Great Reads from 2012- Romance and Historicals

Happy New Year, readers! It feels odd to say the date. It is the year 2013; is it just me or does that date feel way too futuristic? As it stands now, 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for readers with new releases from favorite authors such as Joel Rosenberg, Randy Singer, and Susan May Warren. But with all our focus on the new, new, new, it’d be a shame to forget about the great books of 2012. With a little bit to offer from every genre, let’s start with a few suggestions of great reads for historical and romance readers.

For an escape to another time:

Promise Me This and Band of Sisters both by Cathy Gohlke


Taking place in the early 1900’s, these two novels chronicle the journey of a few European immigrants as they travel to America. While Promise Me This starts with the sailing of the Titanic, Band of Sisters follows two Irish sisters as they struggle to acclimate and thrive in America. Cathy’s stories offer a window into another world, a character study of how things may have been over a hundred years ago.

Cathy Gohlke’s Promise Me This was selected as one of the Best Books of 2012 in the Christian fiction genre from the Library Journal.

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot

A retelling of the Rahab story set during the height of World War II, this book shows how God doesn’t need perfect people to carry out His plan. Readers will be challenged to respond to God’s call for courage, faith, and self-sacrifice in the face of danger and injustice. Tracy specializes in the retelling of Biblical narratives set in a new period of history and you will find yourself lost in Tracy Groot’s realistic description and fascinating characters who will stay with you long after the last page.

Tracy Groot is the author of several critically acclaimed novels including The Brother’s Keeper, Stones of My Accusers, and Madman, winning a Christy award for the latter.

Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang

When our heroine, Meg Davenport, receives news of her distant father’s death, she seizes the chance to throw etiquette aside and do as she pleases. Especially when she learns that John Davenport wasn’t the wealthy businessman she thought, but one of the Gilded Age’s most talented thieves. Maureen paints a descriptive picture of the Gilded Age, where extravagance and wealth may not be all they seem.

“Lang’s talent shines through in this first of the Gilded Legacy series. . . . The grandeur of the era is evident in the story, the charming characters, [and] the beautifully descriptive prose . . . ”
Romantic Times on Bee in the Butterfly Garden

For the Romantic at heart:

The Shadow of Your Smile and You Don’t Know Me both by Susan May Warren

Take a walk through the streets of Deep Haven as Susan May Warren introduces you to the families in this frosty, small town in Minnesota. In The Shadow of Your Smile, three years after a family tragedy rips their lives and marriage apart, Noelle and Eli Hueston  struggle to reconcile God’s role in their lives. But then an accident erases part of Noelle’s memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that shattered her world. Walk with the Hueston family as they attempt to rebuild their lives, relationships and hearts.

In You Don’t Know Me, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. But no one knows the truth: that Annalise was once Deidre O’Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the sleepy town of Deep Haven, Deidre got a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with Nathan Decker. Twenty years later, when her handler arrives with news that the man she testified against is out on bail and out for revenge, Annalise is forced to face the consequences of her secrets. Will she run again, or will she finally find the courage to trust those she loves most with both her past and her future?

“Warren is at her best as she plumbs the human heart, revealing motives, feelings, and undercurrents. The past looms large in this book, and Warren handles well the many facets of lives intertwined by love, hope, and tragedy.”
Publishers Weekly on The Shadow of Your Smile 

“. . . A wonderful story, filled with family and faith. Although Annalise has a situation that readers won’t directly identify with, the dilemmas she faces regarding her family will touch hearts and lives in an authentic way.”
Romantic Times on You Don’t Know Me

Skip Rock Shallow by Jan Watson

Fans of Jan Watson’s Troublesome Creek series will rejoice as we follow Copper’s daughter Lilly Gray Corbett, a recent medical school graduate, as she embarks on an internship into a coal camp in Skip Rock, Kentucky. When her city life and new rural residency clash, Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the trust of the inclusive townspeople. Torn between joining her fiancé in Boston and her newfound love for the people of Skip Rock, she crosses paths with a handsome miner—one who seems oddly familiar. As her attraction for him grows, she searches her heart for answers to God’s plan for her life.

“Watson’s descriptions of early 20th Century life and the Kentucky landscape will instantly transport readers. The character’s struggle with faith and trust in God are very realistic and heartfelt.”
Romantic Times on Skip Rock Shallows

Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert

Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, Chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to her former duties as an ER nurse. To prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge. Dr. Jack Travis will defend his clinic like he’s commander of the Alamo, doing everything in his power as he fights the community’s efforts to shut its doors even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen. As Riley’s compassion and strong will begin to stir Jack’s lonely heart, clinic protests escalate and questions surface on Jack’s past. Riley senses beneath Jack’s rough exterior is a man she can believe in but as Jack goes into battle mode to save the clinic, Riley wonders if it’s dangerous to trust him with her heart.

“Just like an outstanding episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Trauma Plan weaves medical, community, and personal issues with blossoming romance and strands of mystery.”
Booklist on Trauma Plan

Have any suggestions of great books you read in 2012?
I’ll be back next week Monday 1/15 to offer suggestions for lovers of Suspense, Crime novels, Legal thrillers and everything in-between. Thanks for reading!

Shaina Turner

Shaina Turner

Shaina is the Fiction team's newest addition. In her role as Acquisitions Assistant, she helps facilitate the release of novels, provides feedback to authors on best practices for social media, along with maintaining Tyndale Fiction's Twitter, @Crazy4Fiction. Shaina enjoys reading, both recreationally and the many proposals that come through, and loves to visit the towns she reads about in novels.