My Favorite Books of 2012

Nothing says New Year's like a list! Here are my favorite fiction reads from 2012 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.

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof: A moving debut! More than just a love story, Be Still My Soul takes compelling characters on a journey of redemption in the dangerous beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Joanne Bischof’s masterful and compassionate insight into human nature won me over. On the surface, Gideon might be one of the most unlikeable heroes ever, but Joanne made me care about him and want him to find his way. That takes talent, and Joanne has it.

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California by Keli Gwyn: A deft balance of romance, humor, and a thoughtful message. Keli Gwyn has a marvelous knack for dialogue, banter, and humor. But I was even more struck by the message of not letting pride destroy relationships. Both Elenora and Miles long to best the other and prove themselves, but they each learn that being respectful and kind is far better.

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris: This World War II story takes you from Los Angeles, to the dust of Manzanar, to a B-17 bomber over Hawaii, to a banzai charge in the Aleutians, to a critical moment in the Philippines. The research is impeccable, the characters are realistically drawn and thoroughly relatable, and the story is gripping. [Note for my sensitive readers: language alert :) ]

By the Light of the Silvery Moon by Tricia Goyer: Be still my heart! A shipboard romance, a prodigal son, Tricia Goyer’s rich historical research, and all the Titanic’s lushness and impending doom—By the Light of the Silvery Moon is everything a historical romance novel should be.

The Discovery by Dan Walsh: Walsh's other 2012 release, The Reunion, also deserves a place on my list, but I thought it wasn't fair to feature two by the same author. In The Discovery, Dan Walsh takes a fascinating sidebar of World War II history and crafts a suspenseful, beautifully written, and deeply satisfying story. This is his best novel yet - and that's saying a lot!

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot: Gritty and moving, Flame of Resistance is a beautifully written story of Nazi-occupied France that raises challenging questions about redemption, perceptions, and the cost of doing the right thing in an evil world. [Note for my squeamish readers: this may not be your cup of tea.]

Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz: Grand and epic, Love’s Reckoning swept me away. Frantz’s writing is so gorgeous, the characters so exquisitely drawn, the story so gripping . . . well, you just have to read it!

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings: I always love a good Ruth & Boaz story, and this book puts a unique spin on it with a Mexican heroine in 1870s Texas. A compelling heroine, a wounded hero, and great chemistry between them.

Stardust by Carla Stewart: An eclectic cast of characters, a setting as rich as any character, the fascinating historical backdrop of the polio epidemics in the early 1950s, and Carla Stewart's lyrical writing make Stardust a winner of a novel.

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green: Fascinating, dramatic, and romantic. Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green sheds light on the harrowing world of Civil War nursing through the eyes of a delightful heroine. Detailed research and a powerful message about mercy make this story a keeper.

What were your favorite reads of 2012?

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,