July Reading Challenge Suggestions

July Reading Challenge Suggestions

Welcome to the seventh month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focuses on the Progressive Era. The Progressive Age has some cross-over with the Gilded Age and is a period the 1890s and 1920s. This is the time period in which we think of progressive thought, labor changes, the fight for women’s rights, and other social movements.

You’ll see a lot of recommendations that cross over from last month, but also a few new ones. A big thanks to Inspirational Historical Fiction for making it easier for me to pull these lists together.

Add your suggestions in the comments, and/or tell me what you are reading. Have you read any of these below? Which one should I choose for this month? Let me know.

Also, if a title has (read and reviewed), clicking on that takes you to a review I’ve written on that book. Just in case you are interested in learning more.

Monthly Reminders:

*If you read a book for June, don’t forget to go to yesterday’s post (RCR: The White City) to comment and get your name entered for your chance to win a print copy. (You’ll also earn your entry for the end of the year giveaway.)

*You can also join the Facebook Group. for more interaction and suggestions, or if you’d like a bookmark to remind you of the monthly challenges, fill out this Google Form.


223Orchardstreet1905 – New York

Irish immigrant Katie O’Connor and her younger sister, Shannon, risk everything to journey to America at the turn of the twentieth century. As each woman passes into an intimidating, stirring, and unpredictable New York City, she is forced to rethink her dream of a better life. It isn’t until Katie begins serving the sick in the depressed slums of the Bowery alongside Dr. Titus Brentwood that she discovers her true calling. Meanwhile, fate directs the vulnerable Shannon down an unsettling path that could put her life at risk.

As Katie’s and Ty’s selflessness and devotion turn into something deeper, Ty must make a choice that could save one O’Connor sister at the expense of losing the other. But Katie hasn’t come this far to let go now. She’ll do anything to save Shannon and hold on to the man she’s come to love.

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

curseofmistywayfair1908/Present Day – Wisconsin

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

adaringadventure1908 – New York

As a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against waterborne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city–but only if she can get people to believe in her work.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York, Nicholas Drake is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team’s techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist.

While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives. As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, the odds stacked against these two rivals swiftly grow more insurmountable with every passing day.

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

echoesofmercy1904 – Kansas

Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed.

When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education. Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?

 

The Gold Digger by Liz Tolsma

 1907 – Indiana

In 1907, shy but loyal Ingrid Storset travels from Norway to support her grieving sister, Belle Gunness, who owns a farm in LaPorte, Indiana. Well-to-do widow Belle, who has lost two husbands and several children, provides Ingrid with enough money to start a small business. But Ingrid is confused by the string of men Belle claims to be interviewing for her next husband. When Nils Lindherud comes to town looking for his missing brother, who said he was going to marry Belle, Ingrid has a sinking feeling her sister is up to no good.

Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers

hermothershope1900 to WWII – Switzerland/California

Near the turn of the twentieth century, fiery Marta Schneider leaves Switzerland for a better life, determined to fulfill her mother’s hope. Her formative journey takes her through Europe and eventually to Canada, where she meets handsome Niclas Waltert. But nothing has prepared her for the sacrifices she must make for marriage and motherhood as she travels to the Canadian wilderness and then to the dusty Central Valley of California to raise her family. Marta’s hope is to give her children a better life, but experience has taught her that only the strong survive. Her tough love is often misunderstood, especially by her oldest daughter, Hildemara Rose, who craves her mother’s acceptance. Amid the drama of World War II, Hildie falls in love and begins a family of her own. But unexpected and tragic events force mother and daughter to face their own shortcomings and the ever-widening chasm that threatens to separate them forever.

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist

loveontheline

1900s – Texas

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world … which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though.  He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers.  Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do.  But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

reckoningofgossamerpond1907/Present Day – Wisconcin

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.

The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad

therideofherlife1906 – Iowa

The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws’ home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger–who designs roller coasters, of all things–intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.

Filled with delightful characters and the romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life is another supremely entertaining story from the witty Lorna Seilstad. Readers will laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as they spend the summer of 1906 in Lake Manawa.

The Silver Shadow by Liz Tolsma

1900 – Colorado

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

spiceking1900 – Washington DC

Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it’s too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

surprisedbylove1904 – California

Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney’s office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school–and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram’s vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a kid sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man? Fan favorite Julie Lessman draws a romantic triangle that will have readers in a tizzy in this glittering Gilded Age tale of transforming love.

Through the Shadows by Karen Barnett

Through the Shadows1908 – California

The devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitude is not so easy to overcome-and neither are the past regrets shadowing Elizabeth King’s hopeful future.

Hoping to right her wrongs, Elizabeth dedicates herself to helping girls rescued from slavery in Chinatown brothels, even if it means putting her own life at risk to sneak through the gloomy alleys and rooftops where dangers lurk.

Putting her life on the line for a worthy cause is admirable. But opening her heart is even more terrifying. So when Elizabeth meets attorney, Charles McKinley—a man who dreams of reforming San Francisco’s crooked politics—Elizabeth begins to doubt: Can she maintain her pretense and hide her past? Or will her secret jeopardize both their futures?

When I Meet You by Olivia Newport

1909 – Colorado

A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Present to Past on Family Trees

A trunk abandoned at Denver’s Union Station more than a century ago leads Jillian and Nolan to untangle the mystery of its contents—including correspondence with the head of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency Denver office. While Nolan digs into the legalities of the findings, Jillian searches for the descendants of a stolen identity who might not be who they think they are on Colorado ranch land. When Drew seems anxious to hear what Jillian has to say but his Great Aunt Min slams the subject closed—twice—Jillian is all the more determined to find out what happened to the woman who never claimed her luggage, why Min doesn’t want to talk about it, and what will happen for Drew if he gets the answers he seeks.

 

What Comes My Way by Tracie Peterson

whatcomesmyway1902 – California

Ella Fleming is on the run from her past and the secrets that could tear her family apart. As a member of the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, a wild west show comprised of all-female performers, her uncanny talent for trick riding impresses the viewers. Only while performing can she forget the truth about who she really is–the daughter of a murderer.

Phillip DeShazer blames himself for his father’s death and has done his best to bury his guilt in work and drink. Realizing he needs something more, he seeks answers and finds support and kindness from the beautiful Ella Fleming. However, the more she comes to his rescue, the more his guilt grows. He’s fallen in love with her and feels confident that she returns his feelings, but until he can overcome the past and let God guide his future, Phillip knows he’s not worthy of Ella’s love.

Uncertain of what will come their way, Ella and Phillip must learn to trust God even when the road they travel takes them in different directions. Only then can love be a part of their journey.

Winning the Schoolmarm by Lacy Williams

1906 – Wyoming

Swirling rumors forced Cecilia White out of the teaching job she loved. She vowed not to get involved with a man again—no matter what. But when the term begins at a new schoolhouse in a new town, disaster strikes. No matter what she does, she can’t seem to escape the handsome, single chairman of the school board.

John Morgan has a secret. He’s not who he says he is. He’ll do anything to protect and provide for his young sister—including cozying up to the prickly schoolmarm.

Sparks fly and Cecilia must deny her heart if she hopes to keep her job. But what’s more important? Duty or love?


Suggestions offered from the Unlocking the Past Facebook Group: (THANK YOU, LADIES!!!!)

The Heart’s Charge by Karen Witemeyer
Wherever You Go by Tracie Peterson
Tracie Peterson’s Golden Gate Series
Rachel Scott McDaniel’s The Red Canary
A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham
All Elizabeth Camden books
A Heart Most Worthy By Siri Mitchell
She Walks In Beauty By Siri Mitchell
Behind the Scenes (1) by Jen Turano
Out of the Ordinary (2) by Jen Turano
Caught by Surprise (3) by Jen Turano
Maid to Match by Deanne Gist
Love at Any Cost (1) by Julie Lessman
Dare to Love Again (2) by Julie Lessman
Surprised by Love (3) by Julie Lessman
Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin


Check out these alternatives to Amazon:  Baker Bookhouse       Barnes & Noble      Books-a-Million      Book Depository      Bookshop.org      Christianbook.com      Get It Local      Indiebound.org

Leave Your Comments:

If you have a favorite book or author who writes in this time, put it in the comments so other readers can know who to go search out for options. Old or new, it doesn’t matter. 🙂

April Reading Challenge Suggestions

April Reading Challenge Suggestions

Welcome to the fourth month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focuses on the Civil War (and post-Civil War). At the request of one of my readers, I’m posting suggestions from my bookshelf at the beginning of each month. This month’s suggestions feature some books from my e-book shelves, as well as a section of books suggested to me by others. I’ve read a good number of these, but some are still waiting for free time. Add your suggestions in the comments, and/or tell me what you are reading. Have you read any of these below? Which one should I choose for this month? Let me know.

Also, if a title is linked, it goes to a review I’ve written on that book. Just in case you are interested in learning more.

Monthly Reminders:

*If you read a book for March, don’t forget to go to yesterday’s post (RCR: Trail of Fear) to comment and get your name entered for your chance to win a print copy. (You’ll also earn your entry for the end of the year giveaway.)

*You can also join the Facebook Group. for more interaction and suggestions, or if you’d like a bookmark to remind you of the monthly challenges, fill out this Google Form.

(Honest confession: I love these posts because it almost feels like I’m browsing a book store with lots more CHR selections than brick and mortar stores and easier to find what I look than a general online store… and it makes me realize how many books I own that I still need to read.)

From My Shelf

The Abolitionist’s Daughter by Kathleen L. Maher

The crusading daughter of a Washington politician, Marietta Hamilton comes between twin brothers as the country plunges toward Civil War. Horse traders from Virginia, Ethan Sharpe and his brother Devon would defend their livelihood from her interfering kind. When love ignites, friends become enemies separated over the course of a long and brutal conflict. Can the very influences which carved a chasm unite a torn family against all odds?

Other titles in the series: The Chaplain’s Daughter, No Man’s Daughter

 

 

An Accidental Spy by Stephenia H. McGee (Previously Titled: Leveraging Lincoln, Read and Reviewed)

Captured and mistaken as a spy, can she unravel a conspiracy before her secrets cost a man his life?

Some secrets change the world…

Once a privileged heiress, Annabelle Ross is now struggling to hold her home and her life together through the devastation of the War Between the States. But with a forced marriage and a desolate future on the horizon, her hopes are beginning to dwindle. When she discovers an encrypted note on a dying soldier, she seizes the opportunity to use it to deliver a message of her own. Instead, she’s mistaken for a spy and captured. Now her only chance to escape is the handsome soldier in charge of discovering her secrets.

After his brother is captured by enemy soldiers, Matthew Daniels vows to rescue him at any cost. When a secret society offers him a chance for retribution, Matthew must decide between his loyalties and his convictions. To prove himself, he’ll have to first unmask the spirited spy holding the key to their plans or risk losing his brother forever.

This is book one of a trilogy. Each book has a complete storyline but you need to read all through to get the whole, overarching story. Other titles are: A Dangerous Performance, A Daring Pursuit

 

Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin

Caroline Fletcher is caught in a nation split apart and torn between the ones she loves and a truth she can’t deny

The daughter of a wealthy slave-holding family from Richmond, Virginia, Caroline Fletcher is raised to believe slavery is God-ordained and acceptable. But on awakening to its cruelty and injustice, her eyes are opened to the men and women who have cared tirelessly for her. At the same time, her father and her fiance, Charles St. John, are fighting for the Confederacy and their beloved way of life and traditions.

Where does Caroline’s loyalty lie? Emboldened by her passion to make a difference and her growing faith, will she risk everything she holds dear?

Other titles in the series: Fire by Night, A Light to My Path

 

Circle of Spies by Roseanna M. White (Read and Reviewed)

1865—Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy, but the family legacy of espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unknown to her, the Knights of the Golden Circle—a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union her brother died for—has been meeting in a hidden lair beneath her home. Faced with the secrets of her late husband and his brother, whom she thought she could trust with anything, Marietta’s world tilts out of control. Can she right it by protecting a Union agent infiltrating the KGC?

Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn’t just their inner workings that baffle him—it’s the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet…so much more.

Do they dare trust each other in this circle of intrigue? Will their shared faith sustain them? And can Mari and Slade stymie the enemy long enough to see their beloved country reunited?

Book 3 in The Culper Ring Series. Each takes place in a different time period.

 

Daughter of Twin Oaks by Lauraine Snelling

Will the Wounded Soldier She Rescues From Certain Death be Able to Break Down the Walls of Bitterness That Surround Her Heart?

Seeking to fulfill the promise she made to her dying father, eighteen-year-old Jesselynn Highwood determines to take her little brother and the family’s remaining Thoroughbreds from Twin Oaks plantation in Kentucky to her uncle’s farm in Missouri, where they will be safe for the remainder of the Civil War.

Jesselynn is also fleeing a cruel man in Confederate uniform who has pledged to take revenge against her for refusing his hand in marriage. No longer safe at Twin Oaks, she embarks on a perilous journey, taking on the momentous responsibility for the lives and welfare of all who go with her.

They ride at night and hide during the day, dodging both Confederate and Union troops along the way. Encountering hunger, sickness, and the devastation of war, they finally arrive in Missouri only to discover that the situation there puts them in even greater danger. Discouraged, disillusioned, and facing a severe testing of her faith, Jesselynn will stop at nothing to save her family, the horses, and whatever remains of Twin Oaks.

 

Edge of Honor by Gilbert Morris

Quentin Larribee is a surgeon–one of the best. But in the confusion of one of the Civil War’s last, desperate skirmishes, the hands devoted to healing bring death to William Breckenridge, an enemy soldier in the act of surrendering. Now the deed haunts Quentin.A bright future lies before him, with marriage to the lovely Irene Chambers and eventual ownership of her father’s prosperous medical practice. But it cannot ease Quentin’s troubled conscience. Honor compels him to see to the welfare of the dead man’s family.Quentin moves from New York City to the little town of Helena, Arkansas, where he attempts to save the wife of Breckenridge and her children from financial ruin. But in trying to solve one problem, he creates another, falling in love with the widow of the man he killed–a woman who knows nothing of his terrible secret.Two women beckon Quentin–one to a life where his gift as a healer can prosper beyond his wildest dreams, the other to a truer but impossible love.Edge of Honor is an unforgettable novel of redemption and honor, where good is found in the unlikeliest places and God’s unseen hand weaves a masterful tapestry of human hearts and lives.

 

Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson (Read and Reviewed)

Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines—until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

 

His Steadfast Love by Golden Keyes Parsons

It isn’t until the Civil War comes to her doorstep that Amanda Bell must choose between love and family.

It’s the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Amanda never thought she would marry because of a promise she made to her dying mother, but her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.

When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel aligns with the Confederate States, while Kent remains with the Union troops.

Her heart is torn between the two men she is closest to and the two sides of the conflict. Amanda prays to God for direction and support, but hears only silence. Where is God in the atrocities of war—and whose side is He on?

Amanda senses her life is at a turning point. She must trust God to deliver her family through the chaos of war with her heart and her faith intact.

 

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

To create something that will last is Claire Laurent’s most fervent desire as an artist. It’s also her greatest weakness. When her fraud of a father deals her an unexpected hand, Claire is forced to flee from New Orleans to Nashville, only a year after the War Between the States has ended. Claire’s path collides with that of Sutton Monroe, and she considers him a godsend for not turning her in to the authorities. But when they meet again and he refuses to come to her aid, she realizes she’s sorely misjudged the man. Trading an unwanted destiny for an unknown future, Claire finds herself in the middle of Nashville’s elite society and believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art may finally be within reach.

All that Sutton Monroe holds dear lies in ruin. He’s determined to reclaim his heritage and to make the men who murdered his father pay. But what he discovers on his quest for vengeance reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined.

Set at Nashville’s historic 1850s Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America in the 1860s, A Lasting Impression showcases the deep, poignant, unforgettable characters that set Tamera’s stories apart and provides an inspiring love story that will capture readers’ hearts and leave them eager for more.

Other titles in the series: A Beauty So Rare, A Note Yet Unsung 

 

A Love Restored by Kelly Goshorn (Read and Reviewed)

With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to Society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.

Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earns him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect he craves.

After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?

 

The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shephard Gray

Robert came to Galveston to fulfill his promise to a dying man and look after his widow. He didn’t expect to find love in the unlikeliest of places.

Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda’s home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip’s name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He’s mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.

He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn’t prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

Other titles in the series: An Uncommon Protector, Love Held Captive

 

The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear (Read and Reviewed)

Can Love Form Amidst Tensions of War?

During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.

 

A Stranger on my Land by Sandra Merville Hart (Clean Romance)

Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find a wounded soldier on their land after a battle which later became known as “The Battle Above the Clouds.” Adam, a Union soldier, has been shot twice in the arm. Though Carrie is reluctant to take Adam to their cave where her family hides their livestock from both armies, she cannot turn her back on him.

But her Aunt Lavinia, bitter over what Yankees have done to their land, urges Carrie to allow Adam to die. Carrie refuses, but cannot remove the bullets. Adam’s friendship with Jay softens her heart toward him. It’s not long until his gratitude and teasing manner spark a friendship between the young couple. Even though Carrie’s father fights for the Confederacy in far-off Virginia, her feelings for the handsome young soldier begin to blossom into love.

When Adam’s condition worsens, Carrie knows a Union surgeon is needed to save his life. But how can she save him and keep her family safe from Yankee forces?

Other titles in the series: A Rebel in My House, A Musket in My Hands

 

Swept into Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Forced to call each other enemies, can their love survive?

Maggie Gatlan may be a Southern belle on the outside, but inside she’s a rebel. Then she meets the handsome, strong Irish immigrant Ben McConnell who captures her heart.

Ben is enchanted by Maggie’s beauty and fiery spirit, but for him the South she so dearly loves represents the injustice and deprivation he left behind in Ireland.

As the country divides and Ben joins the Union, Maggie and Ben are forced to call each other enemies. Will their love survive or die on the battlefield of South against North?

 

Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon, Jr. & Cindy Kelley

From Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley, authors of The Silent Gift and creators of the hit television film Love Comes Softly, comes an exciting historical romance set in post-Civil War, and filled with suspense and faith-building values.  At the war’s end, a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. Waking with amnesia, she takes the name Mercy and wants more than anything to find out the truth of her past. But then a handsome stranger arrives, who may hold the key to everything she has forgotten. What he knows could devastate her future, and even end her life. Written by two proven storytellers, Traces of Mercy is perfect for anyone who loves historical fiction, prairie-based tales, or just a good romance.

 

 

Tried & True by Mary Connealy (Slightly after the Civil War but still connected. Probably my favorite series from Mary.)

Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister–and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk–they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”–but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

Other titles in the series: Now and Forever, Fire and Ice

 

Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson (MY FAVORITE FROM HER, Read and Reviewed)

Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.

Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?

 

Books Recommended to Me:

All Through the Night by Tara Johnson

With her stammering tongue and quiet ways, Cadence Piper has always struggled to be accepted. After the death of her mother, Cadence sets her heart on becoming a nurse, both to erase the stain her brother has left on the family’s honor and to find long-sought approval in the eyes of her father. When Dorothea Dix turns her away due to her young age and pretty face, Cadence finds another way to serve . . . singing to the soldiers in Judiciary Square Hospital. Only one stubborn doctor stands in her way.

Joshua Ivy is an intense man with a compassionate heart for the hurting and downtrodden. The one thing he can’t have is an idealistic woman destroying the plans he’s so carefully laid. When the chaos of war thrusts Cadence into the middle of his clandestine activities, he must decide if the lives at stake, and his own heart, are worth the risk of letting Cadence inside.

Everything changes when Joshua and Cadence unearth the workings of a secret society so vile, the course of their lives, and the war, could be altered forever. If they fight an enemy they cannot see, will the One who sees all show them the way in the darkest night?

 

In His Eyes by Stephenia H. McGee

She pretends to be a Yankee officer’s widow in order to survive. But what will she do when he returns home to a wife he didn’t marry?

Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer’s widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child. But now she must work even harder to hide her Scottish immigrant roots and play the part of a refined Southern lady or risk losing her only hope to keep her new son.

Union Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War divided his family, tore his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his house is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.

A reconstruction ear romance with a fiesty herione and a love to overcome the odds.

Other titles in the series: Eternity Between Us

The Whistle Walk by Stephenia H. McGee

In a time where unity seems impossible, two women will forge a friendship in the fires of redemption and thrust Ironwood into a new future—where the battle for freedom has merely begun.

Mississippi – 1862

Stolen from her home and forced into the disgrace of being sold, Ruth refuses to let go of the faith that holds her heart together. Determined to survive in her new role at Ironwood, Ruth never expects to find any common ground with the plantation owner’s wife. But when God keeps nudging her to speak up for her race and forge an unlikely friendship, she makes a dangerous choice that could cost more than she’s ready to give.

Bride to a man she barely knows and bound by her secrets, Lydia is struggling to step into her new title as the mistress of Ironwood. Inspired by the fiery spirit and quiet dignity of an enslaved woman, Lydia’s eyes begin to open to the harsh realities of the world around her. But if there is ever going to be a new future for Ironwood, she will have to start with shedding her own pretenses.

Other titles in the series: Heir of Hope, Missing Mercy 

Return to Shirley Plantation by Carrie Fancett Pagel

Theater manager Matthew Scott is abducted and conscripted into the Confederate army because of his Copperhead senator father’s political leanings. Injured at Malvern Hill, Matthew is taken by the Union army to Shirley Plantation in Virginia where he is tended by seamstress Angelina Rose, a beautiful woman who unbeknownst to him is a freed slave. Given an opportunity to leave the South and start a new life for herself, Angelina remained for the sake of her sister’s orphaned twins who are still enslaved. Matthew must use his acting skills to remain safe, not realizing Angelina is merely playing the role of being a member of the Carter family, owners of the plantation. Will Matthew’s return to Shirley Plantation settle a mystery concerning his father’s past? And will he and Angelina find the family they long for?

 

 

Until We All Find Home by Heather Wood

When Justin Young is reunited with his orphaned siblings during the American Civil War, he decides to bring his widowed sister and younger brothers to live with him in Chicago, desiring to give them a home and a family. But he soon discovers that sometimes love is more painful than it is healing as he faces his own inadequacies. Along their journey towards reconciliation with God and each other, the siblings and their friends learn that real love often looks like the hard work of granting grace and second chances to other hurting, imperfect people with whom they have nothing in common. In the end, they each find that when they come home to God, He gives them the courage, freedom and grace to come home to the people they’ve come to love. ~~~
As Irish American orphans raised in different circumstances in Kentucky, North Carolina and Maryland, the Young siblings could not be more different from each other, but they are determined that the ties of the same blood are strong enough to bring them together despite the secrets they each carry from their pasts. In this emotional story filled with humor and love, Yankee siblings come head to head with Confederate ones, Christian siblings with atheists, educated siblings with those raised on the street, and extroverted siblings with introverts. Set in the backdrop of Civil War Chicago, with its labor strikes and the Union prison camp at Camp Douglas, you will find characters you’ve come to love and won’t soon forget.

Other titles in the series: Until We All Run Free

 

Check out these alternatives to Amazon:  Baker Bookhouse       Barnes & Noble      Books-a-Million      Book Depository      Bookshop.org      Christianbook.com      Get It Local      Indiebound.org

Leave Your Comments:

If you have a favorite book or author who writes in this time, put it in the comments so other readers can know who to go search out for options. Old or new, it doesn’t matter. 🙂

March Reading Challenge Suggestions

March Reading Challenge Suggestions

Welcome to the third month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focuses on Westward Expansion (1815 to 1860s – Pioneers, Oregon Trail, Gold Rushes). At the request of one of my readers, I’m posting suggestions from my bookshelf at the beginning of each month. This month’s suggestions feature some books from my e-book shelves, as well as a section of books suggested to me by others. I’ve read a good number of these, but some are still waiting for free time. Add your suggestions in the comments, and/or tell me what you are reading. Have you read any of these below? Which one should I choose for this month? Let me know.

Also, if a title is linked, it goes to a review I’ve written on that book. Just in case you are interested in learning more.

Monthly Reminders:

*If you read a book for February, don’t forget to go to yesterday’s post (RCR: The Patriot Bride) to comment and get your name entered for your chance to win a print copy. (You’ll also earn your entry for the end of the year giveaway.)

*You can also join the Facebook Group. for more interaction and suggestions, or if you’d like a bookmark to remind you of the monthly challenges, fill out this Google Form.

(Honest confession: I love these posts because it almost feels like I’m browsing a book store with lots more CHR selections than brick and mortar stores and easier to find what I look than a general online store… and it makes me realize how many books I own that I still need to read.)

From My Shelf

Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly (Read & Reviewed)

She’s desperate to find her missing father. His conscience demands he risk all to help. 

Eliza Brooks is haunted by her role in her mother’s death, so she’ll do anything to find her missing pa—even if it means sneaking aboard a southbound ship. When those meant to protect her abandon and betray her instead, a family friend’s unexpected assistance is a blessing she can’t refuse.

Daniel Clarke came to California to make his fortune, and a stable job as a San Francisco carpenter has earned him more than most have scraped from the local goldfields. But it’s been four years since he left Massachusetts and his fiancée is impatient for his return. Bound for home at last, Daniel Clarke finds his heart and plans challenged by a tenacious young woman with haunted eyes. Though every word he utters seems to offend her, he is determined to see her safely returned to her father. Even if that means risking his fragile engagement.

When disaster befalls them in the remote wilderness of the Southern California mountains, true feelings are revealed, and both must face heart-rending decisions. But how to decide when every choice before them leads to someone getting hurt?

Other books in the series: Sing in the Sunlight, Harmony on the Horizon

 

Love’s Awakening by Laura Frantz (#2 in series)

Ellie Ballantyne, youngest child of Silas and Eden, has left finishing school. But back at her family home in Pittsburgh, Ellie finds that her parents are away on a long trip and her siblings don’t seem to want her to stay. When she opens a day school for young ladies, she begins tutoring the incorrigible daughter of the enemy Turlock clan. The Turlocks are slaveholders and whiskey magnates, envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly tangled with the Turlocks, she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future–and Jack Turlock, a young man striving to free himself from his family’s violent legacy. How can she betray her family and side with the enemy? And will Jack ever allow her into his world?

Masterful storyteller Laura Frantz continues to unfold the stirring saga of the Ballantyne family in this majestic tale of love, loyalty, and the makings of a legacy. With rich descriptions of the people who settled and civilized a wild landscape, Frantz weaves a tapestry of characters and places that stick with the reader long after they turn the last page.

Other books in the series: Love’s Reckoning (#1 – 1780s), Love’s Fortune (#3 – 1850s)

 

A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist (On the line but I think it counts. Also, I’ve read it.)

In 1860s Seattle, a man with a wife could secure himself 640 acres of timberland. But because of his wife’s untimely death, Joe Denton finds himself about to lose half of his claim. Still in mourning, his best solution is to buy one of those Mercer girls arriving from the East. A woman he’ll marry in name but keep around mostly as a cook. Anna Ivey’s journey west with Asa Mercer’s girls is an escape from the griefs of her past. She’s not supposed to be a bride, though, just a cook for the girls. But when they land, she’s handed to Joe Denton and the two find themselves in a knotty situation. She refuses to wed him and he’s about to lose his land. With only a few months left, can Joe convince this provoking but beguiling easterner to be his bride?

 

 

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake (Read & Reviewed)

When Clara Fields and her aunt are kicked off their wagon train, a store owner in Buttonwood offers a chance at redemption. Desperate, she agrees to find a bride for the man’s son—a stalwart bachelor. Will Clara’s faith and wits help her wrangle a resolution to The Bride Bargain?

Other tiles in this series: The Bride Backfire, The Bride Blunder

 

 

 

Love’s Rescue by Christine Johnson

When her mother dies, Elizabeth Benjamin heads home to Key West, determined to transform herself into the perfect Southern belle her parents always wished her to be. But nothing goes according to plan. Her crippled brother resents her, the servants do not obey her, and Rourke O’Malley, the dashing man she vowed to forget, refuses to relinquish his hold on her heart. Worst of all, it becomes painfully obvious that her father is not the upright man he appears to be.

As family secrets come to light, Elizabeth is faced with a difficult choice: to do her duty and abandon her dreams, or to leave her life of privilege behind to chase the man her father sees as little better than a pirate.

From the first emotional page, author Christine Johnson throws readers into a world of impossible choices, hidden desires, and heart-melting romance in the steamy south. Readers will cheer for Elizabeth and Rourke as they battle the odds and the elements to secure their future.

Other books in the series: Honor Redeemed, Freedom’s Price

 

Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis

In the first book of the Irish Angels series, we meet Laura Foster, a woman with the darkest of pasts, and Reverend Brand McCormick, a man with everything to lose by loving her. Having escaped a life she never chose, Laura Foster is finally living her dream. But even after four years of posing as a respectable widow in Glory, Texas, she is always afraid someone from her past might reveal her true identity. Believing no man could love her if he knew the truth, Laura tries to resist Brand’s courtship. His reputation would be shattered if Laura’s former life is discovered. But it’s not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring him down—it’s also his own. As they open their hearts to love and faith, will Laura and Brand find the depth and power of forgiveness from their community?

Other books in the series: Heart of Lies, Heart of Glass

 

 

Santa Fe Woman by Gilbert Morris (Check out his name for more books in this period.)

Ever since her mother’s death, twenty-two year old Jori Hayden has lived safely under the shelter of her wealthy father. But when the severe economic depression of the 1800s destroys the family’s fortune, the Haydens must venture west together along the Santa Fe Trail in search of a new livelihood.

With her father in poor health and her Aunt Kate–a dedicated Christian–keeping charge over the younger siblings, Jori hires Chad Rocklin right out of prison to lead their wagon train. And in a journey marked with danger at every turn, romance, faith, and family prove to be the biggest fortunes of all.

Other books in the series: A Man for Temperance, Joelle’s Secret, Angel Train

 

Love’s Proof by Catherine Palmer

When high-spirited Jane Fellowes finds her world turned upside down, she is determined to right it. First her uncle experiences periods of violent insanity, then her father is accused of crimes he surely cannot have committed. When Jane finds Sir Isaac Newton’s box of mysterious scientific discoveries in her mad uncle’s home, she feels compelled to analyze the information within. Can it be true that the box contains proof of the existence of God?

 

 

 

Tapestry of Hope by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Lights of Lowell book 1. Tapestry of Hope weaves together the heartrending and hope-building stories of two young women. Jasmine Wainwright is the sheltered daughter of a Mississippi plantation owner. When her father strikes a deal to sell his cotton to Lowell mills through businessman Bradley Houston, he throws an arranged marriage with Jasmine into the bargain. Kiara O’Neill and her brother escape starvation in Ireland by traveling to America as Bradley Houston’s indentured servants. But Bradley has more in mind for Kiara than she wants to imagine. Both women suffer in the home of this unloving husband and merciless master. Will God somehow bring hope to their lives?

Other titles in the series: A Love Woven True, The Pattern of Her Heart

 

A Lady of High Regard by Tracie Peterson (Read)

Born into affluence, Mia Stanley is a winsome socialite with a knack for matchmaking. She’s also a writer for Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine, much to the disdain of her family–and their society friends. A proper young lady of her social standing isn’t meant to labor in such a way, but Mia has always had a way with words…

When her writing draws her into the world of downtrodden seamen’s wives on Philadelphia’s docks, Mia uncovers a scheme that puts her in harm’s way. But her heart ends up on the line as well…Has her determination to always make a match driven away the one man whose esteem she covets?

Other books in the series: A Lady of Hidden Intent, A Lady of Secret Devotion

 

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers 

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.

Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.

But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.

A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

 

Under This Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer (Read & Reviewed)

~ She thought she’d lost everything ~ Instead she found what she needed most. ~

Illinois ~ 1854

Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis. Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future.

Matthew Brody didn’t intend on falling for Becky, but the unexpected relationship, along with the Lord’s gentle nudging, incite him to give up his circuit riding and seek full-time ministry in the town of Miller Creek, with the hope of one day making Becky his bride. But when his old sweetheart comes to town, intent on winning him back—with the entire town pulling for her—Matthew must choose between doing what’s expected and what his heart tells him is right.

Other books in the series: Under Prairie Skies, Under Moonlit Skies <–After rereading this last one when not dealing with review fatigue, I’d bump it up to a five star. 😉

 

Trail of Fears by Sara R. Turnquist (What I’m reading for this month’s challenge!)

He’s a steadfast missionary. She’s a proud Cherokee. Can their love survive the brutal Trail of Tears?

Thomas Greyson believes God had called him to spread the gospel. He leaves his sheltered world behind to live among the native peoples and teach in their school. But as the government tightens its grip, not everyone is ready to listen to the gospel’s message of love… least of all the stubborn beauty who stole his heart.

Adsila resists bending her knee to the white man’s God when Thomas seemingly tries to steal away the last remaining shreds of her heritage. Is she prepared to fight him tooth and nail? But when he stands with her people in the face of hardship, her soul begins to long for the curious stranger and his unshakeable faith.

Against impossible odds and staggering loss, can Thomas and Adsila find the strength to follow their hearts’ true path?

Trail of Fears is a stirring historical romance that captures the heartbreaking reality of the Trail of Tears. If you like spirited characters, personal journeys of faith, and enduring love stories, then you’ll adore Sara R. Turnquist’s gripping tale of survival and salvation.

 

The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

The Wilderness Is a Great Place to Hide
Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Jackie can’t decide if Elijah is friend or foe. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

 

 

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

Can Olivia survive the crime and Gold Rush fever of 1849…and the countless marriage proposals?
A series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues when Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the rush for gold. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope.

 

 

The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Will Ellis Lose All at the Alamo?

Ellis Dumont finds a man in New Orleans Grey unconscious on Dumont property in 1836. As his fever rages, the man mutters strange things about treasures and war. Either Claiborne Gentry has lost his mind or he’s a spy for the American president—or worse, for the Mexican enemy that threatens their very lives. With the men of her family away, Ellis must stand courageous and decide who she can trust. Will she put her selfish wants ahead of the future of the republic or travel with Clay to Mission San Jose to help end the war?

 

 

Books Recommended to Me:

Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot (Check Amanda for other titles as well)

Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.

Other books in the series: Dreams Rekindled

 

A Cowboy for Keeps by Jody Hedlund

Greta Nilsson’s trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.

Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He’ll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt’s ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family. And the mayor, who has promised to try to help Greta, has just the candidate in mind for Wyatt to marry.

 

 

One More River to Cross by Jane Kirkpatrick (Jane has several books in the period so look for her name to find other titles.)

In 1844, two years before the Donner Party, the Stevens-Murphy company left Missouri to be the first wagons into California through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mostly Irish Catholics, the party sought religious freedom and education in the mission-dominated land and enjoyed a safe journey–until October, when a heavy snowstorm forced difficult decisions. The first of many for young Mary Sullivan, newlywed Sarah Montgomery, the widow Ellen Murphy, and her pregnant sister-in-law Maolisa.

When the party separates in three directions, each risks losing those they loved and faces the prospect of learning that adversity can destroy or redefine. Two women and four men go overland around Lake Tahoe, three men stay to guard the heaviest wagons–and the rest of the party, including eight women and seventeen children, huddle in a makeshift cabin at the headwaters of the Yuba River waiting for rescue . . . or their deaths.

Award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick plunges you deep into a landscape of challenge where fear and courage go hand in hand for a story of friendship, family, and hope that will remind you of what truly matters in times of trial.

 

Check out these alternatives to Amazon:  Baker Bookhouse       Barnes & Noble      Books-a-Million      Book Depository      Bookshop.org      Christianbook.com      Get It Local      Indiebound.org

Leave Your Comments:

If you have a favorite book or author who writes in this time, put it in the comments so other readers can know who to go search out for options. Old or new, it doesn’t matter. 🙂

February Reading Challenge Suggestions

February Reading Challenge Suggestions

Welcome to the second month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focuses on the American Revolution and War of 1812. At the request of one of my readers, I’m posting suggestions from my bookshelf at the beginning of each month. This month’s suggestions feature some books from my e-book shelves too. I’ve read a good number of these, but some are still waiting for free time. Add your suggestions in the comments, and/or tell me what you are reading. Have you read any of these below? Which one should I choose for this month? Let me know.

Monthly Reminders:

*If you read a book for January, don’t forget to go to yesterday’s post (RCR: Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz) to comment and get your name entered for your chance to win a print copy. (You’ll also earn your entry for the end of the year giveaway.)

*You can also join the Facebook Group. for more interaction and suggestions, or if you’d like a bookmark to remind you of the monthly challenges, fill out this Google Form.

 

Suggestions

Pirate of My Heart by Jamie Carie

When her doting father dies, Lady Kendra Townsend is given a choice: marry the horrid man of her cold, money-grubbing uncle’s choosing or leave England to risk a new life in America with unknown relatives. Armed with the faith that God has a plan for her, Kendra boards a cargo ship and meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. But the captain has been wounded by a woman before and guards his independent life. A swashbuckling man doesn’t need an English heiress to make him slow down, feel again, or be challenged with questions about his faith-or so he thinks. It is not until Dorian must save Kendra from the dark forces surrounding her that he decides she may be worth the risk.

 

 

 

Wind Dancer by Jamie Carie

Raised in a British-held frontier town during the American Revolution, Isabelle Renoir is not like other women around her. A free spirit, she dances in the moonlight as a praise offering to God and is more at home fearlessly taking her long rifle and knife into the woods for adventure and inspiration.

But Isabelle’s latest journey may be more than even her strength can handle when a huge storm throws the raven-haired beauty off course and into the path of rugged American spy Samuel Holt. After matching wits and denying their passion for each other, they are attacked by Indians, held prisoner, and forced to watch the horrific killing of Isabelle’s brother. Now together but in captivity, they must fight spiritual forces that no knife or rifle could ever conquer in order to be free.

 

 

The Scarlet Coat by Angela K. Couch (Book #1, Hearts at War, I’ve read.)

Surrounded by the musket fire of the American Revolution, Rachel Garnet prays for her family to be safe. When the British invade the Mohawk Valley and her father and brother don’t return from the battle, she goes in pursuit of them. She finds her brother alive but her father has been killed at the hand of the enemy. Amidst the death, how can she ignore a cry for help? Rachel reluctantly takes in a badly wounded British officer. But how long can her sense of Christian duty repress her hatred for his scarlet coat? Passages of Scripture and fleeting images of society are all Andrew Wyndham recalls after he awakens to the log walls of his gentle prison. Even his name eludes him. Rachel Garnet insists he is a captain in the British army. He mourns the loss of his memory, but how can he hope to remember war when his “enemy” is capturing his heart? Andrew’s injuries are severe, his memory slow to return, and the secret of his existence too perilous to ignore. As Rachel nurses him back to health, his hidden scarlet coat threatens to expose the deeds of her merciful heart, and Andrew is forced to face a harrowing decision—Stay hidden and risk losing the woman he loves or turn himself in and risk losing his life.

Other books in the series that fit the February time period: The Patriot and the Loyalist, The Tory’s Daugher

 

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz (I’ve read.)

When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth “Liberty” Lawson is abandoned by her fiancé and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story.

 

 

Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz

On a bitter December day in 1785, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of master blacksmith Liege Lee in York, Pennsylvania. Just months from becoming a master blacksmith himself, Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship and move west. But Liege soon discovers that Silas is a prodigious worker and craftsman and endeavors to keep him in York. Silas becomes interested in both of Liege’s daughters, the gentle and faith-filled Eden and the clever and high-spirited Elspeth. When he chooses one, will the other’s jealousy destroy their love?

In this sweeping family saga set in western Pennsylvania, one man’s choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. Love’s Reckoning is the first entry in The Ballantyne Legacy, a rich, multi-layered historical quartet from talented writer Laura Frantz, beginning in the late 1700s and following the Ballantyne family through the end of the Civil War.

 

 

A Captive Heart by Michlle Griep

The wild American wilderness is no place for an elegant English governess

On the run from a brute of an aristocratic employer, Eleanor Morgan escapes from England to America, the land of the free, for the opportunity to serve an upstanding Charles Town family. But freedom is hard to come by as an indentured servant, and downright impossible when she’s forced to agree to an even harsher contract—marriage to a man she’s never met.

Backwoodsman Samuel Heath doesn’t care what others think of him—but his young daughter’s upbringing matters very much. The life of a trapper in the Carolina backcountry is no life for a small girl, but neither is abandoning his child to another family. He decides it’s time to marry again, but that proves to be an impossible task. Who wants to wed a murderer?

Both Samuel and Eleanor are survivors, facing down the threat of war, betrayal, and divided loyalties that could cost them everything, but this time they must face their biggest challenge ever . . .Love.

 

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Michigan Territory, 1814

A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British–and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who’s grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they’ll risk for love.

The Gathering Dawn by Sally Laity and Dianna Crawford (Freedom’s Holy Light, Book #1)

British-born Susannah Harrington, expecting to begin a new life in the Colonies, finds herself instead tossed into the midst of Colonial unrest that sparks schemes and intrigues against her motherland. Unable to forget the brave and handsome postrider who comes to her rescue on the Philadelphia docks, she cannot dismiss having witnessed this seemingly honorable man assisting smugglers! Nevertheless, she harbors the hope of sometime meeting him again. Daniel Haynes, a devoted Christian, abandons his ministerial studies to assist in the dangerous fight for freedom from England’s tyranny. Hoping to end the recent unwarranted taxation and military occupation by the British, he delivers secret messages and inflammatory news articles for patriots Sam Adams and John Hancock. Drawn by unforeseen circumstances to a beautiful English woman he aids on the docks of Philadelphia, he is convinced that God caused their paths to cross…but separated by both treachery and tragedy, it will take nothing less than divine intervention to bring two people from opposite worlds together. The American Colonies are experiencing a great Christian revival in 1770, but the new freedom found in Christ strains beneath the oppression of the Crown. What starts as discontented whispers will soon grow into the rebellious battle cry, “No king but King Jesus!”

 

 

The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear

Love and Adventure Are Discovered on the Wilderness Road

In 1794, when Kate Gruener’s father is ready to move the family farther west into the wilderness to farm untouched land, Kate is eager to live out her own story of adventure like he did during the War for Independence and to see untamed lands. And she sets her sights on learning more about their scout, Thomas Bledsoe. Thomas’s job is to get settlers safely across the Kentucky Wilderness Road to their destination while keeping an ear open for news of Shawnee unrest. But naïve Kate’s inquisitive nature could put them both in the middle of a rising tide of conflict. Is there more to Thomas’s story than he is willing to tell? Is there an untapped courage in Kate that can thwart a coming disaster?

 

 

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell


Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith…until her twin brother ran off and joined the army and ended up captured and in jail. Suddenly Hannah’s world turns on end. She longs to bring her brother some measure of comfort in the squalid, frigid prison where he remains. But the Quakers believe they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. Can she sit by and do nothing while he suffers?

Jeremiah Jones has an enormous task before him. Responsibility for a spy ring is now his, and he desperately needs access to the men in prison, whom they are seeking to free. A possible solution is to garner a pass for Hannah. But while she is fine to the eye, she holds only disdain for him–and agreeing would mean disobeying those she loves and abandoning a bedrock of her faith.

With skill and sensitivity, Mitchell tells a story of two unlikely heroes seeking God’s voice, finding the courage to act, and discovering the powerful embrace of love.

 

Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato

An unsolved mystery separates ex-privateersman Captain Brogan Talvis from his lost son–his only living relation, his only family. Shortly before her tragic demise, his wife abandoned their infant to strangers, refusing to reveal the child’s whereabouts. Now, three years later, Brogan has discovered the boy at the home of a shipbuilder’s daughter, Lorena Huntley.

Lorena guards a dark secret about her young charge. She finds herself falling for the heroic captain who has come to claim his newly built ship, unaware his motive for wooing her is to befriend the boy he plans on reclaiming as his own–until the day another’s evil deceit leaves her helplessly shipbound, heading toward England.

As the perfect opportunity to reclaim his son unfolds, Brogan is haunted by thoughts of Lorena in her dire circumstance, and he is forced to make a heartrending choice between his child and the woman who has begun to capture his heart. But only his unselfish sacrifice can win him the greatest prize of all–love.

 

The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall

War Forces a Choice Between Love and Country

A trip home from England to Maryland in 1812 finds Emeline Baratt a captive on a British warship and forced to declare her allegiance between the British and Americans. Remaining somewhat politically neutral on a ship where her nursing skills are desperately needed is fairly easy—until she starts to have feelings for the first lieutenant who becomes her protector. However, when the captain sends her and Lieutenant Owen Masters on land to spy, she must choose between her love for him and her love for her country.

 

 

The Creole Bride by Beth White (Book #2, The Gulf Coast Chronicles)

All along the eastern seaboard, the American struggle for independence rages. In the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is quieter–though no less deadly. The lovely Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British commander. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their paths cross and their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie–and somehow keep Lyse’s family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown.

With spectacular detail that brings the Colonial South alive, Beth White invites readers into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known side of the American Revolutionary War. Her richly textured settings and characters delight while fast pacing and closely held secrets will keep readers turning the pages.

Other books in the series that fit the February time period:  The Magnolia Dutchess

 

Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White (Book #1, Culper Ring, I’ve read.)

This exciting romantic spy novel from Roseanna M. White combines fascinating cloak-and-dagger secrets with a tale of love and intrigue during the Revolutionary War.

Winter Reeves is an aristocratic Patriot forced to hide her heart amid the Loyalists of the City of New York. She has learned to keep her ears open so she can pass information on British movements to Robbie Townsend, her childhood friend, and his spy ring. If she’s caught, if she’s hung for espionage…well, she won’t be. Robbie has taught her the tools of the trade: the wonders of invisible ink, drop locations and, most importantly, a good cover.

Bennet Lane returns to New York from his Yale professorship with one goal: to find General Washington’s spy hidden among the ranks of the elite. Searching for a wife was supposed to be nothing more than a convenient cover story for his mission, but when he meets Winter, with her too-intelligent eyes in her too-blank face, he finds a mystery that can’t be ignored.

Both believers…and both committed to a separate cause. Will their faith in God lead them to a shared destiny or lives lived apart?

Other books in the series that fit the February time period:  Whispers from the Shadows

The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

Spies Work Together for the Patriot Cause
Faith Jackson is a wealthy widow, friend of George Washington, and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Matthew Weber is friends with both Ben Franklin and his son William, who increasingly differ in their political views; and Matthew finds himself privy to information on both sides of the conflict. When a message needs to get to a spy among the Loyalists, Faith bravely steps up and in turn meets Matthew Weber. Suddenly she believes she could love again. But someone else has his eye on the Faith she portrays in elite social circles. What will Matthew and Faith have to sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country?

 

 

Check out these alternatives to Amazon:  Baker Bookhouse       Barnes & Noble      Books-a-Million      Book Depository      Bookshop.org      Christianbook.com      Get It Local      Indiebound.org

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