I have so many great novels to introduce you to this month! I’ve been a busy girl reading, reading, reading! I’m so excited about these great books and authors. Note: some or all of these books may have been provided to me for review from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A Bride in Store
A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears
This book is the second in the series from relative new-comer, Melissa Jagears. You can try out the prequel novella of the series for free. It’s a great story as well (Love by the Letter). And get the first in the series, A Bride for Keeps as well.
Though I highly recommend her previous stories, especially the free novella, neither are required to enjoy A Bride in Store, as it is a stand-alone story. I loved the story of Eliza and Will. So often, I see heroines painted as too-perfect, and that tends to annoy me. I appreciated the fact that Eliza had room to grow and was humble enough to see her own faults and willing to grow, and we could see that through the story. Though Will is in many ways a more mature character from the beginning, he too grows throughout the story.
The romance is sweet and keeps the reader rooting for them the whole time, and Melissa weaves a strong element of faith throughout these characters and their stories. I’m already looking forward to her next book.
A Matter of Heart
A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson
This book is the third in Tracie Peterson’s Lone star Brides series.
I am a big fan of Tracie Peterson! And, parts of this story are my favorite. As a writer, reader, and person, I love a good story of redemption. I love reading about (and writing about) flawed characters who seem to have no redeeming qualities and seeing them turn around, and that is just what we see in this story. Jessica is a bit spoiled and not very likable in the previous books, but we get to know her more and fall in love with her in this book, and I love that!
Austin was very easy to like, and I loved reading their story in this book. I will say, though, that I think this book would be best enjoyed if you read the previous books in the series first–A Sensible Arrangement (#1), and A Moment in Time (#2).
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to lovers of Christian fiction, particularly historical.
The Brickmaker’s Bride
The Brickmaker’s Bride by Judith Miller
This is the first book of Judith Miller’s Refined by Love series, and I can’t wait to see what direction she’ll go in for the rest of the series! I really enjoyed reading about Ewan and Laura’s story and appreciated the historical details about the process of brick making. I love history, which is one of the reasons I love historical romance, so I enjoy when an author can expertly weave those details into the story.
I also fell in love with Ewan and his devotion to his sisters and their safety, and I appreciated his desire to do so in an ethical way, despite his often scrupulous uncle. I sympathized with Laura’s situation in losing her father and then trying to choose between two men, with everything else going on with her life.
Overall, this was a great story. I tend to prefer a bit more overt Christian themes, but there is definitely an element of faith underlying this story, though readers won’t find it overpowering.
The Daughter of Highland Hall
The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky
This book is Book #2 in Carrie Turansky’s Edwardian Brides series.
I loved this story! I was immediately sympathetic toward Kate’s plight, being that Highland Hall had been passed to an older male cousin, leaving her with no means for a future, except to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. However, just when she is poised to make her great debut, a family scandal leaves her on the sidelines, keeping a low profile and volunteering with London’s poor. In doing so, Kate deepens her faith, and finds a greater purpose as she works with medical student Jonathan Foster. However, when a man of wealth and position enters the picture, she is forced to choose which man will hold her heart, and to choose between a life of service, or being served.
I really enjoyed reading about Kate. I have a heart for missions and volunteer service myself, so I appreciated that aspect of the story, and the contrast between her life where she is being served and the one where she is serving others, and the surprising ways in which she chooses one over the other.
Now I need to go back and read the first book!
A Lady of Willowgrove Hall
A Lady of Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd
This book is third in a series, Whispers on the Moors. It is a stand alone book–reading the previous two is not necessary to enjoy this one, though I enjoyed this one so much I am looking forward to reading the first two in the series. Sarah Ladd expertly weaves together the beautiful story of Cecily in a way that drew me in immediately. I sympathized with her right away as the opening scene shows her being disgraced and disowned by her father, leaving her with a secret that she spends the next years of her life trying to hide. Until she comes face to face with Nathaniel, who knows her secret and has a secret of his own.
My favorite thing about this book was the strong faith element that is sprinkled throughout the story with a great message–God uses even the most difficult situations and will turn them around for good if we trust Him and release our burdens to Him. Such a powerful message for our lives.
Where Treetops Glisten
Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin
I’ve mentioned before how much I am enjoying well-written novellas lately, and these were all great stories! This is a I time period that I don’t often read. I tend to stay mostly in historical eras previous to this, or maybe contemporary, but this is such an important time period in our history that I really enjoyed the historical aspect of these stories, set in such a tumultuous time.
In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
I loved that this collection of stories centered around the same family! It was so nice to get to know the family members one by one in their respective stories, and their faith was a great thing to witness as God’s will unfolded for each of them in the midst of such a devastating time. I especially loved the name “Merry” in Tricia Goyer’s Christmas story. So fun!
Overall, three great stories from three great Christian authors.
The Christmas Story for Children
The Christmas Story for Children by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill
I love nearly all of Max Lucado’s children’s books. The stories are beautiful, and the illustrations are always fantastic as well. This book is no exception. It is a great book! It gives some backstory, starting briefly with God’s promise to the Jews, and then following through his fulfillment of that. It’s a great book, written on the level of children. However, I wouldn’t really call it the “christmas” story for children. This book is so much more than that. It is much deeper than just the Christmas story. As I said, it offers some backstory, and then the latter half of the book is about Jesus’ life and ministry.
Overall, a great book with beautiful illustrations, and written in a way that children can understand and remember what they are learning.