The best Christian novels about true-to-life women dealing with the messy side of life and love

The Books I Picked & Why

A Barefoot Tide

By Grace Greene

Book cover of A Barefoot Tide

Why this book?

Grace Greene writes the ultimate “beach read”—endearing characters, descriptions that put you right there at oceanside, and a poignant blend of emotion and humor. I love how Lilliane, the heroine, discovers courage she never thought she had. A temporary job as a live-in caregiver begins merely as a way to earn money for much-needed home repairs. But her stay in Emerald Isle, NC, becomes a life-changer, not only for her but for the elderly gentleman who soon becomes both friend and mentor. It’s a book about stepping out of your comfort zone and opening your heart to new possibilities no matter your age. And if this novel stirs your heart as it did mine, you won’t want to miss the sequel, A Dancing Tide.

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Who I Am with You

By Robin Lee Hatcher

Book cover of Who I Am with You

Why this book?

This novel is beautifully written, a gentle, faith-filled love story with characters I couldn’t help but care about from the start. Recently widowed and expecting a baby, Jessica is struggling with the tragic loss of her husband and daughter—and the secret knowledge of her late husband’s betrayal. Her new next-door neighbor, Ridley, has his own secrets, which is why he’s attempting to keep a low profile in this small-town setting. I loved watching their friendship evolve into something more and how their faith grew as they dealt with the difficulties they faced. And as a lifelong animal lover, I have to say I was especially fond of Ridley’s dog, Kris, who played the perfect little matchmaker!

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On a Summer Tide

By Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book cover of On a Summer Tide

Why this book?

I love a good sisters novel—maybe because I always wished for a sister of my own? This cast of unique and engaging characters quickly drew me into their lives as these young women with very different personalities found ways to accept their widowed dad's plans to reopen the summer camp where he’d met their mother. I also enjoy a good plot twist, and the one at the end of this book was just right, a touching way to tie everything together. This book was primarily the eldest sister Cam's story, which means more books to follow with insights into the other sisters’ lives. Have I mentioned I love sequels? Once I connect with a set of characters, it’s hard to let them go!

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Tending Roses

By Lisa Wingate

Book cover of Tending Roses

Why this book?

When I read this book several years ago, I was just starting out in my writing career, and I remember thinking, If only someday I could write like this! Lisa Wingate has a beautiful way of eliciting emotion and empathy, of creating scenes and situations so true-to-life that she never fails to draw me in. Like all her books, Tending Roses takes a deeply honest look at human relationships—the good, the bad, and the in-between—and always with an underlying current of faith. Kate’s situation may be different from my own, but I could still relate to her feelings and struggles, her questions and doubts. That resonance—that connection—is what makes any story memorable.

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Little Women

By Louisa May Alcott

Book cover of Little Women

Why this book?

I credit this beloved classic with instilling in me the love of both reading and writing. Jo March has always been my hero, the misunderstood tomboy who finds escape and expression in the stories she writes. I admire her determination, her courage, and her selfless loyalty to family. I admire the way she speaks her mind, even when it gets her in trouble. When I reread the novel a few years ago, I found myself more able to appreciate the deeper themes that my childhood sensibilities couldn’t fully grasp. Set in New England during the Civil War, the story remains timeless. The book’s universal truths about life, love, and relationships have earned it a permanent spot among my favorites.

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