Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books 2015 – Historical

December 15, 2015 Best Books 2015, Camille Eide, Christian, Dawn Crandall, Elizabeth Camden, historical, Jen Turano, Jody Hedlund, Karen Witemeyer, Kate Breslin 81

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Yesterday I gave you my list of the best contemporary books I’ve read this year.  Continuing my “best-of” theme for the week, today’s Top Ten Tuesday post fits right in.  In no particular order, here are the ten 15 best books in the Historical genre that I read in 2015.

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best book 2015The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

Publisher: Ashberry Lane

Publication Date: December 1, 2015

Setting: 1950s, California

My Review for RT Book Reviews Magazine: 5 star GOLD Top Pick

The Thornbearer

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best book 2015The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham

Publisher: Vinspire

Publication Date: April 11, 2015

Setting: WW1, North Carolina/England

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-1p

Woven together with rich characters, poetic language, riveting history, wry humor, and heart-wrenching secrets, The Thorn Bearer is a book that will draw you in and refuse to let go. It isn’t often that I finish a fictional book and pause to reflect on it in silence for several minutes, but I did in this case. Even after I finished the last word, this story resonated throughout my spirit for a good long while.

1.The Hesitant Heiress

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best book 2015The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall

Publisher: Whitaker House

Publication Date: September 8, 2015 (paperback)

Setting: Gilded Age, Boston

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-fp

Between my love for these characters and my pure enjoyment of the artistry of the writing, the setting of 1890s New England became icing on an already yummy cake.  Ever part of the background without taking over or fading away, the lifestyle of these wealthy Vanderbilt-contemporaries is essential to understanding the lives and the motivations and even the insecurities of the people we meet on the pages of The Hesitant Heiress. As Nathan himself said at one point, “Were you aware that all anyone really cares to know of me is the fact that I am born into the Everstone family, and that I am therefore wealthy beyond reason?” At which point, I’m pretty sure I hollered through the book to Amaryllis, “Hug the poor man, for the love!”

mistress

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best book 2015The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

Publisher: Revell

Publication Date: September 8, 2015

Setting: Post-Revolutionary War Virginia

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-dx

“On this day, 8 August, 1778, a child was safely delivered… Nay, not safely. Anything but safely.” And with that line, readers are invited on a journey that will take them through twists (including some stunning surprise ones!) and turns, over mountains and into valleys, in turn both heart-wrenching and heartwarming.

The Mistress of Tall Acre is more than your typical marriage-of-convenience story. Rife with tensions from every side, this is a touching story of history – of healing, of new beginnings, and of friendship.

stealing jake

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best book 2015Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

Publisher: Tyndale House

Publication Date: August 1, 2015

Setting: Late 1800s, Illinois

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-ci

Pam Hillman is one of my new favorite authors to follow. Perfect for fans of western romance, Stealing Jake is a book full of faith, heart, hope and redemption without ever feeling too heavy.  You will grin and chuckle and get a few lumps in your throat along the way…and in the end, the meaning of Christmas will wrap itself around you like a warm blanket. If you like books by Melissa Jagears or Mary Connealy, then you need to read Stealing Jake.  Trust me, it will steal your heart.

the sweetest rain

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best book 2015The Sweetest Rain by Myra Johnson

Publisher: Franciscan Media

Publication Date: September 18, 2015

Setting: 1930s, Arkansas

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-jd

Yet, somehow Myra Johnson manages to infuse the tone of the book with hope; while The Sweetest Rain deals with one discouraging topic after another, it never feels heavy or depressing.

How is this possible? Because the characters give this book its hope, its light, its joy. The Sweetest Rain sings with characters who became my friends and family as I read, their personalities almost tangible.

uncertain choice

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best book 2015An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: March 3, 2015

Setting: Medieval Europe

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-bF

I enjoyed several aspects of this story very much – not the least of which were the three knights (and not just for all the smoldering glances and the flirting, thank you). Their close friendships set the stage for the rest of the series, and there’s just something about guys that have each others’ backs no matter what.  Not to mention, I liked all three of them as characters in and of themselves, and I could have lived with any of them being Rosemarie’s choice.  (Ok… not really.  From the very beginning, there was only 1 knight for her as far as I was concerned.  But I think the other two should find nice girls to marry.  I’m sure Jody Hedlund is taking care of that lol.)

after a fashion

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best book 2015After a Fashion by Jen Turano

Publisher: Bethany House

Publication Date: March 3, 2015

Setting: Gilded Age, New York

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-9j

With each new book of Ms. Turano’s that I read, I find myself wondering how in the world she is going to top the crazy and hilarious situations into which she thrusts her characters.  And then somehow she finds a way to do just that! Harriet seems to find her fair share of hysterical antics even if she stumbles into most of them quite unwillingly.  One of the scenes that had me laughing the loudest was her first… um… encounter with Miss Birmingham, which also happens to be when she meets Oliver as well.  The crazy was real, y’all.  And so deliciously entertaining lol.

in good company

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best book 2015In Good Company by Jen Turano

Publisher: Bethany House

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Setting: Gilded Age, New England

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-9q

What would happen if Pride & Prejudice (without all the eloping) met The Sound of Music (without all the songs)?In Good Company is a fun, sweet, breathless (from both laughter and swooning) romance with just the right amounts of suspense & villainy & faith thrown into the plot. You will giggle, cry, get angry, and cheer as these endearing characters parade through the Newport social scene with their own sense of class and style. If you love historical fiction and you have a soft spot for Mr. Darcy, don’t miss this book!

with every breath

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best book 2015With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

Publisher: Bethany House

Publication Date: August 5, 2014

Setting: Late 1800s, Washington DC

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-6z

With Every Breath is not just about fear – it is also about friendship. A delightful, if unlikely and unexpected, friendship between two former rivals.  Peppered with witty banter that is sharply on the mark each time, Kate and Trevor prove that there are some things – and people – you never outgrow.  Trevor’s dry humor and Kate’s snappy comebacks are lots of fun to read and many times had me grinning like a fool!

a worthy pursuit

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best book 2015A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Publisher: Bethany House

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Setting: Late 1800s, Texas

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-5X

Stone – *dreamy sigh times 1000*.  Larger than life, he is able to fight off a bobcat with his bare hands and later tenderly hold his woman with those same hands and watch the Texas sunset. Much later – because Charlotte isn’t an easy sell on this whole “wooing” thing. Even then, during the sunset watching, she doesn’t realize he’s wooing her. But woo her, he tries. (Side note: I love the word “woo”. Isn’t it fun to say? Woo. It’s also fun when added to “hoo” – as in WOOHOO! Which you might find yourself cheering in this book a time or three. Like, for instance, when Stone sets his mind on a pursuit and declares that nothing will stand in his way. WOOHOO!)

to win her favor.jpg

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best book 2015To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: May 19, 2015

Setting: Post-Civil War Tennessee

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-2P

Her perspective on the history of the time period is captivating and vivid, at times shocking in its reality, but ever full of reminders that for all the evil and heartbreak present in mankind at any given moment there are always remnants of God’s good to shine in the darkness. The romance swirling around this marriage of convenience is at once breathless for both its joys and its sorrows, and the protagonists are as perfectly matched as a wink and a grin. Even if they themselves would argue that point with me a time or two throughout their journey. To Win Her Favor overflows with characters who are too full of life to be held captive to the pages of a story; they weave their way into your heart by the end of the book and feel like dear friends.

huntress

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best book 2015The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

SettingMedieval Germany

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-2e

Imagine this – Robin Hood meets Swan Lake meets Melanie Dickerson. If the thought that popped into your brain was “perfection”, then you already have a great picture of The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest!  Nobody but nobody retells a fairy tale like Melanie Dickerson, and this latest release may very well be her best yet. The characters are faced with some of the most complex decisions, some of the most pivotal situations, as in any of her previous retellings, and we the readers get the privilege of being observers to how it all plays out at the direction of Ms. Dickerson’s talented pen.

not by sight

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best book 2015Not By Sight by Kate Breslin

Publisher: Bethany House

Publication Date: August 4, 2015

Setting: WW1, England

My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-9v

A little bit Scarlet Pimpernel, a little bit Beauty and the Beast, and a little bit Phantom of the Opera,  Kate Breslin’s sophomore novel Not By Sight is more than a little bit perfect. Romance, espionage and friendship collide in this stunning tale set in England during the First World War.

Did I name any of your favorites? Or are they all new to you?

Tune in tomorrow for my list of the best suspense books I read this year 🙂

*Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog linkup hosted by The Broke and The Bookish*

carrie reading xmas

Carrie

81 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books 2015 – Historical”

  1. Camille Eide

    Thank you for the menrion, Carrie! I know the PTB won’t allow you to elaborate on Johnny’s story. I’m honored to see it here in such fine company. Thank you for the recommends, I’m making a my wish list and checking it twice… 🙂

  2. Christina T

    I love historical fiction but I haven’t read any of these! I have read books by Laura Frantz and Tamara Alexander that I really liked in the past. I think I purchased all of those inspirational fiction titles on your list for my library’s fiction collection.

  3. rbclibrary

    We both chose the same topic – great minds! We share only 2 books though. Thanks for the post. Lots more books to add to the TBR list.

    • Carrie

      lol. i know you read even more than I do. Between the two of us, I’m pretty sure we still don’t put a dent in the available market

  4. Dawn Crandall

    Wow, thanks so much for putting The Hesitant Heiress on such an amazing list of books/authors! It’s an honor to have such a well-read avid reader like you really love and enjoy it! ❤️ I have most of these books either on my kindle or on my nightstand! Obviously my book buying/collecting habit hasn’t officially slowed down to match what my-free-time-allows now that I’ve had a baby. 🙂 Hopefully–come February (my next book deadline)–I can get around to reading them before the NEXT BABY comes in June! ?

    • Carrie

      My absolute pleasure! It truly belongs here 🙂 I am hoping for more free reading time for you in the very near future!!!

  5. Rachael Merritt

    Read almost all of these. Great list. One I would add if allowed 16 would be A Noble Masquerade and The Secrets She Kept. Yes, I know that’s two, but goodness there were a lot of great releases this year in this genre! 🙂

    • Carrie

      LOL! Yes, so many great books this year. So many in fact that I haven’t made it to those two yet – and it’s killing me!!!

      • Rachael Merritt

        Both of those are amazing! Highly recommend them. Secrets She Kept is a heavy read, but it has changed the prism as to how I look at people. A Noble Masquerade is a great read and fun,too! 🙂

  6. rachelburden

    Hi Carrie! I literally haven’t heard of any of these books and I’m not even sure I’ve heard of any of the Authors! That’s so refreshing! I will definitely be browsing through and picking some out for my 2016 TBR list!

    Thanks for the inspirational list, Happy Reading,
    Rachel @ Paein-and-Ms4Tune.co.uk

  7. vonze

    I love that you have a historical and contemporary list! Thanks for all the great recommends. 🙂 I’m asking for “The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” for Christmas.

  8. beckmank

    I love that you stuck to a historical theme! I haven’t read any, but there are a bunch here that I want to read now. Beautiful covers too.

  9. Rissi

    So many favorites including Jody Hedlund’s and Laura Frantz’s. There was amazing talent in the world of inspirational fiction this year. That is FOR SURE! 😀

  10. Laura Frantz

    Oh my word! How did I just now see this?! I kept thinking over the past few days that you had decided to not post, lol, or was having trouble narrowing your top ten! Forgive me for the late reply (bad Facebook!). Love your book ministry here and your HUGE heart for authors, Carrie. You are such a gem of a reading friend!!

    • Carrie

      Haha! No problem, sweet Laura! Tis the season when things easily get buried on social media 🙂 Thank you for your gracious words!!!! It is truly my pleasure

  11. Maggie @ macarons & paperbacks

    I really enjoyed To Win Her Favor, too 🙂 I’ve read one book by Jen Turano and LOVED it, so I’ll have to look up those other ones you listed. And Karen Witemeyer is one of my favorite authors so A Worthy Pursuit is already on my to-read. I’m hoping to read it after the holidays 🙂

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