Category: Book Recommendation

Which lesser-known Christian authors do you wish more readers knew about?

Bookish Question #80 | Which lesser-known Christian authors do you wish more readers knew about?

It’s easy to find out about the big-name authors in Christian publishing.

Think Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury. It’s not hard to find out about some of the middle rank—the authors whose books you see reviewed, or you find on the shelf of your local Christian bookstore.

But, as a reader, it can be harder to find out about the lesser-known Christian authors.

It’s equally hard—or harder—for those authors to find readers.

I try and feature some lesser-known Christian authors on my blog, either through book reviews, author interviews, or First Line Friday posts. But I still have to find out about them somehow, and that’s often through them contacting me to request a review or interview.

Anyway, here’s my completely biased list of ten lesser-known Christian authors I suggest you watch out for:

What do you think? Which lesser-known Christian author do you wish more readers knew about?

Quote from Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller: While Italian arias were all very well, one's appreciation might be greater if one more fully comprehended Italian.

#ThrowbackThursday | Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my review of Winning Miss Winthrop, the first in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series by Carolyn Miller. The sequel, Miss Serena’s Secret, is due out later this month, and you’ll want to read Winning Miss Winthrop first!

This review previously appeared at Australasian Christian Writers.

Persuasion is not my favourite Jane Austen novel.

I find it frustrating, because the problems faced by the hero and heroine could be solved by one simple conversation. Unfortunately, Jane Austen lived in a society where men and women were unable to speak plainly to each other. That meant her hero and heroine spent most of the book at odds, even though they had mutual feelings towards each other.

Quote from Winning Miss WInthrop by Carolyn Miller: A woman does not have many choices in this world, but she can still be the heroine in her own life, and not just idle in the wings.

Winning Miss Winthrop is loosely based on Persuasion, and has the same central plot problem. Two years ago, Miss Catherine Winthrop fell in love with her third cousin once removed, Jonathan Carlew. She thought the feeling was mutual, but he abandoned her. Now she is twenty-five years old, at home, and on the shelf. But things are about to get complicated.

Her father dies, and instead of the estate going to the expected heir, it goes to Jonathan Carlew. Catherine and her mother are forced to leave their home and move into the Dower House, with a much-reduced income.

What follows is a frustrating yet enaging read as Catherine and Jonathan have to face up to being in the company of the other, both believing the other to have been at fault in the demise of their earlier relationship. Matters are not helped by Catherine‘s mother, the Dowager Lady Winthrop, who makes Elizabeth Bennett’s mother appear intelligent and self sacrificing.

As usual, Carolyn Miller’s is writing is spot on for the period and location.

Her locations come alive, and she captures the manners of the Regency period perfectly, while introducing a rare spiritual depth. Miller’s writing is full of the wit and subtext present in other Regency novelists such as Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. And now I’m anxiously awaiting Miss Serena’s Secret, the second book in the series.

Quote from Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn MIller: Some people count the cost of things of eternal significance as too high, whilst others are simply blind.

Recommended for all Regency romance lovers. Thanks to Kregel and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Carolyn Miller

Carolyn MillerCarolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. She is married, with four gorgeous children, who all love to read (and write!).

A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s novels have won a number of Romance Writers of American (RWA) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers. Her favourite authors are classics like Jane Austen (of course!), Georgette Heyer, and Agatha Christie, but she also enjoys contemporary authors like Susan May Warren and Becky Wade.

Her stories are fun and witty, yet also deal with real issues, such as dealing with forgiveness, the nature of really loving versus ‘true love’, and other challenges we all face at different times.

Find Carolyn Miller online at:

Website | Facebook | Google+

Goodreads| Pinterest | Twitter

About Winning Miss Winthrop

Years ago, the man who stole Catherine Winthrop’s heart rejected her–and she’s never recovered from the grief. Now tragedy has brought him back into her life. This time it isn’t her heart he’s taking, it’s her home and her family’s good name.

Jonathan Carlew’s serious demeanor and connection to trade, not to mention the rumors surrounding his birth, have kept him from being a favorite of the ladies, or their parents. Now, suddenly landed and titled, he finds himself with plenty of prospects. But his demanding society responsibilities keep pressing him into service to the one woman who captured his heart long ago–and then ran off with it.

These two broken hearts must decide whether their painful past and bitter present will be all they can share, or if forgiveness can provide a path to freedom for the future.

Set in the sumptuous salons of Bath, Regency England’s royal breeding ground for gossip, Winning Miss Winthrop is the first volume in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series. Fans of the wholesome and richly drawn first series won’t want to miss this new set of characters–or appearances by their old favorites.

You can find Winning Miss Winthrop online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Book Recommendation | Solo Tu by Narelle Atkins (Tuscan Legacy #7)

The concept behind the Tuscan Legacy series is an original and fascinating concept: nine books by seven authors, each featuring one of the eight Rossi cousins. The settings are fabulous—from Tuscany to Australia, via Rome, Reading, New York, and Texas.

Solu Tu is the Australian connection, and is the tenth book from Australian author Narelle Atkins. It’s my favourite of the series (and not just because I worked with Narelle to refine and edit the story). It’s set in Sydney, and if we can’t have a Christian romance set in New Zealand, then Australia is the next best thing.

And there’s cricket, which is one of my favourite armchair sports. (If you know nothing about cricket, check out my Wandering Wednesday post at International Christian Fiction Writers last week).

A fun friendship formed over cricket and church soon turns serious as Sienna Rossi and Dave Maxwell realize how much they have in common. Both are teachers, both are Christians, both are family-focused.

Both have family problems—Sienna with her cousins, and Dave with his grandmother. They work at the same school, attend the same church, and soon find they have a mutual attraction. But neither are planning to stay in Sydney …

Solu Tu is a unique twist on an age-old story, with a fabulous Australian setting and an underlying family mystery throughout the series. Recommended for all lovers of contemporary Christian romance, especially those who like novels with international settings.

About Narelle Atkins

Author Photo Narelle AtkinsA fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle Atkins was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children.

A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle’s contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.

Find Narelle Atkins online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

About Solo Tu:

Home means everything to Sienna Rossi.

Four years ago, Sienna defied her father by moving to Australia to obtain her teaching qualifications. Her grand plan is shaken by her father’s unexpected death and a trip back to Tuscany for her grandmother’s eightieth birthday where she renews her close bond with her sister, Alessa.

Teacher Dave Maxwell likes the freedom of his nomadic lifestyle. He works contract-to-contract, moving to different high schools around Australia. He’s in Sydney for a season, caring for his grandma while his aunt is on an extended overseas vacation.

Back in Sydney, Sienna moves in with her Aussie cousins and starts her first teaching job, torn between her dream for a future in Australia and her longing for home. Sienna and Dave work at the same school, attend the same church, and quickly become friends. They are drawn together by circumstances and an undeniable attraction.

But their idyllic time together is temporary. Can the girl from Tuscany and the boy from Australia risk everything for love?

You can find Solo Tu online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

 

You can read the introduction to Solo Tu below:

Quote from A Chance at Forever: The only tool she had was prayer, and if that was so, why didn't she use it more often?

Book Recommendation | A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears

A Chance at Forever is the third (and hopefully not last) novel in The Teaville Moral Society series.

It follows A Heart Most Certain and A Love So True. There have also been two novellas in the series, With This Ring (which I haven’t read), and Tied and True (which I have). But A Chance at Forever is a standalone novel, and you don’t need to have read the earlier books to enjoy this. (But you should read them anyway.)

It’s been six years since school bully George Firebrook left Teaville. Now he’s back in town as Aaron Firebrook, aspiring math teacher. But Mercy McClain is in the school board, the same Mercy McClain he teased mercilessly for having only one arm … and for always being happy in spite of her disability. That’s part of why he’s returned, to try and make up for the sins of his childhood. Now he has to convince people he has changed, and that’s going to start with Mercy.

Mercy McClain knows she’ll never marry and have children.

Her disability has seen to that. But she can still love the children in her care and make sure they aren’t bullied the way she was as a child. And she’s not convinced George Aaron Firebrook has changed from the bully she knew. She’s not pleased when he’s hired as the orphanage gardener. She’s gradually swayed by his work ethic and his obvious concern for the children, especially for Jimmy the troublemaker, and Owen.

Mercy is a great heroine. She’s got issues, but she’s also got a strong sense of self and she’s not willing to let anyone present the orphans with less than ideal role models. That places her in an awkward situation when she realises Aaron isn’t her biggest problem, and that speaking out might cost her.

Aaron is a strong hero. He was a bully as a schoolboy, but he’s a Christian now and trying to make amends. There are also reasons why he was a bully. This explains why he wants to make sure other Teaville children don’t face the same problems. So the job at the orphanage is perfect, even if Mercy would rather he wasn’t there. But the path of true love doesn’t run smooth, and first Aaron has to deal with bumps in the path like Owen and Jimmy.

I know I’m usually a contemporary Christian romance fan. But A Chance at Forever (and the other Teaville Moral Society stories) are the best kind of historical romance. I love the way the series uses historical settings to address some very modern issues. How do we, as Christians, deal with the less desireable members of society? The alcoholics, the drug addicts, the prostitutes, the homeless? How do we deal with that? Jagears has some ideas:

Quote from A Chance at Forever: Being moral isn't doing what's easiest or what makes you comfortable, but rather, it's choosing to do right even when it hurts, when it costs, when it's difficult.

She also isn’t afraid to identify the problem:

Quote from A Chance at Forever: The whole problem was sinful hearts, plain and simple. From the men who took advantage of the pleasures of the district, to the disdain and apathy of those who never stepped in to minister to those ensnared within it.

This is the problem highlighted by the #MeToo movement. It’s just framed a little differently.

See what I mean about historical fiction being an excellent vehicle for highlighting present-day problems?

As you’ve probably guessed, I thought everything about A Chance at Forever was outstanding—the plot, the characters, the writing, and the Christian message. Recommended for all Christian fiction readers.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Melissa Jagears

Author Photo: Melissa JagearsI stay home with my kids, and though that’s PLENTY to do, I added homeschooling and writing to my schedule too!

My husband and I have been married since 2001 and have a daughter and two sons. I’m a former high school ESL teacher and an avid book reader. If you don’t believe me, come peruse the 16 bookshelves in my house. The only reason I don’t have more is because my husband is convinced he can hear the house’s foundation groaning.

He only claims one of those bookshelves which is full of how-to manuals because he loves blacksmithing, knife smithing, traditional archery, hunting, etc. Generally whatever a mountain man does, he’s done or wants to do. He and his one lonely bookshelf often come in handy for research.

My daughter is also an avid reader who owns the book shelf chair, is a lover of famous art, and wants to be a fashion designer. My middle son builds and creates all day long, his creations are mostly knives and swords since he wants to be a knifesmith like his daddy. And my youngest is the quietest of the bunch. At the moment, he self-identifies as a cat. A black one. He answers in meows.

A pronunciation lesson for the curious: Jagears sounds like /Jag – ers/, like Mick Jagger with an S.

You can find Melissa Jagears online at:

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

About A Chance at Forever

In early 1900s Kansas, Mercy McClain, determined to protect Teaville’s children from the bullying she experienced as a child, finds fulfillment working at the local orphanage and serving on the school board. When Aaron Firebrook, the classmate who bothered her more than any other, petitions the board for a teaching position, she’s dead set against him getting the job.

Aaron knows he deserves every bit of Mercy’s mistrust, but he’s returned to his hometown a changed man and is seeking to earn forgiveness of those he wronged. He doesn’t expect Mercy to like him, but surely he can prove he now has the best interests of the children at heart.

Will resentment and old wounds hold them back, or can Mercy and Aaron put the past behind them in time to face the unexpected threats to everything they’re working for?

You can find A Chance at Forever online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to A Chance at Forever below:

#ThrowbackThursday | Close to You by Kara Isaac

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my extremely biased review of Close to You by Kara Isaac. It’s biased because Kara is a fellow Kiwi, and it’s the first Christian novel I’ve read that is set anywhere near what I call home.

To the best of my knowledge, Close to You by Kara Isaac is the first novel from a New Zealand author contracted and published by a major US Christian publisher. That alone is worth five stars, at least from this parochial Kiwi reader. Those of you who can’t see the appeal of a romance novel set in the Land of the Long White Cloud (and the land of hobbits) … I don’t know. What do people who don’t like New Zealand or hobbits read? Do they read? Can they read?.

Anyway, on to the novel.

Allie is short of money, as her funds are currently tied up in a messy divorce. She’s working as a tour guide delivering high-class (i.e. expensive) tours of New Zealand’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie locations, making good use of her PhD in English literature. Unfortunately, she now loathes all things Tolkien.

Jackson’s company has just gone bust, and he’s accompanying a long-lost—and rich—uncle on Allie’s Lord of the Rings tour in the hope he can persuade uncle to invest in his next business idea. Unfortunately, he knows nothing about Tolkien, hobbits or Lord of the Rings … despite telling his uncle he’s a die-hard fan.

Naturally, Allie and Jackson start off on the wrong foot and equally naturally (this is Christian romance!), things change as they start to get to know each other. Throw in a tour bus full of seriously eccentric characters, a wily uncle and a weasly almost-ex-husband, and the stage is set for fun and romance.

I loved all the Kiwi touches.

The nail-biting approach to Wellington Airport. The lush greenery of the Waikato. The “scents” of Rotorua. The majesty of Queenstown. The Tolkien tourist mecca of Hobbiton (which is even better in real life. I love the Second Breakfast at The Shire’s Rest cafe). The writing was good, with a good dose of humour (people actually speak Elvish?) and a subtle underlying Christian theme.

Recommended for fans of Carla Laureano and Susan May Warren. And New Zealand, and Tolkien. So that should cover pretty much everyone.

Thanks to Howard Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Kara Isaac

Kara Isaac is a RITA® Award nominee who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and three Hobbit-sized children.

You can find Kara Isaac online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Close to You

A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

You can find Close to You online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the opening to Close to You below:

Click here to find Close to You and other great Christian fiction in my Amazon store.

Quote from Ladies of Ivy Cottage

Book Recommendation | The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is the second book in the Tales From Ivy Hill series by beloved Christian Regency author Julie Klassen. There are a lot of characters to keep straight, so while this is a standalone story, it might help if you’ve read the first book in the series, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. And recently. I’ve read it, but it was over a year ago. I remembered the main plot points, but had forgotten some of the minor characters who are now major characters.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is historical romance but only to a degree. Ivy Hill has plenty of single ladies (and single gentlemen), but it’s less a romance and more a gentle ongoing story of everyday village life, complete with village intrigues. It’s not a fast-paced novel, but neither does it drag.

I enjoyed the slower pace, the reminder of a time when life wasn’t ruled by phone notifications but by the arrival of the Mail coach. I enjoyed the slow getting-to-know new characters, and being reintroduced to familiar characters. As always, I enjoyed the subtle-but-there presentation of Christianity (although The Ladies of Ivy Cottage certainly has even less of a faith message than some of her previous works).

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage was a delightful step back into another time.

Recommended for fans of village tales such as Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, Lawanna Blackwell’s Gresham Chronicles, or Jan Karon’s Mitford. And fans of Jane Austen. Of course.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Julie Klassen

Julie KlassenJulie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Her book, The Silent Governess, was also a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.

Find Julie Klassen online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

About The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?
Rachel’s friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls’ school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what–or who–has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.
Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return–but where is he?
As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

Find The Ladies of Ivy Cottage online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to The Ladies of Ivy Cottage below:

Book Recommendation | You’re Gonna Love Me by Robin Lee Hatcher

Samantha Winters broke up with Nick Chastain because he was a professional daredevil, a college professor whose out-of-class adventures mean he’s an adrenaline-seeking modern Indiana Jones. Two years later, she’s back in her home town of Thunder Creek for three months, to help her grandmother recover from a riding accident. Nick is there, working on her brother’s farm. Why?

Nick was injured in a white-water rafting accident not long after he and Sam broke up. He suffers from memory loss, which means he can no longer teach, and he’s been told to stay away from the daredevil activities, as another accident could kill him. So he’s installing irrigation systems in Idaho. On Sam’s brother’s organic farm.

It doesn’t take long for the two to reconnect.

It also doesn’t take long for the sparks to fly, as the two realise their old problems are still bubbling under the surface. I found Samantha frustrating. I could understand her fear that something might happen to Nick as he’s off doing all these dangerous things, but people choke to death on vegetables. We can’t live our lives in fear, or we’d never leave the house.

We're made in the image of God and God is the creator. Thus, we are all called to create.But that is Sam’s problem: she wants to feel safe.

That’s why she’s stuck in a job she doesn’t really enjoy, because that’s easier than looking for another job. I can relate to that. If the current job allows you the time, money, and mental headspace to pursue hobbies, why change?

But I also found Nick frustrating, for not telling Samantha about his accident, and for not telling her the extent of his injuries. Especially for not telling her he was no longer the adventuring daredevil she’d broken up with.

I guess the plus part of these character quirks is it made them feel like real people. The opposites-attract plot isn’t original. It’s a romance so we all know how it’s going to end (if you weren’t sure, the clue is in the title). But the author manages to take what could be a cookie-cutter romance up a level with well-developed characters who are anything but cliche. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I wanted to see it play out on the page.

I especially liked the way the Christian faith was woven into the plot.

It gave an added depth to the plot and to the characters, but it didn’t provide an “easy out”. The characters couldn’t just pray and have everything be fixed. That’s not real life, and it’s not good fiction either.

You’re Gonna Love Me is the sequel to You’ll Think of Me (Derek and Brooklyn’s story), but can easily be read as a standalone. Personally, I’d recommend starting at the beginning of the series—while You’re Gonna Love Me was good, I thought You’ll Think of Me was better. I’ll be interested to see whose story we get in the next visit to Thunder Creek.

Recommended for fans of family-based contemporary Christian romance stories.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin Lee HatcherBest-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Winner of the Christy, the RITA, the Carol, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and many other industry awards, Robin is also a recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She is the author of 75+ novels and novellas with over five million copies in print.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. Her main hobby (when time allows) is knitting, and she has a special love for making prayer shawls. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with Poppet, the high-maintenance Papillon, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat).

Find Robin online at:

Website | Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

About You’re Gonna Love Me

Who knew fate could twist a tragedy into a second chance at love?

Samantha Winters lives her life the way a good accountant should—measured, deliberate, and safe. After watching her father die in a tragic skiing accident, she decided never to allow risk into her life again. But she didn’t count on falling for Nick Chastain, who embodies everything she doesn’t want in her safely constructed world.

Against Samantha’s warnings, Nick plans a dangerous kayaking trip over spring break. Furious that he’s so careless with his life, she ends their fledgling relationship with harsh words.

Two years later, Samantha is desperately in need of a change. When she learns her grandmother has had an accident and is in need of a caretaker, Samantha quickly packs her bags and heads to Thunder Creek, Idaho. But nothing could prepare her for the surprise awaiting her in her grandmother’s hospital room . . . Nick.

With the charming backdrop of small-town friends, beloved cousins, and a whole church congregation rooting for them, can they set aside the disastrous ending of their first try at love? Has Nick changed enough to meet Samantha in the middle—and can she realize that a risk in love might be worth taking?

Find You’re Gonna Love Me online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Quote from Holding the Fort

Book Recommendation | Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings

Lovely Lola Bell was raised in a saloon, but her singing voice has meant she’s managed to keep from working upstairs. Except now she’s been fired, and no one in town is going to give a saloon girl a respectable job. Then she hears her brother—her only family—is in trouble. She has no choice but to become Miss Louisa Bell, find Bradley at Fort Reno, find a respectable job, and hope her past never catches up with her.

Major Daniel Adams is a widower with two daughters. When Miss Louisa Bell arrives at the Fort to teach his daughters, he’s so grateful he doesn’t bother to check her details. The girls like her, and anything to keep them out of trouble in a fort filled with soldiers and surrounded by potentally hostile Indians …

In some ways, Holding the Fort was a typical Western romance. Beautiful heroine meets handsome hero, fall in love, and so on.

But that would be missing the best parts: the comedy, and the Christian element.

Regina Jennings writes comedy. Well, this had a lot of comedy—awkwardly comedic situations, similar to Karen Witemeyer or Jen Turano. There can be a fine line between comedy and cringefest, but I definitely found Holding the Fort was comedy (especially a couple of the riding scenes).

It was also Christian. Lola aka Louisa was not a Christian. She’d been raised in a saloon, hardly the kind of place you’d find a preacher. She does a so-so job of pretending, but when it comes out that she’s not a Christian, Daniel has a dilemma. He’s attracted to her, but … Anyway, that ended up being one of the strengths for me.

Overall, I loved Holding the Fort. Recommended for fans of romantic comedy, especially historical Westerns.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Regina Jennings

Regina JenningsRegina Jennings is the winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. A graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history, Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children when not traveling the world.

Find Regina Jennings online at:

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

About Holding the Fort

Louisa Bell never wanted to be a dance-hall singer, but dire circumstances force her hand. With a little help from her brother in the cavalry, she’s able to make ends meet, but lately he’s run afoul of his commanding officer, so she undertakes a visit to straighten him out.
Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno. He can barely control his rowdy troops, much less his two adolescent daughters. If Daniel doesn’t find someone respectable to guide his children, his mother-in-law insists she’ll take them.
When Louisa arrives with some reading materials, she’s mistaken for the governess who never appeared. Major Adams is skeptical. She bears little resemblance to his idea of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he’s left without recourse. His mother-in-law must be satisfied, which leaves him turning a blind eye to his unconventional governess’s methods. Louisa’s never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough?

Find Holding the Fort online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to Holding the Fort below:

Words are my superpower. When I use them, things happen and events change.

Book Recommendation | Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman

Emilie Wesley is a lawyer working in a women’s shelter. She’s in court, expecting to file a protective order on behalf of client Kaylene Adams, but Kaylene doesn’t show. Because she’s dead … and suspected of shooting her two daughters. Emilie suspects murder, and worries that Kaylene’s surviving daughter will be in danger.

No one believes her except Reid Billings, Kaylene’s brother, and even he takes some persuading. Now it’s up to Emilie and Reid to find out the truth before Kinley regains consciousness. Because that will mean she goes home, to live with her abusive father. But it’s not going to be easy. All the evidence points to Kaylene, Emilie’s boss wants her to focus on her living clients, the ones she can still help. And her stalker is back.

Imperfect Justice is an excellent mix of legal thriller and romantic suspense. There is plenty of suspense, lots of legal problems, and enough romance to make sure it doesn’t all get too heavy. And while it’s dealing with women in abusive situations, it’s hard-hitting without being explicit.

I didn’t really consider the implications of the title as I was reading, but they certainly hit me as I came to write this review. Our earthly justice is imperfect. Even if we’re able to identify and punish a criminal, the victims of crime still have to live with the aftereffects. We can’t turn back time as if the crime never happened. Equally, God’s justice is perfect … but we don’t get that now, either. We have to wait, which often means learning lessons like patience and forgiveness.

Imperfect Justice is the second book in Cara Putman’s Hidden Justice series, following Beyond Justice. The stories follow a group of female attorneys, so work as standalone stories. Recommended for fans of legal thrillers and romantic suspense from authors such as Rachel Dylan, Carrie Stuart Parks, Colleen Coble and Lynette Eason.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Cara Putman

Cara PutmanAs a preteen Cara Putman watched lawyers change legislative opinions at an important legislative hearing in Nebraska. At that time, she wondered if she became an attorney if people would give her words the same weight. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, George Mason University School of Law and Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, Cara has turned her passion for words into award-winning stories that capture readers. Her legal experience makes its way into her stories where strong women confront real challenges.

The award-winning author of more than 25 titles, Cara writes legal thrillers, WWII romances, and romantic suspense because she believes that no matter what happens hope is there, waiting for us to reach for it.

When she’s not writing, Cara is an over-educated attorney who lectures in law and communications at the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University and homeschools her children. She and her family live in Indiana, the land of seasons.

You can find Cara Putman online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

About Imperfect Justice

The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can’t be talking about her client . . . can they?

To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie’s belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.

Reid Billings thought he knew his sister—right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene’s letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.

Thrown together in the race to save Kaylene’s surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl—and find a future for themselves in the process?

Find Imperfect Justice online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon UK
ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Book Recommendation | The Heart of an Agent by Tracey J Lyons

The Heart of an Agent is the sequel to A Changed Agent, which centred on the romance of Pinkerton agent Will Benton and schoolteacher Elsie Mitchell. Lily Handland was a minor character, Will’s Pinkerton partner. Now Lily has left the Pinkertons and wants to settle down in Heartston. Start a fresh life.

But Lily needs a job, and she’s not cut out to sew seams or serve in a boarding house restaurant. The banker suggests she consider investing in a local Great Camp, owned by widower Owen Murphy. The camp used to bustle with day visitors and vacationing guests, but it has fallen into ruin since the death of the perfect Rebecca Murphy.

The setting of one of the Great Camps of the Adirondacks was fascinating.

I’ve heard of the Adirondack chair (hasn’t everyone?). I may even have read a previous book set in an upper class camp in upstate New York. But that was just the setting. In The Heart of an Agent, the Great Camp is almost a character as the repair and resurrection of the Great Camp reflects Owen’s personal journey of healing and finding love again.

The one anticlimax was when Owen found out Lily’s big secret. It felt to me like he overreacted—possibly because we’d known her big secret almost from page one (that she was an ex-Pinkerton agent, and worked under cover as a saloon girl). It might have seemed fitting if he’d thought she was a gently raised choir girl, but she’d already told him parts of her past.

No matter. The conflict was short-lived, and we were able to get back to the main event, the romance. The Heart of an Agent was a classic Golden Age romance that achieved the difficult task of bringing a widower out of his slump, and focusing almost more on the characters and setting than the romance. It was all the better for that slow build.

Recommended for fans of Christian historical romance with a Golden Age setting, from authors such as Jen Turano and Karen Witemeyer.

Thanks to NetGalley and Waterfall Press for providing a free ebook for review.

About Tracey J Lyons

Tracey J LyonsTracey J. Lyons is the author of many historical romance novels, including The Women of Surprise series and The Adirondack Pinkertons series. An Amazon Top Ten bestselling historical romance author, she is a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Novelists, Inc. Her books have been translated into several languages, and she has appeared on the award-winning Cox cable television show Page One. Tracey lives with her family in Orange County, New York. When not busy writing, she enjoys making her husband crazy with renovation projects at their 1860s home.

You can find Tracey online at:

Website | Facebook | Pinterest

About The Heart of an Agent

Former Pinkerton spy Lily Handland has always dreamed of a quiet, safe life, free from chasing criminals and putting herself at risk. So when the opportunity to invest in a failing Great Camp in the Adirondacks comes to her attention, she quickly jumps at the chance.

Filled with grief, widower Owen Murphy wants to run away from it all. Though he’s worked hard to forge a future for himself, his guilt has kept him mired in the past. But all that changes when a headstrong, mysterious woman shows up at Owen’s door. Together, as Lily and Owen restore the beauty of the Great Camp, he begins to finally see a future. But will learning about Lily’s past destroy it all?

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon UK | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to The Heart of an Agent below: