Three No-Passport-Needed Book Vacations!

I don’t know about you, but I’m being hit hard with travel ads—it’s the time of year when you’re just about done with the blahs of winter and ready to think about summer vacations. Here at the Bethany House office, where we just hit a February snowfall record, it can be hard to get rid of that pesky cabin fever…which is why taking a book vacation is the perfect solution.

In choosing these deluxe vacation packages for you, I particularly looked at books set outside the U.S. Since international flights are expensive, here’s a cheaper way to see the sights…and have a guaranteed adventure. Click on each cover to read an excerpt (kind of like a travel brochure), and read on for a little glimpse of each setting.

One: Flee from Danger in Moscow with Thirst of Steel


The Tox Files series travels all over the world—in Thirst of Steel alone, I counted Ukraine, France, Republic of the Congo, London, and Israel, and there were probably others that I missed. It’s not exactly a charming world tour, though…most of our characters are actively hunting or being hunted the whole time and a few steps from death at every turn.

Even when Ronie does describe famous landmarks, she manages to make them feel threatening, like this excerpt, set in Russia.

The tower grew as she closed the distance, until finally the glittering white cathedral glared at her. The cobbled foot bridge summoned her across the Moscow River and into the sanctuary. . . .

Crossing the footbridge with its evenly spaced lamps made Tzivia feel exposed. Surely they wouldn’t attack here on the cathedral steps. . . .

Quickly, she stepped inside. She wobbled, momentarily taken aback by the enormity of the cathedral and its lavish, brightly colored stained glass. She might not understand religious fervor, but she could appreciate the beauty of cathedrals. Just as she had reveled in the beauty of archaeological finds. Like the one she’d hidden before this fateful errand.

The ominous drone of voices filtered from the main altar, where—like cultists chanting in unison—the churchgoers offered prayers to the white arches, gilt ceilings, and massive murals.

You know there’s bound to be trouble here. (Not-really-a-spoiler: there is. Just a few paragraphs later.)

Two: Tour Paris in Springtime (and Wartime) with Far Side of the Sea

This WWI spy story travels to locales like Barcelona, Spain, but we start off in Paris in Far Side of the Sea‘s opening. Again, you notice Kate’s contrast of the lovely landmarks you might see on any tour of the city with some details that remind us that we’re not here for sightseeing; we’re on a mission.

A small cluster of soldiers stood in front of the opera house, Americans by their appearance. Pausing to admire the ornately majestic Palais Garnier, they finally moved on, doffing their hats to a pair of matrons who waved them to come over and view their carts full of pink roses, white lilies, and yellow daffodils. Adjacent to the flower sellers, an outdoor market pulsed with activity as women, most clad in mourning black, carried wicker hampers and made their selections from the remains of the morning’s produce. . . .

His gaze swept back along the opposite end of the street, colliding with the gutted shell of what remained of a multistoried stone building. He’d seen the structure upon his arrival at the hotel, one wall still poised drunkenly beside an enormous pile of rubble while shredded curtains billowed through blown-out windows in the light spring breeze. With such normal activity only yards away, the evidence of war seemed bizarre . . . and a glaring reminder of the shells that regularly hammered the city.

Then, later we get past Paris and can enjoy the scenic countryside instead:

At the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, sandbags reinforced the arch against attack. He’d noticed other Paris monuments being protected in the same way.

Beyond the arch, they continued on toward Nanterre and Poissy, leaving behind Paris and her damaged extremities for the more rural farmlands of France. Verdant fields rolled out before them, punctuated with white daisies and red poppies, while cottages with orange terra cotta roofs sprouted among the green. The occasional château could be seen rising among gentle rolling hills, the manors accessible by narrow dirt drives and, unlike Paris, lined with flourishing oaks, maples, and yellow mimosas.

Sound beautiful, doesn’t it? Well, things aren’t all poppies and cottages for long, but it’s nice to get glimpses along the way.

Three: Escape to the West Indies with Keturah


And for something completely different, Keturah (and the rest of the series) is set on the island of Nevis during colonial times. While the island has its share of perils and dangers for three young women alone, the reader also gets to see its exotic beauty.

After the endless day at sea, it felt like a strange dream as they were finally approaching Nevis. The sailors cheered when one in the crow’s nest that morning shouted, ‘Land ho!’ So did the passengers, all rushing to the deck to peer out at the horizon as the West Indies came into view—as one welcome, glorious green dot after another amid the blue sea.

When Keturah and her sisters journey to their family’s plantation for the first time, they get a better look at the island up close.

The road was lined with flowering trees that towered above them and granted them partial shade. There were magnolia and African tulip and pouri trees, all of which she recognized from studying Gray’s illustrated book Agriculture Among the Indies, and below were West Indian ebony bushes. The jungle was alight with bright vermilion, yellow, and red blossoms. She inhaled deeply and detected a mix of jasmine and other sweet scents on the air. Among the trees that lined the road were also fruit trees—mango and guava and palms loaded with coconut. . . .

Between the trees they caught glimpses of the ocean below with its different hues of turquoise, deep green, and royal blue. On either side of the road was nothing but acre upon acre of sugarcane, long stalks of green rustling in the trade winds.”

The exotic descriptions make Keturah and her well-bred sisters stand out as being very far from home and out of place. But can’t you just smell that coconut?

There you have it…three amazing journeys that you can take without ever leaving your home (except maybe to go to a bookstore or library). I hope you’re able to beat the winter blues with a good book this week!

What’s a place you’ve only ever traveled to in the pages of a book?

Ask BHP: How Has Bethany House Changed Over the Years?

Today’s Ask Bethany House will take us back to the past: “Who has worked for Bethany House the longest? What are their favorite things they have learned since working there? What kind of change have they seen?”

I love this question because it doubles as an answer to another question we received: “What do you think is an aspect of publishing that most people don’t know about?”

With that in mind…meet Randy Benbow!

 

If you count years at Bethany House itself, Jim Parrish, our executive VP, has been here longer, but Randy worked in the pre-press department of the print shop that created books and other materials for the missions organization that started Bethany House, back in the 1970s.

His job in the production department of Bethany House started in 1993. What does that mean? Basically, Randy’s job involves all of the unseen technical details that get a book into your hands and keep us running: printing “proof” covers to make sure they’ll look great on the final books, backing up and archiving our files and covers, sending the printers what they need to roll out books and deliver them to bookstores and libraries all over the world, and more.

I asked him a few questions to learn about his job (and had to find definitions for some terms, meaning even I don’t know all of what Randy does). Enjoy!

Amy: Tell us a little bit about how your job has changed over twenty-five years.

Randy: One of my favorite things working at Bethany House is actually looking back…and marveling at how computer hardware and software has improved over the past twenty-five years. When I started working here November 1993 our typesetting system was totally code-driven. My workstation also had an Apple Macintosh Classic II with a teeny-weeny little screen tethered to a larger 22” black-and-white monitor to create…

(Can you guess what task might have been so important to be automated that it was done on one of four computers at Bethany House?)

Barcodes! I still create all our barcodes, but it’s a much easier and faster process now (with a bigger screen).

Back in those days, we only had three other Mac computers. Dan Thornberg was designing book covers on one in the then Art Department (after he hand-painted his illustrations!), while his sister Sheryl designed ads and promo pieces on one in the Marketing dept. Peter Glöege was also designing book covers on a Mac at the time. Those persevering designers pioneered the beginnings of digitally-designing book covers, ads, marketing and promotional pieces…and we still have the files from those first few book covers designed in 1993!

Another task I took on we found we needed was on-site Mac tech support as well as managing a stack of 3-4 hard drives cabled together for our primitive beginnings of a file server—running software utilities (sometimes before they arrived in the mornings, or after the designers left in the evenings), managing backups and archiving our Mac files. Ah yes, those were the days—slow, expensive, inconsistently stable Macs.

Amy: Wow, I can’t imagine doing any production or design work without computers. I’ve seen some of Dan’s original cover paintings around the office. It’s amazing how much work he put into them, although I can see how it would also be much harder to make tweaks and changes like we can now in Photoshop.

What was the most involved process that now no longer takes a lot of time because of technology?

Randy: Typesetting—formatting files for the interior of a book so it can be printed—is very different than it was when I started out. Covers and ads used to involve processing film, while paper for book text involved being pasted in a layout, then photographed. Since I’d had quite a few years’ experience maintaining a film processor for Bethany’s Graphic Arts camera, I processed the film and paper outputs, monitoring and maintaining its chemicals, cleaning as needed.

Now typesetting is done on large screened Macs in Grand Rapids to digital files; no light-sensitive film, no chemicals. Instead of transferring files via “SneakerNet” (by walking or mailing), floppy disks, or larger capacity disks and drives, files are transferred to and from designers, coworkers, foreign or domestic Subsidiary Rights vendors, and book printers via email (if they’re small enough), or Dropbox-like links or other transfer systems if they’re larger.

Amy: I can’t imagine walking files around and the extra time that would take.

What’s a recent experience you’ve really appreciated about your job?

Last February 2018 I was blessed to have the opportunity to visit our parent company Baker Publishing Group’s home office in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I got to meet and personally talk to the people I’d been emailing for fifteen years! They were so hospitable, gracious, warm and kind! While conversing with them, seeing their facilities, faces, and workstations, I found we had many things in common at work as well as in our personal lives, which gave me more satisfaction in my job knowing who I work with “on the other side of the pond.” It was great—I loved it!

Anything else you want to share with readers?

Just a favorite joke of mine…do you know why there are RUSH jobs in the printing industry? Back in the day when Gutenberg invented the first printing press with moveable type, his first customer kept the proof over the weekend… <sigh> and they’ve been behind ever since.

Thanks, Randy! How about you, readers? What’s one technological advancement in the past twenty-five years that has changed your life for the better? (Mine would definitely be GPS…)

February 2019 New Releases

Welcome to February! This month if you’re in the mood for a romance…or a page-turning suspense novel…or a historical view of an unusual time period…or a dual-time drama, you can find it here in our list of new releases. If you’d like to learn more, click on the covers to read an excerpt.

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

Plot Summary: Daphne Blakemoor was happy living in seclusion. But when ownership of the estate where she works passes to William, Marquis of Chemsford, her quiet life is threatened. William also seeks a refuge from his past, but when an undeniable family connection is revealed, can they find the courage to face their deepest wounds and forge a new path for the future?

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

Plot Summary: With a Mohawk mother and a French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it easiest to remain neutral among warring sides. But when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel, is taken prisoner by her father, he claims to have information that could end the war. At last, she must choose whom to fight for. Is she willing to commit treason for the greater good?

A Faithful Gathering by Leslie Gould

Plot Summary: Leisel left her Amish roots for a career in medicine. She has an English boyfriend and big dreams—but these come crashing down when her sister is diagnosed with cancer. Soon nothing is going as planned. With difficult choices to make, will she stick to the traditions of her past—or learn from the story of a WWII ancestor and embrace a life of uncertainty?

A Breach of Trust by Rachel Dylan

Plot Summary: When corporate litigator Mia Shaw finds her colleague brutally murdered, she vows to make the killer pay. The accused is a friend of Noah Ramirez, who knows something doesn’t add up. As Mia takes on a case of corporate espionage, Noah becomes her only ally. But can he convince her that the killer is still on the loose—and protect her from growing threats?

A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden

Plot Summary: A female accountant in 1908, Eloise Drake thought she’d put her past behind her. Then her new job lands her in the path of the man who broke her heart. Alex Duval, mayor of a doomed town, can’t believe his eyes when he sees Eloise as part of the entourage that’s come to wipe his town off the map. Can he convince her to help him—and give him another chance?

Do you seek out romances during February, or is there a different genre you typically prefer?

Prayer for Authors: February 2019

Since it’s the first Sunday of the month, we’ll be continuing the Bethany House Fiction tradition of taking time to pray for authors who have new releases coming out this month. I’m Amy Green, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in February:

Elizabeth Camden
Rachel Dylan
Leslie Gould
Jocelyn Green
Kristi Ann Hunter

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”—Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For opportunities to speak with grace and truth to those who might not agree with the message of their books.
  • For moments of rest and renewal even in the midst of busyness.
  • For those of us at Bethany House and other publishing companies who work to edit, design, market, and sell these books.

I really appreciate these monthly times of prayer. What a joy it is to know that readers are praying for our authors and their books! Thanks so much for joining us.

Join our February Instagram Challenge!

Here at Bethany House, we love books…and we know all of you do too! That’s why we’re launching our first-ever Instagram challenge. We’ll be posting a pretty bookish picture for every day of February based on a particular theme. You can see the lineup below.

Follow us on Instagram if you want to see what we come up with, and join in on whatever days you like by tagging us in your own bookstagram photos. (Find out how to do so by reading our original IG post.) We’d love to see social media feeds filled to the brim with great books.

On a personal note, I’ve been helping our lovely copywriter, Rachael, take several of these pictures. They’re SO FUN.

Hope you’re staying warm with a good book, readers!

Reading Challenge Giveaway

Regular blog readers will notice that we didn’t post a Reading Challenge as we usually do in January. That’s because our friends at Hope by the Book, who love Christian fiction, came up with one of their own. I liked it so much that I wanted to direct all of you to it. They have fun checklists (including different “levels”) for readers to participate in, along with some social media fun and interaction. You can check it out here.

 

In honor of this challenge, I thought we’d do a giveaway. Visit the Hope by the Book checklist, then come back here and recommend at least one book that fits one of the Avid Reader categories. (It doesn’t have to be a Bethany House book.) Next week, I’ll chose three commenters to win their choice of our January or February new releases to help them get started on their 2019 reading goals.

I’ll make a few suggestions first:

I could go on for days, but now it’s your turn. Look at the categories in the list and start recommending below. Be sure to tell us which category it fulfills!

 

5 Justifications For Having More than 30 Books in Your House

Are you ready to spark some joy? Then come along as I give you the perfect response to anyone in your life who has been watching that Marie Kondo Netflix show “Tidying Up and Losing Your Soul By Giving Away All Your Books.”

I’m pretty sure that’s the title, based on the Internet. My social media feed has exploded with memes mocking this preposterous notion:

While what Kondo actually said is that she keeps her personal book limit to around 30 volumes, if you’re a booklover seeking justifications for keeping a significantly larger dragon horde of literary treasures personal library, you’ve come to the right place.

Full disclosure: my name is Amy Green, and I work for a book publisher. I love authors and books and being gracefully disorganized. (That is totally a thing. It means the chaos around you is reflective of a life so full and rich that it defies structure…and dusting.)

To be fair to Marie Kondo, I can imagine a scenario where 30 volumes might possibly be a good standard. Like if you have a fully-loaded Kindle. And live in a tiny house. Next door to a library.

Otherwise, if you’re feeling guilty for double-stacking your shelves, I have a response for you. Since Kondo created a whole method of cleaning based on a rearrangement of her name, the KonMari method, allow me to present the GreAm method. (Slightly less catchy, but whatever.)

It is rigorous—you must be willing to defend your right to a full bookshelf with logic and determination. It is holistic—in that I’m basically telling you to keep your whole library. And it is aimed at inner peace—because there’s nothing as peaceful as being surrounded by books. So let’s begin.

One: Books spark joy.

Am I using the organizational maven’s own mantra against her? Why yes, I am.

Do you know what brings me joy? BOOKS! Adventures to times and places I’ll never visit in the “real” world, deep journeys into hope and heartbreak, thrilling escapades where someone won’t get out alive but I probably will, somewhat-confusing classics I had to read for school that made me a better person even if I didn’t appreciate them at the time…I love them all.

I mean, it’s great to have a few travel mementos that bring a smile every time you look at them, don’t get me wrong, but books contain whole worlds—the lives and journeys of beloved friends we’ve admired and empathized and learned from. The joy quotient is just through the roof. Libraries and bookstores spark so much joy that they might as well be actual infernos of happiness. (Is that a little Fahrenheit 451? Maybe. But you get the idea.) And if your house just happens to resemble a library or bookstore…all the better!

Two: Books are super tidy.

A book is the tidiest object I can possibly imagine. Think of those crisp white margins, the uniform edges, the perfectly straight lines of text.

Also, the KonMari method is apparently really big on folding things. There is a precise method for how to fold tea towels and fitted sheets and the jingle-bell-bedecked Christmas socks you only wear once a year (hey, it’s all about the joy, don’t judge). Thankfully, your personal library is all about folding. Book terminology time: a “signature” is a group of pages (in multiples of four) folded together and glued to the spine of an average paperback book. Books are essentially collections of tiny, neat little folds. See? Tidy in the extreme.

Three: Books are not clutter.

Dictionary.com informs us that clutter is “a disorderly heap or assemblage.” I have a very simple solution. We can create a piece of furniture, similar to a display case, that allows you to line up your books in an orderly fashion.

We’ll call it a “bookshelf.” No clutter? No problem.

(And those escapees that end up stacked and piled around your house? Those are educational and aesthetic home décor accessories. Clearly.)

Four: Kids’ books would have to be included in that total.

Imagine you have the American household average of 2 children. This, out of 30 books, would give them approximately an allotment of 15 books from the total, so 7.5 books each. (Sorry, but this is the math, people…be glad I didn’t use the real average of 2.3 children. We can pretend the .5 book is the bafflingly popular Goodnight Moon and leave it at that.) Please imagine reading the same 7.5 books to your toddler over and over and over until the words are ingrained in your head like an ancient liturgy and you have visited the triumphs and travails of the pirate/princess/anthropomorphic cuddly animal so often that they feel like a member of the family…

Wait. Actually, this is pretty much what happens to parents anyway, even if you have a mountain of books available for your little one, so I guess we can throw out this reason and move on to…

Four, Second Try: Marie Kondo has written multiple books.

Does this directly relate to why you can feel perfectly fine owning more than 30 books? No. But I’m throwing it in here for the sheer irony of it. I can’t determine the exact number of unique titles by Kondo because of translations and digests and journals, but there are at least 3 (10% of her household quota), with probably more to come. Is it unreasonable for an author who has made a living from the book industry to tell people to get rid of their books? Well…not technically, but it is a little amusing.

Five: Books can talk back.

One part of the KonMari method that some people find either freeing or really eccentric is the practice of thanking your belongings as you release them to a better place (like the Goodwill donation bin).

Hey, I talk to inanimate objects, mostly malfunctioning technology, all the time, I can get behind that. But books are made of words and therefore the only things that can respond to me. Like, when I yell at the character, “What do you think you’re doing?” it might take him a few chapters, but he usually tells me. And when I flip through the pages of a book to thank it for its service, inevitably I’ll notice that one hilarious or meaningful scene that always got to me…and start skimming…and then reading…and then I move the book out of the donation pile for good and it’s never going back, sorry, I just can’t do it.

If minimalism requires book-lite living, well…who really needs to be tidy, anyway?

What books you own would make your”Top Thirty” list? Just as an exercise, of course…

Ask BHP: How Do You Determine Book Lengths?

First of all, thanks so much to everyone who participated in our Ask BHP survey! (You can still add your questions, but the giveaway winner has already been picked.)

There have been so many intriguing questions submitted already, including several I’m especially excited to investigate…because I have no idea what the answer might be!

This month, we’re pulling out a technical question, one that you may have wondered if you’ve noticed the difference in spine widths along your bookshelf: “Who decides how long a book gets to be? I know some books are longer than others, so who decides, and how do they decide on the length?”

When an author creates a book proposal, they often give the approximate word count of their novel. Debut authors—authors who have never published a novel before—almost always have a complete manuscript, so even if some editing might be needed, the word count is pretty easy to figure out. Authors who have published before, however, sometimes only have a few sample chapters and an outline…which they may or may not follow closely, so their word counts are more hypothetical. You can think of the estimated word count as the general goal the author is aiming for. It’s usually phrased something like: “90,000 words plus or minus 15%,” so it’s not a strict amount.

As far as why the number is chosen, the average length of one of our novels is in the 80,000-100,000-word range. There are some slight preferences—contemporary romance tends to be closer to the 80,000-word mark, some historicals will be more likely to creep toward 100,000 or beyond—but that’s a good general estimate to keep in mind.

One major exception is epic fantasy, which tends to be much longer…after all, the authors have to build an entire world and then introduce a threat that could end the entire world. According to our editors, the conclusion to Jill Williamson’s Kinsman Chronicles, King’s War, set a new fiction length record: 656 pages and 222,000 words total, more than double our typical novel size!

Bethany House doesn’t currently publish children’s books, but of course every target age group within that industry has a different ideal word count, and even sentence length, based on reading level. (Along with those few Harry-Potter-like exceptions that defy length norms.) Mass market fiction and novellas have conventions as well.

As far as getting to that word count, some authors will “write long”—let their first draft go wild with subplots, long descriptions, backstory dumps, and other words that will be eliminated the second time they go through their manuscript. A few authors purposefully write scenes that they know will need to be cut or at least shortened later to keep the momentum of the story flowing, while others only decide in the editing process what might need to be trimmed. This gets them back down to the word count they’re aiming for.

The other camp is made up of those who “write short”—telling the basics of the story to get it out on paper, then going back and adding fun character details, smoother transitions, and additional tension-building scenes after they have a draft. The most minimalist will basically create a detailed, fifty-page outline for their first draft, but others will only be a few thousand words short that they then sprinkle throughout to make the story more vivid. This gets them up to the word count they’re aiming for.

There are always exceptions to word count goals, where authors start writing and realize they just can’t tell the story they’re trying to tell in the word count they decided on in earlier. (This seems to happen more commonly than authors who decide their book needs to be much shorter than they’d planned.) At that point, they talk with their editor to create a new word count estimate. If an editor reads a 120,000 word manuscript and decides, “A lot of these scenes don’t advance the plot,” they’ll suggest edits to get the word count down to the target amount.

But sometimes an editor reads a 127,000 word manuscript and decides that nearly everything is essential…which is what happened with A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green. Jocelyn explained it this way: “My first draft is usually between 100,000 and 110,000 words. But then, as we flesh out character development and subplot threads, I always end up adding more to the novel. I do delete entire chapters that weren’t necessary during that process, but what I add to the book always outweighs what I strike out. Dave and Jessica [Jocelyn’s editors] say that as long as the book doesn’t lag, and as long as every scene is necessary, they don’t mind the length. What we don’t want is an underdeveloped storyline or an abrupt ending, just to squeeze in the last chapter before hitting a certain word count.”

So there you have it! Word counts aren’t magical, but neither are they an exact science. Authors and publishers both want to make sure there’s enough space to tell a good story…without giving too much space for meandering.

What’s the longest book you can remember reading? How about a book you wish could be longer because you love the characters so much?

Prayer for Authors: January 2019

These are supposed to be posted on the first Sunday of the month, but since I forgot to schedule this yesterday and these authors still need prayer, we’ll just do this a day later! We’ll be continuing the Bethany House Fiction tradition of taking time to pray for authors who have new releases coming out this month. I’m Amy Green, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in January:

Tracie Peterson
Jen Turano
Kimberley Woodhouse
Jaime Jo Wright

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.“—Psalm 145:3-4 (NIV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For the pursuit of life-giving goals rather than exhaustion from the need to compete or live up to unrealistic expectations.
  • For young readers in particular to find these authors’ books that share truths close to their hearts.
  • For a renewed ability to listen well to God’s voice and leading in life.

Thanks so much for taking time today to pray for these authors! We’ll see how God works through them in this new year.

January 2019 New Releases

It’s a new year, and that means lots of new books! This first month of 2019 brings us three new releases from talented authors, all with different tones and styles, so there’s something for everyone, whether you enjoy eerie suspense, laugh-out-loud romance, or historical adventures. Click on a cover to read an excerpt from the first chapter of each.

Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano

Plot Summary: To escape an unwanted marriage, heiress Isadora Delafield flees New York. Disguising herself as a housekeeper, she finds a position at Glory Manor, the childhood home of self-made man Ian MacKenzie. Ian is unexpectedly charmed by Isadora and her unconventional ways, but when Isadora’s secret is revealed, will they still have a chance at happily-ever-after?

 

Under the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

Plot Summary: Fleeing her past, naturalist Tayler Hale accepts a position at the popular Curry Hotel in Alaska. There she must work with Thomas Smith, who calls the hotel home. As Thomas struggles to get used to the idea of a female naturalist, unexpected guests and trouble arrive at the Curry. They’ll have to band together to face the danger that follows.

 

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Plot Summary: A century apart, two women seek their mothers in Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin. In 1908, Thea’s search leads her to an insane asylum with dark secrets. In modern-day Wisconsin, Heidi Lane answers the call of a mother battling dementia. Both confront the legendary curse of Misty Wayfair—and are entangled in a web of danger that entwines them across time.

What are your reading goals for 2019?