Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ten Favorite Christian Historical Romance Authors

Gabrielle Here:

I live and breathe Christian Historical Romances. It's been that way since the day my aunt handed me my first Janette Oke book when I was about eleven-years-old. Before I started writing, and met brilliant contemporary authors, the number of contemporary novels I'd read could be counted on my right hand. I'm not kidding. My heart belongs to historical fiction. The number of historical novels I read? I can't even number them. One to two a week for years...until I started writing, now I'm lucky if I get in one a month.

I thought it would be fun to share ten of my favorite Christian Historical Romance authors. Now, this is not a complete's not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are dozens and dozens and dozens of amazing authors out there. Three of them are on this blog (Erica, Jaime & Anne).

For this list, I thought I would share ten authors who fit into three categories for me: 1) I read everything they write, 2) Their writing has impacted me and my writing journey is some profound way, and 3) At least one of their books is on my list of all-time favorites.

Again, I want to stress that this is not a complete list, by any means!! (I'm feeling a lot of pressure about now, if you haven't noticed.) It's just a starting point for a great conversation in which I hope you share your favorites, as well.

So here they are, with my favorite book they've written, in no particular order.

Laura Frantz, The Colonel's Lady 

This is the book that prompted me to start pursuing my dream to be an author (here's the story about how this book impacted me). It's also the book that introduced me to Laura's writing, and Laura herself. Not only is she one of my all-time favorite authors, she's also become one of my dearest writing friends. I've read this book several times, and each time I do, I love it even more.

About the Book
In 1779, when genteel Virginia spinster Roxanna Rowan arrives at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, she finds that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna is forced to take her father's place as scrivener. Before long, it's clear that the colonel himself is attracted to her. But she soon realizes the colonel has grave secrets of his own-some of which have to do with her father's sudden death. Can she ever truly love him? Readers will be enchanted by this powerful story of love, faith, and forgiveness from reader favorite Laura Frantz. Her solid research and deft writing immerse readers in the world of the early frontier while her realistic characters become intimate friends.

Jody Hedlund, Rebellious Heart

It was hard for me to choose a favorite of Jody's since they are all so amazing. Even after reading every historical book she's written, this one is still my favorite because of the intrigue, the setting and the amazing love story. Based off the life of John and Abigail Adams, this one will stay at the top of my list for a long time.

About the Book
When Susanna's heart for the poor and Ben's disillusionment with British rule cross paths, the two find themselves bound in a dangerous fight for justice.

Another author that makes it hard to choose a favorite! Seriously, I can't pick my favorite for Julie, because they are all so good. I chose this one, because it's my most recent favorite. :) I couldn't put this book down. I felt the creepy-crawlies (in a good way!) several times while reading this book. The mystery and budding romance will keep you turning the page until the very end. A definite must for Regency England fans.

About the Book
Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister. Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure. This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances--and her dowry--Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house. Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

Karen Witemeyer, Short-Straw Bride

There is not a single Karen Witemeyer book I don't love! This one has my vote as my favorite, simply because it reminds me so much of my favorite movie musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Karen's stories are always so much fun to read. Just sweet enough, with a hint of danger. When I read her first book, I immediately purchased the other two she'd had published and read them one right after the other. They're that good. :)

About this Book
When repaying a debt suddenly goes awry, Meredith finds four brothers drawing straws for her hand! Can the future hold love for this short-straw-bride?

Lori Benton, The Wood's Edge

Sigh. I love. this. book. It is at the very top of my all-time favorites. Such an intriguing premise, coupled with fascinating characters and compelling love stories, it will be one that I'll reread again and again. I don't even know what to say, other than this is one every reader of historical romance should read at least once. It's the first in a two-book series, so take heart! The ending doesn't wrap up like we'd hope--but the second book is filled with everything we want and more. Lori has a stunning way about her writing that captures you from the very start.

About the Book
At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both—Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

Joanne Bischoff, The Lady and the Lionheart

This is one of those books that had a great impact on me personally. RT Book Reviews put it perfectly when they said this book is "Heartachingly Beautiful." I love Joanne's writing, but this book takes it to the next level. The characters are so well-layered and filled with pain, you want to jump into the book and help them find their happily-ever-after. You can read my review here.

About the Book
Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it's away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet--freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice. As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella's own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl--boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

My favorite Christian Historical series of all time. I recommend it to everyone I can. I think I love it so much because you get three very different perspectives of the same war and time-period from three very different women who are all tied together in complicated relationships. It is so well-written and captivating, you won't want to put any of these books down. Love, love, love this series. I've read it many times.

About the Series
Lynn Austin takes readers on a dramatic journey through the Civil War years in her award-winning Refiner's Fire series. Told in three unique perspectives--Southern, Northern, and slave--each book offers a riveting and eloquent exploration of a nation and its people grappling with racism and injustice. With writing rich in historical detail, Austin brings to life the compelling journeys of characters confronted with the risks and sacrifices their beliefs entail.

Elizabeth Camden, Beyond All Dreams

Elizabeth Camden is a master at telling a good story. What I love is that her heroines are strong, intelligent, and work in unique jobs, not only to their time-period, but in general. Again, it was hard to pick a favorite of Elizabeth's, but I love the premise of this story and the particular jobs the hero and heroine both hold. There's also a scene in this story with the congressman and his nephew that touched home for me. It might be a scene overlooked by someone else, but for me, it helf a powerful message. That's what I love about books. They hold something different for everyone.

About the Book
When a librarian and a prominent congressman join forces to solve a mystery, they become entangled in secrets more perilous than they could have ever imagined.

DeeAnne Gist, Maid to Match

DeeAnne! I love her books, as do many other people I know. There's just something fun and spunky about each of her heroines that make me smile. This book was one of my favorites because I love the time period, the elaborate lifestyles of the very wealthy, and the intricacies of the downstairs staff (this was published before Downton Abbey!). Such a good story and so well-written, but then, all of DeeAnne's books are that way.

About the Book
The new maid at the Biltmore Estate jeopardizes her own efforts to become the lady's maid with her interest in the handsome--and forbidden--footman.

Siri Mitchell, She Walks in Beauty

I think this was the first Siri Mitchell book I read. I was taken with the time period and the customs I learned in this story. It's a book that really makes you think hard about why we care what people think, how we deal with expectations placed upon us, and whether true love really wins in the end. Siri is a beautiful story-teller and her novels are full of historical facts that don't bog down the story, but enhance it with rich details, setting us firmly in her storyworld.

About the Book
For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society page darling. Yet Clara wonders if this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her heart at stake, but the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

As I said at the beginning, these are just ten historical romance authors I love to read. Now, I'd love to hear from you! What Christian Historical Romance authors do you love? What is your favorite book they've written?

Gabrielle Meyer
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  1. Very good list. I would have to keep adding to my list. I love Christian Historical Fiction~

    1. It was hard to stop at ten! We're blessed to have so many amazing authors to choose from.

  2. Enjoy several of those authors but I'd have to say Jody Hedlund is my favorite. Love all her books.

    1. Yes! She's an amazing storyteller. Definitely at the top of my list.

  3. Recently, I really loved Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson. :) It was slightly creepy, fantastical, and I loved that the main character loved birds. I also really liked the way the main characters grew up together and grew into love.

    1. I've heard of that one, but haven't read it. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to check it out.

  4. Dear Gabe, It' has always meant more than I can say that TCL has been an inspiration to you in your writing journey. I remember our first Facebook contact & our discussion about Charles L. Your love for history and your home state really shone then & now. Minnesota creates great writers! 😊 Thanks for being a forever friend & kindred spirit. 💛 Your reading taste here is twin to mine, too. God is so good to give us these edifying books!

    1. I'm so happy TCL brought us together. Minnesota has produced some amazing writers, but then again, so has Kentucky. ❤️ Thank you for joining the conversation.

  5. Thanks for this post Gabrielle ! I've quite a few favorites on my list,but a few that come to mind are Julie Lessman (A Passion Most Pure),Sarah Sundin (Through Waters Deep) ,Erica Vetsch (His Prairie Sweetheart),and Karen Witemeyer (To Win Her Heart)just to name a few. Also want to mention that I became interested in your stories after reading Four Brides and a Bachelor. :) Special thanks to you and all the wonderful authors who have blessed us with so many wonderful stories!

    1. Yes! All those ladies were on my mind when I wrote this list. So hard to stop at ten. ❤️ Thank you for your support and encouragement, Lynne!


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