Looking for Leroy by Melody CarlsonStarring: Brynna Phillips, a divorced Oregon teacher definitely not looking for love, who joins her coworker Jan on a summer RV trip; and Leroy Sorrentino, a widower with three adult daughters.
A complex pairing: After Brynna talks about a teen romance from summer camp, Jan decides they'll find the boy named Leroy whose family owned a California vineyard. When they find the place, Brynna's roped into a job by Leroy's pregnant daughter...but doesn't mention she knows Leroy.
For fans of: charming second chance romances; middle-aged main characters; wine country settings.
Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa FergusonThe setup: Editor Savannah Cade secretly writes a romance novel while working at an upscale Nashville publishing company where the boss' handsome son has just arrived from New York to be the new VP.
What happens: Savannah stashes her manuscript in a secret room, and when she returns for it, someone's edited her work. As the two editors communicate back-and-forth via the novel, Savannah realizes she's falling for her editor...even though she has no idea who he is.
Is it for you? Though faith doesn't play a role, this clean, sweetly charming romance offers an intriguing look at the publishing world and features a storyline reminiscent of You've Got Mail.
Something Good by Vanessa MillerThree women's lives intersect: Alexis, a CEO's wife with two kids and a mother with mental health issues; Trish, a married mom caring for her adult son who was injured in a car accident; Marquita, a rough-around-the-edges young single mom who's just lost yet another job.
What happens: As they face an assortment of issues, including guilt, family problems, and financial struggles, they grow in their faith together.
Read this next: For other thought-provoking books, try Katie Ganshert's No One Ever Asked or Christina Suzann Nelson's More Than We Remember.
Count the Nights by Stars by Michelle ShockleeOne place, two times: At Nashville's famed Maxwell House Hotel during the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition, wealthy Priscilla Nichols falls for a poor Italian immigrant. In 1961, after Miss Priscilla falls ill, Audrey, who works at the Maxwell's front desk, sorts through the elderly woman's papers with a young lawyer, which leads them to a long-ago mystery.
For fans of: Kim Vogel Sawyer's A Silken Thread, a romance set during the 1895 Atlanta cotton exposition; and split-time romances, like Ashley Clark's Heirloom Secrets trilogy.
Reviewers say: "good to the last drop" (Library Journal); "a riveting historical romance" (Publishers Weekly).
Secrets, Secrets Everywhere
Daughter of Rome by Tessa AfsharWhat it is: an evocative, well-researched historical novel based on the stories of New Testament figures Priscilla and Aquila, who traveled and worked with the Apostle Paul.
What happens: In 1st-century Rome, Priscilla, the daughter of a Roman general who died, leaving her in the care of a cruel elder brother, meets Aquila, who has traveled to the large city with his uncle. They fall in love -- but Priscilla has a secret that could change everything.
Reviewers say: "This is Afshar's strongest, most complex scripture-based story yet" (Publishers Weekly).
The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay HarrelFeaturing: counselor and abuse survivor Sophia Barrett, who moves to Cornwall, England seeking a change; and Sophia's new boss, Ginny Rose, who's an American in Cornwall running a bookstore that she co-owns with her husband...who's just left her.
What happens: Sophia finds old letters from a woman who was in love with her upper-class friend and tries to find out more about the Victorian couple with help from Ginny and Ginny's brother-in-law.
For fans of: charming stories of friendship and healing; stories set in bookshops; novels that combine the past and the present.
The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan1945 London: Married at the beginning of World War II and separated for years, Diana and Brent need to get to know each other again. But Diana worked as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and can't discuss her work, and Brent, who was on the front, suffers from terrible nightmares and memories.
What happens: MI6 recruits Diana, an architectural historian fascinated by Sir Christopher Wren's work, to help root out a Russian spy using churches and church services to send messages.
What sets it apart: the sweet love story between an already married couple; the architectural and historical details; the evocative settings.
Secrets of My Heart by Tracie Peterson1879 Portland, Oregon: Though her marriage was loveless, Nancy Pritchard, who's struggling with her faith, is shocked that her newly deceased husband may have been killed due to his illegal activities.
What happens: Nancy gets help digging into her husband's business dealings from a childhood friend, lawyer Seth Carpenter (who has his own secrets), and turns her home into a boarding house for women.
Series alert: This series starter (which includes some characters from the Heart of the Frontier novels) wraps up the romance portion nicely, but those who want to see justice fully realized will want to read the rest of the Willamette Brides trilogy.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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