virginia Colony as indentured servants in 1714 and 1717. Lieut. Governor Alexander Spotswood of the Virginia Colony recruited the Germans to mine iron ore. They lived in a fortified compound under adverse conditions. The Germans’ indenture lasted four years after which they were awarded land in the colony around the present city of Midland, Virginia. My husband and I traveled to the Germanna Foundation headquarters in Virginia to research my line of ancestry. We found I am descended from Malchior and Mary Elizabeth Brombach of the 1714 colony whose daughter Catherine married Christophel Wendel. Christophel, another German immigrant, arrived in Virginia Colony about 1737. Christopel and his two brothers became naturalized citizens of Virginia on May 5, 1747 in the Frederick County, Virginia court. At this time Christophel and his brothers changed their name from Wendel to Windle, which is my maiden name.
The following article on Mother’s Day was written by a member of the Germanna Foundation and descendant of the first German settlers to Virginia.
Mother’s Day: A Celebration rooted in a Germanna mother’s life
by Dr. Katharine L. Brown
1st Vice President and Trustee, Germanna Foundation
The mother in whose honor Mother’s Day was established was a Germanna descendant born and raised in Culpeper, Virginia.
Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, devoted years to gaining national recognition for a day to honor mothers, as a fulfillment of an idea and dream held by her own mother.
Anna’s model for motherhood was her exceptional mother, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, who was born in Culpeper on September 30, 1832, the daughter of Josiah Washington Reeves and his wife, Nancy Kemper Reeves.
Her mother’s Kemper ancestor, Johannes Kemper, came to Virginia from Germany in 1714 as one of the original Germanna colonists whom Lt. Governor Spotswood settled at Fort Germanna on the frontier.
Johannes (or John) Kemper, the immigrant, married Alice Catherine (Ailsey) Otterbach, a fellow 1714 immigrant from the Siegerland, soon after their arrival in Virginia.
Ann Marie Reeves’ father, Josiah Reeves, was a Methodist minister who was transferred in 1843 from Culpeper to Philippi, Barbour County, now in West Virginia, when Ann Marie was eleven.
In 1850, Ann Marie Reeves married Granville Jarvis, son of a Baptist minister, who became a successful merchant in nearby Taylor County.
Anne Marie Reeves Jarvis was mother to eleven children, but only four reached adulthood.
Mrs. Jarvis was a dynamic woman who saw needs in her community and found ways to meet them.
She organized Mothers’ Day Work Clubs in the towns of Grafton, Pruntytown, Philippi, Fetterman, and Webster to improve health and sanitary conditions.
These clubs raised money to buy medicine and to hire women to work in families where the mother suffered from tuberculosis.
They developed programs to inspect milk, long before there were state requirements.
Mrs. Jarvis called on her brother, Dr. James Edmund Reeves, who practiced medicine in Philippi and Fairmount, to provide advice and training for the women in her clubs.
During the Civil War sentiment in western Virginia was sharply divided and the western part of the state broke away from Virginia and formed the new state of West Virginia, loyal to the Union.
Ann Marie Jarvis urged her Mothers’ Day Work Clubs to declare neutrality and to provide aid to both Confederate and Union soldiers.
The clubs fed and clothed soldiers from both sides stationed in the area. When typhoid fever and measles broke out in the military camps, Mrs. Jarvis and her club members provided nursing help to the suffering soldiers, both Blue and Gray.
At the end of the war, public officials, seeking ways to eliminate postwar strife, called on Mrs. Jarvis to help.
She and her club members planned a “Mothers Friendship Day” for all soldiers from both sides and their families at the Taylor County Courthouse, with bands playing “Dixie” and the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Auld Lang Syne.”
This effective and emotional event reduced many to tears, and to the understanding that old animosities were destructive and must end.
The Mothers Friendship Day was an annual event for several years, until tensions had disappeared and it was no longer needed.
Mrs. Jarvis taught Sunday School for a quarter century, and was often invited to lecture on subjects such as “Literature as a Source of Culture and Refinement,” “Great Mothers of the Bible,” and “The Importance of Supervised Recreational Centers for Boys and Girls,” a very progressive idea at the time.
She often spoke of her dream to have a day in which Americans would honor mothers. After her husband Granville Jarvis died, she moved to Philadelphia to live with her son and two daughters. She died there in 1907.
Her daughter Anna Jarvis (1864-1948) began her campaign for the creation of a Mother’s Day on the first anniversary of her mother’s death.
She secured a resolution favoring such a day from the church in Grafton, West Virginia, where her mother had been active.
She then began a letter-writing and speaking campaign, gaining the support of the great Philadelphia merchant and philanthropist, John Wanamaker.
By 1909, forty-five states were observing Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May, but the first official proclamation came from the Governor of West Virginia in 1910. President Woodrow Wilson approved a resolution adopted by both houses of Congress recognizing Mother’s Day in 1914.
Anna Jarvis wanted carnations to be the symbol for Mother’s Day, and hoped that every American would wear one on the second Sunday in May, a white one for a deceased mother, and a red one for a mother still living.
For many years she sent 500 or more carnations to the church in Grafton where her mother was so active. That church, Andrew United Methodist Church, is now the location of a Mother’s Day memorial statue and garden.
Anna Jarvis’ birthplace, the home her father Granville Jarvis built in 1854 in the village of Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, the home from which Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis organized her pioneering women’s work, has now been restored and opened as a museum.
The Germanna Foundation and its members have reason to be proud that an exceptional woman who sparked a national recognition of the role of mothers through her own outstanding life of service was a Germanna descendant born and raised in the Culpeper community, and that her daughter, a Germanna descendant as well, is responsible for making Mother’s Day a national celebration.M
Posted in Christian, Devotional, historical heartbeats, Memorial, Mother's Day | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Castles

During the month of May, Historical Heartbeats is publishing a series of posts on the characteristics of castles. Castles are fasinating structures and the featured residence of clan chiefs in the Highland Treasures series; however, castle terminology in the stories may be foreign to a reader. I visited several intriguing castles and the ruins of others while touring Scotland.

The fortifications became outdated with the development of cannon and artillery warfare. Their walls could be destroyed by the heavy bombardment. However, they still hold a romantic, mysterious element to be included in the settings of historical romance novels.

 

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Some castles like Edinburgh Castle are still in use, especially as a tourist attraction, or  restored as a family residence and ocassionally opened to the public. The family of the chief of Clan Munro resides in Foulis Castle, Ross-shire, Scotland. The original Foulis Castle was burned during the Jacobite uprising in 1745 AD. Sir Harry Munro began rebuilding the same year. It now has the appearance of a large manor house, but is still considered a castle.

 

Foulis Castle Front View

 

Chiefs of a Scottish Highland clan usually made a castle his residence and seat of the clan. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but typically consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for nobility; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defense – though there are many similarities among these types of construction. Usage of the term varied over time and was applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the approximately 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls and arrow slits, were commonplace.

 

A winter morning at Dunnottar Castle, Sonehaven, near Aberdeen, North East Scotland

 

The chief of Clan Munro in the Highland Treasures series resides and governs the clan from Fàrdach Castle. In the stories, the castle was located in Easter Ross, now the county of Ross and Cromarty, Scotland. The clan lands called Fearan Domhnuill (Gaelic) or Ferindonald (English) meansDonald’s Land. Donald was the ancient progenitor of the clan who ventured to Scotland from Ireland to assist King Malcolm in defending his land against the Vikings. The king awarded arable land on the north shore of Cromarty Firth to Donald for his service.

 

Most castles had common characteristics.

 

Motte and Bailey Castle

 

Motte and Moat

A motte was oftenan artificial earthen mound with a flat top, although sometimes it incorporated a pre-existing feature of the landscape. The excavation of earth to make the mound left a ditch around the motte, called a moat (which could be either wet or dry). “Motte” and “moat” derive from the same Old French word, indicating that the features were originally associated and depended on each other for their construction. Although the motte is commonly associated with the bailey to form a motte-and-bailey castle, this was not always the case and there are instances where a motte existed on its own.

“Motte” refers to the mound alone, but it was often surmounted by a fortified structure, such as a keep, and the flat top would be surrounded by a palisade. Common practice was for the motte to be reached over a flying bridge (a bridge over the ditch from the bank of the ditch to the top of the mound). Sometimes a motte covered an older castle or hall, whose rooms became underground storage areas and prisons beneath a new keep.

Fardach Castle, home of Chief Andrew Dubh Munro of A Highland Pearl

 

 

A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the 16th century Highlands of Scotland.

Universal Buy Link

books2read.com/a-highland-pearl

 

 

Posted in A Highland Pearl, Book Spotlight, Castles, historical heartbeats, Inspirational Romance, Scottish historical romance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ACFW May New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

 

Children’s:

Feebs to the Rescue by Kathy J. Perry — Feebs the kitten is new to the farm. She’s a long way from the farmhouse and doesn’t know her way home in the dark. Her new friend, Ollie the dog, needs help. Can she find the courage to lead a night rescue? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)

Nibbler and Captain Make Peace by Kathy J. Perry — Nibbler the beaver works hard to keep his lodge and dam perfectly patched. A river otter knocks a hole in his great work. Now he’s so angry, he could almost spit nails. Can he learn how to handle his anger? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)

Rascal’s Trip by Kathy J. Perry — Rascal the raccoon is sorry he ignored the warning signs He’s surprised by a whirlwind and he’s taken for the ride of his life. Now it’s up to the Bandana Buddies to help him learn the importance of thinking ahead. Can he stay out of trouble long enough to get back home? (Children’s from Chickadee Words, LLC)

Contemporary Romance:

Solo Tu: Only You by Narelle Atkins — Can two high-school teachers, a girl from Tuscany and a boy from Australia, risk everything for love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck — According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious–serious science, that is. But science can’t always account for life’s anomalies, like why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge. Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart. (Contemporary Romance, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Hometown Reunion by Lisa Carter — Widowed former Green Beret Jaxon Pruitt comes home to face his toughest battle: reconnecting with his toddler son. He also makes an unwitting enemy of childhood friend Darcy Parks when he takes over the kayak shop Darcy hoped to buy! For little Brody’s sake, she’ll stay until summer’s end. But could a growing connection turn their temporary truce into an unexpected forever? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston — When her best friend Savilla dies, Laura steps in to help Allen raise his infant daughter. She soon finds herself coping with the jealousy of her boyfriend Rudy, and her own growing attraction to Allen. Have Laura and Allen been brought together to console and support one another…or is there an even deeper purpose they must fulfill? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Cowboys of Summer by Mary Connealy, Tina Radcliffe, Lorna Seilstad, Sherri Shackelford, Cheryl St. John, and Missy Tippens — Six of Christian fiction’s most beloved authors join forces to bring you a collection of humorous, romantic and heartfelt novellas set against the sultry heat of summer. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Bella Notte by Heather Gray — As a photographer who works primarily with fashion, Piero Carter is used to having his pick of beautiful women who want to be seen by his side. Felicity von Wolff is a makeup artist whose job takes her around the world. That’s all the adventure she craves. She has little use for Piero the Playboy. But when Felicity peeks over the wall she’s built to protect herself, she discovers there’s more to the people around her than she ever realized. What will it take for Piero and Felicity to stop hiding from life and open their eyes to the rich beauty God has in store for them? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter — Regardless of what any blood test says, Brady Collins will go to any lengths to keep his son. Even pretend his friend Hope is his fiancée. Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has finally been offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams. As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Finding Love on Bainbridge Island Washington by Annette M. Irby — A “broken” therapist with PTSD finds a fresh start at her family’s beach cabin, but when her parents hire her ex-boyfriend to finalize repairs on the place, they’re forced back into close proximity. He’s falling for her again. But can anything heal the past? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

And Cowboy Makes Three by Deb Kastner — Coming home with a baby and no wedding ring was just what everyone in Cowboy Country expected from bad girl Angelica Carmichael. But she’ll brave their scorn to fulfill Granny Frances’s dying wishes, even if it means ranching with Rowdy Masterson…her jilted ex-groom. Rowdy’s still bitter but this new, softer Angelica—paired with a precious baby—might be too lovable to resist! (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Falling for You by Becky Wade — A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin — then suffered the consequences when their relationship fell apart. Now that a decades-old mystery has brought them together again, they’ll have to confront their past and the feelings they still harbor for one another. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

General Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:

Long Way Home by Brenda S. Anderson — Stuck on a six-day road trip with the man who once bullied her, can Lauren Bauman learn that love keeps no record of wrongs? (General Contemporary, Independently Published {ACFW QIP Author})

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli — The Hidden Side is about a family that is torn apart by the unspeakable actions of one of its members and how a woman from the past helps them to heal. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)

Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt — It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—until her middle sister Jillian’s engagement pulls the family back together to plan the festivities. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Tyndale House)

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West — Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.
But soon, Savannah is given a challenge that she can’t run away from. Forgiving the unforgiveable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all. (General Contemporary from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Historical:

Faithful by Carol Ashby — When a foolish choice lands one man in a fight for his life, unlikely friendships are born, love blossoms, and broken relationships are restored as his best friend’s faith and courage guide the quest to rescue him. (General Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Historical Romance:

All for Love by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Jen Turano — Three of Christian historical fiction’s beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. Mary Connealy’s “The Boden Birthright” journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden’s determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer’s pretty daughter. Kristi Ann Hunter’s “A Lady of Esteem” follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Jen Turano’s “At Your Request” tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Perfect Bride by Debbie Lynne Costello — Avice Touchet has always dreamed of marrying for love and that love would be her best friend, Philip Greslet. She’s waited five years for him to see her as the woman she’s become but when a visiting lord arrives with secrets that could put her father in prison, Avice must consider a sacrificial marriage. Philip Greslet has worked his whole life for one thing—to be a castellan—and now it is finally in his grasp. But when Avice rebuffs his new lord’s attentions, Philip must convince his best friend to marry the lord against his heart’s inclination to have her as his own. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances)

Backcountry Brides Collection by Angela Couch, Debra E. Marvin, Shannon McNear, Gabrielle Meyer, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, and Pegg Thomas — Travel into Colonial America where eight women seek love, but they each know a future husband requires the necessary skills to survive in the backcountry. Living in areas exposed to nature’s ferocity, prone to Indian attack, and cut off from regular supplies, can hearts overcome the dangers to find lasting love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Rebecca’s Song by Dawn Kinzer — A small-town teacher who lost hope of having her own family, and a big-city railroad detective driven to capture his sister’s killer, must do what’s best for three young orphans who need them both. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Love’s Silver Lining by Julie Lessman — A soft-hearted suffragist incurs the wrath of a bull-headed bachelor when she reforms his favorite girl at the Ponderosa Saloon. (Historical Romance (Western), Independently Published)

Redeeming Light by Annette O’Hare — While Sarah weathers the deadly storm inside the lighthouse, her prayers are for Frederick, caught in the midst of the tempest. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

To Claim Her Heart by Jodie Wolfe — Elmer Smith didn’t need a man when she competed in the Cherokee Strip Land Run and she sure as shootin’ doesn’t need one to keep her land either. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Romantic Suspense:

No Safe Place by H. L. Wegley — A young man returning from the far country trying to regain his honor, and a young woman with a heart broken by her parents’ rejection because of her newfound faith, each have what the other needs, but will the assassin who put them on his hit list allow them enough time to discover what they have in each other? (Romantic Suspense from Trinity Press International)

Speculative:

No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens — As far as David Galloway knows, he can’t die. He wonders where he fits in the world, in God’s plan for the past and the future. He believes himself to be the only person on earth who hasn’t aged in over a century. He’s wrong about that. (Speculative from Barbour Publishing)

Young Adult:

Porch Swing Girl by Taylor Bennett — Left at her grandma’s house in Hawaii after a family tragedy, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to fly home to Boston and stop her father before he does anything drastic. (Young Adult from Mountain Brook Ink)

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