Welcome to our post-Christmas edition of Top Ten Tuesday (a weekly blog linkup hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). Last week’s list was about the books we wouldn’t mind Santa leaving under our tree. I am delighted to report that he (or my family) listened and brought me The Bookshop Book and Margin, plus a bonus book – Rising Strong.
But my FAVE gift this year?? The awesome coffee table/bookcase my dad built for me!! I keep looking over at it and just smiling 🙂
PLUS he dressed up like Santa for my 7 month old nephew…. my dad is just the awesome-est!
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is the books we are most anticipating in the first half of 2016. I started out the list yesterday with my contemporary “can’t waits”. Today I’m going to look at the historical fiction I’m most looking forward to from January to June.
And I’m warning you right now – there’s way more than ten 🙂
Running from the mistakes of her past, Tessa Taylor heads to the uppermost reaches of Michigan, planning to serve as the new teacher to the children of miners. Though the town requested a male teacher, superintendent and chief mine clerk Percival Updegraff says she can stay through winter since it’s too late to replace her. Determined to make herself irreplaceable, Tessa throws herself into her work, and soon two students have decided she is the right match for their grieving father. At the same time, charming assistant lightkeeper Alex Bjorklund makes his interest known. But not all is well as she feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.
1945: When the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion. Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel’s portrait miniature who looks so much like Kate? And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother? In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known. But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room?
Maggie Montgomery’s long-held wish to see America is finally coming true. She’ll visit her beloved brother Rylan and his wife, Colleen, and at the same time secretly plans to remain in America to seek her fortune and to hopefully find love. While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man whom she thinks is a stable hand. Only when Rylan demands she stay away from Adam O’Leary does she realize he’s Colleen’s brother, recently released from prison. Adam has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Spending time in jail only reinforces his belief. Now that he’s free, Adam hopes to make amends and earn back his family’s trust. Falling in love with Maggie Montgomery, however, was never in his plans. Despite everyone’s effort to keep them apart, the two develop a bond nothing can break–but has Adam truly changed, or will the sins of his past prove too much for Maggie to overcome?
Catherine Dougall’s past of manipulation has left her future in threads. With a new faith, she longs to take the remnants of her life and make something beautiful, but shame, societies’ judgments, and the natural consequences of an unplanned pregnancy test her newfound hope. Dr. David Ross doesn’t help either. His kindness, sacrifice, and tenderness tempt her to impossible dreams, but a fallen woman doesn’t merit a fairytale. David Ross has made every effort to keep his life above reproach, and his passion for the sick pumps fresh purpose through his choices. But without financial support to maintain his war hospital, all is lost. When his notorious aunt offers an easy solution, David is tempted to give in to her demands, but his growing affection for the reformed flirt, Catherine Dougall, unwinds the careful wall around his heart and offers an unexpected choice. When the worst of war tears them apart, can love renew the memory of what was lost or will tragedy steal away their hope forever?
***I’ve actually already read The Thorn Keeper, but IT’S SO GOOD that I’m full of anticipation for you to read it too! I will say this for now – you will never smell peppermint again without associating it with Christmas, David Ross, and stolen kisses.***
In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and deception thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary. At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?
With the help of an old friend with uncertain loyalties, Dirk inches ever closer to clearing his name. Gwyneth throws her faith into good tidings and the promise of a future as a family. But an old evil comes to call, just as tragedy rips apart a fledgling truce. Enemies from the past and grief for the future threaten to tear asunder what God had brought together…
As the date of Dirk’s trial approaches, his fate and his family hang in the balance. Will he be proven innocent of Gwyneth’s parents’ murders or separated from her forever? How much pain does it take to erode a love steadfast?
Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan’s interest turns threatening. Lucetta’s widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta’s life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson’s estate to hide out. Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there’s much more to him than society knows. Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail’s matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can’t ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it’ll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.
Miss Annabel Ashton is a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she visits her family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge. Annabel protests, but as the illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an insane asylum, she has little say. Edward is running out of money and puts the house up for sale to avoid financial ruin. He insists that Annabel marry, promising her to a sinister, frightening man. But as the house gets packed for sale, it begins to reveal disquieting secrets. Jewelry, artifacts, and portraits mysteriously appear, suggesting that Annabel may be the true heir of Highcliffe. She has only a few months to prove her legitimacy, perhaps with assistance from the handsome but troubled Maltese Captain Dell’Acqua. But does he have Annabel’s best interests at heart? And then, a final, most ominous barrier to both her inheritance and her existence appears: a situation neither she nor anyone else could have expected.
In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor.
All the while, she fights against her cruel uncle who has taken over the land that is rightfully hers.
Forced to live in the woods and hide with the poor people she’s grown to love, she works to save and protect them, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she’s come to despise.
(Reviewer’s Note: After the cliffhanger in book 1, I am dying to know what happens in this second book. Also – which of the remaining two knights will find his true love? I’ve heard there’s a “humdinger of a cliffhanger” in this book too!! ARGH! lol)
In Love, Lies and Spies, Cindy Anstey’s hilarious homage to Jane Austen, a lady with a penchant for trouble finds a handsome spy much more than merely tolerable.
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish her research. Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
No one connected to Reginald Aubrey has remained untouched by his choice made twenty years ago. Not William, the Oneida child Reginald stole and raised as his own. Identity shattered, enlisted in the British army, William trains with Loyalists eager to annihilate the rebels who forced them into exile. Not Reginald’s daughter Anna, nor Two Hawks, William’s twin, who long for Reginald to accept their love that bridges two cultures.
As the British prepare to attack frontier New York and Patriot regiments rally to defend it, loyalties will be tested, hearts divided, while two families separated by culture, united by love, will do all in their power to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.
The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character. Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.
Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?
Fellsworth School is the only home that Annabelle Creswell has ever known. When her long-lost aunt invites Annabelle and her younger half-sister to accompany her to Bellfield Crossing for the summer, Annabelle cannot resist a new adventure. Colin Ashton, on the other hand, has more adventure that he cares for. As a magistrate in Bellfield Crossing, he focuses on keeping illegal activity at bay. He has little time for frivolous activities, which he’s certain are Annabelle’s focus. Annabelle is enamored by the opulence that surrounds her at her aunt’s home, but it is the orphans at the local orphanage who really capture her heart. As she works among the community, Annabelle quickly finds herself the interest of several suitors. Colin warns her not everyone can be trusted, but she wonders if she can trust him. After all, she has been told stories about him.
Colin’s and Annabelle’s paths continue to cross as Colin works to unearth the local smuggling ring and Annabelle takes her place in high society. Could Colin have been telling the truth? And will her aunt listen when Annabelle voices her concerns? Or will she send Annabelle back to Fellsworth and away from the life … and man she has come to love?
Rosamund Easling is no stranger to opulence. As the daughter of an earl, she’s grown up with all the comforts money can buy. But when hard times befall the family’s Yorkshire estate in the aftermath of the Great War, the stage is set for a series of events that change her world beyond even her wildest dreams. Though expected to marry for a title instead of love, Rosamund feels called to a different life—one of adventure outside the confines of a ladies’ parlor. When her father sells her beloved horse, she abandons all she’s known and follows in pursuit as her horse is shipped to the new owner—an American entertainer by the name of John Ringling. Knowing she has much to learn, Rosamund agrees to a bareback riding apprenticeship in the shadow of the Ringlings’ home—the Ca’D’Zan. In what would become the last days of the enigmatic Mable Ringling’s life, Rosamund finds a deeper sense of purpose in her new life and begins to experience the awakening of faith. With a mysterious and dazzling supporting cast of characters, Rosamund journeys far from the traditions of the English countryside to the last days of the Roaring Twenties—a journey that forever changes what her life might have been.
Men are optional. That’s the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight–and she knows just the one.
Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s plea arrives, he bolts to Harper’s Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve. As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.
Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry. But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally.
Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they’ve worked for at risk?
In difficult circumstances, Charlotte Ward, once a famed stage actress, tries to restart her career–only to experience disaster. Against her better judgment, her estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother’s rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village. Charlotte is grateful to get to know Rosalind after years apart. As one who has regrets about her own romantic past, it’s a joy for Charlotte to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it’s time away from teaching–and now she must care for the mother who wasn’t there for her. And what could be more complicated than romance?
Together, mother and daughter discover that healing is best accomplished when they focus less on themselves and more on the needs of others.
WHEW!!! My TBR pile is rivaling Australia in navigational mass at this point. What historical fiction are you looking forward to next year?
(Come back tomorrow for my list of mystery/suspense titles in 2016!)