Looking for inspirational titles this fall? Check out these history, mystery, and romance releases (most of them have all three!)
Looking for History, Mystery, and Romance?
I love a good swoony (clean) romance. Even better if the story inspires me in some way. Whether you’re a YA fan or an older gal like myself, these four titles fit the bill. They’ll take you on a wild ride from the mountains in Germany, across Siberia, through Texas, and deep into Colorado.
Written in the Wind
By Elizabeth Camden, Bethany House Publishers, May 2022, 352 pages.
Natalia Blackstone has an unconventional job for a woman at the turn of the 20th century—she works as an analyst at her father’s bank. She has loved the bank since childhood and knows more about finance than many men in the bank. When her contact in Russia, Count Dimitri Sokolov stops telegraphing her, Natalia fears something has gone terribly wrong. As they’ve worked together on the Trans-Siberian Railway, they’ve gone from associates to friends. And Natalia doesn’t have a lot of friends.
Count Dimitri Sokolov’s courageous action results in his arrest, speedy trial, and banishment to a prison camp. Dimitri’s only hope for survival is escaping from the train that carries him to certain death and then crossing thousands of miles of sparsely populated land to reach a port. From there, he hopes to contact the one person who can help him tell the truth about what he witnessed. He places his trust in Natalia Blackstone—an American woman he’s never met in person.
What I Loved About This Book
Camden mixes history, mystery, and memorable characters to continue the Blackstone Legacy series. Readers don’t need to read the first book, Carved in Stone, to enjoy the second book. Readers will relate to Natalia’s struggles to deal with a difficult stepmother. Dimitri struggles with his past (his beloved estate), and Natalia struggles with her future (marrying Dimitri means making a choice about children).
Fans of Roseanna M. White and Sarah E. Ladd will enjoy this book.
In Honor’s Defense (Hangar’s Horseman, Book 3)
By Karen Witemeyer, Bethany Publishing House, June 2022, 384 pages.
Damaris Baxter knows how to fade into the woodwork. In fact, on outings with her large family, they’ve accidentally left her behind. She doesn’t know how to raise a teenage nephew, though. Damaris leaves the comfort (and boredom) of the known for the unknown—Texas. She doesn’t expect her loving nephew to have morphed into a surly young man. Convinced Nate, her oldest brother’s son, just needs love, Damaris sets out to raise him.
But Nate keeps acting like a closed book with resentment between the covers. Nothing feels like her beloved novels. Until a handsome stranger rescues her from Nate’s latest prank.
Luke Davenport has always longed for what he’s never had—a home and a real family. His mother abandoned him, his father abused him, and without the townspeople’s kindness, he would never have survived. The Civil War came along, and Luke found comradery with his unit and Captain Matthew Hangar.
After participating in the Wounded Knee massacre, Hangar and a few of his men resolve to fight justice to right the terrible wrong they participated in. But now the other men have found love and domestication, and Luke sets out on his own to save a small-time rancher from cattle rustlers.
He doesn’t expect to rescue a damsel in distress or find his heart’s desire—nor to almost lose his life.
Why I Loved This Book
Karen Witemeyer is the master of inspirational historical romance, and In Honor’s Defense is no exception. Suspense, intrigue, history, and romance blend together to make a fast-paced story readers won’t want to put down. Readers will identify with Damaris as she transforms from a wallflower to a fierce fighter for her nephew’s rights.
The sweet love story between Luke and Damaris unfolds gently as both protagonists realize they have value and strength in God. Without this knowledge, they would never have the courage to embark on a life-long relationship.
Although part of a series, readers can enjoy In Honor’s Defense as a standalone novel. Fans of Jody Hedlund, Jen Turano, or Abigail Wilson will love this book.
To Tame a Cowboy
By Jody Hedlund, Bethany House, May 2022, 352 pages.
From the time she moved to Colorado before the war, Savannah Marshall has followed around the Double L’s vet and feels called to help animals. But her father and Chandler Saxton, the man her father wants her to marry, see a different future for her. One that involves homemaking and childrearing.
On the eve of her wedding to Chandler, Savannah runs away. She wants to help her parents out of their financial bind by marrying Chandler, but she doesn’t know if she loves him. Savannah thinks her only hope of gaining clarity is to get away from the situation.
After riding into Colorado’s high country, she finds a job as a temporary veterinarian at Healing Springs Ranch.
Ever since the war, Brody McQuaid has battled the sights, sounds, and memories of Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. His brothers, Flynn and Wyatt, despair of ever seeing Brody healed from his internal wounds. They pray for healing for their brother before his rages prove fatal.
When Flynn sees him interact with a stranger on the streets of Fairplay, he hires the young woman on the spot. Although she looks mighty young to be a vet, she also seems to have a healing touch with Brody.
Can a broken man find healing? And can Savannah learn to stand up for herself when she’s around the people she loves?
What I Loved About This Book
The third book in Hedlund’s Colorado Cowboys series, To Tame a Cowboy, continues the saga of the McQuaid brothers. Readers will enjoy it as a stand-alone novel if they haven’t read the first two books. The sweet love story has a fair share of swoony sparks between the protagonists, and readers will relate to how Savannah and Brody struggle to overcome old patterns of thinking.
I appreciate Hedlund’s foray into addressing difficult topics of the period (post-Civil War Colorado), such as slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, and Westward expansion. While not an exposé on what ailed society, Hedlund takes a huge step forward in Christian historical fiction by inviting readers to think. Kudos for not ignoring the issues of the day by whitewashing history.
Fans of Lauraine Snelling and Melanie Dickerson will enjoy this book.
The Veil of Winter
By Melanie Dickerson, Thomas Nelson, June 2022, 320 pages, 13+
Princess Elyce of Montciel knows emotions will get her nowhere. After all, her father and aunt berated her for showing the slightest bit of emotion. But living with expressing her feelings feels like death to Elyce. Her emotions feel God-given, especially when they make her want to protect the people of Montciel.
When her father announces Elyce must marry Count Rodrigo to seal an alliance between the crafty King Claude and Montciel, Elyce knows she must thwart the plans. She can’t stand Rodrigo, and she overhears King Claude’s plans to enslave workers for his mines.
With the aid of her servant and a healer, Elyce plots to fake her own death to avoid the marriage. She prays the potion will make her sleep and not end her life.
When Sir Gerard Dericott’s sister pleads with him to cross the channel and help her friend Princess Elyce of Montciel, Gerard agrees to pray about it. As a lowly knight, he has no influence nor wealth to stop an unwanted marriage. Little does he expect to receive a vision as the answer to his prayer.
The vision leads him on a quest to save a princess, accompanied by his friend, Sir Oswalt. When they arrive at the castle, Gerard finds the princess in the room he saw in his vision—only her maid fears the princess has died. Gerard bends over to breathe life into her. When his lips touch hers, Elyce awakens—furious with a man who dares to kiss her without her permission.
What I Loved About this Book
This retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story will entertain young and old readers alike. Unlike in the fairy tale, the beauty and the man who kissed her don’t fall deeply in love. Instead, they must face perils together and work as a team to escape the clutches of an evil king.
Readers will relate to Elyce’s struggles to figure out what to do with God-given emotions and Gerard’s struggles to figure out how God wants him to serve. Although Veil of Winter is the third in the Dericott Tales series, readers can enjoy it as a standalone novel.