Favorite Books of 2011

Nothing says New Year's like a list! Here are my favorite fiction reads from 2011 in alphabetical order. It's hard enough to pick only ten, much less rank them. Sadly, many lovely novels taunt me from my to-be-read pile.

Broken Wings by Carla Stewart: Beautifully written with great voice, Broken Wings tells the story of a touching friendship between a young woman trying to escape an abusive relationship and an elderly woman who was a jazz singing sensation. This book handles tough subjects with honesty and sensitivity, and still manages to warm your heart.

The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz: There's a reason this novel appears on so many Top Ten lists this year - gorgeous prose, the danger of the Kentucky frontier during the Revolutionary War, and compelling characters. Plus, the most beautiful book cover of the year, in my opinion.

A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad: A grand slam! In a story as refreshing and invigorating as lemonade, Seilstad raises deep questions about a woman's relationship with God, her dreams, and the people in her life - while making me laugh so hard my kids came running to get in on the joke.

Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer: When I saw the cover of this novel, I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed. Adelaide Proctor is a funny and lovable heroine, Gideon Westcott is both dashing and flawed, their romance drew me in, and the suspenseful second half of the novel made me neglect my household duties.  

A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher: A holiday story with depth. Mattie and Jaime are hampered by fears and insecurities many women can relate to. Their friendship and personal growth is as natural and unforced as it is unlikely. This story not only gives you the heart-warming story you expect from the cover, but it also gives you plenty to think about.    

Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson: More than just another "bonnet book" - this story features endearing but realistically flawed characters, a captivating romance, and a hint of mystery. Add Dobson's detailed research into the little-known Amana colonies, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable novel.

Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs: A completely satisfying conclusion to Here Burns My Candle. The rich character growth, Scottish setting, impeccable research, and not just one romance - but three! Higgs writes historical fiction of the highest quality, and I can't recommend her books enough.

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh: Walsh writes this story with humor and a fun bit of attitude - and still writes a heartwarming tale. The story delighted me, and one twist completely surprised me. Realistic and lovable characters - even shallow Rick - and the refreshing Florida beach town setting make this a memorable Christmas story.

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin: Beautifully written, as are all of Martin's novels. The characters are real and intriguing, and the story was engaging.        

While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin: A beautifully told World War II Home Front story with interesting characters. I appreciated the truthful and sensitive acknowledgement of anti-Semitism in wartime America.        

What were your favorite novels from 2011?

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