Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Stories with fictional characters and events in a historical setting. Includes Amish, Westerns, Cold War, Historical, Ancient History, Roman, Greek, etc. Also includes virtual history and alternative history.

Never Far From Home by Mary Ellis

Emma Miller is a young Amish girl turning sweet sixteen. At her birthday party she shocks her family by announcing she want to take her full Rumspringa. This is the time Amish boys and girls are allowed to experience the English (or Englischer as they are called) world before being baptized into the faith. Emma is a hard working young teenager with her own wool business. She sells her products to Mrs. Dunn who owns the “Stitch In Time” boutique. Emma has met James Davis Jr, a young Englischer farmer who often makes deliveries to the boutique. She has feelings for James, and feels guilty: the worlds of the Amish and Englischers are too far apart. Her father, would never approve of her courting James.

Emma is very close to her Aunt Hannah who recently married her Uncle Seth. They are both raising lambs, both are in the wool business, both selling their products to Mrs. Dunn. She longs to talk with Hanna about James, but doesn’t want to put her in the middle. Emma’s father is “Old World” Amish and a deacon. When he learns of her associated with James from an Amish harness maker, he is really upset and forbids her to see him. He cannot understand why his daughter would want to associate with an Englischer, let alone have feelings for him. This goes against all he believes in. There are several good Amish young men she can court when it is time.

Readers will enjoy living Emma’s daily life as she agonizes over her feelings for James, the desire to obey her parents, her God, and not to bring shame to her family. You will cry, laugh and rejoice with the family as they cope with the debilitating illness of her mother, Emma’s long recovery from a terrible accident involving her buggy and a truck. Does she reconcile her problems with her father? Does Emma leave her faith and become English or does James convert to Amish? Talk with the family as they live their daily lives. Hanna prays for a baby, Emma’s mother prays for relief from her illness, and Emma prays for guidance and understanding. Is James the one person God has planned for her? Can she truly wait for God’s timing and accept his will?

Ms. Ellis is an excellent writer of romance fiction. She seems to have a firm understanding of the Amish’ beliefs and their way of life. Highly recommend for all readers.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron

Chase Falson is the founding pastor of the largest contemporary evangelical church in New England. After graduating from seminary, he headed east to start a church in Thackeray, Connecticut. Everyone thought he was crazy – New England is commonly called “the graveyard of preachers”. He not only founded a new church, but saw it grow to a weekly attendance of over three thousand worshipers.

Things were going great – right. Not so, Chase had become disillusioned. He is reaching a spiritual crisis in his faith and asking the question – there must be something beyond the evangelicalism island he lived in. To top things off, behind his back his student ministries’ pastor is aiming for his job.

Things come to a head one Sunday morning when he goes completely off script and loses it. He tells the whole congregation he has lost his faith and there must be a better way to serve God than the way the church is going. As a result, the Elders suggest he take some time off to get himself together. He is not allowed to speak with any of the members or his staff.

The question – now what is he to do? After three days of not leaving his condo, the idea comes to him to call his Uncle Kenny. Kenny not only had left the Conservative Baptist fold and became a Catholic but a Franciscan priest, living in Florence, Italy. Kenny suggested he come to Italy for a visit.

This is where the story becomes intriguing. Kenny is taking Chase on a pilgrimage through the teaching of Saint Francis of Assisi. Leaving Florence, they journey to Assisi where they meet up with Kenny’s three friends who are Franciscan priests – Brothers Bernard, Peter and Thomas. (Brother Bernard reminded me of Hagrid in Harry Potter movies.) They are delighted to meet Chase and enthusiastically join in the pilgrimage. Their first stop is the Chapel of San Damino. This is the chapel where Francis heard Jesus speak from the cross. He told Francis to repair his church. Francis, a man of noble birth and wealth, left his family and his privileged life to live in poverty, and to do what Jesus had asked of him. With the help of the brothers, books, articles and places, Chase starts his spiritual journey in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi who was the first post modern Christian .

As you read the book, you find yourself going step by step with Chase as he experiences the teaching of Francis. Will Chase convert to the Catholic religion? What will happen to his church when he returns? Will he change the church’s beliefs or be out of a job?

I found the book hard to put down, I could hardly turn the pages fast enough . The story held my interest and kept me enthralled and (I hope) brought me closer to God. I can’t recommend this book too highly. Everyone should take this pilgrimage with Chase and Francis.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

A Kiss for Cade by Lori Copeland

Cade is a bounty hunter, the town of Winterborn, Kanasas’ most notorious citizen. He has a reputation of having the fastest draw, bringing a number of outlaws to justice. He left his own town fifteen years ago, leaving his sweetheart Zoe behind. He is only returning now due to the death of his sister and brother-in-law. His sister’s dying wish is for Cade to return and make the decision as to whom will raise her four young children. Zoe is very close to the children and can’t understand why Addy did not give her the children. Even though it goes against everything she holds dear, Zoe respects Addy’s wish and sends for Cade.

A Kiss for Cade
by Lori Copeland
Harvest House
January 2010

According to Zoe, a bounty hunter is not a person to raise children or to make a decision as to what is best for them. After all, Cade has never been back since leaving and he won’t stay this time. She will fight him for the children as they are all she has – Zoe’s husband was killed in a bank robbery.

How will Cade’s return affect her life and the children? She has loved Cade for so long, how will she cope with his return? Has he changed from the boy she knew or has he become hardened with the life he lives? Does Zoe get the children, or will Aunt Laticia get her way? What happens between Cade and Zoe?

One must read the book to see how things play out. The book is one you can’t put down, keeping you in suspense to the last page. You will learn how the whole town helps Cade reach his decision. I highly recommend the book for all readers. You will be enthralled by Ms. Copeland’s ability to put you right in the middle of the situation. You will laugh, cry and rejoice with Zoe and her friends, even experience an old fashion middle of the street gun fight. Ms. Copeland is an excellent writer of romance fiction.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, describes herself as β€œAn 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols

Mary Bridget Washburn is a young woman who has made some wrong choices in her life and needs to escape. She is able to get away from immediate trouble, but she has to live a life in fear and withdrawal. She knows she needs to break free, but will she be able to? Alasdair MacPherson is a pastor at a well established church, writes for a magazine, gives talks at seminars and has a radio program. However, behind this facade, his world is falling apart after the death of his wife and the devastation of learning that the church elders are unhappy with his work and want him to quit. Mary and Alasdair’s paths cross and the story takes an amazing journey through two lives looking for healing and redemption. This story was inspiring. I love the constant weaving of God’s truth and promises throughout the book. I enjoyed being reminded that once we are God’s children, He will not forsake us. I would highly recommend this well written, inspiring book.

This book was a free copy from the publisher.

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

-Review by Scott Asher of AshertopiA

In 1700s Scotland, the people are afraid of the Highlanders, lead by Bonnie Prince Charlie, rebels from the mountain regions who are intent on (re)capturing Edinburgh. The well-to-do lowland (city) Kerr family allows their son, Lord Donald, to marry a beautiful highlander woman, Elizabeth, even though Lady Margory, Donald’s mother is against it. Against this backdrop of possible war, and a conflict of religions – Elizabeth worships the moon and celestial beings; not some far away unseen god – each of the Kerrs carries within themselves secret sins.

I’ve always been a big fan of historical fiction, and this setting caught and kept my attention immediately. Most Christian fiction takes place in America or England, so it is refreshing to move the fiction to a new area – although, not particularly far away. Higgs does depart from the norm, and takes chances that I appreciated, by introducing characters that follow false religions, sleep around, and partake in sinful acts as a norm. What jumped out to me immediately was the way the book showed humanity without the white-washing that we normally get in Christian fiction.

I’ve not read Higgs before, but I plan to follow her closely in the future. Recommended.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

A Measure of Mercy by Lauraine Snelling

-Review by Tammy Millwood, a friend of AshertopiA

A young girl in turn of the century North Dakota has the opportunity to train to be a doctor. She will be faced with everything from everyday struggles and decisions to faith challenging crisis and disappointment. The author takes us from the idyllic country setting to the fast paced city life of downtown Chicago, where she will ultimately persevere and accomplish what she has set out to do.

When I first sat down to read this book, I was overwhelmed with the flood of names and relations that the author seemed in desperate need to rush into within the first few chapters. As one who has not read any prior books related to this family or any of the previous storylines I found myself completely confused several times, re-reading pages and flipping through looking for some sort of reference I may have missed. Not finding any I continued in hopes of eventually making sense of all of the people laid out before me. I had also hoped to find an index or list of pronunciations for all of those names, since I could not find one I kept stumbling over them continually and finally settling on what I am sure was not the right one.

A little slow at first and almost too sweet. Everyone blending in together as almost the same character one for the men and one for the women, most of the characters seemed interchangeable, not really set apart in any way. All with the same ideas and flow of writing that added to my consternation trying to get these people straight in my mind.

Right around Chapter 4 things begin to pick a bit. A few of the characters seem to begin to have life breathed into them as their personalities begin to show through and if you have the “perseverance” to get that far, you will be rewarded with a sweet and down to earth story that overall was enjoyable. There are several storylines emerging at once intertwining and leaving plenty of room for a continued story. I found myself looking forward to the next book, wondering what will become of the main characters I feel I did manage to get to know.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Mornings In Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

This is the story of a young Palestinian girl named Amal borne in the refugee camp of Jenin. Her family had been evicted from their home during the 6-Day war between Palestine and the soon to be State of Israel. One must read the book to follow her journey from Jenin to a Jerusalem orphanage to Beirut, Lebanon to America and her decision to return to Jenin.

Mornings In Jenin
by Susan Abulhawa
Bloomsbury USA
Feburary 2010

Young Yasser Arafat had just formed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the world would soon label him a terrorist. Tears will be streaming down your face as you experience her fear in being constantly under Israel’s guns/planes/tanks, the watchful eye of the Israeli solders, and the war crimes of Ariel Sharon. You will hear the voices behind the headlines of the massacres in Lebanon. Who are the terrorists – Israel or Palestine – the PLO or Israel’s Prime Minister. Will she survive her return to Jenin?

The author was born to refugees of the 6-Day War and has first hand knowledge of what it is like to be a Palestinian under Israel’s thumb. The story will keep you turning pages to learn how she survives the death of her family, her marriage, the birth of her child and the hardships she endures in America trying to fulfill her father’s dream of getting an education. You will experience the family’s struggles to survive through over 60 years of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

A must read book for all ages. When you have finished I believe you will come away with a different view of the Israeli government that is supposedly an ally of the United States.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, describes herself as β€œAn 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

I downloaded this book to my laptop via Kindle for free. I thought it looked good and plus it was free, so why not?? Wow!! I think my kids missed a few meals while I was reading this one! Great book! Lilly Haswell has had some sadness in her life and she is trying to figure out where she fits in her world. She’s good at “assisting” her Dad, but as a woman she is not allowed to be an apothecary. She gets the chance to follow a different path, but life is not always easy and she must chose to leave dreams behind. The part I liked best about this book is the romance story line. In most Christian fiction books it is pretty easy to tell who the girl is going to marry, but in this book the author does a great job of changing the story line and keeping you intrigued. Through all of Lilly’s up and downs she continues to keep her faith and trust in God alive. I highly recommend this book and will be reading Julie Klassen’s other books soon.

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand

A captivating book about a dogwalker in upscale Charleston who seems to have trouble following her or is she causing the trouble? Will the journalist she has taken a liking to help her and can she trust her heart with him? Gist and Bertland join forces to create a story line which will keep you interested in what happens next. I enjoyed this book from the first chapter to the last. I am a fan of Deeanne Gist and have read all of her books. This one is not like the others because of her collaboration with J. Mark Bertrand. You still get a great story line, the romance, and now there is the enjoyable suspense to go along. I just couldn’t put it down!

This book was a free copy from the publisher.

The Golden Cross by Angela Elwell Hunt

-Review by Scott Asher of AshertopiA.

The Golden Cross is the second of four novels in the Heirs of Cahira O’Conner. The matriarch of the Irish clan promised that her heirs would “restore right in the world.” The heirs all share one thing with each other, other than their genes, their vibrant red hair with a solitary streak of white just above one ear. This book tells the tale of Aidan O’Connor who grows up on a Dutch colony in Indonesia in 1642. Her father died on the trip over from England leaving her mother and Aidan without any money or source of income and stranded on the island. The only way they can live is to turn to a life far below anything they ever thought they would endure.

As Aidan grows up she recognizes that she enjoys art but doesn’t have any hope that anyone would train her or help her out of her poverty. Until, that is, a famous artist comes to the colony to draw charts on an upcoming voyage. When the artist sees the raw talent latent in Aidan he reaches his hands out to pull her up so that she can see the beauty that she has inside and create the beauty of God’s creation through her art.

Though this book was written more than a decade ago (this is a reprint, which is why it costs less than a normal new fiction title) it holds up well as an exciting look into the past and as a romantic historical fiction novel. Though I don’t usually enjoy romance I found myself looking forward to continuing the story. The author does a good job of weaving together the action and adventure of a sea-going vessel riding storms and fighting natives with the requisite romance. I recommend it to fans of the genre.

This book was supplied by the publisher as a review copy.