The American Queen
Bestselling author Vanessa Miller has penned yet another moving and illuminating novel in The American Queen. Inspired by a true story, it celebrates a Black woman’s pursuit of freedom and a community’s undying courage.
It is 1864, and though President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation over a year ago, Louella is still enslaved at the Montgomery Plantation in Mississippi. Emboldened by a speech of her father’s about revolution and freedom—one that later costs him his life—Louella decides to risk her own life to become a free woman. Together with her loving husband, William, she leads her community on a journey fraught with unimaginable obstacles to build a kingdom founded on equality, justice and love.
An indestructible spirit shines through the hardship and cruelty Louella and her community face. Brutal beatings and murders are constant on the plantation, and even after they establish their Kingdom of the Happy Land, inequality, injustice and attacks by the Ku Klux Klan threaten to destroy everything they have painstakingly built. Still, they persevere and create a society where Black people can not only live freely but also pursue their dreams.
With gentleness and empathy, Miller examines the complex relationship between faith and adversity. Though she is inspired by William’s faith, Louella struggles to reconcile her circumstances with God’s promises. Having lost both her mother and father, hate settles in her heart towards those who continuously seek to subdue Black people. Louella’s spiritual journey is beautifully chronicled, and by the end of the novel, her growth is evident.
The Irish Matchmaker
Matchmaking season is approaching and Lisdoonvarna’s matchmakers, Catriona Daly and her father, are preparing for the 1905 Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. Though she’s helped many in the town find love, Catriona herself has been unsuccessful. With each matchmaking season, her hopes of finding her true love and finally leaving Lisdoonvarna are reignited. When Catriona is asked to be the matchmaker for Lord Osborne’s son, Andrew, she instead hopes to catch Andrew’s eye herself, and sets out to become the bride his family wants for him.
Meanwhile, Donal Bunratty is struggling to provide for his young daughter while facing the possibility of losing his farm. Fifty years after the Great Famine, Ireland is still suffering from its impact. Donal’s farm is not as productive as it once was, and without help, he may soon be forced to give it up. Though he misses his late wife, he decides to take part in the matchmaking festival with his daughter’s encouragement.
Filled with delightful twists, The Irish Matchmaker is an immersive story about faith and finding love in unexpected places from Jennifer Deibel, the author of A Dance in Donegal, The Lady of Galway Manor and The Maid of Ballymacool. Deibel skillfully weaves Donal and Catriona’s stories, creating realistic characters and a fascinating storyline. She also takes an honest look at the crushing impact of economic hardship and explores the role of faith when all hope seems lost.
The Foxhole Victory Tour
With enchanting prose, author Amy Lynn Green’s endearing historical novel, The Foxhole Victory Tour, follows the intriguing adventures of a group of USO performers during World War II.
Socialite Catherine Duquette joins a USO tour set to travel across part of North Africa, hoping to escape her sheltered life and find out what happened to Sergeant Leo Wallace, a pilot she’s in love with who suddenly stopped responding to her letters. After getting fired from her dream job, musician Maggie McCleod joins the USO camp show as well. Their unit also includes a magician, a tap dancer and a singer. As the group starts to bond, they learn that the USO talent manager will be selecting only one of them for the prestigious Pepsodent Show tour, a career-making opportunity that all of them are determined to land.
Green crafts a compelling and original cast of characters. Maggie is outspoken and witty, while Catherine is sophisticated and conflict avoidant. Then there is Gabriel, the pensive, withdrawn magician; Judith, the private and skeptical singer; Howie, the experienced tap dancer; and Douglas, their businesslike talent manager. The opportunity to grow their career adds an interesting twist to the group’s dynamics. All of them want to be selected for different, valid reasons. They grow individually and as a group, and beautifully exemplify the themes of friendship, faith and resilience explored in the novel.
The Foxhole Victory Tour is an eye-opening look at the experiences of brave USO performers who helped build troops’ morale and keep them connected to their lives back home during WWII.