This has been my first year reviewing for AAR, and it’s been a challenging and exciting experience. The challenge has been to write reviews that will help readers decide where to spend their well-earned cash, and the excitement comes at times like the end of the year when I can give a nod to my favorite books. I read mostly inspirational romance with forays into historical, fantasy and mystery, and I do find the inspirational genre consistently produces enjoyable, well-written novels. Let me share a few that excelled in merging romance and a compelling story painted with a brush of faith.

The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

The ‘captain’s daughter’ of this delightful book refers not only to the heroine of the story, but also to the main character of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta H.M.S. Pinafore, the focus of the action. I thoroughly enjoyed the engaging portrait of the famous composing duo, their popular music, and the legal and physical challenges of running a theater company. I also cheered for Nate and Rosalyn, whose choices have set them on different paths, but who discover that being together is possible if they explore all their options.  Add gentle reminders about steadfast divine love, and you’ve got a great read for any season.

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The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

Victoria Bylin’s skill at weaving romantic conflict tightly with inspirational themes shines through this story. While Mia and Jake struggle with life decisions which will impact their growing relationship, several inspirational themes are presented so adroitly that the reader absorbs the lessons and affirmations offered as easily as breathing. I truly loved the author’s conviction that we can all be heroes in life, no matter our circumstances or resources. Written from deep in the heart, the words reached out and touched my heart.

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Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

First of all, I love the title which perfectly reflects the situation and the romance. I was captivated by the telegraph conversations between Grace and Amos and by the fact that Grace could recognize Amos simply by his style of tapping. Witemeyer gives us a light ‘woman in danger’ story, a strong sense of lives settled in God’s presence, and a sweet romance between two independent people who discover just the right mate with whom to share that independence. And the pages keep turning.

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A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

Ms. Alexander says she listened to hours of classical music while writing, and every hour of it is reflected in the descriptive clarity and depth of not only the emotional connections of the characters to the music, but also the physical production of the music itself, whether that be through an instrument or composition. Rebekah and Tate are splendidly drawn, each facing obstacles that will refold the fabric of their lives in significant ways and will determine their future together. Attention to historical detail, a wonderful story about economic class and social mores in Victorian America, and a steady urging to listen closely for God’s guidance where you’d least expect it — once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.

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I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to share my reading joys at this festive time of the year. Thank you for stopping by.

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Award-winning author of Romance with Sweet Intensity. I live by my lists. Fan of sea turtles, jigsaw puzzles, crocheting, the beach, and happy endings.