Christian Fiction Reviews | November 15, 2012

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, many of us find ourselves longing for a simpler life. While we enjoy spending time with family and friends, we often wish we could do it without crowded shopping malls and stressful traffic jams. Perhaps that’s why so many readers are drawn to Amish fiction, and why publishers release so many of these titles. Readers looking for comfort during the cold months will find a plethora of options here. A young Amish boy tries to help his sister find love in Linda Byler’s The Little Amish Matchmaker. Leslie Gould fascinates in Courting Cate, a clever retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. Several authors present stories of second chances. A widow gets over her fear of losing love again in Barbara Cameron’s Heart in Hand. Morgan Spencer takes a chance after losing his wife in Kristen Heitzmann’s The Breath of Dawn. Take a break this season.

”LibraryBates, Erin. Her Amish Man. Gallery: S. & S. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9781451662092. pap. $15. CF

Attorney Carl Trevathan is involved with some pretty unscrupulous partners. Associate Leah McKenzie becomes unwittingly involved when she brings Carl a private file and finds him shot by two men. Afraid and finding herself the prime suspect, she flees to the home of her estranged Amish grandmother. On her way, she is involved in an accident. An Amish man driving a buggy, John Miller, rescues her, pulling her unconscious from her car, and takes her to his mother’s house. There, Leah finds herself drawn to the simple life that surrounds her, and John begins to court her. VERDICT Engaging characters and a Witness-like plot make this a sure bet. Recommend it to readers who enjoy Karen Harper’s “Home Valley” series.

”LibraryCollins, Brandilyn. Double Blind. B&H. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9781433671647. pap. $14.99. CF

Lisa Newberry loved her husband, Ryan, dearly and together they mourned the children who would never be when she miscarried three times. Then Ryan died in a car accident. In the midst of her grief, she is mugged in a parking lot, leaving her anxious and depressed. When she is selected for a medical trial for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder, Lisa begins to feel hopeful. She successfully undergoes the surgery, which implants an “empowerment chip” in her brain. After, however, she begins to have visions of murder and death. VERDICT Collins (Gone to Ground) has written another taut, compelling tale of psychological suspense that weaves a twisty plot with threads of faith. Her latest should appeal to fans of Oliver North’s and Ted Dekker’s fiction.

Klassen, Julie. The Tutor’s Daughter. Bethany. Jan. 2013. c.416p. ISBN 9780764210693. pap. $14.99. CF

When her father’s school fails, Emma Smallwood travels with him to Cornwall where he is to tutor the two youngest sons of a baronet. The two older brothers, Phillip and Henry, had attended her father’s school in the past, and Emma remembers the pranks that Henry used to play on her. Now, in Cornwall, someone is playing tricks on her again. At night, she hears a piano playing and someone screaming. Then she hears the story about the manor’s ghost. The family has secrets. If Emma can uncover them, will the pranks stop?
VERDICT Well-developed characters, plot twists, and attention to period detail make this a sure bet for fans of Regency novels. A hint of romance will win Klassen (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall; The Silent Governess) readers who enjoy Catherine Palmer.

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The following titles are reviewed in the November 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Bischof, Joanne. Be Still My Soul. Multnomah. (Cadence of Grace, Bk. 1). 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9781601424211. pap. $14.99. CF

”LibraryBrown, Don. Fire of the Raging Dragon. Zondervan. (Pacific Rim, Bk. 2). Nov. 2012. c.384p. ISBN 9780310330158. pap. $14.99. CF

Burch, Heather. Guardian. Zondervan. (Halflings, Bk. 2). 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780310728214. pap. $14.99. CF

Byler, Linda. The Disappearances. Good Bks. (Sadie’s Montana, Bk. 3). 2012. c.350p. ISBN 9781561487752. pap. $13.99. CF

Byler, Linda. The Little Amish Matchmaker: A Christmas Romance. Good Bks. 2012. c.188p. ISBN 9781561487769. pap. $14.95. CF

Cameron, Barbara. Heart in Hand. Abingdon. (Stitches in Time, Bk. 3). Feb. 2013. c.304p. ISBN 9781426714344. pap. $14.99. CF

Copeland, Lori. Under the Summer Sky. Harvest House. (Dakota Diaries, Bk. 3). Jan. 2013. c.304p. ISBN 9780736930208. pap. $13.99. CF

Cramer, Dale. Though Mountains Fall. Bethany. (Daughters of Caleb Bender, Bk. 3). Jan. 2013. c.352p. ISBN 9780764208409. pap. $14.99. CF

Elliott, Rosslyn. Lovelier Than Daylight. Thomas Nelson. (Saddler’s Legacy, Bk. 3). Nov. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9781595547873. pap. $15.99. CF

Gould, Leslie. Courting Cate. Bethany. (Courtships of Lancaster County, Bk. 1). Nov. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780764210310. pap. $14.99. CF

Heitzmann, Kristen. The Breath of Dawn. Bethany. Nov. 2012. c.416p. ISBN 9780764210426. pap. $14.99. CF

Hodgson, Mona. Twice a Bride. WaterBrook: Random. (Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek, Bk. 4). 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780307730329. pap. $13.99. CF

Hoff, BJ. River of Mercy. Harvest House. (Riverhaven Years, Bk. 3). 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9780736924207. pap. $13.99. CF

Hunter, Denise. The Trouble with Cowboys. Thomas Nelson. (Big Sky Romance, Bk. 3). 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9781595548030. pap. $12.99. CF

Keller, Cynthia. An Amish Gift. Ballantine. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9780345538130. $16. CF

King, Naomi. Rosemary Opens Her Heart. NAL. (Home at Cedar Creek, Bk. 2). Nov. 2012. c.304p. ISBN 9780451237972. pap. $14. CF

Kingsbury, Karen. The Bridge. Howard: S. & S. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9781451647013. $19.99. CF

LaHaye, Tim & Craig Parshall. Brink of Chaos. Zondervan. (The End, Bk. 3). 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780310318811. pap. $15.99. CF

Lauer, Rosalind. A Simple Autumn. Ballantine. (Seasons of Lancaster, Bk. 3). 2012. 400p. ISBN 9780345526755. pap. $15. CF

Love, Dorothy. Every Perfect Gift. Thomas Nelson. (Hickory Ridge Romance, Bk. 3). Dec. 2012. c.320p. ISBN 9781595549020. pap. $15.99. CF