Around the US with Bethany House Books!

Enjoy traveling? Why not create a reading road trip?

What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of such a thing? (That might be because I just invented it.)

The concept is simple: make a list of places you’ve always wanted to visit . . . then find books that are set in those locations!

To help you out in this fun activity, I’ve made a list of the settings Bethany House fiction books published between April 2013 and April 2014.


I have this map up in my office marked with author names. Print out your own here.

The State With the Most Books Award* goes to…


Incidentally (or not), it’s also the home state of the largest number of our fiction authors. Here are the books that are set in Texas:

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

Fired Up by Mary Connealy

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer

Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings

A Match Made in Texas, with novellas by Mary Connealy, Carol Cox, Regina Jennings, and Karen Witemeyer

Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate

(*I also just invented this award. Texas, don’t get your hopes up for a trophy or something.)

Other States (in alphabetical order)

Alaska: Stranded by Dani Pettrey, All Things Hidden by Kimberly Woodhouse and Tracie Peterson

Arizona: Trouble In Store by Carol Cox

Colorado: A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson

Illinois: Unspoken by Dee Henderson, Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

Iowa: A Simple Change and A Shining Light by Judith Miller

Kansas: A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears, Unforeseeable by Nancy Mehl

Massachusetts: Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund, Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

Michigan: A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

Minnesota: The Quarrymanโ€™s Bride and The Minerโ€™s Lady by Tracie Peterson

New York: Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer, A Most Peculiar Circumstance and A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano, Dark Road Home and Tide and Tempest by Elizabeth Ludwig

North Carolina: Made to Last by Melissa Tagg

Ohio: Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

Pennsylvania: A Home for My Heart by Anne Mateer, Minding Molly and Adoring Addy by Leslie Gould, The Secret Keeper and The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis

South Dakota: A Place to Belong by Lauraine Snelling

Tennessee: Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman, A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Washington: Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson

Non-US Settings

Australia: Blood and Bone by Don Hoesel (And Brazil and Russia and others…it’s an international thriller, what do you expect?)

Canada: Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Czechoslovakia: For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

England: The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen, Rules of Murder and Death by the Book by Julianna Deering

Norway: An Untamed Heart by Lauraine Snelling

Switzerland: Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn (also Egypt, Iran, and other countries–those international thrillers again.)

Non-Earth Settings

I didn’t want to leave our fantasy authors out just because their worlds only exist within the pages of their books and our imaginations.

King by R. J. Larson

Dragonwitch and Shadow Hand by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

The Hero’s Lot and A Draw of Kings by Patrick W. Carr

Now it’s your turn, readers! Let us know where you’re from and name a place in your home state that would make a great setting for a book.

53 thoughts on “Around the US with Bethany House Books!

  1. I am from California. Los Angeles County with its many small towns. I would like to read something from around 1893 as that is when my grandmother was born in Los Angeles. I think promoters advertised land and brought people out here by train. Her parents were from Evansville Illinois. Did you know there was a streetcar subway into downtown LA in the 30’s?

  2. This is super fun, Amy! Thanks for putting it all together. Wow, I had no idea Texas was such a popular book setting location. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m happy to see two books set in Iowa…since that’s where I’m from. Actually, I’m working on a book right now that’s based off the town of Boone, Iowa. I love its scenic valley railroad.

  3. Michigan! Upper peninsula has some great places…lots of waterfalls! Tahquamenon falls (btwn paradise & newberry) would be beautiful spot for a story or Mackinaw Island, where there is no cars, only horse drawn buggies & bikes. Also has a grand hotel and a golf course. In the “mitten” there is also Greenfield Village (now called the Henry Ford) in Dearborn that takes you back to the old days. Copper Harbor, porcupine mountains, bond falls….all in U.P. are other beautiful areas. Can see the Northern Lights up there too especially over lake superior.

    • Jody, I love your Michigan pride! Another MI book I had to leave off the list because it doesn’t release until May 6th: Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg. It’s got the small town Michigan feel down…I seriously wanted to move there after I finished it. And, next on my to-read list is Jody Hedlund’s Captured by Love, which takes place on Mackinaw Island…in 1814. (That one comes out in July.) Bethany House is loving Michigan this season!

  4. Minnesota

    Sandstone – with the former Quarry ti has a historical setting.

    Hinckley – the Great Hinckley Fire. gives a good historical setting as well.

    • Hi Beverly–I’m a Minnesotan as well (newly moved here this year, just in time for a terrible winter!). I’ll have to take a look at that fire: those types of things are always interesting to me. (I’d recommend Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden as a book that deals with the Great Chicago Fire and is excellent.)

  5. I’m currently living in Delaware. Born and raised in Pennsylvania.
    For Delaware I would like to see a fiction/historical fiction book set at Historic New Castle or Fort Delaware.We also have Winterthur and Hagley both owned by the Duponts and now run as museums. All of these would make great historical fiction book settings.

  6. Texas. Big state. Many settings. Remember the Alamo, or Cow Town. How about Galvestion, hurricanes, sea wall, floods, fishing, and Moody Gardens. East Texas with lots of trees and oil. The Texas pan handle. Oil wells. Cattle ranches. The King Ranch. Or how about grapefruit and orange groves. The valley with much produce. West Texas and tumble weeds. Or Texas Tech, UT Austin, Texas A&M, Baylor. Three presidential libraries. Tornado alley. Bar-B-Que. Mexican food. Seafood. The Rio Grande, The Red River, the Gulf and lots of lakes. Canton Trades Day. Jacksonville and tomatoes. Gilmer and sweet potatoes. The Texas Rangers. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. So very much to do or see. Doesn’t matter the time period.

  7. I grew up in the Great Central Valley of California and currently live in the San Francisco bay area. There are so many intriguing, untapped portions of history around the bay. I’ve already begun the delightful task of exploring house museums and local history books because this is the area I want to focus on in future stories.

  8. Maryland! Let’s see… The Star Spangled Banner was written during the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
    Also, did you know that one of the main reasons Maryland remained neutral during the Civil War was because President Lincoln ordered all the Confederate sympathizers in the state government under house arrest for the duration of the war? He didn’t want Washington DC cut off from the North and there were riots in the streets of Baltimore as a result. I always thought that would make a fascinating setting for a book!

  9. I love this idea. Sometimes I’m inspired to go places from the books I read, but going to them through the books is a fantastic idea.
    I live in a rural area of Virginia and I’ve grown up with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the backdrop.I think a story based in that area would be really neat.Tales of the secrets they must hold and the people they’ve protected in their hollers seem like they would be very interesting.

    • Laina, I actually just finished reading Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas (it’ll come out in August), set in small-town West Virginia, and it really made me want to visit! I like your observation about how rural areas can often be more interesting than the typical tourist-y places.

  10. I live in Missouri and we have everything from The St. Louis Arch, and big cities to small rural towns and amish families. Hannibal is know for Mark Twain and Molly Brown but up along the Iowa, Missouri border is a place once know as Athens. It was a booming river town and a historic town during the civil war. It is beautiful driving through the county side. The town was being rebuilt for tourist but the government cut backs stopped or slowed it down. The cannonball house sits with the river in the back yard. I could dream up all kinds of stories there. Everyone should check it out. Love history(hated it in school, if they would have shown this stuff maybe I would have loved it then too.

  11. Spur, TX always has a three day homecoming celebration. The Spur Art Guild holds an art show. The town is just off the caprock and is part of the Quanah Parker trail, the football stadium is unique (at least I thought so until I found there were others with the stands all on one side (ours is concrete, built into the hillside).

  12. I’m from Belton Missouri and before you ask where in the world is Belton I will tell you. It is a town outside of Kansas City Missouri. When we moved here 50 years ago there really wasn’t anything here but now it had grown. We are known as the burial place for Dale Carnigie and Carrie Nation. In fact the hurst that brought Ms. Nation to Belton is in our museum.

  13. I am from Kentucky, the Bluegrass state. We have many wonderful scenic attractions but I especially love Cumberland Falls, near Corbin, KY. A moonbow is visible almost every month and it is only one of two on Earth (the other, I believe, is in Africa). I think this could be the setting of a romantic mystery.

  14. Hannibal, Mo. has a lovers leap on top off a hill and a big stone monument with the story about Indians and the river changed and cut them off from each other.
    Also Jesse James and his gang had a hideout in Meramac Caverns and swam under water to get away from the sheriff. So much history right here, come on write about us….

  15. I am from Michigan and the lake shore would make for a beautiful setting for a book. Also I am ‘stealing’ you idea to use with my summer reading list I put in the store. Thank you for such a great idea.

  16. Wyoming-heaven on earth. You ladies out to come check us out. You will fall in love with our wide open spaces, our wildlife, our mountains,our lakes, a vast array of beauty, our love of family ,friendliness and our independent spirit. You are most welcome in the Cowboy State.

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  19. I have just read “A Most Inconvenient Marriage” by Regina Jennings. It was a great read. There are two things that I really liked about the book. First of all it was set in my home state of Missouri and sat down and around Springfield. I was born in Springfield but we moved away when I was two, but we still visit family down in that area. The second thing that I liked about the book it was set right after the Civil War and I LOVE!!! books set during that time period.

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