Jewel of the Nile by Tessa AfsharThe beginning: In the 1st century, a man raised in the Cushite queen's court marries the daughter of a Roman official despite disapproval on both sides -- and then the woman dies in childbirth.
25 years later: The couple's biracial daughter Chariline, who was raised by her mom's sister in Caesarea, discovers that the father she was always told was dead is actually alive. Setting out to find him, she stows away on a ship and finds an ally in Theo (whom readers of The Thief of Corinth and Daughter of Rome will remember).
Reviewers say: "Exquisite plotting and outstanding historical details" (Publishers Weekly).
Chasing Shadows by Lynn AustinWhat it is: a powerful World War II novel about three women whose lives are forever changed when Germany invades the Netherlands in 1940.
Starring: Lena, a Christian wife, mother, and farmer in the tranquil countryside; her rebellious daughter Ans, who lives and works in the city of Leiden; and Miriam, a young Jewish immigrant and violinist who's found love in her new homeland, but not the safety she'd sought.
Read this next: If you love Lynn Austin's books, pick up The Wish Book Christmas, her other new novel and the sequel to If I Were You. For another Netherlands-set WWII novel, try Melanie Dobson's Memories of Glass.
The One You're With by Lauren K. DentonDual timelines: In the summer of 2000, college students Mac and Edie break up -- he works at a Gulf Coast marina and she interns in New York City. Fast forward to 2019, and the couple are long married with successful careers and two kids.
What happens: The 18-year-old daughter Mac never knew he had turns up. While Edie's upset, she also has secrets from that summer.
Is it for you? Though faith elements are subtle, this novel offers a contemplative Southern story about relationships, family, and choices.
The Nature of Small Birds by Susie FinkbeinerWhat it is: an engaging novel with multiple narrators that moves back and forth across time, focusing on a Michigan couple and their three daughters, one adopted from Vietnam after 1975's Operation Babylift.
The years: 1975, when Bruce and Linda long for a second child and adopt Mindy; 1988, when Mindy and her older sister Sonny are both in their teen years; and 2013, when Mindy shares that she wants to go to Vietnam and find her birth family.
For fans of: Valerie Fraser Luesse, Erin Bartels, and moving family stories with authentic characters.
The Letter Keeper by Charles MartinStarring: Anglican priest Murphy Shepherd, who knows his way around a variety of tools and weapons and has dedicated his life to rescuing people taken by human traffickers; and Gunner, his amazing dog.
What happens: Murphy is targeted by traffickers and the people closest to him are taken. Devastated, he risks everything to bring them home.
Series alert: This suspenseful 2nd novel featuring Murphy Shepherd can be enjoyed on its own, but those who read the 1st book, The Water Keeper, will best appreciate it. A 3rd book is expected next June.
The Words Between Us by Erin BartelsWhat it's about: In River City, Michigan, used bookstore owner Robin Dickenson lives a quiet life...until the media realize she's really Robin Windsor, daughter of a notorious ex-senator currently on death row.
Why you might like it: This lyrical, compelling novel has literary references and poignant flashbacks to Robin's teen years, when, due to the scandal, she was sent to live with a relative she didn't know. There, she reinvented herself and navigated a crush on football star Peter, who shared his recently deceased mom's favorite books with lonely Robin.
Look for: Erin Bartels' next novel, The Girl Who Could Breathe Underwater, in January.
A Perfect Amish Romance by Shelley Shepard GrayIntroducing: Sarah Anne Miller, a retired accountant turned talented bookmobile librarian (and matchmaker) in a rural Ohio county.
What happens: Sarah Anne assists a young Amish man secretly studying for his GED (his family wouldn't approve) by setting him up with tutor Kayla, an Amish woman dealing with her mother's death, her father's depression, and the end of a long-term engagement.
Series alert: A Perfect Amish Romance is the sweet 1st Berlin Bookmobile book; the 2nd, An Amish Surprise, came out earlier this year, and the 3rd, A Christmas Courtship, is due in October.
The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine ReayWhat it's about: In small Winsome, Illinois, the death of beloved bookshop owner Maddie leaves three women in limbo: Madeline (a Chicago lawyer and Maddie's niece, who inherits the shop) and Janet and Claire (the store's two employees who've each found a sanctuary of sorts there).
What happens: Madeline's plans to sell the shop cause animosity, until career problems (and a handsome gardener) change her priorities.
Read this next: If you want to return to Winsome, pick up the author's Of Literature and Lattes. For another book about bookshops and friendship, try Lindsay Harrel's The Secrets of Paper and Ink.
The Librarian of Boone's Hollow by Kim Vogel SawyerWhat it's about: In Depression-era Kentucky, Addie Cowherd can't afford to finish college and has nowhere to go when she's kicked out. So she becomes a traveling librarian, delivering books on horseback to insular coal-mining communities. Though folks are suspicious of Addie, she bonds with Emmett, who's recently returned home after obtaining a university education thanks to a scholarship.
For fans of: faith-filled historical novels with romantic elements and appealing characters.
Reviewers say: "fantastic period details and dialects that shift with each character’s point of view" (Booklist).
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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