A Haven on Orchard Lane
by Lawana Blackwell
Historical Fiction. In 1880 England, aging former actress Charlotte Ward is trapped in a loveless marriage to a cruel viscount. When the opportunity to restart a London acting career appears, she takes a chance...but things don't go well. Rosalind, Charlotte's estranged daughter who was raised by her spinster aunt, reluctantly leaves her teaching position to help her mother. They move to a quiet fishing village, hoping to avoid gossip and the viscount. There, they get to know one another and their neighbors (including a handsome bookstore owner and two adorable brothers with a mean stepmother). Those who enjoy small-town tales and stories of forgiveness with a dash of romance will appreciate this long-awaited latest from Lawana Blackwell.
The Loyal Heart: A Lone Star Hero's Love Story
by Shelley Shepard Gray
Historical Romance. While prisoners of war, five Confederate officers make a pact to look out for one another, even after the war is over. In January 1867, Robert Truax finds himself in the small town of Galveston, Texas upholding that promise. His friend Phillip died in the POW camp, leaving behind his beloved wife Miranda, who's in dire straits. Someone in town is sending her threatening letters, she's a pariah due to rumors that Phillip was traitor, she's had to turn her home into a boarding house, and she feels so hopeless that she has considered suicide. As Robert investigates, he finds himself drawn to the beautiful, vulnerable Miranda, while she finds him disconcerting and handsome. This is the 1st in a new series by bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray; the 2nd, An Uncommon Protector, will be out in February.
by Bill Higgs
Historical Fiction. Though he likes things steady and stable, life is suddenly anything but for service-station owner Virgil T. Osgood. First, his wife thinks their marriage is in a slump (she's taken a magazine quiz that says so) and then a Zipco Super Service station is slated to open across the street. Eden Hill, Kentucky is a small town and Virgil's rattled; will his business survive? Meanwhile, the Zipco's owners, Cornelius and JoAnn Alexander, are in-debt newlyweds expecting their first child. In the middle of all this, Reverend Caudill tries to help everyone and provides a fascinating look at a pastor's life. Fans of Liz Curtis Higgs may want to try this atmospheric, dryly humorous debut novel set in 1962: her talented husband wrote it.
A Beauty Refined
by Tracie Peterson
Historical Romance. Accompanying her aristocratic sapphire broker father during a trip to America in 1907, Phoebe Von Bergen enjoys visiting the beautiful country that's so different from Germany. But she has no idea that what she sees and learns in Helena, Montana will change her life forever. Charmed when she meets lapidary Ian Harper, she's shocked after he helps her uncover family secrets -- it seems that her father is not the man she thought he was and her supposedly dead mother is very much alive. Though this is the 2nd in the Sapphire Brides series, newcomers can easily enjoy this richly detailed book on its own. Those who'd like to start with book one should pick up A Treasure Concealed.
Fantasy and Science Fiction
Broken Angel: A Novel
by Sigmund Brouwer
Science Fiction. In this "addictively readable" (Publishers Weekly) dystopian novel, extreme fundamentalists control everything and everybody in the small state of Appalachia. Fifteen-year-old Caitlyn Brown, whose body is deformed by mutation, finds herself cast out by her father, Jordan. Meeting others who have left Appalachia, she finds help through an underground railroad organized by Christian opponents to the fundamentalist dictatorship. As the thrilling escape unfolds, we learn more and more about Caitlyn, about the people who run the dictatorship, and about Jordan. If you're hungry for more thrills, read the sequel, Flight of Shadows.
A Cast of Stones: The Staff & the Sword
by Patrick W. Carr
Fantasy. Errol Stone may be Callowford's town drunk, but he knows the area around the gorge better than anyone. So, when a churchman arrives on horseback with "the most important messages in half a century" intended for the hermit priest who lives in the hills around the gorge, Errol acquires himself an easy-enough job. But his simple task quickly becomes treacherous when assassins attack; now Errol has to shape up fast and travel with the hermit and others on a dangerous quest to try to save the kingdom they call home...even as Errol discovers his own God-given destiny. In a starred review, Library Journal calls this 1st in a trilogy "a winner" and says the characters are "fully drawn and endearing."
by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee
Science Fiction. Five hundred years in the future, humanity has been drained of all emotions save one: fear. Ruled by The Order, this dystopian world is one of (seeming) peace but no joy, where people report on each other for breaking rules. But changes come when an elderly man gives 24-year-old Rom Elias a package, telling Rom that his father didn't die of fever but was murdered while protecting what was inside. Guards appear and slash the old man's throat; Rom panics and flees. Hidden in an abandoned store, he opens the package and finds a vial of blood and a paper, which have the power to bring emotion back to the world. This twisty, compelling 1st entry in the Books of Mortals trilogy provides what authors Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee are both known for: thought-provoking, unusual stories.
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Fantasy. Princess Una of Parumvir is finally 18, which means she's of age to court -- but finding an acceptable prince to marry proves difficult. There is, of course, Prince Aethelbald from Farthestshore, who seems kind, but maybe a bit boring. Along with Una's romantic troubles, there's also the excitement of the sudden appearance of a magical faerie market and the danger of an approaching dragon, making this "a clever debut from an author worth watching" (Publishers Weekly). If you enjoy this Christy Award winner for First Novel, check out the next book in the Goldstone Woods series, Veiled Rose.
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