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On Moonberry Lake

Varni, host of the Moments from Moonberry Lake podcast, delivers a solid debut focusing on the stories of ordinary Midwesterners. The faith content is vague enough that general-fiction readers of Fannie Flagg, J. Ryan Stradal, and Viola Shipman will appreciate the small-town flavor and humorous anecdotes.

The Light on Halsey Street

Friendship and the power of community are the shining stars of this novel, which doesn’t shy away from tough issues but also offers a hefty dose of hope and humor. Read-alikes include Lean on Me by Pat Simmons and No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert.

The Wind Blows in Sleeping Grass

Powner’s real-life experience as a seasoned foster mother shines through in this tale of finding treasure in the people and things that others have cast aside. The secondary characters are funny, flawed, and so unusual that readers will be clamoring for more.

Calling on the Matchmaker

Hedlund (“Colorado Cowboys” series) seems to have a hit no matter what time period she writes, and this book is no exception. With its strong supporting characters set to continue this new series, readers will appreciate a unique U.S. immigrant story not set on the coasts. Fans of historical fare from Karen Witemeyer and Regina Jennings will want to open up this matchmaking adventure.

Appalachian Song

Shocklee (Count the Nights by Stars) delivers another powerful stand-alone novel for readers who love Appalachian stories in the style of Ann H. Gabhart and Kim Vogel Sawyer.

He Should Have Told the Bees

Cox (The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery) is a brilliant writer, and her characters feel like old friends. With humor and a tenderness for the struggling, the novel explores what happens when people let the light in on their journey to healing.

Ladies of the Lake

History buffs looking for deep writing and character development will want to add Gohlke to their lists. Recommend to fans of Lisa Wingate, Amanda Dykes, and Valerie Fraser Luesse.

The Love Script

With faith and pop culture references from page one, Shiloh (To Win a Prince) excels at growing multidimensional characters into friends, with a little help from family and God. Recommend for readers of chaste romantic comedies in the style of Betsy St. Amant or Sandra D. Bricker.

Letters from My Sister

A nuanced and heartwarming tale of sisterly love and community, based partly on the author’s family history, from a master of Southern fiction similar to Lisa Wingate or Lauren K. Denton.

The Girl from the Papers

In this Bonnie-and-Clyde tale with a redemptive twist, Wright (Come Down Somewhere) proves her literary chops and puts herself on the level of historical-fiction favorites like Susan Meissner and Fiona Davis.

The Long March Home: A World War II Novel of the Pacific

A great read for those enthralled with real-life stories of war and survival such as Laura Hilderbrand’s Unbroken and Adam Makos’s Devotion. Recommend to those looking for a new angle on World War II fiction.

The Best Summer of Our Lives

Themes about the endurance of friendship and the ability to come home give readers plenty to think about, and those nostalgic for childhood summers will enjoy this novel.

The Heart’s Choice

Readers looking for a clear gospel message, as found in the novels of Janette Oke, Gilbert Morris, and Lauraine Snelling, will want to begin this new series.

The All-American

Finkbeiner (The Nature of Small Birds) excels at illuminating history and the human condition through the voices of young people. Fans of the 1992 movie A League of Their Own will enjoy this, as will readers of women’s fiction such as Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd and The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan.

Indigo Isle

With beautiful themes and strong writing, Lowe (Under the Magnolias) delivers a romance that lifts up women and men and shows how love can overcome the walls built around secrets. Nicole Deese and Natalie Walters are similar contemporary authors in the genre.

Windswept Way

Hannon, who has long been viewed as a successful writer of Christian thrillers, proves she can excel in the contemporary-romance genre as well.

After the Shadows

Cabot (The Spark of Love) is becoming a must-buy. Her sensitivity and realistic portrayal of characters often on the margins of history really shine in this new historical series, which includes a child with Down syndrome, a domestic-abuse survivor, and a family impacted by suicide. Read-alikes can be found in the works of Melanie Dobson, Ann H. Gabhart, and Tamera Alexander.

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau

Wright (The Premonition at Withers Farm) pens another delightfully creepy tale where nothing is quite as it seems and characters seek freedom from nightmares both real and imagined.

The Words We Lost

Deese (All That It Takes) is a master wordsmith, deftly weaving a story that readers won’t be able to put down. This latest book has crossover appeal for fans of contemporary romance seeking realistic and endearing characters.

The Year of Jubilee

In her adult fiction debut (a semi-autobiographical novel), singer/songwriter Morgan (How Could I Ask for More: Stories of Blessings, Battles, and Beauty) highlights the hardscrabble life of the 1960s working poor. Fans of classic coming-of-age stories such as To Kill a Mockingbird or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will enjoy this unflinching tale of an American family longing for a “Year of Jubilee,” where debts are forgiven and captives are set free.

The Metropolitan Affair

Classified as Christian fiction, this involving blend of historical crime story, family saga, and romance will please a range of readers. Suggest it beyond its BISAC category and put it on reading lists of cozy mysteries and gentle romances too.

The Sound of Light

Each Sundin (Until Leaves Fall in Paris) novel tops the last as she delves deeper into the Christian psyche. Fans of Lisa Wingate, Lynn Austin, and secular author Hazel Gaynor will treasure this moving tale.

The Rose and the Thistle

Readers who love Celtic settings will rejoice over this offering featuring bonny Scotland. For fans of historical fiction from the likes of Jocelyn Green, Michelle Griep, and Elizabeth Camden.

Engaging Deception

Hilarious misunderstandings and secrets abound in this humorous, action-packed romance. Jennings (Proposing Mischief) brings out the best in the historical Christian romance genre, and this is a satisfying conclusion to her trilogy that can easily be read as a stand-alone.

All the Lost Places

Using a lyrical style heavy with metaphor, Dykes connects a myriad of details to form an epic tale of beauty and redemption with echoes of all the great love stories. With a bit of a National Treasure vibe and a unique setting, this will appeal to historical fiction fans who appreciate art, archaeology, and history.

In Love’s Time

Breslin (As Dawn Breaks) weaves a tale of intrigue, secrets, romance, and redemption in wartime England that will satisfy demand for light-hearted historical reads. Fans of Tracie Peterson, Deanne Gist, and Mary Connealy will enjoy this.

The Blackout Book Club

This is an uplifting read for dark times, featuring strong and unique characters uniting toward a common goal. It also has crossover appeal for fans of historical fiction from Jennifer Ryan and Kate Quinn.

Authentically, Izzy

Though sweet, this romance from Basham (The Heart of the Mountains) will have trouble finding its audience.

The Secrets of Emberwild

This is a great pick for readers who like historical fiction and cozy mysteries with a strong female lead. Hand to fans of Carrie Turansky and Laura Frantz.

Concrete Evidence

Mills (Trace of Doubt) delivers another action-packed novel that offers intrigue and an adventurous ride. Recommend to fans of Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, and Carrie Stuart Parks.

Come Down Somewhere

This is historical fiction as it is meant to be told: a glimpse (based on true events) through the eyes of people caught up in the maelstrom of world events beyond their control.

When Stone Wings Fly: A Smoky Mountains Novel

Barnett spins an effortless tale that will quickly engross readers with vivid imagery reminiscent of a time long ago. Fans of Lori Wick, Francine Rivers, and Charles Martin will likely be drawn to this novel that combines contemporary with historical.

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip

The themes of grace and faith are strong throughout and the topic of refugees is evergreen and will resonate with today’s readers. However, at times, the narrative style is detail filled and heavy on backstory, which makes for a more plodding read. May appeal to readers of character driven fiction.

Life Flight

Fans of DiAnn Mills, Dani Pettrey, and Carrie Stuart Parks will be drawn to this suspense series.

A Heart Adrift

Fans of Christian historical fiction will delight in this sweet tome. Highly recommended.

In Search of True North

Readers of character-driven Christian fiction will appreciate Mallory’s character and her struggle to not be defined by her mistakes. Fans of Cynthia Ruchti and Jennifer AlLee will want to put Neely on their watch list.

The Paris Betrayal

Hannibal (Chasing the White Lion) writes a fast-paced, quick read thriller with crossover romantic elements loosely based on the Book of Job. Ben is often told to rely on faith, but otherwise this could be a secular novel, since the faith isn’t implicitly religious. Recommended for libraries where Hannibal’s books are popular.

When Twilight Breaks

Sundin (The Sky Above Us) is a must-buy for any Christian fiction collection, and her latest World War II tale positively crackles with tension. The characters struggle with changing sympathies while wrestling with the balance between freedom and order. Attentive readers may see parallels between the circumstances depicted in the book and the world today.


Dekker (“Seer” series) comes into her own with this thought-provoking companion to the Girl Behind the Red Rope, coauthored with her father Ted Dekker, exploring themes of good, evil, and the power of choice. Fans of thrillers by James Rollins, Ronie Kendig, or the “X-Men” comics series will relish this fast-paced story.

The Black Midnight

Y’Barbo (The Pirate Bride) deftly weaves modern theories into the latest installment of this Christian “True Colors” crime series. Alice is a bright, refreshing character, and fans of enterprising female detectives, such as Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs and Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody, will appreciate the period details and clean romance.


The London Restoration

Fans of the author may still want to give this a try. For readers seeking a more nuanced historical mystery, one might suggest Sherry Thomas’s “Lady Sherlock” series.

The Sowing Season

Packed with poignancy and meaning, Powner’s debut novel delivers life lessons that cross generations and will linger long after the last page is turned. If Powner has more stories like this, she will be the next big star in Christian fiction.

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

The intricate setup Wright (The House on Foster Hill) delivers requires patience and suspension of disbelief, but the ending is worth it. Fans of complex Christian fiction in the vein of Kristy Cambron and Michèle Phoenix will enjoy this title.


Under Scottish Stars

Laureano (The Saturday Night Supper Club) pens a worthy crossover title concluding this modern romantic trilogy that could also stand alone as a winsome story of community and second chances. Fans of light, contemporary, Christian romance along the lines of Jenny Colgan or Bethany Turner will want to add Laureano to their lists.


Love and a Little White Lie

Purchase for collections where modern inspirational romance does well.


These Nameless Things

Those who enjoy Jolina Petersheim, Carrie Stuart Parks, and Tosca Lee and who appreciate mind- and genre-bending fiction will want to add this to a reading list. However, readers who are not familiar with Dante’s Inferno will miss a lot of symbolism and be confused by the plot, especially the ending. Recommended for those looking to try something completely different.

Fragments of Light

A thoughtful and powerful book about how trauma impacts multiple generations and how forgiveness can set anyone on the path to healing.

Where the Road Bends

Rawlings (The Baggage Handler) uses magical realism to take his characters on a journey into the twisted wilderness of their own pasts. Fans of Mitch Albom, Richard Paul Evans, and Angela Hunt will enjoy this morality tale of four people whose steps have wandered but who may still be able to find their way.


Closer Than She Knows

Recommended for purchase in inspirational collections.

If I Were You

Austin transports readers into the lives of her characters, plunking them in the middle of a brutal war and giving them a unique take on the traditional World War II tale. Readers won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough to find out how Eve and Audrey met and what could have gone so terribly wrong.

The Water Keeper

Martin deftly unwinds Shepherd’s backstory in between high-octane chase scenes. Readers who enjoy flawed yet likable characters created by authors such as John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks will want to start reading Martin’s fiction.

The Best We’ve Been

Vogt rounds out the “Thatcher Sisters” trilogy with this last installment. All three siblings realize the strength in family and faith as the story unfolds. Best read in order; readers who enjoy authors Karen Kingsbury and Lori Wick will love the Thatcher sisters.


A Mosaic of Wings

Duffy is an author to watch. She presents a unique look at society’s expectations for women in two different cultures in the late 19th century. Only by losing all she has held dear can Nora gain a love and passion she cannot live without. This historical romance is recommended for readers of Tracie Peterson and Jody Hedlund.


Recommended for libraries where readers want action, mysteries, and suspense without gore.


Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey

This latest from Wilson (Midnight on the River Grey) has all the elements of a classic Regency romance, but the mystery adds another layer, enriching the plot. As well, there should be plenty of crossover appeal, since the Christian influences are very subtle. Recommended for fans of Tasha Alexander and Lauren Willig.

Being Known

Many readers who have grown up with the “Christy Miller” series will applaud this newest release. A great Christian beach read or just a gentle escape to accompany a cup of tea.

Unveiling the Past

Popular Christian fiction author Sawyer explores earthly and heavenly relationships in this follow-up to Bringing Maggie Home. Those looking for a gentle read that focuses on faith and evangelism may appreciate this, but the tidy ending strains credulity and Sean’s traditional views won’t resonate with everyone.

Callahan on Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Romantic Suspense from Irvin and Johnson | Christian Fiction Reviews


Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Fans of Karen White and Mary Alice Monroe will enjoy this book. Callahan's writing is riveting and her characters spring to life to create a magical and literary experience that won't be soon forgotten.

Tell Her No Lies

Irvin ("Amish of Bee County" series) creates a complex web with enough twists and turns to keep even the most savvy romantic suspense readers guessing until the end. Known for her Amish novels, this two-time Christy Award finalist shows that her talents span subgenres from tranquil Amish stories to rapidly paced breathless suspense.

A Sparkle of Silver

Johnson ("Prince Edward Island Dreams" series) pens an evocative tale of family intrigue and dashing romance sure to delight fans of Melody Carlson and Susan Anne Mason. The romance between Millie and Ben is on a constant simmer, creating a breathtaking dynamic that will satisfy romantic suspense fans. Johnson's followers will be lining up for this new series.

Thief of Corinth

Afshar's well-drawn characters and lushly detailed setting vividly bring to life the ancient world of the Bible. A solid choice for fans of Francine Rivers and Bodie and Brock Thoene.

The Solace of Water

Younts's (Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl) powerful novel reverberates with love that crosses religious and racial boundaries to find the humanity that connects us all. Highly recommended.

Amish Celebrations

Wiseman's (Amish Secrets) collection of timeless stories of love and loss among the Plain People will delight fans of the author's heartfelt story lines and flowing prose.

A Daring Venture

Suggest to historical romance fans and those who read for character and a fast-moving plot.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain

Christy- and Carol Award-winning author Bischof (The Lady and the Lionheart) creates endearing characters and a heartwarming story line in this unforgettable novel about the power of family, love, and the true meaning of home. Fans of Kristy Cambron, Julie Klassen, and Susan Meissner will love this one.

When Through Deep Waters

Suggest to fans of women's fiction, Ted Dekker, and readers who enjoy stories that make them think.

Engraved on the Heart

Debut novelist Johnson does not shy away from the horrors of slavery and the important role of the Underground Railroad, but the tone of this historical romance is much lighter than expected. Still, fans of the genre will be pleased.

Formula of Deception

Acclaimed author Parks ("Gwen Marcey" series) draws on her career as a forensic artist to imbue her stories with a true-to-life accuracy that will fascinate readers of CSI-type fiction.

Her Fear

Purchase only where there is demand. [See Prepub Alert, 1/22/18.]

River to Redemption

Admirers of Elizabeth Byler Younts and those who appreciate historical fiction set in the South will find this an engrossing read.

Portrait of a Sister

Engaging characters and a tender story line will please fans of Amish fiction, especially readers of Amy Clipston.

The Patriot Bride

This fourth series title (after The Captured Bride) features the author's trademark of transforming otherwise dry historical events into a riveting narrative. Admirers of Woodhouse's collaborations with Tracie Peterson will appreciate the author on her own.

An Amish Family

Enthusiasts of Fuller's sweet Amish romances will savor this new anthology.

More Than Meets the Eye

For Jen Turano fans and aficionados of Texas-based historical romance.

Only by Death

Herman's second entry in the "Ozark Mountain" trilogy (after Not by Sight) offers a swift-moving spiritual thriller that features plenty of plot twists along with themes of redemption, faith, and salvation.

A Rebel Heart

Fascinating Southern historical fiction with a touch of romance.

The House at Saltwater Point

Taking place on Washington State's Puget Sound, this follow-up to The View from Rainshadow Bay features delightful characters and an evocative, atmospheric setting. Ideal for fans of romantic suspense and authors Dani Pettrey, Dee Henderson, and Brandilyn Collins.

The Man He Never Was

For fans of classical retellings and dark, spiritual thrillers.

The Sea Before Us

The author of When Tides Turn kicks off a new wartime series, mixing her usual excellent historical research with fast-paced, breathtaking suspense. World War II fiction is hot, and this period romance will have wide appeal.

Becoming the Talbot Sisters

Linden (Ascension of Larks) tackles the issue of sex trafficking deftly and with sensitivity. Provocative prose and a twisty plot will engage readers. Devotees of Elin Hilderbrand and Catherine West will appreciate this one.

In Places Hidden

Bound to attract fans of the author's "Heart of the Frontier" series and readers desiring an uplifting, scripture-based novel in which faith and prayer are key elements in the development of both the plot and the characters.

A Most Noble Heir

An immersive narrative and sympathetic characters are highlights of this heartwarming novel from Mason (Love's Faithful Promise) about the importance of family, the power of love, and the faith to pursue your heart's desire. For readers seeking a well-written Victorian romance in the vein of Laura Frantz or Jocelyn Green.

Hurricane Season

Denton (The Hideaway) crafts a beautiful story with well-drawn, complex characters about the bonds of family, the trials of parenting, and the power of love to soothe the difficulties of daily life. Suggest for readers of Jane Green. [Previewed in Julia Reffner's "A Delicate Balance," LJ 11/15/17.]

The Lost Castle

Cambron's atmospheric settings, historical details, and ability to create well-rounded characters who wend their way into readers' hearts has garnered her many fans. They will be eagerly awaiting this title. [Previewed in Julia Reffner's "A Delicate Balance," LJ 11/15/17.]

The Heart Between Us

A tenderhearted story of second chances, Harrel's sophomore effort (after One More Song To Sing) pairs expressive language with well-drawn characters and will attract admirers of Laura Frantz and Melissa Tagg.

Honeysuckle Dreams

This second series outing (after Blue Ridge Sunrise) is a feel-good romance with a happy yet realistic ending. With several of Hunter's books already adapted as Hallmark Channel movies, this offering by a master of the genre is sure to be another hit with her fans.

No Less Days

Stevens's (Far and Near) Christian fantasy raises fascinating questions about immortality and its spiritual price. A terrific pick for book groups seeking weighty discussion topics.

Beneath a Prairie Moon

Sawyer's (Bringing Maggie Home) prairie romance is laced with humor, danger, and unexpected plot twists. This light and fun novel will please readers who enjoy Tracie Peterson and Tamera Alexander.

The Hidden Side

Filled with fascinating historical details, Chiavaroli's second novel (after Freedom's Ring) once again connects two women through an artifact of the past. This heartrending tale will engage aficionados of the American Revolution and historical fiction.

The Things I Never Told You

A solid recommendation for those who enjoy Susan May Warren and Fern Michaels.

Where Hope Begins

West's (The Things We Knew) compelling and heart-wrenching, rising-from-the ashes novel realistically delves into the tough issues of suicide, anger, and guilt with a touch of grace and hope. As with Julie Cantrell's The Feathered Bone, it will leave readers wrung out but satisfied.A tumultuous school year; an empty nester struggles to forgive; the trials and joys of parenting

No One Ever Asked

Ganshert's (Life After) emotionally charged and powerful novel will have readers examining their own personal biases. Recommended for book groups looking for a story with loads of discussion potential. [Previewed in Julia Reffner's "A Delicate Balance," LJ 11/15/17.]

The Weaver's Daughter

A strong choice for fans of historical fiction, especially lovers of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. It will also appeal to admirers of Kristy Cambron and Tracie Peterson.

The Story Peddler

With its engaging protagonist and twisty, suspenseful story line, this first volume in Franklin's "Weaver" trilogy will attract fantasy fans seeking a light and inspirational read. New readers willing to try the genre will also be rewarded.

A Light on the Hill

Cossette ("Out from Egypt"trilogy) debuts a biblical series that revolves around the Old Testament's Levitical sanctuary cities, set against the backdrop of ancient Israel. Accessible and fluid character-driven storytelling creates a fascinating read that will appeal to fans of Jill Eileen Smith and Angela Hunt and those who prefer their biblical fiction less academic.

Isaiah's Daughter: A Novel of Prophets & Kings

Marked by precise historical detail, Andrews's (Miriam) sweeping and engrossing biblical saga will renew interest among Christian book groups in rereading the prophesies of Isaiah in the Old Testament.

Beneath the Surface

Fans of Dani Pettrey's "Alaskan Courage" thrillers will enjoy this nail-biter of a series opener, which will also be appreciated by romantic and psychological suspense fans.

Across the Blue

Carol Award winner Turansky (Shine Like the Dawn) captures the exciting beginnings of aviation with authentic historical details that serve as a fascinating backdrop to Isabella and James's burgeoning relationship. For fans of tender romances set in Edwardian England.

The Saturday Night Supper Club

Romance aficionados and fans of stories about overcoming obstacles and the role of faith in everyday life will eagerly await the next entry in this sweet food-centered series.

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