Monday, December 29, 2014

Christian Fiction Favorites of 2014

So many wonderful books came out this year - I started compiling my list of favorites in April, but by the end of spring the list of favorites was practically already compiled, and then I had to go back through to make room for more and more later releases.

It was tough.

Picking an absolute favorite amongst a list of favorites would be a cruel and horrid task, since each of these books belongs here and each has their own special qualities, so I refuse to do so.  Thus their orders do not reflect rankings, but rather my whims of the moment (though they must have some semblance of order, I'll grant that). 

My ultimate love, historical fiction, in order of date of setting:
The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton (Waterbrook Press, April); Colonial

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, December); Regency

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House, June); Antebellum 

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House, April); Civil War Reconstruction

Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman (Revell, October); Early 1900's

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin (Bethany House, April); WWII
In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin (Revell, August); WWII

Out of the box:

While this is not a book I would read over and over with a shiver of warm fuzzies every time, Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer (Waterbrook Press, August) is such a haunting and powerful tale so different from the books I generally read (and love), that I can't help but include it.  If professors are not afraid of the Christianity in the story, I could see this one used in college history and international studies courses. 

Next to historicals, I've come into a great appreciation for christian mystery/suspense, and once again Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series makes the top:

Silenced by Dani Pettrey (Bethany House, May)
Meant to Be Mine

And a surprise in the contemporary romance department, a genre that generally sits a ways down the totem pole:

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade (Bethany House, May); Porter Family Novels, book 2

Since I get to make the rules, I've decided to highlight one time period that outdid itself this year, and most appropriately too given the 70th-year anniversary of D-Day: the WWII era. There were some spectacular novels this year, and while not all of these made my top ten, they all deserved and received 5 stars:

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin
Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer
The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke
In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin
Wonderland Creek

And although this book was not published in 2014, I just read it for the first time after picking it up at a garage sale this summer: Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, 2011). Depression era books tend to be depressing (who'd have thought?), but this one was so delightful and whimsical that I completely fell in love, pretty much from the first page. Anyone who loves to read should read this book, being about a fellow book lover who understands the desire to read anytime, anywhere, including through boring funerals . . . So it gets an honorable mention on my favorites of the year!

What are your favorites from 2014?

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