I’m really excited about this week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday – Books Set Outside the United States. And yes I shamelessly borrowed my title from The Wizard of Oz, with Zuzu subbing for Toto in a pinch. In all honesty, that wouldn’t really work. She’d be more suited in the role of The Cowardly Lion (just don’t tell her that’s a c-a-t). But that’s really neither here nor there – simply a rambling digression. You’re welcome 🙂
In planning my post for this week, I forced myself to cut off at
ten twelve fourteen books. (Ten is really just a loose suggestion, right?)
Get your virtual passports ready because we’re heading to six different countries on today’s post. But if I hadn’t cut myself off at
ten twelve fourteen books, it could have been even more countries! I also crossed “England” off the list, because as much as I love books set there it seems there are just as many as there are from the United States. And the purpose of this week’s theme is to broaden our reading horizons a bit.
1. Like There’s No Tomorrow by Camille Eide (Ashberry Lane, September 2014) – Two elderly Scottish sisters who are a handful and a hoot all at once. One brooding, hunky, tender Scotsman hero with a sense of humor and a nicely sculpted chest from chopping wood. One compassionate American heroine with a heart for others and a secret she keeps close. Hilarity, swoons, and tears are all in store in this fantastic contemporary novel. My Review
2. Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano (David C. Cook, June 2015) – I feel quite sure I’ve mentioned this book and it’s hero (#myJames) a time or 5,000 since the onset of my blog. Not to mention social media. Through Carla’s fabulous writing, you feel as though you are there in Skye with James and Andrea. And you will certainly want to go there when you’ve finished the book! Sadly, I don’t believe #myJames is provided with the Isle of Skye. My Review
3. Child of the Mist by Kathleen Morgan (Revell, February 2005) – The Scottish highlands in the sixteenth century. Rival clans achieving a wobbly truce through the arranged engagement of their respective heirs. Suspicions of a traitor. Accusations of witchcraft. Niall and Anne have a lot of obstacles to overcome in their quest for happily ever after.
4. Two Crosses by Elizabeth Musser (David C. Cook, June 2012) – This is a captivating book about a time in history I haven’t often read about, 1960s France & the Algerian war for independence. Gabriella Mason and the Huguenot cross she innocently wears get unwittingly drawn into intrigue and secrets. A nun involved in smuggling operations, a little girl with secret information, and the man she loves whose loyalties are unknown.
5. Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot (Tyndale, June 2012) – A 2013 Christy Award Winner and completely deserved. The French Resistance is another aspect of history that I haven’t read much about (apparently my education in French history was sadly lacking). The characters in this book – an American pilot shot down in France and picked up/recruited by the Resistance, a prostitute sympathetic to the Allied cause, the leader of a French resistance cell – all of these characters get deep in your heart and capture your emotions as well as your interest.
6. All The Tea in China by Jane Orcutt (Revell, June 2007) – This is a regency unlike any you’ve read before, with so many twists and turns. It’s quirky and unpredictable and at times a bit outrageous but the dialogue is so witty and clever! My reading friends have mixed feelings about this one but I enjoyed it 🙂
7. Safely Home by Randy Alcorn (Tyndale, July 2001) – I have talked about this book before on previous Top Ten Tuesday but to say that it was life-changing for me is an understatement. It’s also probably the book I shove at people the most, proclaiming “Read this! Now!” And if you aren’t moved by it, don’t tell me because then I’m not sure we can be friends and I would hate that 😉
8. The Girl From The Train by Irma Joubert (Thomas Nelson, November 2015) – Bookworm/story-loving Gretl who has stoically endured more than her share of heartache for one so young. Serious, kindhearted, heroic Jakób who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Both have secrets that could damage their friendship… a friendship that really shouldn’t exist because of who she is and who watches him. But a friendship they do have. A deep, lasting, rare friendship that transcends political and religious prejudices, eventually distance and years, and even powerful secrets. Half of the book takes place in South Africa as well, which makes it that much more unique. My Review
9. The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson, July 2014) – Sweet. Tender. Heartbreaking. Captivating. Characters that engage you right away. The story behind the painting keeps you turning the pages for more, and the dual timeline is so exquisitely well done. I read this pre-blog so I don’t have an official review up for it but my friend Jane over at Greenish Bookshelf recently wrote a great review for this beautiful book. Check out her review
10. Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan (Kensington, April 2016) – Rose, Elisabeth, and Nicole – three distinct women, three distinct narratives, three intertwined stories. This is yet another novel rich with a history that I hadn’t really ever studied before… and yet again it’s connected to France. Hmmm… Anyway, it follows three women as they forge a lasting friendship with each other, one that begins on their journey across the ocean and endures long after they arrive in New France. A novel which will cause every woman’s heart to swell in pride, solidarity, and gratitude for those who forged the path ahead of us. My Review
11. The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan (Harvest House, March 2016) – Merinda and Jem are quite possibly my favorite crime fighting gal pals since Nancy Drew and her chums, and Jasper and Ray make much better love interests than Ned Nickerson ever did. As well as just being quite simply a FUN book (enhanced by the clever footnotes and the snippets from made-up works of literature included at the beginning of each chapter), Rachel McMillan’s debut novel is also a fascinating look at Toronto in the early 1900s. My Review
12. When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke (Bethany House, 1983) – A cultured East Coast young lady takes a teaching position in the western Canadian frontier. At first it goes about like you’d expect – not well. A lot of tears, a lot of adjustments. But she’s determined to stick it out and fight the harsh conditions for the children she’s come to care about…. And there’s a hunky Mountie in the picture (one of my first historical fiction book boyfriends) so that may have factored in a bit as well 😉
13. The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson (Thomas Nelson, May 2016) – Really, I could have included almost all of Melanie’s fairy tale retellings in this category, but I made myself pick the most recent one. The Beautiful Pretender is “Beauty and the Beast” meets “The Princess and the Pea” meets “The Bachelor”. And boy is it good! Lots of drama, some humor, a dose of action and suspense, and some fan-requiring kisses all combine with Melanie Dickerson’s impeccable talent. My Review
14. Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke (Tyndale, August 2015) – This recently won the 2016 Christy Award for Historical Fiction! If you glance through the Goodreads reviews, the general consensus on this one is “captivating”. After the death of her estranged mother, Hannah Sterling discovers a grandfather living in Germany – a grandfather she didn’t know she had. As she travels to Germany to meet him, Hannah discovers he has secrets of his own and gains new understanding of her family’s tragic past. Now she must decide how that troubled legacy will shape her future. My friend Jamie’s review on Books and Beverages
What about you? Which of your favorite books are set in countries other than the US or England? Share with me the link to your TTT post if you participated this week 🙂