In each of these inspiring novels, undaunted heroines navigate tumultuous pasts to find joy in the future, as they discover that faith has the power to take them further than they ever dreamed possible.
A year after her debut novel, Missing Isaac, struck a chord with readers, Valerie Fraser Luesse once again directs a symphony of characters, charming readers with her storytelling expertise and captivating dialogue. Set during World War II in Blackberry Springs, Alabama, Almost Home finds Dolly and Josiah Chandler struggling to make ends meet and renting out rooms in their fading family home to folks seeking financial opportunities at a nearby munitions plant. Dolly is the quintessential Southern hostess, whose cast-iron skillet is always serving up delicious meals and whose heart overflows with her faith in God, especially when it comes to guiding her boarders through hard times. The disparate souls who come to Dolly’s boardinghouse share impoverished circumstances and the pain of war, but they discover even more in common as their bonds of trust grow. A sisterhood blooms among the women as they connect the dots of a mysterious love story between a preacher’s daughter and the river pirate who built the family home. Old trunks and journals, abandoned shacks and river caves, speculation and surprise take center stage as the women search for the truth—and in the end find themselves, healed and whole.
Award-winning novelist Kristy Cambron weaves a tale of faith and resilience in the newest of her Lost Castle series, Castle on the Rise. Ireland’s struggles for independence in both 1798 and 1916 provide the background for this modern-day story that hinges on the secrets of Ashford Manor, a castle left to brothers Quinn and Cormac. The brothers, along with Quinn’s wife and her best friend, follow intriguing clues whose answers are revealed in chapters that alternate between the three time periods. The 1916 story, set during the Easter Rising, is vivid and fast-paced, filled with a rebellious spirit and heart-pounding suspense as a photojournalist named Issy battles cultural norms to become a valued member of the rebellion. The 1797-1798 story finds noblewoman Maeve resisting expectations that she cannot become involved in the family estate, even in the midst of uprisings and a strange encounter with an injured stranger. All three stories are laced with love, pain, faith and forgiveness as the characters fight their way to freedom, not just for Ireland but also for themselves.
In The Glovemaker, historical novelist Ann Weisgarber beautifully paints the harsh, lonely environment of the Utah Territory during the winter of 1887-1888 while creating tense moments and life-altering revelations for her heroine, Deborah. While awaiting her husband’s return from his work as a wheelwright, Deborah is visited by a stranger of her own Mormon faith. She knows he is running from the law, and she knows why: The U.S. government has ruled polygamy to be a felony. Although she does not agree with his personal choices, she knows he is a persecuted brother of her faith, so she decides to help him and risk her home and well-being to do so. When the lawman tracking the stranger appears at her door, Deborah has both religious and ethical decisions to make. Is it a sin to lie if a life is in jeopardy? Should the reality of these life-and-death situations outweigh her faith? Through the snow and wind, Deborah balances precariously between the tenets of her faith and her newfound courage. Weisgarber’s strong grip on suspense keeps the pages turning until the last storm passes and Deborah finds peace within herself.
With a masterful dual narrative, subtle romance and spine-tingling suspense, acclaimed author Jaime Jo Wright navigates the lives of two young women seeking a sense of identity in her third novel, The Curse of Misty Wayfair. In the early 1900s, Thea Reed, abandoned at an orphanage at age 4, travels as a post-mortem photographer while searching for her birth mother. Her journey leads her to Pleasant Valley, a small community that is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a murdered woman. When given the chance to photograph asylum patients, Thea begins to solve the mysteries of her own past—and she may also unravel the ghostly legend. In the current day, Heidi Lane has returned home to Pleasant Valley, a place she never felt she belonged. Her mother’s dementia has created even more of a chasm between them, with cryptic questions and answers from her mother that insinuate that Heidi is dead. Everywhere Heidi turns, she sees what the townspeople believe is the ghost of Misty Wayfair. Heidi’s search opens long-closed wounds and leads her to the same asylum where the haunting began years ago. Both women are driven by a passion for the truth and a desire to know that their lives have meaning. By accepting that God created them with a plan in mind, the two women are then able to find that purpose.