Mother’s Day is the perfect time to highlight some novels from the Christian Publishing Industry that fall into the women’s fiction or literary fiction category. I chose 8 books that deal with mothers and/or children that I hope you will give a try, and at the end of the list I included a couple of mine, since they are all about mothers, daughters, and sisters. I also happened to have the pleasure to endorse some of these novels, so in those cases I included the blurb from that book’s jacket, but in all cases, I have read and loved each of these novels. A few are new and some have been out for a few years. You can still find most of them in bookstores or on library shelves and others you’ll need to order online, but I hope you will be inspired to search them out and read them.
Update!!!! I added one more, so now we have 11, but one can never have too many books to read.
A Sweethaven Summer, by Courtney Walsh: “This book captivated me from the first paragraphs. Bittersweet memories, long-kept secrets, the timeless friendships of women—and a touch of sweet romance. Beautifully written and peopled with characters who became my friends, this debut novel is one for my keeper shelf—and, I hope, the first of many to come from Courtney Walsh’s pen.” – Deborah Raney, Award-winning Author
“A Sweethaven Summer shines with moments of hope and tenderness. With interesting characters, a delightful setting, and a compelling plot, this is one of those stories that stays with you—like the precious pages of a scrapbook. Even after the story ended, I found myself wanting to visit Sweethaven again.” -Tina Ann Forkner, Author
About the Novel: A faded scrapbook reveals secrets that reconnect old friends in a place called Sweethaven. Campbell Carter has come to Sweethaven in search of answers about her mother’s history. Just before losing a battle with cancer, Suzanne Carter sent letters to childhood friends from her hometown of Sweethaven, Michigan. Suzanne’s three friends — Lila, Jane, and Meghan — haven’t spoken in years, yet each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together as girls. Suzanne’s letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. As the scrapbook reveals secrets from the past, old wounds are mended, lives are changed, and friendships are restored — just as Suzanne intended.
A Wedding Invitation, by Alice J. Wisler: “I’m giving A Wedding Invitation five out of five bookmarks and voting it “Best Southern Contemporary Fiction of 2011″… I think she’s tied with Denise Hildreth Jones as my favorite Southern author… and that’s saying something!” ~ Deena Peterson, A Peek at My Bookshelf
About the Novel: After returning home from teaching in a refugee camp in the Philippines, Samantha Bravencourt enjoys her quiet life working at her mother’s clothing boutique near Washington, D.C. When she receives an invitation to her friend’s wedding in Winston-Salem, NC, she’s excited to reconnect with her college pals. But the wedding turns out quite differently than Sam expects. A chance encounter leads to a reunion with Carson Brylie, a fellow teacher and the man who once broke her heart, and Lien, a young Amerasian girl who desperately needs Sam and Carson’s help. But working with Carson might put Sam’s tender heart at risk once again. Is she willing to forgive the past and take another chance on love?
Chasing Lilacs, by Carla Stewart: “CHASING LILACS is the kind of coming of age story that sticks to you beyond the last page. Unforgettable characters, surprising plot twists, and a setting so southern you will fall in love with Texas.” –Mary E. Demuth, Author
About the Novel: “Carla Stewart’s lovely voice intrigued me from the start. This well-written story swept me right into Sammie’s world and lefty my heart singing A beautiful coming-of-age tale, CHASING LILACS is a captivating debut.” – Tina Ann Forkner, Author
About the Novel: Elvis is on the radio and summer is in the air. Life in the small Texas community of Graham Camp should be simple and carefree. But not for Sammie Tucker. Sammie has plenty of questions about her mother’s “nerve” problems. About shock treatments. About whether her mother loves her. As her life careens out of control, Sammie has to choose who to trust with her deepest fears: Her best friend who has an opinion about everything, the mysterious boy from California whose own troubles plague him, or her round-faced neighbor with gentle advice and strong shoulders to cry on. Then there’s the elderly widower who seems nice but has his own dark past. Trusting is one thing, but accepting the truth may be the hardest thing Sammie has ever done.
A Watershed Year, by Susan Schoenberger: “A well-told tale of life and death and the way, when we least expect it, love can encompass us roundabout….This is a brave and moving novel.” —Bret Lott, Best-selling Author
About the Novel: Lucy McVie is a woman in her mid-thirties who loses her best friend, Harlan, to cancer. But Harlan comes back to her through a series of emails he wrote before he died, and he inadvertently advises Lucy to think about becoming a mother. This begins her journey to adopt a young boy from Russia as she works through her grief over Harlan and starts a new relationship that may or may not work out. A Watershed Year, at its heart, is a love story, and a story about all the ways that we interconnect in this world of both too much and too little communication.
The Feast of Saint Bertie, by Kathleen Popa: Every so often a new writer comes along with a distinctive and imaginative voice. Kathleen Popa is just such a writer.”
–Gayle Roper, Author
About the Novel: Roberta Denys thinks it will be a simple matter to abandon her affluent Silicon Valley lifestyle in favor of a holy, devout life in solitude. After her husband’s death, she gives her wealth to charity and moves into an old gardener’s shed in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. But a lost son and a series of arson fires leave her holding the pieces of a life she never knew was broken. Can she find both God and her son? Is it possible to find one without the other?
A Quaker Summer, by Lisa Samson: “One of the most powerful voices in Christian fiction, Samson delivers what seems, on the surface, to be just another Christian women’s novel, but in reality is a staggering examination of the Christian conscience.” – Publishers Weekly
About the Novel: A Women of Faith Selection, Quaker Summer is a story that any woman can relate to. Heather Curridge is coming unhinged. And people are starting to notice. What’s wrong with a woman who has everything–a mansion on a lake, a loving son, a heart-surgeon husband, and soapstone countertops–yet still feels miserable inside? Yet when Heather spends the summer with two ancient Quaker sisters and a crusty nun in a downtown homeless shelter, she suddenly finds herself at a crossroads.
Lisa Samson is an award-winning novelist. Quaker Summer was chosen as Book of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly.
Crossing Oceans, by Gina Holmes: “Beautiful and heartfelt.”- Charles Martin, NYT bestselling author
“Poignant and unforgettable, CROSSING OCEANS will break your heart — and then put the pieces back together again. This is an uplifting and inspiring tale that reminds us to live every day as if it’s our last.“Tess Gerritsen, NYT Best-selling author
About the Novel: Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But being told you’re dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank–toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . Who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love and its ability to change everything—to heal old hurts, bring new beginnings . . . Even overcome the impossible. A stunning debut about love and loss from a talented new voice.
The Muir House by, Mary DeMuth: “Mary DeMuth is a master at telling relevant stories that explore the wrenching need we all have to find love and affirmation outside of ourselves. Her characters in The Muir House are as real as the sun on your face, the rain on your sleeve, and the breath in your lungs.” —Susan Meissner, Award-winning Author
“Mary DeMuth is an expert at delving into the human heart and revealing profound beauty in the complex lives of even the most troubled characters. A gripping tale, The Muir House is an illuminating narrative about the true meaning of family and faith. This well-crafted story left me with a singing heart.” – Tina Ann Forkner, Author
About the Novel: When Hale Landon places a ring on her finger, Willa panics, feeling she can’t possibly say yes when so much in her past is a mystery. Bent on sorting out her history, Willa returns to Rockwall, Texas, to the Muir House Bed & Breakfast, a former funeral home. But the old place holds her empty memory close to itself. Willa’s mother utters unintelligible clues from her deathbed, and the caretaker of the house keeps coveted answers carefully protected. Throw in an old flame, and Willa careens farther away from ever knowing the truth. Set in a growing suburb of Texas, The Muir House explores trauma, healing, love new and old, and the life-changing choices people make to keep their reputations intact.
June Bug, by Chris Fabry: “Anne Lamott said that ‘good writing is about telling the truth.’ Chris Fabry has done this. Beautifully. June Bug is masterful. An honest story that dove deep inside me and lingered long after I turned the last page.” — Charles Martin, Award-Winning Author
“An emotionally riveting novel that readers will not soon forget, June Bug is an endearing story to cherish. Chris Fabry stole the hearts of readers with Dogwood and now his fans will be thrilled to know that June Bug does not disappoint. A fascinating read to the very last sentence, I could not put June Bug down.”— Tina Ann Forkner, Author
About the Novel: June Bug believed everything her daddy told her. That is, until she walked into Walmart and saw her face on a list of missing children. The discovery begins a quest for the truth about her father, the mother he rarely speaks about, and ultimately herself. A modern interpretation of Les Miserables, the story follows a dilapidated RV rambling cross-country with June Bug and her father, a man running from a haunted past. Forces beyond their control draw them back to Dogwood, West Virginia, down a winding path that will change their lives forever.
June Bug was chosen as a finalist for the 2010 Christian Book Award in the Fiction category and was also nominated for the 2010 Christy Award in the Contemporary Standalone category.
Rose House: “Tina Ann Forkner offers readers a visual feast for the soul and the spirit in this tender story…Readers will appreciate Tina Ann Forkner’s finely tuned ability to bring to life both her characters’ strong realistic emotions and the physical beauty that surrounds them. ROSE HOUSE is a lovely rendering of working through grief and learning to live fully again, despite the abiding wounds of loss.” – Michele Howe, Faithfulreader.com/Bookreporter.com
About the Novel: Still mourning the loss of her children and husband in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms. She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet. As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children,Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.
Ruby Among Us: “Reading is a passion of mine, and when I find myself identifying with the characters, anxious to get to the next page to find answers to my questions, I know I’m into a good book! The daughter-mother-grandmother theme in Ruby Among Us pulled me in. Wonderful story-telling.” –Jordin Sparks Music Artist & 2007 American Idol Winner
“Tina’s characters will stay with you long after you’ve finished the last page. You’ll want to visit the Rose House yourself.” – Nora St. Laurent, Novel Reviews
About the Novel: Sometimes Your Future Lies in Someone Else’s Past… Set in the lush vineyards of present and past Sonoma Valley, Ruby Among Us weaves a story of three generations of women and the memory that binds their hearts together. Journey with Lucy as she searches for a heritage long buried with her mother, Ruby, in this stirring tale of remembrance and redemption.
At my other blog this week: Thank You for the Curse: A Letter to My Mom in conjunction with The 1000 Moms Project.