Perennials by Julie CantrellWhat it's about: Two estranged middle-aged sisters face each other for the first time in decades in the weeks leading up to their parents' 50th anniversary party. Their dad plants a special memory garden for their mom as lies from the past keep the sisters' relationship from growing again.
For fans of: Southern fiction. It's set in Oxford, Mississippi and explores thought-provoking topics like truth, forgiveness, and going home again.
Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna DeeringWhat it's about: Drew Farthering, an English gentleman, and his American wife, Madeline, are in Scotland for the 1935 British Open when their host, Lord Rainsby, asks for help uncovering possible embezzling. When Rainsby dies in a suspicious accident, Drew and Madeline suspect murder.
Series alert: This is the 6th book in the lighthearted Dew Farthering mystery series (though newcomers can start here).
For fans of: British country house mysteries.
The Engagement Plot by Krista PhillipsStarring: "Holy Hanna," a Christian teacher from rural Minnesota who appeared on the reality dating show The Price of Love (think The Bachelor), and William Preston, the handsome Nashville CEO who chose Hanna from among a group of alluring contestants...and then broke her heart.
Why you might like it: Though Hanna and Will are truly in love, plenty of obstacles (deceit, business pressures for Will, and lots of media attention) stand in their way in this fresh, funny novel. Thankfully, they can always turn to God for guidance.
The Austen Escape by Katherine ReayWhat it's about: Engineer Mary Davies is worried about losing her job (despite reassurances from nice consultant Nathan) and doesn't want to travel to Bath, England with Isabel, her oldest (and most domineering) friend for an immersive Jane Austen experience. Mary goes anyway, and troubled Isabel starts to believe she's actually in Regency England! Mary needs all the help she can get, so she's happy and surprised when Nathan appears.
For fans of: Jane Austen, of course! As well as anyone who enjoys lyrical, character-driven novels.
Out of the Ordinary by Jen TuranoFeaturing: Gertrude Cadwalader, the devoted paid companion to eccentric Mrs. Davenport, an elderly lady who has a penchant for taking jewelry and other trinkets that don't belong to her; and Harrison Sinclair, a shipping magnate who believes in Gertrude even after his mother catches her trying to return stolen items and thinks she's a thief.
Series alert: This is the 2nd in the Apart from the Crowd series, all of which feature quirky characters in Gilded Age New York and lots of humor; the 1st is Behind the Scenes, and the 3rd (out next July) is Caught by Surprise.
The Seekers by Wanda E. BrunstetterFeaturing: Heidi Troyer, a married Amish woman with no children, starts teaching a cooking class in her home as a way to beat back boredom. Her first class includes an engaged woman whose betrothed won't set a date, an unwed expectant mother, a widowed mom of two young children, a Vietnam vet who parks his RV nearby, and an Amish widower who can't boil water.
Series alert: This is the opening book in a new series by veteran Amish fiction author Wanda Brunstetter. The 2nd in the series is The Blessing, and the 3rd, The Celebration, comes out in February. Love this idea? Check out the author's Amish Quilting Class books.
The Wishing Season by Denise HunterFeaturing: PJ McKinley, an ambitious chef and the baby of her family, and Cole Evans, a one-time foster kid turned successful contractor.
What it's about: The owner of an Indiana mansion holds a contest to give away her elegant home to whoever has the best idea for its use. When PJ (who wants a fancy restaurant and B&B) and Cole (who wants a foster home) tie, they must share the house for a year to see who ultimately wins.
Series alert: This is the engaging 3rd novel in the four-book Chapel Springs Romance series.
Come to the Table by Neta JacksonWhat it's about: Enthusiastic new Christian Kathryn Davies offers a homeless woman, Rochelle, and her young son a room in the Chicago apartment she shares with friends. But when Kat and Rochelle both have romantic feelings toward seminary student and roommate Nick, Kat questions her good deed. Passionate about healthful eating, Kat also hopes to start a food pantry at her church -- but not everyone likes her idea.
Is it for you? This sequel to Stand by Me will please fans of the author's Yada Yada Prayer Group books (who'll recognize a few characters) and those who enjoy urban settings and multicultural characters.
Stones for Bread by Christa ParrishFeaturing: Liesl McNamara, who runs Wild Rise, a bakery and café in Vermont, and feels a link between her breadmaking and that of her mother's and grandmother's.
What it's about: bread and bread making (recipes included), families and secrets, mental illness, identity, love, forgiveness, TV cooking shows, faith, and scripture.
Who it's for: bakers and fans of subtle yet filling books.
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