Ever Faithful: A Vintage National Parks Novel by Karen BarnettStarring: Park ranger's daughter Elsie, who longs to attend college, and Brooklynite Nate, who conceals the illiteracy that would bar him from President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps.
What happens: To earn more money, Elsie takes a job teaching CCC men and falls for Nate even as a series of fires occurs in this sweet historical romance with a touch of mystery set in 1933.
Series alert: This is the evocative 3rd entry in the Vintage National Parks series by author Karen Barnett, who was herself a park ranger.
Cross My Heart by Robin Lee HatcherWhat it is: a dual timeline novel that weaves the main story, a contemporary romance featuring five-years-sober Ben who teams up with horse-lover Ashley to create an equine therapy barn, with the 1940s tale of Ben’s great-great-grandfather and his son who went to war.
Why you might like it: the equine therapy details; the themes of redemption and second chances; the realistic look at addiction.
Series alert: Though this is the 2nd Legacy of Faith novel after Who I Am With You, both books are easily read on their own.
The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel LindenWhat it's about: After a terrible week in which her boyfriend of six years dumps her and she loses her job as a baker’s apprentice, 26-year-old Mia West agrees to go with her roommate on a humanitarian trip, funded by a reclusive billionaire, that takes her to India and Hungry.
What about the bees? Mia's dreams often include honeybees and they are a continuous motif throughout the richly detailed romantic novel.
Wherever You Go by Tracie PetersonStarring: Mary, a talented sharpshooter in the all-female Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza who wants to bring her brother's killer to justice, and Chris, a journalist with a secret who's covering the show.
What happens: The two fall for each other as they travel from Kansas to England in 1901 in this entertaining, well-plotted historical romance.
Series alert: This is the 2nd entry in the Brookstone Brides trilogy; the 3rd, What Comes My Way, is out in October. The books can stand alone, but reading in order will enhance the experience.
If You Like: Downton Abbey
A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason1884 Derbyshire, England: Stainsby Hall stable hand Nolan Price, whose mother died in childbirth and who's never known his father, learns that he is the heir to the overbearing Earl of Stainsby. What does his future hold? And does it include lovely kitchen maid Hannah?
Why Downton Abbey fans might like it: the upstairs-downstairs drama; the family relationships; the unexpected plot twists; the delightfully blunt Aunt Iris; the charming love story.
Flights of Fancy by Jen TuranoWhat it's about: In 1885 New York, heiress Isadora Delafield's mother expects her to marry a sinister, obnoxious English Duke, so she runs away, finding work as a housekeeper on the rural Pennsylvania farm of Ian MacKenzie, his elderly adoptive parents, and four orphans.
Series alert: This is the 1st entry in the American Duchesses series; the 2nd, Diamond in the Rough, came out earlier this month.
Why Downton Abbey fans might like it: the romance between characters of different social classes; the humor; the bits of suspense.
The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie TuranskyWhat it's about: After 12 years away, Julia Foster returns to Edwardian England with her missionary parents and becomes the governess at Highland Hall....where widower Sir William Ramsey notices her.
The problem: Sir William -- who has two small children and is responsible for two teenage cousins -- needs to marry a wealthy bride or he may lose the family estate forever.
Why Downton Abbey fans might like it: This 1st in the Edwardian Brides trilogy offers a faith-filled look at upstairs-downstairs relationships.
A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. WhiteWhat it's about: Rosemary, raised on London’s streets by a gang of thieves, is recruited to spy on suspected traitor Peter Holstein, a friend of His Majesty. Posing as a librarian in Peter's Cornwall household, Rosemary grows close to him as World War I looms.
Series alert: This opening book in the Shadows Over England trilogy is followed by A Song Unheard and An Hour Unspent.
Why Downton Abbey fans might like it: the 1914 England setting; the suspenseful, romantic plot; the outsider's view of high society.