KATHERINE PADILLA'S BEST BOOK LIST
12-16-14: 265 titles
Purpose of List:
I compiled this list of book titles to use as a tool in helping readers find novels that are clean. A book doesn't have to be completely free of foul elements to get on this list, or of the highest literary quality, but it does have to be a book that I finished, liked, and felt was worth my time to read.
I have not included any book that does not meet my Criteria for Determining the Wholesomeness of Literature. Often I will finish a novel that almost meets my criteria. I have chosen not to include any of these "borderline" books on my list. The book that contains the most graphically violent scene is, in my opinion, Crime and Punishment. As far as foul language goes, The Great Gatsby is probably as bad as any of these books get. The book containing the most sexually descriptive scene is, I believe, White Nights, Red Morning, which is no surprise since Grigori Rasputin is its antagonist. This novel, however, was published by an Evangelical house, which ought to give you an idea of how conservative I am in this department!
I believe literature should edify and delight and have no desire to recommend a book to someone who would not like it. Since many readers cannot bear to read a novel that doesn't have a happy ending, I've put all of my books into one of three categories: happy, bittersweet, and stark. I've explained each category under its respective heading.
I have given each book a genre, more to help you find the book than anything else. The books labeled "Evangelical" are those published by the Evangelical Christian publishing houses such as Thomas Nelson, Bethany House, and Tyndale. Those labeled "LDS" were published by houses distributing to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such as Deseret Book and Covenant. The only LDS novels I've included on the main list are those marketed to a general audience. Since the Evangelical books are widely available and read in the U.S., they are all on the main list. If a contemporary book has a strong religious feel but was published by a mainstream house, I've given it a more general description such as "Christian fiction" or "Jewish fiction." Many of the classics have powerful religious content, even though I haven't described them in this way. The only non-fiction books listed are those that have the feel of a novel.
I have many classics on my list, because this is the genre that gives me the most reading enjoyment. I love the classics! I consider a classic a work that has stood the test of time and do not distinguish between literary classics such as Emma by Jane Austen and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and popular classics such as The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux and The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. I call a book a classic if it was published before or right around 1900 and is still in print or if it is a lesser-known work by an author who has books still in print. And I do mean print. In this age of ebooks, when so many obscure old books are becoming available electronically, I believe this is an important distinction. If a book is still in print after a hundred years, something about it resonates across time and culture, and it deserves to be called a classic, even if scholars don't consider it a work of literary excellence.
Juvenile and Young Adult Books:
Every book on this list is one I enjoyed reading as an adult, even if it was published for young people. While I consider every book on this list wholesome, many do contain adult subject matter and are not ones I would give to my young children. I suggest previewing every book you encourage your child to read.
All descriptions in quotation marks came from the book jackets or other descriptions from the publishers. I'll add more descriptions as time permits.
In these books, no matter what trials and tribulations the characters experience, things basically work out in the end.
"After the death of her father, orphan Rose Campbell has no choice but to go and live at the 'Aunt Hill' with her six aunts and seven boy cousins."
Rose in Bloom (American classic)
Sequel to Eight Cousins.
Little Women (American classic)
"Louisa May Alcott shares the innocence of girlhood and the warmth of sisterhood in this charming tale of four sisters."
Pebble in the Sky (science fiction)
Prelude to Foundation (science fiction)
Foundation (science fiction)
Foundation and Empire (science fiction)
Second Foundation (science fiction)
Foundation's Edge (science fiction)
I, Robot (stories)
Emma (British classic)
Mansfield Park (British classic)
Northanger Abby (British classic)
Persuasion (British classic)
Pride and Prejudice (British classic)
Sense and Sensibility (British classic)
Jane Austen's Charlotte
Delightful finishing of Jane Austen's Sanditon.
Lorna Doone (British classic)
The Royal Pavilions series: (Evangelical historical)
While working to prove himself innocent of a murder he didn't commit, knight Tancred Redwan becomes involved with Byzantine noblewoman Helena Lysander and the Crusades.
1. Swords and Scimitars
2. Golden Palaces
3. Behind the Veil
Clemmons, Samuel (Mark Twain)
Huckleberry Finn (American classic)
The Prince and the Pauper (American classic)
Tom Sawyer (American classic)
The Dead Secret (British classic, mystery)
On her death bed, wealthy Mrs. Treverton dictates a letter to her maid Sarah Leeson, detailing a secret that only the two of them share. Mrs. Treverton scares Sarah into swearing that she won't destroy the letter or take it out of the house by threatening to haunt her. She then dies before she can exact a promise from Sarah to deliver the letter to her husband. Sarah hides the letter in an abandoned part of the house and disappears, leaving Mrs. Treverton's family in the dark about this secret that affects them greatly.
The Moonstone (British classic, mystery)
The Woman in White (British classic, mystery)
Costain, Thomas B.
The Black Rose (historical)
Walter of Gurnie, the illegitimate son of a Saxon nobleman, leaves England to seek his fortune in Cathay and soon meets the young Greek woman Maryam, also known as "The Black Rose."
The Silver Chalice (Christian historical)
"Basil of Antioch, a young and skilled artisan, [is] purchased from slavery to create a decorative casing for the [Holy Grail]. Basil pursues his project, diverted only by the charms of two beautiful women, one good and one evil."
A Christmas Carol (story in book form, British classic)
Dorr, Roberta Kells
The Queen of Sheba (Evangelical Biblical)
"[The queen of Sheba] journeys to Israel--hoping not only to divert a needless and costly war but to meet the legendary Hebrew King. . . . She finds a compelling faith and powerful love that she can match, passion for passion, without losing her queenly freedom."
Douglas, Lloyd C.
Magnificent Obsession (inspirational novel)
Doyle, Arthur Conan
The Sign of Four (British classic, mystery)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (British classic, mystery)
Sherlock Holmes stories (British classic mystery)
Room with a View (British classic)
Wives and Daughters (British classic)
Molly Gibson's life is going along just fine until her father marries an ambitious, shallow woman with a beautiful and worldly daughter about Molly's own age.
Book of a Thousand Days (YA fantasy)
"When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because of Saren's refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment. . . .With the arrival outside the tower of Saren's two suitors--one welcome, the other decidedly less so--the girls are confronted with both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows."
Princess Academy (juv/YA fantasy)
Under the Greenwood Tree (British classic)
The House of the Seven Gables (American classic)
Jones, Diana Wynne
Howl's Moving Castle (juv/YA fantasy)
"Eldest of three sisters, in a land where it is considered to be a misfortune, Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared Wizard Howl."
Castle in the Air (juv/YA fantasy)
"Having long indulged himself in daydreams more exciting than his mundane life as a carpet merchant, Abdullah unexpectedly purchases a magic carpet and his life changes dramatically as his daydreams come true and dangerous adventures become daily fare." (sequel to Howl's Moving Castle)
A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver (juv historical)
A biographical novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife to two kings and mother to two others.
The River's Gift (story in book form, fantasy)
Lane, Rose Wilder
Young Pioneers, previously published as Let the Hurricane Roar (YA historical)
"Newlyweds Molly and David are only sixteen and eighteen years old when they pack up their wagon and head west across the plains in search of a new homestead. At first their new life is full of promise: The wheat is high, the dugout is warm and cozy, and a new baby is born to share in their happiness. Then disaster strikes, and David must go east for the winter to find work. Molly is left alone with the baby--with nothing but her own courage to face the dangers of the harsh prairie winter."
A Wrinkle in Time (juv fantasy)
The Phantom of the Opera (French classic, mystery)
Secret of the Night (French classic, mystery)
Ella Enchanted (juv/YA fantasy)
"At her birth, Ella of Frell was the unfortunate recipient of a foolish fairy's gift--the 'gift' of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day and a half, or chopping off her own head! . . . Ella goes on a quest to break the curse--once and for all."
Fairest (juv fantasy)
"In the Kingdom of Ayortha, Aza is most definitely not the fairest of them all. . . . But in a land of singers, Aza has her own gift . . . a voice that can do almost anything, a voice that captivates all who hear it."
The Chronicles of Narnia (juv Christian fantasy)
1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
2. Prince Caspian
3. The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"
4. The Silver Chair
5. The Horse and His Boy
6. The Magician's Nephew
7. The Last Battle
"The Light Princess" (Christian classic, fantasy)
"The story of a princess who 'lost her gravity.'"
Lilith (Christian classic, fantasy)
A mysterious raven leads Mr. Vane into a parallel universe where he encounters love, horror, and redemption.
Mahmoody, Betty with William Hoffer
Not Without My Daughter (autobiography)
An Exchange of Gifts (story in book form, fantasy)
"A runaway princess and a poor young boy try to make a new life for themselves without revealing their pasts or the magical powers they possess."
McKillip, Patricia A.
The Book of Atrix Wolfe (fantasy)
Prince Talis, a young mage, finds a book of spells written by a great mage and reawakens the shadowy, savage Hunter that, twenty years previously, destroyed his father and the army of his country.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (juv/YA fantasy)
Ombria in Shadow (fantasy)
The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy (juv/YA fantasy)
1. The Riddle-Master of Hed
2. Heir of Sea and Fire
3. Harpist in the Wind
Winter Rose (fantasy)
". . . Rois is consumed with Corbet Lynn, obsessed with his secret past--until, across the frozen countryside and in flight from her own imagination, truth and dreams become inseparable."
Beauty (juv/YA fantasy)
The Blue Sword (YA fantasy)
Anne of Green Gables series (Canadian classics):
1. Anne of Green Gables
2. Anne of Avonlea)
3. Anne of the Island
4. Anne of Windy Poplars
5. Anne's House of Dreams
6. Anne of Ingleside
7. Rainbow Valley
The Blue Castle (romance)
Twenty-nine-year-old Valancy Stirling, considered an "old maid" by her family and the community, is used to obeying her mother and the other domineering members of the Stirling clan. She receives a letter from her doctor telling her that she has no more than a year to live. Having nothing to lose, she begins saying what she thinks and living her life the way she chooses, finally finding purpose and joy.
Never Cry Wolf (autobiography)
Judith's Dime Novel (western)
"Crossing the Sierra Nevada by stagecoach in 1868, Judith Adams brings along all her Eastern illusions about the Wild West--illusions borrowed from the romantic dime-novel Westerns she loves to read. . . . When the stagecoach is ambushed, Judith's life suddenly seems to come right out of the dog-eared pages of her favorite dime novel."
White Fire (historical adventure)
"Frontier adventurers in southern Africa battle a secret occult brotherhood and native conspirators for possession of an ancient amulet that has the power to reveal great treasures or to destroy its bearer."
The House of a Thousand Candles (mystery)
"A novel of romance and adventure, of love and valor, of mystery and hidden treasure. The hero is required to spend a whole year in the isolated house, which according to his grandfather's will shall then become his. If the terms of the will be violated the house goes to a young woman whom the will, furthermore, forbids him to marry. Nobody can guess the secret, and the whole plot moves along with an exciting zip."
Lady Larkspur (mystery)
Norton, Andre and Lyn McConchie
The Key of the Keplian (fantasy)
The Scarlet Pimpernel (British classic)
Peters, Elizabeth (Barbara Mertz)
Crocodile on the Sandbank (mystery)
Porter, Gene Stratton
Freckles (American classic)
"Abandoned as an infant and given only a nickname by the orphanage, Freckles is hired by kind Mr. McLean to guard a stretch of valuable timber in the wild Limberlost swamp of Indiana. . . . His happiness would be complete if only he could solve the mystery of his birth."
A Girl of the Limberlost (American classic)
"Gradually Elnora uncovers the [Limberlost]'s many mysteries, including a dark secret about her father and the key to the love her mother has hidden from her for so long."
Rinehart, Mary Roberts (romance)
K: The Amazing Interlude
A mysterious man who calls himself "K" moves into the neighborhood and is befriended by Sidney Page.
"Elantris was the city of the gods. What power could have cursed it?"
Downsiders (YA science fiction)
"Talon lives Downside, that is, underneath New York City . . . when Talon accidentally meets a young woman named Lindsay, who is a Topsider . . . the two worlds inevitably collide."
The Moon-Spinners (romantic suspense)
On a vacation in the countryside of Crete, Nicola Ferris happens onto a wounded man and is drawn into a dangerous adventure.
Pemberley or Pride and Prejudice Continued (historical)
Preparing for a Christmas celebration at Pemberley that will include her mother, Miss Bingley, and Lady Catherine DeBourgh, Elizabeth Darcy worries she will be unable to bear her husband an heir.
An Unequal Marriage or Pride and Prejudice Twenty Years Later (historical)
While hosting a lavish wedding at Pemberley for their dear friend Colonel Fitzwilliam, the Darcys painfully confront the possibility that their son may be an unsuitable heir to the estate.
Note: Since Kathy Tyers has published both traditional and Evangelical science fiction with several different publishers, I've listed the editions I've read.
Crystal Witness Bantam Spectra, 1989 (science fiction)
Firebird series (5 books): (Evangelical science fiction)
1. Firebird Bethany House, 1999 and Marcher Lord Press, 2011
"Lady Firebird Angelo departs her home world expecting death in space combat. Captured instead, she finds a startling destiny among an ancient telepathic family--and a new kind of battle against implacable enemies."
2. Fusion Fire Bethany House, 2000 and Marcher Lord Press, 2011
"Firebird discovers both evil and uncontrollable power at the depths of her own spirit, and when her sister commits unspeakable treachery, she must draw on that power to save the man she loves from certain death."
3. Crown of Fire Bethany House, 2000 and Marcher Lord Press, 2011
"Firebird returns to her home world, where some consider her a hero--but those in power have labeled her a traitor. Facing death once again, she discovers the cost of pride and the true meaning of sacrifice."
4. Wind and Shadow Marcher Lord Press, 2011
"The desolate world Mikuhr is home to a once-proud people now on the verge of extinction. Conflict explodes when apprentice priest Kiel Caldwell arrives to investigate rumors of new spiritual revelation, but he is kidnapped by a demon possessed telepath who thinks he might be a predicted messiah. And when Kiel's loose-cannon military brother Kinnor arrives to investigate, a local leader with revenge on her mind threatens to bring down ruin on them all."
5. Daystar Marcher Lord Press, 2012
After fleeing to their sanctuary world for safety with other telepathic Sentinels, members of the Caldwell family must decide whether to accept or reject the claim of a previously unknown family member that he is Boh-Dabar, the prophesied Messiah.
One Mind's Eye Bantam Spectra, 1996 (science fiction)
"Llyn Torfinn is a virtual orphan, once found hooked to an artificial reality machine, drugged by sensation and wasting away, with no memories and no past. Physically, she has made a long and painful recovery, but in a system at war, with a dreaded alien threat lurking in the wings, Llyn's greatest challenge may be to discover her own identity. For if she cannot come into her own--and quickly--all of humanity may pay the price."
Shivering World Bethany House, 2004 (Evangelical science fiction)
"Dr. Graysha Brady-Phillips is suffering from a genetic disease that causes weakness and early death. When she is offered a position on planet Goddard, where the average life span exceeds 150 years, she leaps at the chance. The colonists' radical-and illegal-science just might be her only hope for a cure. Graysha must convince a group of paranoid rebel scientists to trust the daughter of their worst enemy, her mother."
Tolkien, J. R. R.
The Hobbit (fantasy)
Lord of the Rings trilogy (fantasy)
1. The Fellowship of the Ring
2. The Two Towers
3. The Return of the King
Christmas on Mill Street (nostalgia)
"Sam Andrews needs a miracle, a little help from Santa, and, oh yeah, someone to save him from Mill Street!"
Daddy-Long-Legs (American classic, YA)
"A trustee of the John Grier orphanage has offered to send Judy Abbott to college. The only requirements are that she must write to him every month, and that she can never know who he is. Judy's life at college is a whirlwind of friends, classes, parties, and a growing friendship with the handsome Jervis Pendleton. With so much happening in her life, Judy can scarcely stop writing to the mysterious 'Daddy-Long-Legs'!"
Wilder, Laura Ingalls
1. Little House in the Big Woods (juv historical)
2. Little House on the Prairie (juv historical)
3. On the Banks of Plum Creek (juv historical)
4. By the Shores of Silver Lake (juv historical)
5. The Long Winter (juv historical)
6. Little Town on the Prairie (juv historical)
7. These Happy Golden Years (juv historical)
The Crown of Eden (Evangelical fantasy)
The Devil's Mouth (Evangelical fantasy)
The Virginian (American classic)
"Still as exciting and meaningful as when it was written in 1902, Owen Wister's epic tale of one man's journey into the untamed territory of Wyoming, where he is caught between his love for a woman and his quest for justice, has exemplified one of the most significant and enduring themes in all of American culture. With remarkable character depth and vivid descriptive passages, The Virginian stands not only as the first great novel of American Western literature, but as a testament to the eternal struggle between good and evil in humanity, and a revealing study of the forces that guide the combatants on both sides."
Wrede, Patricia C.
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (juv/YA fantasy)
A female dragon king, an improper princess, a casual king, a non-traditional witch, and an intellectual magician fight the scheming Society of Wizards in these wacky fairy tale adventures.
1. Dealing with Dragons
2. Searching for Dragons
3. Calling on Dragons
4. Talking to Dragons
Magician's Ward (fantasy)
Eleret must return to her mountain home with her mother's mysterious Raven Ring, despite the evil forces that seek to steal the Ring.
Shadows Over Lyra (fantasy; Lyra; 3 novels in 1 book)
1. Shadow Magic
"Alethia of Alkyra was too practical a princess to believe in Shee and Wyrds and Shadow-born--until they reached out and changed her life."
2. Daughter of Witches
"Magic is death in Drinn. And the three strangers who come to Ranira's inn are definitely magic. So why does she link her destiny to theirs?"
3. The Harp of Imach Thyssel
"Music to make the Shee weep and power to bring a dying man to life again--that's the magic of the Harp. But the cost may be higher than Emereck the minstrel is willing to pay."
These books have a happy/sad quality. They may make you cry in parts, but unless you are under a great deal of emotional stress, these books will probably not depress you.
The Illustrated Man (stories, science fiction)
"The tattooed man moves, and in the arcane designs scrawled upon his skin swirl tales beyond imagining--tales of love and laughter, darkness and death, of mankind's glowing, golden past and dim, haunted future."
Agnes Grey (British classic)
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (British classic)
A mysterious young woman moves into the gloomy old Wildfell Hall with her son. Everyone in the neighborhood presumes she is a widow, but as Gilbert Markham gets to know her better, he learns that her situation is not what it appears to be.
Jane Erye (British classic)
Shirley (British classic)
"The Shirley of the title is a woman of independent means; her friend Caroline is not. Both struggle with what a woman's role is and can be. Their male counterparts--Louis, the powerless tutor, and Robert, his cloth-manufacturing brother--also stand at odds to society's expectations. The novel is set in a period of social and political ferment, featuring class disenfranchisement, the drama of Luddite machine-breaking, and the divisive effects of the Napoleonic Wars. But Charlotte Bronte's particular strength lies in exploring the hidden psychological drama of love, loss and the quest for identity."
Burns, Olive Ann
Cold Sassy Tree (historical)
Burns, Olive Ann and Katrina Kenison
Leaving Cold Sassy (unfinished novel, biography)
Card, Orson Scott
Stone Tables (LDS Biblical)
Creative retelling of the story of Moses.
My Antonia (modern literature, American)
O Pioneers! (modern literature, American)
"With an iron will, [Alexandra Bergson] resolves to wrest a prosperous enterprise from the unforgiving Nebraska soil."
Don Quixote (Spanish classic)
Aging seventeenth-century Spaniard decides to become a knight-errant and sallies forth to right the wrongs of the world, in the process becoming the laughingstock of the countryside. ". . . a book that is both an immortal satire on an outdated chivalric code and a biting portrayal of an age in which nobility can be only a form of madness."
Clemmons, Samuel (Mark Twain)
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (American classic)
1. Matched (YA science fiction)
"Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow."
2. Crossed (YA science fiction)
3. Reached (YA science fiction)
Costain, Thomas B.
Below the Salt (historical)
U.S. Senator O'Rawn mysteriously summons aspiring novelist John Foraday and gives him an account of the violent events that led to the Magna Charta, intertwined with the story of a lost princess.
The Moneyman (historical)
When Jacques Coeur, moneyman to King Charles the Seventh of France, selects Valerie Maret to be the king's new mistress, he sets in motion a chain of events that will end with his being accused of murder, with Valerie as his accomplice.
David Copperfield (British classic)
A Tale of Two Cities (British classic)
Douglas, Lloyd C.
The Robe (Christian historical)
"The story of the soldier who tossed for Christ's robe and won."
The Count of Monte Cristo (French classic, adventure)
Note: I've only read an abridged version.
Daniel Deronda (British classic)
"Crushed by a loveless marriage to the cruel and arrogant Grandcourt, Gwendolen Harleth seeks salvation in the deeply spiritual and altruistic Daniel Deronda. But Deronda, profoundly affected by the discovery of his Jewish ancestry, is ultimately too committed to his own cultural awakening to save Gwendolen from despair."
Middlemarch (British classic)
"The very qualities that set Dorothea [Brooke] apart from the materialistic, mean-spirited society around her also lead her into a disastrous marriage with a man she mistakes for her soul mate. In a parallel story, young doctor Tertius Lydgate, who is equally idealistic, falls in love with the pretty but vain and superficial Rosamund Vincy."
Romola (British classic)
"Romola is set in Renaissance Florence during the turbulent years following the expulsion of the powerful Medici family when the zealous religious reformer Savonarola rose to control the city. At its heart is Romola, the devoted daughter of a blind scholar, married to the clever but ultimately treacherous Tito. Her husband's duplicity in both love and politics threatens to destroy everything she values, forcing her to break away and find her own path in life."
Evans, Richard Paul
The Christmas Box (novella in book form, Christian)
". . . story of a widow and the young family who moves in with her. Together they discover the first gift of Christmas and learn what Christmas is really all about."
With the help of David Parkin's diary, Richard discovers the mystery of the exquisite timepiece MaryAnne Parkin had given him eleven days before her death. (Prequel to The Christmas Box.)
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Flappers and Philosophers (modern literature, American)
Stories that revolve around "beautiful and willful young women" coming of age on the threshold of the 1920s.
Howard's End (British classic)
"Howards End, a house in the Hertfordshire countryside, becomes the symbol of the conflict within English society."
North and South (British classic)
Far From the Madding Crowd (British classic)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (historical)
Elderly English schoolmaster Mr. Chipping remembers his life with pleasure before he says goodbye for the last time.
Lost Horizon (mainstream fantasy)
"High in the distant reaches of the Tibetan mountains . . . a group of worldly men and women have stumbled upon a land of mystery and matchless beauty, where life is lived in tranquil wonder, beyond the grasp of a doomed world."
Random Harvest (historical romance)
"Charles Rainier, heir to a distinguished British family, has three years missing from his life. This is the story of his attempt to rediscover those years and the woman he loved, and may have lost forever."
Song of the Silent Harp (Evangelical historical)
Christy (Christian historical)
Julie (Christian historical)
Julie Wallace moves with her family to a flood-prone steel town during the Great Depression so that her father can become the new publisher of the town's newspaper. Julie and her family work to keep the newspaper alive amid labor disputes and controversy over the stability of a nearby dam.
Phantastes (Christian classic, fantasy)
"First published in London in 1858, this adult fantasy novel follows Anodos, a man who searches for his ideal of female beauty in a dream-like world. Anodos has many adventures and faces many temptations in this fairyland, from tree spirit confrontations to a long trek to the palace of the fairy queen, where he eventually meets the Marble Lady. MacDonald would later astonish and influence writers such as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and W. H. Auden, who saw in this work the successful embodiment of the depth and meaning of our inner, spiritual world. The poignancy of 'Phantastes' lies in its representation of a spiritual quest, one in which ideals are compromised, and the ultimate surrender of the self brings both overflowing joy and profound sadness."
McLaughlin, Ann L.
Sunset at Rosalie (historical)
". . . this richly detailed story of Mississippi in the early 1900s is a saga of family life, changing times, and personal crises."
Portrait of Jennie (historical romance)
"Was Jennie a dream a memory, a lovely ghost from the past? Or had she stepped from another world into this? Eben Adams could only guess at the answer. But he understood that Jennie, because she dared to love him, had fused past and present into the delightful, delicate magic of 'now.'"
Eva Moves the Furniture (historical fantasy)
"A haunting, poignant story of a motherless young woman torn between the real world and the otherworldly companions only she can see."
Phillips, Michael and Judith Pella
The Russians series (Evangelical historical)
This series explores the lives of peasants and princes in the turbulent decades prior to the Russian Revolution in 1917.
1. The Crown and the Crucible
2. A House Divided
3. Travail and Triumph
The Russians series (Evangelical historical)
4. Heirs of the Motherland
5. Dawning of Deliverance
6. White Nights, Red Morning
7. Passage Into Light
Beloved Stranger (Evangelical romance)
"Their love-at-first-sight relationship was more than she had dared to dream. Why did she now feel so lost?"
Mark of the Cross (Evangelical historical)
The Chosen (Jewish fiction)
The Promise (Jewish fiction, sequel to The Chosen)
Scott, Sir Walter
Ivanhoe (British classic)
". . . vignettes alternate back and forth between the lives of four Chinese women in pre-1949 China and the lives of their American-born daughters in California."
The Shiloh Legacy series (Evangelical historical)
1. In My Father's House
2. A Thousand Shall Fall
3. Say to This Mountain
Zion Chronicles series (Evangelical historical)
1. The Gates of Zion
2. A Daughter of Zion
3. Return to Zion
4. Light in Zion
5. The Key to Zion
Zion Covenant series (Evangelical historical)
1. Vienna Prelude
2. Prague Counterpoint
3. Munich Signature
4. Jerusalem Interlude
5. Danzig Passage
6. Warsaw Requiem
Shiloh Autumn (Evangelical historical)
The Twilight of Courage (historical)
War and Peace (Russian classic)
Fathers and Sons (Russian classic)
Young, Margaret Blair and Darius Aidan Gray
One More River to Cross (LDS historical)
These books typically show the real, horrible consequences of sin. Since we are constantly being bombarded with media garbage that glorifies evil, I find the stark approach refreshing. Many of you, however, will not see it that way and will simply find the books depressing. If the "Bittersweet" books are too harrowing for you, stay away from the "Stark" list altogether. To get on the "Stark" list at all and not be rejected as dark, a book must contain hope or at least have an admirable character or two.
Villette (British classic)
Lucy Snowe flees England and a tragic past to become an instructor in a Villette boarding school, where she must confront her intense feelings of loneliness, love, and disappointment.
Wuthering Heights (British classic)
A Lost Lady (modern literature, American)
A young Nebraska man gradually becomes disillusioned as the beautiful and elegant Mrs. Forrester proves to be less than perfect.
Crime and Punishment (Russian classic)
The Idiot (Russian classic)
The Man in the Iron Mask (French classic)
Adam Bede (British classic)
The Great Gatsby (modern literature, American)
Fleischman, Lisa Huang
Dream of the Walled City (historical)
". . . masterpiece about one clever and resourceful woman, growing up amidst the turmoil of twentieth-century China."
Return of the Native (British classic)
Tess of the D'Urbervilles (British classic)
The Scarlet Letter (American classic)
Les Miserables (French classic)
The Screwtape Letters (Christian satire)
Animal Farm (modern literature, British)
"A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality."
The Quincunx (mystery)
The Cater Street Hangman (mystery, Pitt)
Callander Square (mystery, Pitt)
Rutland Place (mystery, Pitt)
Bethlehem Road (mystery, Pitt)
Ashworth Hall (mystery, Pitt)
Brunswick Gardens (mystery, Pitt)
Face of a Stranger (mystery, Monk)
The Sins of the Wolf (mystery, Monk)
A Breach of Promise (mystery, Monk)
The Light in the Forest (YA historical)
"A beautifully written, sensitively told story of a white boy brought up by Indians."
Bread and Wine (modern literature, Italian)
The Silmarillion (fantasy)
Anna Karenina (Russian classic)
The First Men in the Moon (British classic, science fiction)
The Invisible Man (British classic, science fiction)
The Time Machine (British classic, science fiction)
The War of the Worlds (British classic, science fiction)
Age of Innocence (American classic)
Ethan Frome (American classic)
Burdened with an unproductive farm and a hypochondriac wife, Ethan Frome becomes obsessed with his wife's pretty young cousin.
The Picture of Dorian Gray (British classic)
Adams, Linda Paulson
Prodigal Journey (apocalyptic, stark)
". . . the prejudice and hate of a culture ripened in iniquity tear Peter and Alyssa apart, forcing Alyssa on a prodigal's journey that prepares her in powerful but unexpected ways for the establishment of Zion, the New Jerusalem."
Downing, Sharon Jarvis
The Healing Place (contemporary, happy)
The Kaleidoscope Season (historical, happy)
Twelve Sisters (contemporary, bittersweet)
Zoe's Gift (contemporary/historical, bittersweet)
"Struggling with profound personal grief, Connie Leavitt stumbles across an overgrown pioneer cemetery on the prairie outside her small town."
Kidd, Kathryn H.
Paradise Vue (contemporary, bittersweet)
"Welcome to the Paradise Vue Ward, with stained glass windows so blindingly bright that the congregation has to wear shades. Meet the strangest Relief Society presidency ever called--and watch as they discover why the ward needed them, and why they needed these callings."
Lewis, Laura Marie, a.k.a. Laurie (L.C.) Lewis
Unspoken (contemporary, happy)
Estranged from his family for twenty-one years, social worker Jeff Johnson finds a service opportunity for a troubled teen at a children's home in the same community where he grew up. As he spends time at the children's home, the past and present begin coming together, and he struggles with the desire and courage to reveal his identity to those he loves and thinks he has lost forever.
Note: Despite the fact that nothing about this book's title, cover or description says "Christmas book," it is, in many ways, a Christmas book and will probably appeal most to readers who love the heartwarming stories that are in bookstores and on TV during the holiday season.
Liebenthal, Jean Z.
Cottonwood Summer (nostalgia, happy)
"When Nola and Beverly are forbidden to participate in the lake excursion, they can't guess that their selected alternative will provide the biggest adventure in their young lives. Nothing less than a reform school escapee, in fact!"
Feathers and Rings (romance, happy)
"Nola is in love with Kent--but he hardly seems to notice her. Although she manages to have an occasional good time at the Saturday-night dances with her longtime neighbor Norman, Nola fears she may become an 'old maid.'"
Lund, Gerald N.
The Freedom Factor (fantasy, happy)
The Work and the Glory series (historical, bittersweet)
1. Pillar of Light
2. Like a Fire is Burning
3. Truth Will Prevail
4. Thy Gold to Refine
5. A Season of Joy
6. Praise to the Man
Lund, Gerald N. with Roger Hendrix
Leverage Point (contemporary adventure, happy)
McCloud, Susan Evans
Abide the Dark Dawn (historical romance, happy)
Fireweed (historical, stark)
LDS German girl Lisel Spann struggles to survive and hold on to her faith during the turbulent years of World War II.
1. The Lightning and the Storm (historical, bittersweet)
2. A Love Beyond Time (contemporary, bittersweet)
3. The Fire and The Glory:The Millennial Story (apocalyptic, bittersweet)
Where I Belong (romance, happy)
"Heather . . . desperately wants to allow herself to love her best friend and become a mother to their children, yet how can she forget her lifelong dream of succeeding in the art world?"
Voices in the Wind (western, happy)
Copyright © by Katherine Padilla. This list is published by Novaun Novels at www.zerosilver.com and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5.