The best books to make you forget you’re living in the 21st century

The Books I Picked & Why

Along a Storied Trail

By Ann H. Gabhart

Along a Storied Trail

Why this book?

One of the things I admire most about Ann Gabhart is that her stories are predictable – predictably wonderful, that is. There’s no predictability about her characters and plots. When I pick up one of her books, I know I’ll be transported to a different time and place and that while I’m immersed in her story, I’ll forget reality. In Along a Storied Trail she took me to rural Kentucky and a little-known (at least to me) part of history as she told the story of a packhorse librarian during the Great Depression. Her descriptions are so vivid and the dialogue so realistic that I felt as if I were there along with Tansy and Perdita. This is a story to savor, Gabhart’s best one yet.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

A Cowboy for Keeps

By Jody Hedlund

A Cowboy for Keeps

Why this book?

Like many authors, I’m a very picky reader and frequently abandon books after reading less than 10 percent. Over the past year or so, I’ve found myself abandoning more and more historicals because of poor writing, anachronisms, or unrealistic characters. I was beginning to despair of finding a book that met my standards, and then I opened A Cowboy for Keeps. Not only did Hedlund’s story meet my standards, it exceeded them. Her beautiful writing and vivid descriptions immersed me in the Old West, and the story itself was so riveting that while I wanted to see what happened next, part of me hated the idea of turning the last page. This is an outstanding historical romance.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

A View Most Glorious

By Regina Scott

A View Most Glorious

Why this book?

The first time I saw Mount Rainier, I joked with my husband that we ought to find a way to live within sight of it. That didn’t happen, but the memory of its beauty didn’t fade, and so when I was given an opportunity to read an advance copy of Regina Scott’s latest American Wonders book featuring a heroine who attempts to climb Mount Rainier, I said, “yes, please!” What a great book! The combination of multi-faceted characters, a careful blending of fact and fiction, and fascinating descriptions of mountain climbing in the early twentieth century kept me turning pages instead of sleeping or working on my own manuscript. This is a truly unputdownable book. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Swiss Courier

By Tricia Goyer, Mike Yorkey

The Swiss Courier

Why this book?

There were so many things that I loved about this book, starting with its riveting first scene. When I teach classes about great beginnings, I stress the need to hook a reader in the first three pages. Goyer and Yorkey did that and more. They kept me hooked until the surprising denouement. Make no mistake. I would not have wanted to live in Europe during World War II, but Goyer and Yorkey’s collaboration is filled with so many fascinating details of life during that tumultuous and dangerous time along with an introduction to the fine art of safe cracking that I couldn’t put it down. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Secrets on the Wind

By Stephanie Grace Whitson

Secrets on the Wind

Why this book?

“You ought to write inspirationals.” Every time a reader told me that, I’d shake my head and reply, “They’re too preachy.” But then a dear friend’s death made me reconsider the direction of my writing, and I began to research the inspirational market. One of the first books I read was Secrets on the Wind, the first of Whitson’s Pine Ridge Portraits trilogy. To my delight, she combined meticulous research, sprinkling her story with “telling” details that brought the Nebraska prairie and Fort Robinson to life, and unforgettable characters to create a story that’s lingered in my memory for more than a decade. Best of all, she demonstrated that faith-friendly fiction doesn’t need to be preachy. I’m deeply grateful to her because Secrets on the Wind convinced me that this was the right market for me. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Random Book Lists