The best Catholic historical romance novels by members of the Catholic Writers Guild

Gerri Bauer Author Of Growing a Family in Persimmon Hollow
By Gerri Bauer

Who am I?

I love Catholic historical romance novels for what they do and don’t include. They feature history, multiple characters, community and faith that together set a rich stage for love stories. The novels don’t include graphic violence or sex scenes. A former journalist, I started writing in the genre because I couldn’t find what I wanted to read. I’m both traditionally and indie published. I’m a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, as are the authors whose books are listed here. Family and community play important roles in my books. They show how a couple is never an isolated pair but always part of a multilayered world. Just like real life.

I wrote...

Growing a Family in Persimmon Hollow

By Gerri Bauer,

Book cover of Growing a Family in Persimmon Hollow

What is my book about?

Long before #MeToo, a 19th century American woman who became pregnant after an assault paid a high price. Laws didn’t support her. Society shunned her. She was often banished from home. That’s what happens to the heroine of Growing a Family in Persimmon Hollow. She is exiled to the Florida frontier town of Persimmon Hollow, a world apart from her upscale Boston home. She’s expected to hide during her pregnancy, leave her newborn for adoption and scurry home. But something different unfolds. She finds love, acceptance, faith and a newfound determination to pursue the future she wants. This third book in the Persimmon Hollow series can be read as a stand-alone novel.

The books I picked & why

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In Pieces

By Rhonda Ortiz,

Book cover of In Pieces

Why this book?

In Pieces is the first of a two-book series. The romance develops in this book while subplots thicken. I was quickly drawn to the characters and early American setting. I felt immersed in the ambience of the Boston waterfront during the Federalist years. Themes of redemption, forgiveness and understanding weave through the novel and affect more than the hero and heroine. For example, the hero’s family grapples with his growing interest in Catholicism. As the love story reaches resolution, another subplot deepens: a need for American spies to help protect the young country. I ended the book feeling as though the characters had become friends. In Pieces is subtitled Molly Chase Book 1 and fits the Christian historical fiction genre as well as Catholic historical romance.

Playing by Heart

By Carmela Martino,

Book cover of Playing by Heart

Why this book?

I didn’t realize Playing By Heart was a Young Adult book until I finished reading. I was too engrossed in the story about a musical prodigy in 18th century Italy. The romance arc is central but subdued, as the heroine is still a young teenager when this coming-of-age story begins. Her behavior is shaped by family, faith and cultural restrictions. The story placed me in the world of Italian nobility as I followed the heroine and her sisteras they received above-average educations for their time. (Their father has a reason.) Mature adults will enjoy this book. At least I did! I was delighted to learn the main character and her sister are based on real sisters who were 18th century Italian musical and academic prodigies.

The Rose Ring

By Anne Faye,

Book cover of The Rose Ring

Why this book?

This is a touching story about love and forgiveness, of oneself as well as of others. The novel is partially historical: the narrative shifts between the 1940s and the present day. The storylines are linked by a beautiful rose ring that is important to the heroines in both eras. Both storylines include love, loss, and love re-found, but not before the modern-day heroine must face what her heart is truly telling her. More than one character finds the redemption that true forgiveness can bring, but each also discovers the journey can be challenging. This novel drops a surprise twist in the middle, so keep your eyes open! I had tears in my eyes when the stories converged and brought closure.

Julia's Gifts

By Ellen Gable,

Book cover of Julia's Gifts

Why this book?

Sometimes what we seek is right in front of us, while we’re looking and wondering elsewhere. That’s what happens to the heroine of Julia’s Gifts by Ellen Gable. She’s so determined to bring a daydream to life that she almost misses the real thing. This first book in the Great War Great Love series takes place during World War I. The story reminds readers that the light and hope of love remain bright even amid the horrors of war. You’ll cheer for the hero and heroine to stay connected when the war threatens their love just as it starts to grow. A special element in this book is the inclusion of beautiful, original sonnets, something I’ve never before encountered in a historical romance.

A World Such as Heaven Intended

By Amanda Lauer,

Book cover of A World Such as Heaven Intended

Why this book?

A person needs self-knowledge before loving another. That’s true for the hero and heroine of A World Such As Heaven Intended, an American Civil War novel by Amanda Lauer. They meet briefly at the start of the book. Both realize their lives have been changed by the encounter, even though the heroine is loyal to the Confederacy and the hero to the Union. The hero and heroine then are separated. That allowed me to follow each one’s journey as they navigated life in a war-torn country. The tension caused by different loyalties remains strong when they reunite. But they’re thrown into a life-and-death situation that made me wonder if they’d find their happy ending! This novel is first in the Heaven Intended series.

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