In Love's Time by Kate BreslinTrue love: In 1918 England, Clare Danner, a single mother working at a military hospital to support her two-year-old, Daisy, falls for Captain Sir Marcus Weatherford, a British spy who returns her feelings.
Forgotten love: Marcus is given a fake fiancée and sent to Russia on a secret mission, while Daisy's powerful paternal relatives seek custody. When Marcus returns, Clare desperately needs his help, but he's been injured and doesn't remember her.
Series alert: This is the "beautifully crafted" (Booklist) 5th and final book in moving World War I-era series, but all entries work as standalones.
The Rose and the Thistle by Laura FrantzThe Jacobite Uprising, 1715: After a mob attacks her Catholic family's castle, Lady Blythe flees Northern England for the Scottish lowlands, where her protestant godfather lives. He's just died, so his first son, the handsome new Laird, offers her refuge...but danger still lurks.
Read it for: The fascinating history, the evocative settings, and the well-matched couple.
Reviewers say: "a masterful achievement" (Booklist); "Readers will be hooked until the satisfying close" (Publishers Weekly).
Her Heart's Desire by Shelley Shepard GrayIntroducing: Mary Margaret Miller, who's insecure after being bullied at school for years and hopes a vacation will jumpstart a new beginning.
Wallflower friends: On the bus to Pinecraft, Florida, Mary makes friends, two other young Amish women who've also felt like outsiders. Then, after meeting a gentle young man staying at the same bed and breakfast, Mary dreams of a fulfilling future.
Engaging Deception by Regina JenningsStarring: Quiet Olive Kentworth, who secretly designs buildings for her family but works as a nanny; and Maxfield Scott, an architect and widower who hires Olive to care for his two young children.
Home building: When two rich men each want the biggest house in turn-of-the-century Joplin, Missouri, Maxfield and Olive (using her cousin as a figurehead) end up secretly competing against each other. Can the growing fondness between them survive Olive's deception?
Series alert: This amusing 3rd in the Joplin Chronicles trilogy can be enjoyed alone, but series fans will appreciate seeing old friends.
The Sisters of Sea View by Julie KlassenIntroducing: The genteel Summers sisters and their sickly mother, who must turn their coastal Sidmouth, England, home into a guest house after the death of their father and husband.
Spring 1819: Instead of the elderly invalids they expect, the family finds themselves hosting gentlemen and an exacting older lady. Meanwhile, bookish Viola, who wears a veil to hide a scar, earns money by reading to their infirm neighbor.
For fans of: Jane Austen, faith-filled Regency novels, and charming 1st novels in a new series.
Pretty Little Pieces by Carmen SchoberWhat happens: After reality TV design star Georgina Havoc's co-star boyfriend pauses their relationship, executives have them compete against each other for a new show. Luckily, Georgina has her best friend Poppy for support as well as new friend Cassidy Stokes, a handy former military man now running a farm.
Is it for you? Though full of charm and romance, Pretty Little Pieces also covers topics such as miscarriage, drug use, alcoholism, and grief.
Reviewers say: This novel "offers a compelling message about how God’s grace can help us put the pieces of our lives back together" (Booklist).
Focus on: Women of the Past
Jewel of the Nile by Tessa AfsharThe beginning: In the 1st century, a man raised in the Cushite queen's court marries the daughter of a Roman official despite disapproval on both sides -- and then the woman dies in childbirth.
25 years later: The couple's biracial daughter Chariline, who was raised by her mom's sister in Caesarea, discovers that the father she was always told was dead is actually alive. Setting out to find him, she stows away on a ship and finds an ally in Theo (whom readers of Thief of Corinth and Daughter of Rome will remember).
Reviewers say: "Exquisite plotting and outstanding historical details" (Publishers Weekly).
The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy CambronWhat it is: Vividly described historical fiction with romantic elements, which is based on real events from World War II-era Paris.
Starring: Lila de Laurent, a talented dressmaker who sews for the Nazis while secretly working for the Resistance; Sandrine Paquet, who, with her husband at war, catalogs stolen artwork for the Nazis in order to support her young son while surreptitiously keeping records about the real owners.
Read this next: For other well-researched WWII novels, try one of Sarah Sundin's books, which take place in various locales, or Tracy Groot's moving Maggie Bright, set mostly in England.
The Librarian of Boone's Hollow by Kim Vogel SawyerWhat it's about: In Depression-era Kentucky, Addie Cowherd can't afford to finish college, so she becomes a traveling librarian, delivering books on horseback to insular coal-mining communities. Though folks are suspicious of Addie, she bonds with Emmett, who's recently returned home after obtaining a scholarship-funded university education.
For fans of: Faith-filled historical novels with evocative rural settings and appealing characters.
Reviewers say: "With a grace-based message of self-worth, this suspenseful historical romance is sure to charm" (Booklist).
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