Christian Fiction Reviews, August 2012

What is so fascinating about the Amish? Is it our nostalgia for a simpler existence? Perhaps we seek refuge from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, from computers and cell phones, Facebook and Twitter? Readers love stories about “plain” people, and with Amish and Mennonite characters and communities showing up in almost every subgenre, there’s something for everyone. This month’s column is populated by a plethora of Amish fiction, representing everything from sweet romance to gritty thrillers. If your patrons enjoy Amish stories, you’ll want to make sure to purchase copies of the latest from Vannetta Chapman, Mindy Starns Clark, Amy Clipston, Kathryn Cushman, and Mary Ellis.

starred review starByrd, Sandra. The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr. Howard Pub.: S. & S. (Ladies in Waiting, Bk 2). 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9781439183144. pap. $14.99. CF

This richly detailed historical novel is told through the eyes of Juliana St. John, lady-in-waiting to Kateryn Parr. When her husband, Lord Latimer, dies, Henry VIII marries Kateryn. Gifted with second sight, Juliana has a vision that leaves her fearing for her friend Sir Thomas Seymour, the king’s daughter, and others at court. VERDICT Atmospheric, dramatic and full of twists, this second title in Byrd’s “Ladies in Waiting” series (after To Die For) is a sure bet for fans of Deborah Vogts and Tudor fiction.

starred review starFisher, Suzanne Woods. The Haven. Revell. Aug. 2012. c.320p. (Stoney Ridge Seasons, Bk. 2). ISBN 9780800719883. pap. $14.99. CF

Sadie Lapp has returned home after spending the winter with her sister’s family. She must make an uncomfortable decision, which puts her at odds with Gideon Smucker, who has loved her for years. She turns to Will Stoltz, an intern for the game warden who lives on the Lapps’ land and cares for two peregrine falcons. Will plans to return to college once the summer’s over, but his feelings for Sadie complicate things. VERDICT This sequel to The Keeper is an engaging Amish romance with a homespun feel. It is sure to please Fisher’s existing fans and win her new ones. Recommend it to those who enjoy the fiction of Wanda E. Brunstetter.

starred review starLeon, Bonnie. Joy Takes Flight. Revell. (Alaskan Skies, Bk. 3). 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780800733612. pap. $14.99. CF

This third and final series installment (Touching the Clouds; Wings of Promise) finds Kate married to Dr. Paul Anderson. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she must decide whether to continue working as a bush pilot. Meanwhile, Paul gets a call from San Francisco about his ill mother and has to take off, leaving Kate alone. When he doesn’t return, Kate is filled with a new kind of dread. VERDICT Kate is as spunky as ever. Her predicament will propel readers forward until the very last page. Recommend the series to readers of Sarah Sundin.

The following titles are reviewed in the August print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Austin, Lynn. All Things New. Bethany. Oct. 2012. c.416p. ISBN 9780764208973. pap. $14.99. CF

Bergren, Lisa T. Glamorous Illusions. David C. Cook. (Grand Tour, Bk. 1). 2012. c.440p. ISBN 9781434764300. pap. $14.99. CF

Bertrand, J. Mark. Nothing to Hide. Bethany. (Roland March, Bk. 3). 2012. c.368p. ISBN 9780764206399. pap. $14.99. CF

Billerbeck, Kristin. The Scent of Rain. Thomas Nelson. Aug. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781401685652. pap. $15.99. CF

Carlson, Melody A. Westward Hearts. Harvest House. (Homeward on the Oregon Trail, Bk. 1). Sept. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9780736948715. pap. $13.99. CF

Chapman, Vannetta. A Promise for Miriam. Harvest House. (The Pebble Creek Amish, Bk. 1). 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9780736946124. pap. $13.99. CF

Clark, Mindy Starns & Leslie Gould. The Amish Bride. Harvest House. (Women of Lancaster County, Bk. 3). Aug. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9780736938624. pap. $13.99. CF

Clipston, Amy. A Season of Love. Zondervan. (Kauffman Amish Bakery, Bk. 5). 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9780310319979. pap. $12.99. CF

Conneally, Mary. Over the Edge. Bethany. (Kincaid Brides, Bk. 3). Aug. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780764209130. pap. $14.99. CF

Cushman, Kathryn. Almost Amish. Bethany. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780764208263. pap. $14.99. CF

Daley, Margaret. Shattered Silence. Abingdon. (Men of the Texas Rangers, Bk. 2). Oct. 2012. c.336p. ISBN 9781426714290. pap. $14.99. CF

Ellis, Mary. Living in Harmony. Harvest House. (The New Beginnings, Bk. 1). Aug. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780736938662. pap. $13.99. CF

Gabhart, Ann H. The Gifted. Revell. (Shaker, Bk. 5). 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780800734558. pap. $14.99. CF

Gray, Shelley. A Texan’s Choice. Abingdon. (The Heart of the Hero, Bk. 3). Oct. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781426714658. pap. $14.99. CF

Gray, Shelley Shepard. The Search. Avon Inspire. (The Secrets of Crittenden County, Bk. 2). 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9780062089724. pap. $12.99. CF

Healy, Erin. House of Mercy. Thomas Nelson. Aug. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781401685515. pap. $15.99. CF

Hedlund, Jody. Unending Devotion. Bethany. Sept. 2012. c.384p. ISBN 9780764208348. pap. $14.99. CF

Larimore, Walt. Sugar Fork. Howard: S. & S. Oct. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781439141908. pap. $14.99. CF

Manners, Mary. Wisdom Tree. White Rose: Pelican Book Group. Oct. 2012. c.228p. ISBN 9781611161663. pap. $15.99. CF

Mateer, Anne. At Every Turn. Bethany. Sept. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780764209048. pap. $14.99. CF

Peterson, Tracie & Judith Miller. To Love and Cherish. Bethany. (Bridal Veil Island, Bk. 2). Aug. 2012. c.368p. ISBN 9780764210105. $19.99. pap. ISBN 9780764208874. $14.99. CF

Robbins, Sandra. Angel of the Cove. Harvest House. (Smoky Mountain Dreams, Bk. 1). Aug. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9780736948845. pap. $13.99. CF


Pura, Murray. The Face of Heaven. Harvest House. (Snapshots in History, Bk. 1). Aug. 2012. c.300p. ISBN 9780736949491. pap. $13.99. CF

Sawyer, Kim Vogel. When Hope Blossoms. Bethany. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780764207877. pap. $14.99. CF