Is reading one of your favorite things? This list of my favorite historical inspirational romance and suspense books might pique your fancy—and give you ideas for using those gift cards Santa left you!
In case you missed last week’s post with 11 of my 33 favorite books for 2019, you can click here and find out why I think we shouldn’t have to name our ‘favorite’ book.
In addition to enjoying inspirational books that span decades or centuries and usually have a bit of mystery thrown in, I love inspirational historical romance.
Inspirational Historical Romance
A Return of Devotion
by Kristi Ann Hunter
“Daphne Blakemoor was perfectly happy living in her own secluded world for twelve years. She had everything she needed–loved ones, a true home, and time to indulge her imagination. But when ownership of the estate where she works as a housekeeper passes on, and the new marquis has an undeniable connection to her past, everything she’s come to rely upon is threatened.
“William, Marquis of Chemsford’s main goal in life is to be the exact opposite of his father. Starting a new life in the peace and quiet of the country sounds perfect until his housekeeper turns his life upside down.
“They’ve spent their lives hiding from the past. Can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and, perhaps, find a new path for the future together?”–from Amazon
Why I loved this book: I love a good Regency, especially one where the characters break the social rules. The Haven Manor series has both strong female and male protagonists whose ideas strengthen and sharpen each other. Hunter creates relatable characters in Daphne and William, and I felt a little pang of sadness when the book ended. They felt like friends.
A Pursuit of Home
by Kristi Ann Hunter
“In early 1800s England, Jess Beauchene has spent most of her life in hiding and always on the move in an effort to leave her past far behind her. But when she learns the family she thought had died just might be alive and in danger, she knows her secrets can only stay buried for so long.
“Derek Thornbury loves the past, which has led him to become an expert in history and artifacts. He knows Jess has never liked him, but when she requests his help deciphering the clues laid out in an old family diary, he can’t resist the urge to solve the puzzle.
“As Jess and Derek race to find the hidden artifact before her family’s enemies, they learn as much about each other as they do about the past. But can their search to uncover the truth and set history right lead to a future together?”–from Amazon
Why I loved this book: A Regency with a mystery? Yes, please! The third installment of the Haven Manor series has enough mystery and suspense to keep the reader glued to the book. Supper can take care of itself. Or, maybe not. I also love the twist on the familiar poor girl/rich man motif. Fighting for those we love means stepping outside our comfort zone.
Midnight on the River Grey
by Abigail Wilson
“After her brother’s mysterious death, Rebecca Hunter vows to expose the man she believes responsible: Mr. Lewis Browning—known by the locals as the Midnight Devil and by Rebecca as her new guardian.
“Summoned to his reclusive country estate to await her London season, Rebecca plans her own secret investigation among the darkened corridors of the mysterious Greybourne Hall. Yet Lewis Browning is not as she once imagined, and his motivation is horribly unclear. Recurrent nightmares and Rebecca’s restless feelings are further complicated by the shadow of her mother’s prior descent into madness and wondering if she, too, will follow the same heartbreaking path.
“Even as midnight rides, strange injuries, and further murders lead back to Mr. Browning, Rebecca can’t ignore the subtle turn of her heart. Has she fallen for the man she swore would pay for her brother’s death? And moreover, can she trust him with her uncertain future?” –from Amazon
Why I love this book: Forgiveness doesn’t come easy for most of us (or maybe it’s just me). Wilson weaves a fast-paced gothic Regency that explores the theme of learning to forgive, even if the person we need to forgive might not desire it. Inspirational romance at its best.
In the Shadow of Croft Towers
“When Sybil Delafield’s coach to Croft Towers was robbed by highwaymen, she should have realized that her new position as companion to old Mrs. Chalcroft would be no ordinary job. Upon Sybil’s arrival, Mrs. Chalcroft sneaks into her room in the dark of night, imploring her to relay messages to town that are to stay hidden from the rest of the family. Who exactly is she working for and what do the messages contain?
“When fellow passengers of the robbed coach are later murdered, Sybil’s hunt for the truth takes on a new urgency. The only person she can rely on is Mr. Sinclair, Mrs. Chalcroft’s godson, but under all his charms he too leads a double life. Sybil must decide if he is the one honest voice she can trust, or if he is simply using her for his own advances.
“Croft Towers holds more than its share of secrets . . . and Sybil is determined to uncover them all.” –from Amazon
Why I loved this book: Wilson creates strong female characters who stand out in a Regency world of retiring misses. The plot twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing to the end, in other words, the perfect gothic suspense novel.
Diamond in the Rough
by Jen Turano
“To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.
“Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.” –from Amazon
Why I loved this book: Turano has a way with dialogue that keeps the reader engaged and often convulsed in laughter. Her heroines sparkle with foibles and quirky characteristics, making them imminently relatable. The author’s research into the Gilded Age adds authenticity and the fast-pacing creates an attention-grabbing book you won’t want to put down.
Flights of Fancy
by Jen Turano
“Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.
“Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.
“Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.” –from Amazon
Why I love this book: I love unique situations and quirky characters. Even better, when quirky characters get thrown into unique situations. You’ll love Isadora, her pluck, and sense of humor. Although Flights of Fancy introduces the American Heiress series, you can read the books in any order you want.
The Number of Love
by Rosanna M. White
“Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network–field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.
“Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but how can he convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?
“Amid biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.” –from Amazon
Why I loved this book: Margot has an amazing mind that works differently than most people’s minds. When Drake finds himself falling in love with her, he has to learn to woo her in a language she understands. I love the devotion of a man who doesn’t mind differences and wants to partner with a woman, not control her.
The Noble Guardian
by Michelle Griep
“Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, love is finally within reach. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentleman bachelors in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.
“Horse patrol captain Samuel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But to him, she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.
“Abby pleads with him to escort her on the rest of her journey. He refuses until she offers him the thing he desperately needs to achieve his goal: money. Delivering her safely will earn him more than enough to settle into a quiet life.
“So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.”–from Amazon
Why I Love This Book: I always love a good Regency book, and I enjoy them even more when the author ventures outside the regular tropes of Regency novels. Samual Thatcher doesn’t come from a titled family, but he embodies a man of honor. Abigail might come from a family of peers, but they act more like scoundrels. Her resilience and quest for love keep the action fresh and intriguing.
A Desperate Hope
by Elizabeth Camden
“Eloise Drake’s prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she’s finally put behind her–or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she’s now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.
“Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town–but he needs Eloise’s help to succeed.
“Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he’d lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it’s too late.” –from Amazon
Why I Love This Book: Camden takes a story of broken hearts and bad decisions and shows how God’s grace can help us forgive ourselves and others for past wrongs. The author fulfills the whole purpose of inspirational romance with this book. To not just tell a story about Christian characters, but to show how Christian characters struggle with the consequences of sin.
Inspirational Suspense and Thriller Titles
I love suspense and thriller books, and I especially love them when the protagonists have a strong faith life. My life lacks suspense (a good thing) but seeing how characters face evil situations with faith helps me understand that God will help me overcome problems in my life.
State of Lies
by Siri Mitchell
“Months after her husband, Sean is killed by a hit-and-run driver, physicist Georgie Brennan discovers he lied to her about where he had been going that day. A cryptic notebook, a missing computer, and strange noises under her house soon have her questioning everything she thought she knew.
“With her job hanging by a thread, her son struggling to cope with his father’s death, and her four-star general father up for confirmation as the next secretary of defense, Georgie quickly finds herself tangled in a web of political intrigue that has no clear agenda and dozens of likely villains.
“Only one thing is clear: someone wants her dead too. And the people closest to her might be the most dangerous of all.” –from Amazon
Why I Loved This Book: I love it when an author completely takes me by surprise with the ending of a book. Mitchell does just that. If I could nominate this book for a movie, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
Fragments of Fear
by Carrie Stuart Parks
“Evelyn McTavish’s world came crashing down with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she receives a call that her dog is about to be destroyed at the pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. The shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine with her name and address makes it hers.
“Evelyn recognizes the dog as one owned by archaeologist John Coyote because she was commissioned to draw the two of them. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner—but she arrives only to discover John’s murdered body.
“As Evelyn herself becomes a target, she crosses paths with undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price. The more he gets to know her, the more personally invested he becomes in keeping her safe. Together, they’re desperate to find the links between so many disparate pieces.” —from Amazon
Why I Love This Book: Quirky characters, anyone? I love it when an author introduces us to a quirky character in a weird situation and then fills the story full of suspense and intrigue. Parks does a masterful job of keeping the reader’s attention and making her think. At the end of the book, I felt as if I’d learned something about human nature and wanted to treat a segment of society differently than I had previously. Good books engender changed attitudes.Eleven more steller books from 2019! Don't miss these inspirational romance and inspirational suspense books! #amreading #bookreview Click To Tweet