Christian Fiction Reviews, February 15, 2012

Ah‚Ķl’amour! It’s February, and love is in the air. For readers who like their romances wholesome, this month’s selections will not disappoint. Sandra D. Bricker’s Always the Designer, Never the Bride serves up a quaint romance between a dressmaker who wonders if she’ll ever get married and a best man who seems to be her exact opposite. Robin Lee Hatcher’s Heart of Gold tells the story of a strong Southern woman who finds herself out West, caring for a young dying mother whose handsome brother is nothing like the gentlemen she knew back home.

The season is also brimming with CF series. Making their debut in this column are new series from Abingdon, Thomas Nelson, Harvest House, and Kensington’s Zebra imprint. Also appearing are the latest entries in such favorite series as Mel Starr’s historical mysteries featuring Hugh de Singleton and Amy Clipston’s Kauffman Amish Bakery novels. Readers who love character-driven stories will revel in catching up with old pals and getting to know new ones.

April 15, 2012, marks the centennial of the sinking of the British ocean liner Titanic. To mark the event, Abingdon Press offers Yvonne Lehman’s Hearts That Survive, while Tyndale House is promoting Cathy Gohlke’s Promise Me This. I enjoyed one more than the other, but I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to pick your favorite. [For more on Titanic fiction, see Melanie Duncan’s Genre Spotlight feature, A Born-Again Genre.”‚ Ed.]

starred review star Gohlke, Cathy. Promise Me This. Tyndale House. Feb. 2012. c.416p. ISBN 9781414353074. pap. $13.99. CF

Taking a break from work to watch the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage, Michael Dunnagan meets passenger Owen Allen and decides to stow away in hopes of convincing Owen to let him join his uncle’s business in America. But the so-called unsinkable ship strikes an iceberg, and a dying Owen extracts a promise from Michael that he will care for Owen’s relatives in America and his sister Annie, still in England. Annie can’t bear the thought that Michael lived when her brother was lost, but the two develop a friendship through the letters they exchange. When World War I breaks out and Annie’s letters stop, Michael drops everything to find the woman he has come to love. VERDICT No matter how many times the Titanic‘s sinking has been depicted in film and in print, the 1912 maritime tragedy continues to fascinate us. This dramatic and heart-wrenching interpretation by two-time Christy Award winner Gohlke (William Henry Is a Fine Name; I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires) will enthrall fans of character-driven CF and readers who enjoy Francine Rivers.

starred review star Lough, Loree. Honor Redeemed. Abingdon. (First Responders, Bk. 2). Feb. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9781426713163. pap. $13.99. CF

One November evening when a jet crashes along Baltimore’s Patapsco River, Honor Mackenzie and her search-and-rescue dog Rowdy are called to the scene where she meets reporter Matt Phillips, who is hoping to file his next big story. Though their relationship is chilly at first, the two grow closer as Matt reveals that he once worked search and rescue and they discover that they both had lost spouses on 9/11. Then, on a weekend trip with his sons, Matt learns that Honor has gone missing during one of her missions. Frantic, he leads the team to find her before it is too late. VERDICT Lough’s second series title (after From Ashes to Honor) is laced with fast-paced suspense and just enough romantic tension to satisfy Dee Henderson’s many fans.

starred review star Starr, Mel. Unhallowed Ground: The Fourth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon. Monarch, dist. by Kregel. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9780857210586. pap. $14.99. CF

Surgeon and bailiff Hugh de Singleton (The Unquiet Bones; A Corpse in St. Andrews; A Trail of Ink) searches for a killer when the most disliked man in the village is found hanging from a tree. Most believe that Thomas atte Bridge died by his own hand, but Hugh and his pregnant wife, Kate, are not so sure. Still, finding the murderer of a man almost everyone wanted dead will be no small task. Peril appears at every turn as the two search for clues that lead them to Exeter and back again. VERDICT Fans of medieval mysteries will revel in Starr’s fourth lively blending of intriguing suspense and telling historical detail.

The following titles are reviewed in the February 15 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Lehman, Yvonne. Hearts That Survive: A Novel of the Titanic . Abingdon. Mar. 2012. c.432p. ISBN 9781426744884. pap. $14.99. CF


AILee, Jennifer. The Mother Road. Abingdon. Apr. 2012. c.224p. ISBN 9781426713125. pap. $13.99. CF

Bricker, Sandra D. Always the Designer, Never the Bride. Abingdon. (Another Emma Rae Creation, Bk. 3). Apr. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9781426732232. pap. $14.99. CF

Camden, Elizabeth. The Rose of Winslow Street. Bethany. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780764208959. pap. $14.99. CF

Cameron, Barbara. Her Restless Heart. Abingdon. (Stitches in Time, Bk. 1). Apr. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9781426714276. pap. $14.99. CF

Clipston, Amy. A Life of Joy. Zondervan. (Kauffman Amish Bakery, Bk. 4). Feb. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780310319962. pap. $12.99. CF

Coble, Colleen. Blue Moon Promise. Thomas Nelson. (Under Texas Stars, Bk. 1). Feb. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781595549150. pap. $15.99. CF

Connealy, Mary. In Too Deep. Bethany. (Kincaid Brides, Bk. 2). Feb. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780764209123. pap. $14.99. CF

Crow, Donna Fletcher. A Darkly Hidden Truth. Monarch, dist. by Kregel. (Monastery Murders, Bk. 2). 2012. 384p. ISBN 9780857210500. pap. $14.99. CF

Eicher, Jerry S. Missing Your Smile. Harvest House. (Fields of Home, Bk. 1). Feb. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9780736939430. pap. $11.99. CF

Elliott, Rosslyn. Sweeter Than Birdsong. Thomas Nelson. (Sadler’s Legacy, Bk. 2). Feb. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9781595547866. pap. $15.99. CF

Ellis, Mary. An Amish Family Reunion. Harvest House. Feb. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780736944878. pap. $13.99. CF

Fabry, Chris. Not in the Heart. Tyndale House. Feb. 2012. c.432p. ISBN 9781414348612. pap. $13.99. CF

Gerlach, Rita. Before the Scarlet Dawn. Abingdon. (Daughters of the Potomac, Bk. 1). Feb. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9781426714146. pap. $14.99. CF

Hatcher, Robin Lee. Heart of Gold. Thomas Nelson. Feb. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781595544889. pap. $15.99. CF

Hubbard, Charlotte. Summer of Secrets. Zebra: Kensington. (Seasons of the Heart, Bk. 1). Feb. 2012. c.320. ISBN 9781420121698. pap. $6.99. CF

Irvin, Kelly. To Love and To Cherish. Harvest House. (Bliss Creek Amish, Bk. 1). Feb. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9780736943710. pap. $13.99. CF