by Rhonna Hargett, Associate Director of Learning & Information Services
When the world feels overwhelming and uncertain, I often turn to a Christian Romance novel. Christian Romance tends to have settings that are challenging, but characters with positive outlooks and a guaranteed happy ending. It often helps me to turn around my outlook when I read stories of good people overcoming adversity while maintaining their values. The following titles take us to an Oregon farm retreat, a rescue on Mount Denali, Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, and a small town in North Carolina.
In “The Happy Camper” by Melody Carlson, Dillon Michaels retreats to her grandfather’s farm to regroup after finding herself stuck in an unhappy rut with her career and love life. With a crowded farmhouse, he offers her his old camper as a temporary home. With the help of the local hardware store owner, she fixes up the camper, healing her heart through the process. Carlson uses eccentric characters, rural charm, and a story of restoration to create a breezy and enjoyable novel. Readers of Robin Jones Gunn might enjoy this novel.
“The Way of the Brave” by Susan May Warren is the story of a rescue attempt on Mount Denali. Orion Starr is a former pararescue jumper living in Alaska and trying to put his memories of Afghanistan behind him. Jenny Calhoun, an undercover CIA profiler, is having trouble dealing with her tragic mistake of trusting the wrong person. Her mistake led to the deaths of four soldiers in the attack when Starr was injured. When an avalanche leaves Jenny stranded on Mount Denali, and Orion is in the rescue team, they are both forced to reckon with their pasts and work together to save lives. This combination of thriller and romance will keep you in its grip to the end. You might like “The Way of the Brave” if you have enjoyed Dee Henderson’s work.
“Out of the Embers” by Amanda Cabot is a classic example of Western Historical Christian Romance. Evelyn Radcliffe has lived in an orphanage since her parents died in a fire. After going to town for supplies with one of the younger girls, Polly, she returns to find the orphanage in flames. Evelyn and Polly are the only survivors, and Evelyn suspects that the fire is connected to her parents death. They turn the wagon and head off to try to find a safe place, eventually stumbling upon Wyatt Clark’s horse ranch. He and his mother and sister take the girls in and form a fast friendship. Evelyn starts to heal, and is even able to pursue her dream of running a restaurant, but danger still lurks, and she wonders if she will ever truly be safe. “Out of the Embers” is a sweet and satisfying story, with just enough suspense. This is a good read-alike for fans of Tracie Peterson’s fiction.
I haven’t been able to get my hands on it yet, but I’m looking forward to reading “Til I Want No More” by Robin Pearson when it comes out in February. Publishers Weekly describes it as “Pearson (A Long Time Comin’) delivers a satisfying tale of one woman’s secrets returning to haunt her. . . Pearson’s excellent characters and plotting capture the complexity and beauty of family, the difficulty of rectifying mistakes, and the healing that comes from honesty. Pearson rises to another level with this excellent story.” This should be enjoyable for readers who like Denise Hunter’s books.
Manhattan Public Library has a variety of Christian Romance available in print, books on CD, downloadable audio, or ebooks. You can find more suggestions in our Christian Fiction newsletter or by exploring “Read-alikes” in the library catalog. Find these resources and more at our website, www.mhklibrary.org, or call 785-776-4741 ext. 300.