The world of inspirational romance is filled with books that run the gamut of human emotion. We’ve chosen four inspirational titles that you’re sure to enjoy, so brew a pot of Earl Grey, find a comfy spot, curl up and settle in with one or all of these wonderful reads.
GILDED AGE OF ROMANCE
Bestselling author Julie Lessman’s Surprised By Love, the third book in The Heart Of San Francisco series, is set during the Gilded Age in San Francisco’s notorious Barbary Coast. The beloved daughter of a wealthy family, Megan McClare returns home after a long visit in Paris. The once shy, chubby, freckle-faced child has grown into a beautiful woman during her year in France. The change in her appearance is startling, and her childhood champion, Bram Hughes, is bowled over at first sight. He’s always adored Megan’s warmth and kindness; now, her stunning beauty makes him see her as a desirable woman as well. Megan is in love with Bram, but he holds her at arms-length, for his father is pressing Bram to marry another in order to seal a business deal and save the family business. Bram feels he cannot let his father down. Meanwhile, Megan tries to hide her disappointment and throws herself into her internship at the district attorney’s office. Heartbreak surely looms for this young couple if they cannot find solutions to the myriad of obstacles that keep them apart.
Lessman makes the Gilded Age come alive with Stanley Steamer cars, beaded bodices and Gibson Girl hairstyles. In this well-plotted story, Megan and Bram are admirable, strong characters that will have readers rooting for their happy ending.
BIG TEXAS LOVE
The American West at the turn of the century is the setting for A Matter Of Heart by Tracie Peterson. Beautiful Jessica Atherton is the only daughter of a wealthy rancher in 1896 Texas. When the man she’d expected to marry weds another, Jessica finds herself questioning her assumptions about her world. What does she want from life? What character traits does she possess that she’s proud of? Does she want to marry? As she’s struggling with her view of herself, two men enter her life. One is a handsome lawyer who can give her the kind of privileged life she’s always known. The other, Austin Todd, is a Texas Ranger with a dark past and secrets in his eyes. Jessica finds herself drawn to Austin, as he is to her. While she ponders her future and her Christian faith, danger intrudes, and Austin must fulfill his duty. With his life at risk, their future is by no means assured.
Peterson paints a vivid picture of rural late-1800s Texas in this charming novel. The hero’s detective work adds an appealing bit of mystery and danger to the romance. Readers are certain to cheer for Jessica as she matures into a kinder, stronger, more compassionate woman.
THERE'S GOT TO BE SOMETHING MORE
Life among England’s privileged upper crust is explored in The Daughter of Highland Hall, the second in Carrie Turansky’s Edwardian Brides series. Sponsored by her difficult aristocratic aunt, lovely debutante Katherine Ramsey is in the midst of her first London season when a family scandal erupts. Fortunately for Katherine, she has a staunch supporter in medical student Jonathan Foster, her guardian’s brother-in-law. Jonathan is a man of strong Christian character and he loves Katherine, but he believes he would never be accepted as a suitor due to his lower social standing. Katherine, however, values Jonathan for his kindness, strength, commitment to medicine and his dedication to helping the poor. As they spend time together, she finds Jonathan’s wise counsel helps her work through her concerns about how God fits in her life.
This is a touching story of two honorable young people poised on the edge of their adult lives, giving thoughtful consideration to how they will spend the ensuing years. The details of upper class life in Edwardian London add color and texture to the story while secondary characters give the tale warmth and charm.
Christy Award winner Leslie Gould returns to Amish country in Becoming Bea, the fourth entry in her popular series, The Courtships of Lancaster County. Beatrice Zook is a homebody with no urge to travel; despite her sister’s protests, Bea stays behind when her family leaves Lancaster County on a trip to Montana. Bea has been hired to assist a local family overwhelmed with the birth of their triplets. Much to her surprise, she finds she has a talent for child-care, and being on her own allows her freedom to mature and become more independent. However, she still struggles with her difficult relationship with longtime friend and one-time beau, Ben Rupp. He knows all the buttons to push to spark her temper, but is the heat between them caused by annoyance or attraction?
Gould has created a warm community filled with interesting characters, while the details of daily life in the close knit Amish world near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, are intriguing. Readers will thoroughly enjoy this charming novel.
Lois Dyer writes from her home in Washington State.