Christian Fiction Reviews | February 15, 2014

In February, many people’s thoughts turn to romance. This column’s selections include some wonderful choices for readers of romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance, including Lisa Wingate’s latest, Wildwood Creek, Robin Lee Hatcher’s A Promise Kept, and Sadie’s Secret by Kathleen Y’Barbo.

For the less romantically inclined, Ted Dekker’s Eyes Wide Open will have fans of psychological thrillers on the edge of their seats until the very last page. Finally, for those readers who love to learn about the lives of biblical characters, Brock and Bodie Thoene’s Take This Cup, the second in the “Jerusalem Chronicles” series, will enthrall them with the tale of the life of Nehemiah and the cup Jesus Christ used at the Last Supper.

Debut of the Month

Bradley, Patricia. Shadows of the Past. Revell. (Logan Point, Bk. 1). Feb. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780800722609. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781441212269. CF
shadowsofthepast022814Twenty years ago when Taylor Martin was a child, her father left suddenly without explanation, and she has since struggled to understand why God would allow this to happen. Now a college professor and criminal profiler, Taylor gets a lead on her father’s whereabouts and goes home to Logan, MS, to investigate. But she soon realizes she is being stalked. She meets author Nick Sinclair, the brother of the student she believes may be her pursuer. Nick’s wife was murdered several years ago, and Nick is trying to find his brother, who is the only family he has left. VERDICT Winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award, this is a fantastic first novel of thrilling suspense. The nonstop action and the sympathetically drawn characters’ narrow escapes will keep readers mesmerized. The gripping tension also makes Bradley’s title a winner with fans of Iris Johansen and Mary Higgins Clark.

redstarDekker, Ted. Eyes Wide Open. Worthy. (Outlaw Chronicles, Bk. 1). 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781617952739. pap. $14.99. CF

Friends Christy Snow and Austin Hartt are teen eyeswideopen022814orphans trying to figure out who they are and where they belong. The two meet regularly in an abandoned part of an old hotel, now a psychiatric hospital, to commiserate about their lives. One day, Christy falls through a trapdoor at their usual spot and calls Austin for help but leaves an incomplete message before her phone dies. Mistaken for an escaped patient, the teen ends up in a ward in the hospital. Austin comes to her rescue and is detained as an escapee as well. What ensues is a series of wild twists and turns, in which it is very difficult to ascertain what is reality. Nothing is as it seems, and anything can happen—and does. VERDICT Hold on for the ride of your life with this first installment in suspense master Dekker’s new series. This fast-paced adrenaline rush will keep readers trapped until the end. For fans of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island.

redstarHatcher, Robin Lee. A Promise Kept. Thomas Nelson. 2014. 304p.
ISBN 9781401687656. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401687663. CF

apromisekept22814Allison Kavanagh lost her faith in God when her husband of 20 years walked out, shattering her life and dreams. But when she inherits her great-aunt Emma’s house in Kings Meadow, ID, Allison tries to pick up the pieces of her faith. Settling into her new home, she discovers a wedding dress, photographs, and a lifetime of Emma’s journals in the attic. Within their pages, Allison finds out that Emma’s long-held secret mirrors her own. Will Allison learn to trust that God will answer her prayers in His own way and time as He did with her aunt? ­VERDICT Narrated alternately by Emma and Allison, Hatcher’s latest is an uplifting and heartwarming story about the power of faith to set people free from the pain of their pasts. Fans of the author’s previous books (A Bride for All Seasons; Hearts of Gold) will enjoy this story of two women separated by a generation who share the same strong beliefs in God. Recommended where ­Tracie Peterson’s books (All Things Hidden; The Miner’s Lady) are popular.

redstarPutman, Cara C. Shadowed by Grace: A Story of Monuments Men. B&H. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781433681783. pap. $14.99; ebk ISBN 9781433681790. CF

shadowedbygrace22814Rachel, desperate to save her dying mother, signs on as a photographer with a newspaper to take pictures of the atrocities happening in Italy during World War II. Secretly, she is hoping to find the artist father she never knew so he can help fund the treatment to save her mother’s life. In her 17th novel, ­Putman (Captive Dreams) has done an amazing job of bringing the grim realities of World War II to the page. She captures well the hidden stories of those who were sent to Europe to save the art and antiquities that were stolen or almost destroyed during the cataclysmic battles. The author also paints a beautiful love story, while illustrating that faith in God’s plan, even in the direst of circumstances, can bring believers through any situation. VERDICT This wonderfully written inside look at a less-familiar story about World War II will be a great tie-in with the movie The Monuments Men starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, set for release this month.

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Mapes, Creston. Poison Town. David C. Cook. (Crittendon Files). Feb. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9781434704870. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780781411233. CF

Pura, Murray. London Dawn. Harvest House. (Danforths of Lancashire, Bk. 3). Feb. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780736958875. pap. $13.99; ebk. ISBN 9780736958882. CF

Samson, Lisa. Runaway Saint. Thomas Nelson. Feb. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781595545466. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401689919. CF

Thoene, Bodie & Brock Thoene. Take This Cup. Zondervan. (Jerusalem Chronicles, Bk. 2). Mar. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780310335986. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780310336006. CF

Amish Corner

Chapman, Vannetta. Murder Simply Brewed. Zondervan. (Amish Village Mystery, Bk. 1). Mar. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780310326168. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780310325802. CF

Romance lite

Coble, Colleen. Butterfly Palace. Thomas Nelson. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781595547835. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781401690076. CF

Eden, Sarah M. Longing for Home: Hope Springs. Shadow Mountain. (Hope Springs, Bk. 2). Feb. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9781609078102. pap. $15.99. CF

Ferrell, Miralee. Wishing on Buttercups. David C. Cook. (Love Blossoms in Oregon, Bk. 2). Feb. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780781408097. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781434707482. CF

Mitchell, Siri. Love Comes Calling. Bethany House. (Against All Expectations, Bk. 7). Mar. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780764210365. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781441263544. CF

Wingate, Lisa. Wildwood Creek. ­Bethany House. Feb. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780764208249. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 978144126355. CF

Y’Barbo, Kathleen. Sadie’s Secret. Harvest House. (Secret Lives of Will Tucker, Bk. 3). Feb. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780736952156. pap. $13.99; ebk. ISBN 9780736952163. CF

Christine Sharbrough is Head of Reader Services, Chelmsford Public Library, MA. She loves Christian fiction for the diversity of stories within the genre

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