I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.
Looking for inspirational historical fiction titles to gift or to read? Check out these two new releases.
What IS Inspirational Historical Fiction?
Fiction has changed a lot over the past hundred years. A century ago, mainstream publishing houses such as J.B. Lippinncot Company published books by Grace Livingston Hill. Today, only a Christian fiction publisher would touch her books. The publishing industry followed the social mores of the day. But as mores changed, so did the fiction.
I remember attending a writing conference in the early 1990s where a Christian fiction author explained the transition she made from writing for the secular market to writing for the much smaller and less lucrative Christian market. According to the author, her conscience rebelled at including steamy sex scenes and premarital sex. Things her publisher kept insisting she include in the work she submitted.
I first fell in love with inspirational historical fiction when I picked up the first book in the Zion Chronicles by Bodie Thoene. At last, I had found an author who shared my worldview, wrote riveting historical fiction, and inspired me to deepen my relationship with God all within the pages of a novel. I soon added Gilbert Morris and Michael R. Phillips to my list of favorite inspirational historical fiction authors.
The inspirational historical fiction genre has exploded in the past twenty years as publishers realized the huge market for clean, inspirational fiction. I no longer have to rely on a handful of authors to find fiction titles that inspire me. Today’s book reviews include two of my newest favorite authors, Kimberly Duffy and Kate Breslin.
By Kimberly Duffy, Bethany House, November 2021, 386 pages.
Augusta Travers has escaped the strictures of New York high society and the condemnation of her family by repeatedly running away from home. And every time, her family sends her Uncle James, a retired Pinkerton agent out to find her.
Gussie doesn’t really run away, she simply ignores her family’s wishes and travels all over the United States photographing the wonders and writing a column for Ladies Weekly under the pseudonym of Miss Adventuress. She even takes along a companion to maintain propriety. Although she has no qualms about ditching her companion when Gussie can no longer stomach her wet-blanket attitude.
After all, it’s 1897 and women have proven themselves perfectly capable. They don’t need protection from a man to board a train, mount a horse, or sail to parts unknown. When someone reveals Gussie’s identity to New York society on the day of her sister’s wedding, her parents insist she removes herself to Chicago and lives in seclusion until the furor dies down. If she can find a suitable husband while in exile, even better.
Gussie would rather die. She takes off for India, instead. When she arrives in Poona, she surprises her childhood friends, Catherine, and her twin brother, Specs. Only Specs has morphed from a shorter-than-Gussie gangly teen into a taller-than-Gussie-and-very-handsome physician.
As Gussie struggles with her changing feelings for Specs, she embraces the city and country that fill her with a sense of belonging. Something she hasn’t felt in her own home or city since her parents’ change in social status.
Why I Loved this Book
Duffy paints word pictures as lush and exotic as an Indian sari. Inspirational historical fiction lovers will love the attention to detail. Romance lovers will love Gussie’s discovery of her new feelings towards a childhood friend. Those interested in social justice will find a new hero in Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati. But most importantly, every child of God who has ever felt the sting of disapproval, unkind words, and misplaced expectations will find healing in Gussie’s story.
If you could only buy one book this month, choose this one.The one book you need to buy this November #EveryWordUnsaid by @kimberlyduffy #amreading #inspy Click To Tweet
By Kate Breslin, Bethany House Publishers, November 2021, 400 pages.
Rosalind Graham will do anything to escape the marriage her uncle arranged for her, but she sees no hope. Even operating a crane in a munitions factory in England is preferable to marrying a man who treats her roughly and sneers at her. Orphaned at 14, Rose and her brothers live at the mercy of their guardian and uncle—a cruel and deceitful man who has threatened to send Rose’s little brothers overseas if she doesn’t comply. And her fiancé already has plans to commit Rose to an asylum.
When a tragic explosion provides a means of escape, Rose takes it. Although she hates the fabrications, she knows she must remain firm in her goal of saving money and escaping to Nova Scotia with her siblings.
RAF Captain Alex Baird returns home to Gretna, Scotland on assignment from Whitehall. Tasked with identifying and stopping Thomas Rhymer, a mysterious saboteur, Alex has less than a month to uncover a plot to blow up another valuable munition factory. An event that would endanger his family.
While not happy with having to leave active service against the enemy, Alex knows his country can’t win the Great War without munitions. He doesn’t expect to find a woman in his bed when he arrives late at night, though.
Although Rose and Alex have a rough start to their friendship, they soon become friends. But will the secrets they harbor tear them apart and ultimately cause Alex to fail at his task?
Why I Loved this Book
Modern readers often forget how different the lives of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers were. We forget how men had absolute control over their wives, and how little agency women had to make decisions for themselves and their children. Breslin helps readers understand the era surrounding World War I in this inspirational novel filled with intrigue, red herrings, and self-revelation.New, heart-stopping WWI intrigue from @Kate_Breslin you won't want to miss! #inspy #amreading Click To Tweet