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.
The 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 Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham
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.
The 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!”
The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz
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 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 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.
An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund
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 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 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 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 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 by Tamera Alexander
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.
The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Setting: Medieval 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 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*
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… 🙂
It killed me. There was so much more I wanted to say lol. My typing fingers got very twitchy 😉
OMG! The covers! I want them all, most of them are so breathtaking! I wish I had more time to read all of the books I’m interested in…
haha! I know the feeling! And I have major cover love for them too.
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.
You definitely need to read Laura and Tamara’s latest releases then!
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.
isn’t that funny? You’d think we would overlap more haha! So many great books this year!!
Ahh you’re such a romantic!! What a lovely looking list.
Lol I very much am 😉
I haven’t read any of these, but the Huntress of Thornbeck Forest sounds good! Here’s my TTT.
it’s very good!! I think you would like it!
it’s got a suspense element as well as the romance
Sounds perfect for me. 🙂
I love how you’re breaking every thing down by genre. Sadly, I don’t like historical romances that much, or I’d be adding all of these to my TBR. Great twist on today’s theme. 🙂
My Top Ten Tuesday Post
lol to each his own. There’s always my contemporary list from yesterday & my suspense list for tomorrow 😉 Thanks for stopping by!
I’ll have to check them out. I’ll be going through all my e-mail alerts later. 🙂
i know the feeling LOL
Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with e-mails, it takes hours to go through them all.
Me. Too. Today I had literally 450 to wade through lol.
‘Woo’ is a great word. Not By Sight was really good 😀
Erika, thank you so much! I’m honored Not By Sight is on Carrie’s list of great titles.
You are welcome, it was a great book!
Read ten out of the fourteen. Must play catch up.
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
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! ?
My absolute pleasure! It truly belongs here 🙂 I am hoping for more free reading time for you in the very near future!!!
I’m going to have to check these out. I haven’t read any of them yet! 😉
I haven’t read any of these, but they all sound great! 🙂
they are! 🙂
Another great list! Those I’ve read, I’ve loved. Those I haven’t, well, you are helping grow my TBR list 😉
lol my goal is complete 😉
I’ve read several of these, but there are a few I need to add to my TBR list, since they look excellent!
My list: http://amandanicolle.blogspot.com/2015/12/take-ten-best-of-best-with-honors.html?m=1
yay! Thanks 🙂
I haven’t read any of these, but they look very interesting!
they’re great! 🙂
Dawn Crandall’s books are high on my TBR pile for next year! I’m excited 🙂 Also love that you are doing top books of 2015 all week–that’s so fun 🙂
it was self-preservation – no way I could narrow it down to one post hahaha!
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! 🙂
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!!!
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! 🙂
they are both definitely on my TBR pile 🙂
I love the look of the Melanie Dickerson novel. I believe I read something from her years ago and enjoyed it. Thanks for all the recs!
her covers are always so wonderful! (and so are her books lol)
These are all new to me. I do love so many of the covers though!!!
aren’t they gorgeous? 🙂
I haven’t read any of these, but I’m glad you enjoyed them! 😀
Here are my Top Ten!
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
Yay! Enjoy 🙂
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.
yay!! You will love it!! 🙂 Come back in about an hour for my mystery/suspense list!
Great choices. I admit I don’t read a lot of historical books, but some of these look really good.
There’s always my contemporary list from Monday 🙂
Great list! I really need to get more into historical fiction so maybe I could try some of these next year!
Thanks for checking out my blog!
thanks! I hope you do try some of them – they are wonderful 🙂
Haven’t read this, but love the cover of After a Fashion 🙂 Thanks for stopping by
i love these covers so much 🙂
Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, with the amazing setting, seems like a very intriguing read <3 My TTT.
it really is!
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.
Oh I’m so glad you found some that sound good to you 🙂
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! 😀
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!!
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
Carrie, thank you for including Not By Sight on your amazing list of historical favorites! I’m adding several to my TBR list, too! 🙂
My absolute pleasure 🙂 So happy to introduce you to several reads as well!!
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 🙂
You will NOT be disappointed by any of those!! Make sure after you read A Worthy Pursuit you read the With This Ring collection next 🙂
Just added two from your list! The Hesitant Heiress looks really good and I love the time period.
Yay! That makes me happy 🙂