Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn GreenThe setup: In 1871 Chicago, Meg, whose paintings bring in extra money, and Sylvie, who runs the family bookshop, look after their father, Stephen, a Civil War veteran irreparably damaged from his time at Andersonville, the infamous prisoner-of-war camp in Georgia.
What happens: The Great Chicago Fire strikes, leaving the shop destroyed, Meg's hand injured, and troubled Stephen accused of murder and placed in an insane asylum.
Why you might like it: The author beautifully combines historical details, tender romance, and faith elements into a poignant story.
More Than We Remember by Christina Suzann NelsonWhat happens: A fatal car accident changes everything for three women.
Featuring: Addison, whose husband, the town's beloved coach, was driving one of the cars and appears to have been intoxicated; Emilia, the first cop on the scene, whose own husband hasn't been the same since another accident several years earlier; and Addison's helpful neighbor, Brianne, a therapist dealing with the loss of a patient to suicide.
Read it for: the moving, realistic story told by multiple narrators; the thought-provoking look at grief, memory, and grace.
A Long Time Comin' by Robin W. PearsonFeaturing: stubborn, secret-keeping Granny B, who raised multiple children alone but isn't close to them now; her pregnant granddaughter Evelyn, who's contemplating leaving her husband who betrayed her.
What happens: After finding a tucked-away box filled with old letters at Granny B's small North Carolina house, Evelyn becomes determined to help Granny mend fences with her far-flung family before it's too late.
For fans of: amusing, heartfelt debuts; Southern fiction with authentic characters; African American fiction.
The Land Beneath Us by Sarah SundinTennessee, June 1943: New high school graduate and orphan Leah Jones arrives to work as a librarian at the U.S. Army's Camp Forrest. After being sexually assaulted, Leah's reputation is at stake, and she marries Private Clay Paxton, who believes he's destined to die in battle.
Series alert: Like the first two Sunrise at Normandy books, this final one culminates on D-Day. Earlier books feature Clay's estranged half-brothers and add to the overarching redemption tale, but all of them can be enjoyed on their own.
For fans of: well-researched World War II stories; slow-building romances with marriage-of-convenience themes.
The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy CambronFeaturing: Adele von Bron, a gifted Austrian violinist during World War II, and Sera James, a modern-day Manhattan art dealer searching for the beautiful painting of a female musician she saw as a child.
What happens: Teaming with wealthy William Hanover, who owns a copy of the portrait she remembers, Sera tries to find out more. Meanwhile, in the 1940s, Adele, a Third Reich general's daughter, is caught helping Jewish people and sent to Auschwitz.
Want more? The sequel to this moving novel is A Sparrow in Terezin, which continues Sera's story, once again using dual timelines.
Because You're Mine by Colleen CobleWhat it is: a gothic-tinged romantic suspense story set in Charleston, South Carolina, featuring a rising-star Irish fiddler and singer.
What it's about: After her husband is killed while their Irish band is on tour in the U.S., pregnant Alanna is devastated when her in-laws threaten to fight for child custody. Quickly marrying her American manager to thwart them, Alanna is unnerved by her new husband's possessive behavior and odd occurrences at his decaying family estate.
Long Way Gone by Charles MartinStarring: musician Cooper O’Connor, who wants all that the world has to offer, causing him to leave home at 18, taking the guitar he's stolen from his tent-preacher father.
What happens: Making it big in Nashville, Cooper falls in love with a talented singer, but events leave him injured, both spiritually and physically, which lead him home again.
What sets it apart: An imaginative, musical version of the prodigal son story that covers Cooper's childhood, absence, and return, Long Way Gone reminds readers that it's never too late to come home again.
A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. WhiteStarring: Willa Forsythe, a musical prodigy and part of a family of thieves; renowned violinist Lukas De Wilde, a Belgian refugee in Wales, who's thought to have the cypher key created by his cryptologist father.
What happens: In 1915, barely a month after Germany has invaded Belgium, Willa is hired by the mysterious Mr. V to go undercover in Wales and steal the key. But she finds herself falling for Lukas, whose family is in danger in Belgium and who wonders who he can trust in Wales.
Series alert: The delightful 2nd in the Shadows over England series offers intriguing plotting and appealing characters plus fascinating musical and historical details.
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