by Serena Chase)
Need a romantic winter warm-up? Slip into one of these new inspirational romances!
Tempest's Course (Quilts of Love series) by Lynette Sowell
What it's about (from publisher Abingdon Press):
Kelly Frost, a textiles conservator, is invited to the Massachusetts coastal city of New Bedford to restore a 150-year-old Mariner's Compass quilt. But there is one stipulation: she must live and work in Gray House, a former whaling captain's home, where the quilt is stored. There she meets Army veteran Tom Pereira, the caretaker of Gray House, whose heart seems as hard as the rocky Massachusetts coastline. Over the long-lit months as Kelly works to restore the quilt, she and Tom grow closer. And as she reads stories in a daily journal penned by Mary Gray, she learns the secrets of the quilt and Mary's own sad tale of regret. Then Tom learns secrets of his own family's past, and both Tom and Kelly learn they are tied to Gray House in ways they never imagined.
Why you should read it: I have read several titles in the multiauthor Quilts of Love series, but I continue to be surprised by the diverse way the authors tie each of their stories to a particular quilt (or its history) without making me roll my eyes (as I might have done when I was first introduced to the series title. Sorry.). This latest offering, Tempest's Course, is my favorite so far, and heroine Kelly Frost is one of this series' most believable leads. Not to be ignored, disabled veteran Tom is a refreshing hero with a bit of baggage of his own. The two compliment each other and make for a great romantic pair.
A very subtle metaphor of personal restoration is present throughout the book, and by the end it's clear that even though some stains are impossible to remove from view even after they are repaired, there is beauty to be found in the lessons learned
Return of the Cowboy Doctor (Wyoming Legacy series) by Lacy Williams
What it's about (from publisher Love Inspired Historicals):
Two years shy of his medical degree, cowboy Maxwell White is out of money. So, he's back in Bear Creek, Wyoming, working part-time for the local physician. Though he is immediately drawn to the doctor's lovely, whip-smart daughter, she seems to be irritated by Maxwell's very existence.
Hattie Powell can't quash her feelings for the town's new would-be doctor. But that's exactly why she must keep him at a distance. Hattie is closer than ever to fulfilling her lifelong wish of becoming a doctor. Now, the only thing standing in her way is the man of her dreams.
Why you should read it: Welcome back to the biggest, most unconventional family in Bear Creek, Wyoming!
In this installment of the Wyoming Legacy series, a very shy medical student finds himself drawn to a very self-assured and determined young woman.
Maxwell's shyness around the opposite sex is painful to watch … in a good, believable way! He is handsome and his return to town is, ahem, quite appreciated by the local girls of courting age, but the poor guy is so utterly awkward around them, that within minutes of getting to know him, the reader can't help but find him entirely endearing. Conversely, Hattie hides her deepest fears behind a confident, outgoing nature. Of course, they're perfect for each other, but they have an awfully difficult time communicating. Each, in turn, comes very near to blowing the chance to realize their closest-held dreams.
There are still a few young single men in the White family helping their adoptive parents run the ranch, so it's a pretty safe bet at least a few of them will be worthy of their own romantic tale! If you enjoy Western romance series with fresh characters in each book, but still want to check in on the heroes and heroines past, you'll enjoy this Love Inspired Historical series from author Lacy Williams.
Aloha Rose (Quilts of Love series) by Lisa Carter
What it's about (from publisher Abingdon Press):
When Laney Carrigan sets out to find her birth family, her only clue is the Hawaiian quilt — a red rose snowflake appliquéd on a white background — in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island and battling fears of rejection, Laney begins a painstaking journey toward her true heritage. Kai Barnes, however, is determined to protect the people he's come to regard as family. He thinks Laney is nothing more than a gold digger and blocks every move she makes toward her Hawaiian family. As their conflict escalates, it puts at risk the one thing that Kai and Laney both want most—a family.
Why you should read it: As cold as it's been, you might appreciate taking a little jaunt to Hawaii — even if it's only in your imagination! Aloha Rose doesn't just take you to the islands, but releases you into the soft lap of a Hawaiian family and makes you appreciate the traditions, colloquialisms and even the "fine" Spam-based cuisine offered regularly at their table.
Using Hawaiian regional dialect and vivid descriptions of the beauty of her setting, author Lisa Carter sets a rich stage for mystery and romance and plants a new twist on the coming-of-age story: Sometimes, being grafted into a family, rather than growing out of needing it, is how you truly come to know who you are.
Of all the Quilts of Love series novels I've read, this one has the most overt faith "wrap-up" message at the end, but throughout the rest of the book, the faith thread is woven with tighter stitches that make it integral to the characters' development without downplaying the issues paining their hearts or the romantic pull of one heart to another.
A writer, performer and accomplished partaker of dark chocolate, Serena Chase lives in Iowa with her husband and two daughters. The first two books in her debut Eyes of E'veria series, The Ryn and The Remedy, are out now. You can find out more about her at serenachase.com.