Belief in a higher power has been part of the human experience across time and cultures, and it can permeate fiction as well. In a small town or during a world war, within both romantic attachments and friendships, Christian faith forms the framework and the core of these inspirational stories.

Set in Holland during World War II, Snow on the Tulips finds Cornelia de Vries and her 20-year-old brother, Johan, swept up in the action as Dutch Resistance fighters push back against Nazi occupation.

Cornelia has sworn to keep Johan from being rounded up to fight for Hitler, but protecting him becomes more difficult when the conflict enters her home in the form of a half-dead Resistance fighter named Gerrit. He’s a threat to their carefully constructed neutrality—and to her heart, long shuttered since her husband’s death on their wedding night.

In an adventurous tale that reads like a movie script, Liz Tolsma weaves faith in seamlessly, moving the reader with her characters’ convictions to create a captivating debut novel. Their heartfelt prayers show that faith can grow even in times of unspeakable hardship and fear.

GOTHIC CHARM

The first in a planned trilogy, Jessica Dotta’s Born of Persuasion blends all things Gothic and romantic into a winding tale of intrigue in early 19th-century England.

The fortunes of young Julia Elliston, orphaned after her mother’s suicide, depend upon the charity of men. Some may be villains and others saints—but the novel is slow to reveal who is which.

Julia’s position in society is fragile, and her naiveté and vulnerability contrast sharply with the novel’s foreboding setting and the hazy motives of those she meets, including her mysterious guardian and the brooding, charismatic Mr. Macy, who seems to know all but shares little. Julia has been betrothed since childhood to Edward, who complicates matters further when he takes orders to become a vicar—Julia’s father was a well-known and ardent atheist who passed his beliefs on to his daughter.

Though verbose at times, Dotta’s style is clearly influenced by the Brontës, and manages to keep the reader engaged through every twist and turn.

A SOUTHERN JOURNEY

Competition for oil-drilling rights collides with an eclectic artists colony’s vow to hold onto their land in Sweet Olive, a Southern tale by Louisiana author Judy Christie.

Camille Gardner finds herself exiled (in a manner of speaking) to Sweet Olive, Louisiana, after botching a previous job for the oil company owned by her uncle. It’s painfully near the town where her father left her and her mother behind years before, never to return—a fact that brings this old hurt to the surface.

Christie writes in an inviting, colloquial style, full of great turns of phrase that make her characters’ speech feel true to life. It’s Camille’s job to get these artists to sign over the rights to drill on their land, but once she meets them and sees their work, she’s drawn in. As Camille falls for the beauty around her—and the lawyer who opposes her at every turn—the journey leads her somewhere surprising.

A LOVE THAT LASTS

A sweet story of enduring love and faithfulness, Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis shares the unique romance of Pearl “Huck” Huckabee and Gabe Alexander. For decades, Gabe sent his beloved a weekly postcard inscribed with a simple poem extolling his devotion.

Lewis, a playwright, paints a convincing portrait of the couple, and their voices are spot-on and beautiful. Seeing their relationship evolve on paper is almost like watching it unfold in real life. Hope and faith are the hinges of all their plans, from the night they meet and fall instantly in love in 1926 and through the years as they grow old together.

The narrative moves between Huck and Gabe’s relationship at different stages and 2006, when Adam Colby discovers the postcards while handling their estate sale. Colby studies the archive, hoping to find healing after his divorce. As he immerses himself in their story, he begins to find his way.

While the religious thread of the story is kept in the background, the love between Huck and Gabe is the heart of Forever Friday, and their steadfastness, though fictional, will inspire.

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