Christian Fiction | August 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred reviewChristie, Judy. Sweet Olive. Zondervan. (Trumpet & Vine, Bk. 1). Sept. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780310330547. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780310330554. CF

Excited about moving to Denver to start a new job at an art gallery and eager to leave Louisiana, Camille Gardner agrees to do one final job for her uncle’s oil business. She has to go to the small town of Samford and convince the local landowners to sell their mineral rights. But Camille is soon enchanted by the local folk art community and the attractive lawyer representing the landowners. VERDICT This tender romance (and new series launch) is blessed with a likable, strong female protagonist. As in her Green series (Gone to Green; Goodness Gracious Green) a Southern small town becomes a charming character in Christie’s able hands. Recommend this title to anyone who loves the works of Robin Lee Hatcher.

Magnin, Joyce. Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold. Zondervan. Aug. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780310333586. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780310333593. CF

In this sequel to Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus, Harriet and her basset hound have moved to California. Good news arrives when she learns that her son’s wife is pregnant and that Harriet’s best friend Martha is coming for a visit. On the sly, Harriet leases a gold mine when a teenage girl tells her about her father’s financial problems. Harriet is sure that she’s about to strike it rich, but Martha is worried that the whole venture might just be a scam. VERDICT This quirky and humorous, character-driven tale is a sure bet for fans of Linda E. Shepherd.

Pura, Murray. Beneath the Dover Sky. Harvest House. (Danforths of Lancashire, Bk. 2). Aug. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780736952880. pap. $14.99. CF

This second series entry takes up where Ashton Park left off. It’s 1924, and Lord William and Lady Elizabeth are concerned about their son Kipp, whose wife is ill while his former fiancée shows up at every turn. They also worry about widowed daughter Catherine, who has become reclusive. Meanwhile, Libby and Michael are returning from America, and Edward is moving forward with his plan to enter British politics. VERDICT Fans of Downton Abbey and Kathleen Y’Barbo’s period inspirational romances will find much to savor here: family drama, plot twists, and historic detail.

The following titles are reviewed in the August 15, 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

This month strong female protagonists take center stage whether they live in small towns, like Camille Gardner in Judy Christie’s Sweet Olive, or in big cities like Olivia Newport’s eponymous heroine in The Invention of Sarah Cummings. Whether they inhabit the contemporary world, like Laura Griffith in Irene Hannon’s Trapped or the ancient world as the biblical Ruth does in Diana Taylor Wallis’s Ruth: Mother of Kings, these women overcome the odds against them and do so on their own terms.

With this month’s column, my tenure as the CF columnist draws to a close. It’s been a wonderful couple of years, during which I have read books I might not otherwise have picked up, talked with librarians and readers alike, and expanded my knowledge of the genre. Writing this column has made me a better readers’ advisor. It is my sincerest wish that the knowledge I have gleaned along the way has been useful to you as well.

Hannon, Irene. Trapped. Revell. (Private Justice, Bk. 2). Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780800721244. pap. $14.99. CF

Hatcher, Robin Lee. Beloved. Zondervan. (Where the Heart Lives, Bk. 3). Sept. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780310257776. pap. $14.99. CF

Newport, Olivia. The Invention of Sarah Cummings. Revell. (Avenue of Dreams, Bk. 3). Sept. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780800720407. pap. $14.99. CF

Taylor, Diana Wallis. Ruth: Mother of Kings. Whitaker House. Oct. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781603749039. pap. $14.99. CF

Thompson, Janice. The Icing on the Cake. Revell. (Weddings by Design, Bk. 2). Aug. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780800721534. pap. $13.99. CF

Tolsma, Liz. Snow on the Tulips. Thomas Nelson. Aug. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781401689100. pap. $15.99. CF

Walsh, Dan & Gary Smalley. The Promise. Revell. (Restoration, Bk. 2). Sept. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780800721497. pap. $14.99. CF

Wingate, Lisa. The Prayer Box. Tyndale House. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9781414388250. $19.99. CF


Ellis, Marianne. Summer Promise. Berkley: Penguin Group (USA). (Amish Seasons, Bk. 1). Aug. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780425264225. pap. $15. CF

Ellis, Mary. A Little Bit of Charm. Harvest House. (New Beginnings, Bk. 3). Sept. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780736938686. pap. $13.99. CF

Hilton, Laura V. Awakened Love. Whitaker House. (Amish of Webster County, Bk. 3). Sept. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781603745086. pap. $12.99. CF

Mehl, Nancy. Unforeseeable. Bethany House. (Road to Kingdom, Bk. 3). Sept. 2013. 225p. ISBN 9780764209291. pap. $14.99. CF