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Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty by Angela Elwell HuntBiblical Fiction. When Bathsheba was born, a priest prophesied that she would be beautiful and affect the future of Israel. Years later, while her beloved new husband is off fighting for King David, the king himself notices Bathsheba bathing and decides he will have her -- no matter what -- and she becomes pregnant. Told from both Bathsheba's point of view and Nathan the Prophet's, this thought-provoking 2nd in Angela Hunt's Dangerous Beauty series (after Esther: Royal Beauty) provides a new look at the relationship between a young married woman and the all-powerful King of Israel. If you'd like to read other authors' takes on this well-known story, try Francine Rivers' Unspoken or Jill Eileen Smith's Bathsheba.
Through Waters Deep: A Novel by Sarah SundinHistorical Romance. Though she's from Ohio, Mary Stirling loves Boston and is content working as a Naval Shipyard secretary. Unexpectedly, romance blossoms in her heart when she encounters an old high school friend, naval officer Jim Avery, invites him to church, and shows him around town. But it's not smooth sailing for the couple when another girl is interested in Jim, a saboteur causes trouble around the shipyard, and Jim's destroyer must sail into dangerous waters. Compelling and with a strong sense of place, the well-researched Through Waters Deep begins Sarah Sundin's Waves of Freedom series; the next book, Anchor in the Storm, comes out this spring.
The Sea Keeper's Daughters by Lisa WingateGeneral Fiction. Whitney Monroe's life is falling apart. The two restaurants she operates with her cousin are in financial trouble thanks to the envious owner of a pizza place and corrupt local officials. With her cousin's blessing, she heads to North Carolina's Outer Banks after her stubborn (and estranged) stepfather lands in the hospital. With him out of her late mother's decaying hotel, she can finally sort through family belongings...and hopefully find something valuable to sell. But she gets more than she bargained for when she meets the handsome local shop owner who rents part of the hotel and finds letters in her mother's rooms written by a mysterious great aunt who worked for the Federal Writers Project. Fans of Becky Wade and Susan May Warren may want to try this engaging tale that blends the troubles of modern life with romance and forgiveness.
Eve by William Paul YoungGeneral Fiction. In his lyrical new novel, the Canadian author of the mega-bestselling The Shack (a movie of which is coming out next year) explores stories told in the early parts of Genesis in an otherworldly manner. At the beginning of Eve, a man called John the Collector is on a beach in a strange time and place when "Mother Eve" arrives and indicates a change is coming. Moments after she disappears, John is told by others in his community that a shipping container has washed up on the shore, and inside is a broken young woman. As the "mind-bending, challenging novel" (Publishers Weekly) unfolds, a parallel story that may have readers questioning their assumptions about the creation story examines what happened in the Garden of Eden.
Christmas at Rose Hill Farm: An Amish Love Story by Suzanne Woods FisherAmish Romance. Only two weeks away from her wedding day, 20-year-old Bess Riehl isn't sure she loves her intended, Amos. Though Amos is devoted, kind, and patient (he proposed three times), Bess still has strong feelings for his cousin Billy, who left town without a word to her four years earlier. Billy, whose home life wasn't the best, now works at Penn State University taking care of roses, where he meets a friendly hobo who offers him advice. As Christmas and Bess's wedding day draws near, Billy's job brings him back into contact with Bess. Will the two find make peace with the past and find a future with each other? Read this enchanting tale to find out.
Snowfall: A Days of Redemption Christmas Novella by Shelley Shepard GrayAmish Romance. Widower Martin Rodes has six rambunctious children. A Christmas tree farmer in the middle of his busy season, he is also in desperate need of household help. Laid off from her job at a retirement home due to budget cuts, 20-year-old Ruth Stutzman needs work. Though she doesn't have any experience with children, it turns out she has a knack for nannying. As Christmas approaches, Ruth, Martin, and the children grow ever closer -- but Christmas is also when the job ends and Ruth is supposed to say goodbye. Readers looking for a short, sweet read this Christmas will find much to like in this charming story.
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan KaronGeneral Fiction. Episcopal priest Father Tim Kavanagh struggles with his adjustment to retirement and controlling his diabetes against a backdrop of a mayoral reelection campaign and the opening of a new café. Meanwhile, his adopted son, Dooley, studies to become a veterinarian and falls in love. With the end of this 10th book in the popular Mitford books taking place at Christmas, series fans can celebrate the holidays with their favorite fictional friends in Mitford! (Good news for those who want to read the next Mitford novel as soon as they finish this one: Come Rain or Come Shine was released in September.)
The Christmas Light by Donna VanLiereGeneral Fiction. In the small town of Grandon, several very different people -- including a pregnant teenager, a single mom, her troubled young daughter, a single dad, and his little girl -- are brought together for a rather unconventional church Nativity. This sweet 8th book in Donna VanLiere's Christmas Hope series will have readers reaching for their hankies as the charming characters strengthen each other and find the true meaning of Christmas.
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