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Friday, June 16, 2017

Top 10 Historical Authors

By Kelly Bridgewater

Every writer or reader has a number of authors who books grace their library. You know, the author who they follow on Facebook, praying for news of another book or book series. Of course, I have a number of them who have inspired and encouraged my personal writing, but they are also the writers who I LOVE reading and studied the structures of their novels to see how I can incorporate their skills into my novels.

Two weeks ago, I shared my top ten favorite suspense authors. Today, I want to share my love of historical romances. I have enjoyed exploring different time periods and learning more about these different type of heroines and heroes who made America and London what it is today. Being an avid fan of World War II, I'm even impressed with some more authors who just write a wonderful story and take me away.  

So without further ado, I announce my top ten favorite historical authors with the novel that inspired me . . .

1.) Julie Lessman, A Hope Undaunted
From Amazon
 When I read A Hope Undaunted and watched the story unfold between Katie and Cluny, I was enthralled and love watching them argue and loved their love story. Katie has such passion for everything that she involves herself in. This proves to me that a Christian novel can have passion and show the ripe side of the love God in-planted in all of us.

Synopsis:
The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband good looking, well connected, wealthy, and head over heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever? A Hope Undaunted is the engrossing first book in the Winds Of Change series from popular author Julie Lessman. Readers will thrill at the highly charged romance in this passionate story.

2.) Susan May Warren, Baroness

From Amazon
I have read all of Susan May Warren's books, so when I read the synopsis for her Daughters of Fortune series, I prayed that the story was great. Boy, was I glad I read these. I loved learning more about the glamour of the Roaring Twenties and falling in love with this story. It was my first introduction to historical novels, and I was hooked.

Synopsis:
Coming of age in the turbulent Roaring Twenties, two daughters of fortune can have anything they possibly want—except freedom. Expected to marry well and take the reins of the family empire, Lilly and Rosie have their entire lives planned out for them. But Lilly longs to flee the confines of New York City for the untamed wilds of Montana. Her cousin Rosie dreams of the bright lights of the newly emerging silver screen. But following their dreams—to avant-garde France, to dazzling Broadway, to the skies of the fearless wing walkers—will demand all their courage.

3.) Sarah Sundin, Blue Skies Tomorrow

From Amazon
 My favorite aspect of Sarah Sundin's writing is her ability to draw me into the 1940's with all her research, but I never once feel like I'm reading a textbook. I feel like I'm sitting next to Helen as she tries to survive life without her dead husband. I enjoy seeing the world through her perspective. Since I'm working on my own World War II novels, I have studied how Sundin structures and creates her stories to bring this time period to life.

Synopsis:
Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return? Filled with daring and romance, Blue Skies Tomorrow will capture readers' hearts.

4.) Kate Breslin, For Such a Time

From Amazon
The cover and synopsis appealed to be because I enjoyed World War II novels. I met Kate Breslin at the 2014 ACFW conference in St. Louis, and she autographed my copy for me. I was hooked and couldn't wait to devour into this novel. Breslin also does a good job at creating a story that struck a chord with critics as well as fans, which is what a good novel should do.

Synopsis: 
In 1944, Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, to maintain her cover as von Schmidt's secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths, Stella appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's indulgence gives her hope even as she risks discovery with every attempt to help the prisoners. When her bravery brings her to the point of ultimate sacrifice, she faces an excruciating choice. God may have brought her to the camp for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she cannot save herself?

5.) Rachel McMillan, A Lesson in Love and Murder

From Amazon
Rachel McMillan and I connected on Facebook because of our mutual love of Sherlock Holmes. I have been fascinated with Holmes and Watson since I read the canon when I was an undergraduate in college. Since then, I have seen all of the movies and admire Conan Doyle's ability to create such an iconic character even after all these years. So when I heard McMillan was writing a story with a Holmes twist, I jumped at the chance to read and review her books. I admire her ability to bring Toronto Canada, her home, to life through her characters.

Synopsis:
 The legacy of literary icon Sherlock Holmes is alive and well in 1912 Canada, where best friends Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts continue to develop their skills as consulting detectives.

The city of Toronto has been thrown into upheaval by the arrival of radical anarchist Emma Goldman. Amid this political chaos, Benny Citrone of the Royal North-West Mounted Police arrives at Merinda and Jem's flat, requesting assistance in locating his runaway cousin—a man with a deadly talent.

While Merinda eagerly accepts the case, she finds herself constantly butting heads—and hearts—with Benny. Meanwhile, Jem has her hands full with a husband who is determined to keep her out of harm's way.

As Merinda and Jem close in on the danger they've tracked from Toronto to Chicago, they uncover a sinister plot to assassinate presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt. Will they be able to save the day and resolve the troubles threatening their future happiness before it's too late?

6.) Jen Turano, Playing the Parts

From Amazon
I enjoy how Jen Turano creates the world in New York City and shows a side that isn't all flowers and roses. Turano creates smart and brave heroines who stand against what is expected of them. I truly admire her characters and enjoy seeing all the research she does to bring the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to life.

Synopsis:
 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.

7.) Kristy Cambron, The Butterfly and the Violin

relzreviewz.com
Kristy Cambron created an unique story that connected her love of art and World War II together into a timeless tale of mystery and hope. I enjoyed this novel and loved learning something truly unique about the Holocaust.

Synopsis:
 A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz--and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire fordistraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a younggirl--a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths withWilliam Hanover--the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul--who maybe the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and Williamslowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinistAdele Von Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

8.) Elizabeth Camden, Into the Whirlwind

www.pinterest.com
 Elizabeth Camden is not like any other historical author I have ever read. She incorporates science into every single book. I learn something about how technology had transformed our country into something great. She does so much research, but reading the novel, I don't really see all the work. It appears to be a great story to inform me. I really am looking forward to whatever else Camden comes up with.

Synopsis: 
 As owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, Mollie Knox's future looks bright until the night the legendary Great Chicago Fire destroys her beloved city. With her world crumbling around her, Mollie will do whatever it takes to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek, an influential attorney for one of Chicago's finest department stores, is a force to be reckoned with among the city's most powerful citizens. Bold and shrewd, he's accustomed to getting exactly what he wants--until he meets Mollie Knox, the beguiling businesswoman just beyond his reach.

In the tumult as the people of Chicago race to rebuild a bigger and better city, Mollie comes face-to-face with the full force of Zack's character and influence. Zack believes this may finally be his chance to win her, but can Mollie ever accept this man and his whirlwind effect on her life, especially with her treasured company on the line?

9.) Lorna Seilstad, Making Waves
From Amazon
I was introduced to Lorna Seilstad when her book Making Waves was on the clearance rack at the local library's book sale. The cover was interesting, and the book was published by Revell, who I knew published Christian stories, so I jumped on the story. I'm glad I did. The stories are different, yet Seilstad has a story voice that takes me away.

Synopsis:
When spunky Marguerite Westing discovers that her family will summer at Lake Manawa in 1895, she couldn't be more thrilled. It is the perfect way to escape her agonizingly boring suitor, Roger Gordon. It's also where she stumbles upon two new loves: sailing, and sailing instructor Trip Andrews. But this summer of fun turns to turmoil as her father's gambling problems threaten to ruin the family forever. Will freespirited Marguerite marry Roger to save her father's name and fortune? Or will she follow her hearteven if it means abandoning the family she loves? Author Lorna Seilstad's fresh and entertaining voice will whisk readers away to a breezy lakeside summer holiday. Full of sharp wit and blossoming romance, Making Waves is the first book in the Lake Manawa Summers series.

10.) Cathy Gohlke, Secrets She Kept

From Amazon
 I picked up Secrets She Kept because of the Nazi flag in the background. Being a huge fan of World War II, (not like you can't tell. Scan back over this list!) I couldn't wait to read this book. It was my favorite book published for 2015. Secrets She Kept is a different look at the daughter and granddaughter of a Nazi soldier. It was an eye-opening story of forgiveness while learning the horrible story of World War II from the Nazi's. I LOVED this novel!

Synopsis:
 All her life, Hannah Sterling longed for a close relationship with her estranged mother. Following Lieselotte’s death, Hannah determines to unlock the secrets of her mother’s mysterious past and is shocked to discover a grandfather living in Germany.

Thirty years earlier, Lieselotte’s father is quickly ascending the ranks of the Nazi party, and a proper marriage for his daughter could help advance his career. Lieselotte is in love―but her beloved Lukas is far from an ideal match, as he secretly works against the Reich. Yet Lieselotte never imagined how far her father would go to ensure her cooperation.

Both Hannah’s and Lieselotte’s stories unfold as Hannah travels to Germany to meet her grandfather, who is hiding wartimes secrets of his own. Longing for connection, yet shaken by all she uncovers, Hannah must decide if she can atone for her family’s tragic past and how their legacy will shape her future.

While this list appears long, I hope you find an author who you might not have read before. Maybe even a story that you haven't heard. I really enjoy learning about history when it is in story format.

Have you read any of these authors? What historical stories resonant with you? Why?

10 comments:

  1. KELLY!!! Thank you SO much for putting me on this esteemed list, my friend -- WOW!! I am SO very grateful for your support.

    HUGS!!
    Julie

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    1. Thanks, Julie!!! I LOVE to support such great authors!!!

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  2. Thank you so much, Kelly! You really made my day!

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    1. Thanks Sarah for writing such great stories!

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  3. Thank you so much, Kelly, for including Secrets She Kept in your wonderful list of books and authors. I'm truly honored, and so glad you enjoyed this story journey. WWII holds so many fascinating stories. I wish you the very best as you pen yours!

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! I truly enjoyed your story!

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  4. What an incredible list! Humbled to have such a spot in your authorly affections. ;) Hugs!!

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    1. Thanks my friend for being such a great storyteller!

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  5. Some great authors on this list. I like Susan May Warren, Julie Lessman, Kristy Cambron and Jen Turano. I have not read The Butterfly and the Violin. I have read her book The Illusionist's Apprentice. It is a great book. I will have to put the other authors on my to read list. I am going to add Daughter's of Fortune to my list. The series looks very interesting. Jen Turano and Kristy Cambron are my favorites.

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    1. Stephanie, thanks for commenting!A number of great authors on here. I'm glad that you might find someone else to read and enjoy.

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