3-12-21: 355 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. Please note that not all of these books have happy endings; some of them are quite stark. I am edified by all kinds of books, and this list reflects the varied nature of my reading tastes.


I have not included any book that does not meet My Clean Reading Criteria. 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!


To help you understand what kind of story to expect, I’ve labeled each book with a genre. I read a lot of Christian fiction, but not all of the books I recommend in this genre will appeal to all Christians. The books identified as “Christian fiction, Evangelical”  are those published by the evangelical Christian publishing houses and imprints such as Bethany House, Enclave, Tyndale House, and Zondervan or by independent authors targeting this audience. Those labeled “Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint” were published by houses and imprints distributing to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such as Deseret Book, Covenant, and Cedar Fort or by independent authors targeting this audience. If, in the future, I add books to the list published by houses, imprints, and independent authors serving a Christian denomination I haven’t listed, I’ll label it accordingly. If a contemporary book has a strong religious feel but was published by a mainstream house or doesn’t fit neatly into one of the above categories, I label it “Christian fiction.” Many of the classics have powerful religious content, even though I haven’t described them in this way.


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 young children. I suggest previewing every book you encourage your child to read.

Book Descriptions:

All descriptions in quotation marks came from the book jackets or other descriptions from the publishers.

Abbot, Edwin A.

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (English classic)

“Narrated by A. Square, Flatland is Edwin A. Abbott’s delightful mathematical fantasy about life in a two-dimensional world. . . .But when a strange visitor mysteriously appears and transports the incredulous Flatlander to the Land of Three Dimensions, his worldview is forever shattered.”

Adams, Linda Paulson

Prodigal Journey (Christian apocalyptic fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“. . . 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.”

Alcott, Louisa May

Eight Cousins (American classic)

“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)

In this sequel to Eight Cousins, Rose Campbell returns to the ‘Aunt Hill’ after two years of traveling around the world. Suddenly, she is surrounded by male admirers, all expecting her to marry them. But before she marries anyone, Rose is determined to establish herself as an independent young woman.”

Little Women (American classic)

“Meg, the eldest and most beautiful, shrugs off her vanity and social ambition, discovering fulfillment in romantic love. Boyish Jo on the other hand, with her contempt of all ‘lovering’, turns impetuously towards writing for solace. Gentle Beth rejects worldly interests, preferring to devote her life to her family, to the joy of music and to timidly aiding all who suffer in life. Amy, the youngest and most imperfect of the March girls, continually tries to overcome her selfishness and girlish pretensions, though he has a hard task before her.”

von Arnim, Elizabeth

The Enchanted April (English classic)

“Drawn by a promise of ‘wisteria and sunshine,’ four English ladies exchange their damp and dreary surroundings for a month on the Italian Riviera. They’re different from each other in age and attitude, but all are bewitched by their rented medieval castle and the natural beauty of the Portofino peninsula. Their holiday not only refreshes their spirits but also reintroduces them to their true natures and reopens their hearts to love and friendship.”

Asimov, Isaac

Pebble in the Sky (science fiction)

“One moment Joseph Schwartz is a happily retired tailor in Chicago, 1949. The next he’s a helpless stranger on Earth during the heyday of the first Galactic Empire. Earth, as he soon learns, is a backwater, just a ‘pebble in the sky’, despised by all the other 200 million planets of the Empire because its people dare to claim it’s the original home of man.”

Prelude to Foundation (science fiction)

“Hari Seldon has come to Trantor to deliver his paper on psychohistory, his remarkable theory of prediction. Little does the young Outworld mathematician know that he has already sealed his fate and the fate of humanity. For Hari possesses the prophetic power that makes him the most wanted man in the Empire… the man who holds the key to the future—an apocalyptic power to be known forever after as the Foundation.”

Foundation (science fiction)

“FOUNDATION begins a new chapter in the story of man’s future. As the Old Empire crumbles into barbarism throughout the million worlds of the galaxy, Hari Seldon and his band of psychologists must create a new entity, the Foundation—dedicated to art, science, and technology—as the beginning of a new empire.”

Foundation and Empire (science fiction)

“FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE describes the mighty struggle for power amid the chaos of the stars in which man stands at the threshold of a new enlightened life which could easily be destroyed by the old forces of barbarism.”

Second Foundation (science fiction)

“SECOND FOUNDATION follows the Seldon Plan after the First Empire’s defeat and describes its greatest threat—a dangerous mutant strain gone wild, which produces a mind capable of bending men’s wills, directing their thoughts, reshaping their desires, and destroying the universe.”

Foundation’s Edge (science fiction)

“Now the two exiled citizens of the Foundation—a renegade Councilman and the doddering historian—set out in search of the mythical planet Earth. . .and proof that the Second Foundation still exists. Meanwhile someone—or something—outside of both Foundations sees to be orchestrating events to suit its own ominous purpose.”

I, Robot (stories)

“Dr. Susan Calvin has seen it all when it came to robots. As a girl she had seen the early models—mute and totally faithful. She joined U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc. when they began adapting Earth robots for work in space—and Earth men for work with the strictly logical robots! She had driven the first—and only—mind-reading robot out of its mind, and coaxed the childlike Brain to invent the interstellar engine. Finally, at the end of her career, she faced the final question: who was really in charge; and who should be?”

Austen, Jane 

Emma (English classic)

“Beautiful, clever, rich—and single—Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.”

Mansfield Park (English classic)

“Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever.”

Northanger Abby (English classic)

“The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions.”

Persuasion (English classic)

“Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate.”

Pride and Prejudice (English classic)

“Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.”

Sense and Sensibility (English classic)

“Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her.”

Austin, Lynn

Eve’s Daughters (Christian historical, Evangelical)

“Yearning for love and dignity, four generations of women must come to grips with the choices they’ve made—and those their mothers made before them. But breaking the cycle that has ensnared them over the decades will prove more difficult than they had ever imagined….”

A Proper Pursuit (Christian historical, Evangelical)

“[Violet Hayes] schemed her way to Chicago to discover the mother she barely remembered. As for romance…well, with the help of her grandmother and three great aunts, that is coming along nicely as well—perhaps too well. Each of her relatives—including her saintly grandmother—seems to have a separate agenda for her.”

Until We Reach Home (Christian historical, Evangelical)

“Life in Sweden feels like an endless winter to Elin Carlson after the deaths of her parents. When circumstances become unbearable, she determines to find a safe haven for her sisters. So begins their journey to America, the land of dreams and second chances.”

Wonderland Creek (Christian historical, Evangelical)

“Longing to run from small-town gossip, Alice flees to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the tiny coal-mining town of Acorn, a place with no running water, no electricity, and where the librarians ride ornery horses up steep mountain passes to deliver books. When Alice is forced to stay in Acorn far longer than she planned, she discovers that real-life adventure, mystery—and especially romance—may be far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.”

Barrett, Julia

Jane Austen’s Charlotte

Delightful finishing of Jane Austen’s Sanditon.

Belliston, Rebecca

Heart of Red, Blood of Blue (YA medieval romance; feels like fantasy)

“Princess Gisela of Steinland was born without color. Albino. When her betrothal to Prince Jerrik of Kronga ends in his death, it starts a ten-year war her father is determined to win, even if it means bringing her out of hiding to do it. Now the savage Krongon war commander, Bloodless Kristoff, seeks the hearts of the entire royal family, especially Gisela’s. . . . Thrown into the center of a battle between three kingdoms, she finds herself fighting for her life and the right to be truly loved.”

Citizens of Logan Pond (Dystopian romance)

1. Life

“The economy crashed, the country is floundering, and Carrie Ashworth struggles to keep her siblings alive. She has two jobs in her newly-formed, newly-outlawed clan: grow crops to feed thirty-six people, and maintain contact with Oliver Simmons, their local patrolman. Carrie’s life is almost content when Greg Pierce shows up. A man with the ambition to help them survive. A man determined to hate her.”

2. Liberty

3. The Pursuit

Bessey, Sian Ann

The Heart of the Rebellion (medieval romance)

“After three years in His Majesty’s service, Rhys ap Tudor and his brother Gwilym are finally free to return to their ancestral home in North Wales. Their long-anticipated homecoming is overshadowed, however, by the harsh changes they encounter in their once peaceful land. . . . As the daughter of an English father and a Welsh mother, [Lady Catrin Buckley] knows too well the trouble her lineage poses. . . . Then an unexpected encounter with the enigmatic Rhys ap Tudor changes everything. Soon, Catrin finds herself swept into a rebellion that could not only change history but also rewrite her own future.”

Bishop, Claire Huchet

Twenty and Ten, a.k.a. The Secret Cave (juv historical fiction)

“During the Nazi occupation of France, twenty ordinary French kids in a boarding school agree to hide ten Jewish children. Then German soldiers arrive. Will the children be able to withstand the interrogation and harassment?”

Blackmore, R.D.

Lorna Doone (English classic)

First published in 1869, Lorna Doone is the story of John Ridd, a farmer who finds love amid the religious and social turmoil of seventeenth-century England. He is just a boy when his father is slain by the Doones, a lawless clan inhabiting wild Exmoor on the border of Somerset and Devon. Seized by curiosity and a sense of adventure, he makes his way to the valley of the Doones, where he is discovered by the beautiful Lorna.”

Bradbury, Ray

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.”

Brontë, Anne

 Agnes Grey (English classic)

When her family becomes impoverished after a disastrous financial speculation, Agnes Grey determines to find work as a governess in order to contribute to their meagre income and assert her independence. But Agnes’s enthusiasm is swiftly extinguished as she struggles first with the unmanageable Bloomfield children and then with the painful disdain of the haughty Murray family; the only kindness she receives comes from Mr Weston, the sober young curate.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (English classic)

“Gilbert Markham is deeply intrigued by Helen Graham, a beautiful and secretive young widow who has moved into nearby Wildfell Hall with her young son. He is quick to offer Helen his friendship, but when her reclusive behavior becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation, Gilbert begins to wonder whether his trust in her has been misplaced. It is only when she allows Gilbert to read her diary that the truth is revealed and the shocking details of her past.”

Brontë, Charlotte

Jane Erye (English classic)

“Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.”

Shirley (English classic)

“A mill-owner, Robert Moore, is determined to introduce new machinery despite fierce opposition from his workers; he ignores their suffering, and puts his own life at risk. Robert sees marriage to the wealthy Shirley Keeldar as the solution to his difficulties, but he loves his cousin Caroline. She suffers misery and frustration, and Shirley has her own ideas about the man she will choose to marry.”

Villette (English classic)

“With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls’ boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster, and her own complex feelings, first for the school’s English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor, Paul Emmanuel. Charlotte Brontë’s last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances.”

Brontë, Emily

Wuthering Heights (English classic)

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries.”

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Burnett, Frances Hodgson

The Secret Garden (juv classic)

“Born in India, the unattractive and willful Mary Lennox has remained in the care of servants for as long as she can remember. But the girl’s life changes when her mother and father die and she travels to Yorkshire to live with her uncle. Dark, dreary Misselthwaite Manor seems full of mysteries, including a very special garden, locked tight for 10 years. With the help of Dickon, a local boy, Mary intends to uncover its secrets.”

Burns, Olive Ann

Cold Sassy Tree (historical fiction)

On July 5, 1906, scandal breaks in the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia, when the proprietor of the general store, E. Rucker Blakeslee, elopes with Miss Love Simpson. He is barely three weeks a widower, and she is only half his age and a Yankee to boot. As their marriage inspires a whirlwind of local gossip, fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy suddenly finds himself eyewitness to a family scandal, and that’s where his adventures begin.”

Busse, Morgan L.

The Ravenwood Saga (Christian fantasy, Evangelical)

1. Mark of the Raven

“Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate. As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy—a legacy that supports her people—or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.”

2. Flight of the Raven

3. Cry of the Raven

Burns, Olive Ann and Katrina Kenison

Leaving Cold Sassy (unfinished novel, biography)

At the time of her death, Olive Ann Burns had completed 15 chapters of the sequel to her bestselling novel, Cold Sassy Tree. With the publication of Leaving Cold Sassy, we bid farewell to this beloved author and the unforgettable characters she created. Olive Ann’s editor has drawn on correspondence and conversations with the author to suggest directions the sequel might have taken, and she also tells Olive Ann’s inspiring story. Photographs.”

Card, Orson Scott

Stone Tables (Biblical fiction)

Creative retelling of the story of Moses.

Cather, Willa

My Antonia (American classic)

“Against Nebraska’s panoramic landscape, My Antonia (1918) re-creates the life of an immigrant girl who becomes, in the memories of narrator Jim Burden, the ideal of strong and resourceful womanhood, and a figure of salvation.”

A Lost Lady (American classic)

A young Nebraska man gradually becomes disillusioned as the beautiful and elegant Mrs. Forrester proves to be less than perfect.

O Pioneers! (American classic)

“O Pioneers! tells the story of Alexandra Bergson, the daughter of Swedish immigrants, who is given her family’s farm after the death of her father. She sets out to make the land pay—even when everyone else is moving on—and succeeds brilliantly, while coming to realize her love for a close family friend.”

Shadows on the Rock (American classic)

“At the end of the seventeenth century, on that grey rock in the Canadian wilderness known as Quebec, a French family, the Auclairs, begin a life very different from the one they knew in Paris. On her mother’s death ten-year-old Cecile is entrusted with the care of the household and of her father, Euclid, the town’s apothecary.”

The Song of the Lark (American classic)

“Thea Kronberg, a minister’s daughter in a provincial Colorado town, seems destined from childhood for a place in the wider world. But as her path to the world stage leads her ever farther from the humble town she can’t forget and from the man she can’t afford to love, Thea learns that her exceptional musical talent and fierce ambition are not enough.”

Cervantes, Miguel 

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.”

Chaikin, Linda

The Royal Pavilions series: (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

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

Ciesielski, J’nell

The Socialite (historical romance)

“As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.”

Collins, Wilkie

The Dead Secret (English 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.

I Say No (English classic, mystery)

“Emily Brown is an orphan girl that almost no one can help but love when they meet her. She is pursued by two worthy men: Mr. Alban Morris, the drawing master at her school; and Rev. Miles Mirabel, a clergyman. However, one of them is lying to her after she discovers that her father’s death wasn’t natural, as she was led to believe.”

The Moonstone (English classic, mystery)

“Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen from an Indian shrine, this riveting novel features the innovative Sergeant Cuff, the hilarious house steward Gabriel Betteridge, a lovesick housemaid, and a mysterious band of Indian jugglers.”

The Woman in White (English classic, mystery)

“Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter [Hartright] becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison.”

Condie, Ally

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 fiction)

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 Black Rose (historical fiction)

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 Moneyman (historical fiction)

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.

The Silver Chalice (Christian historical fiction)

“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.”

Cronin, A.J.

The Keys of the Kingdom (Christian historical fiction)

“Francis Chisholm is a compassionate and humble priest whose individuality and directness make him unpopular with other clergy.  Considered a failure by his superiors, he is sent to China to maintain a mission amid desperate poverty, civil war, plague, and the hostility of his superiors.”

Dallas, Sandra

A Quilt for Christmas (historical fiction)

“Eliza Spooner’s husband Will has joined the Kansas volunteers to fight the Confederates, leaving her with their two children and in charge of their home and land. Eliza is confident that he will return home, and she helps pass the months making a special quilt to keep Will warm during his winter in the army. When the unthinkable happens, she takes in a woman and child who have been left alone and made vulnerable by the war, and she finds solace and camaraderie amongst the women of her quilting group.”

Dickens, Charles 

A Christmas Carol (story in book form, English classic)

“Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn’t like…and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill.”

David Copperfield (English classic)

“David Copperfield is the story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora; and the magnificently impecunious Micawber, one of literature’s great comic creations.”

Our Mutual Friend (English classic)

“A body is found in the Thames and identified as that of John Harmon, a young man recently returned to London to receive his inheritance. Were he alive, his father’s will would require him to marry Bella Wilfer, a beautiful, mercenary girl whom he had never met. Instead, the money passes to the working-class Boffins, and the effects spread into various corners of London society.”

A Tale of Two Cities (English classic)

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.”

Dickerson, Melanie

Fairy Tale Romance Series/Hagenheim (YA Christian medieval romance, Evangelical)

1. The Healer’s Apprentice

“Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. . . .When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding.”

2. The Merchant’s Daughter

“Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf s bailiff a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.”

3. The Fairest Beauty

“Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother’s jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie’s one chance at freedom—but can she trust another person to keep her safe?”

4. The Captive Maiden

“Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke’s son, Valten—the boy she has daydreamed about for years—and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.”

5. The Princess Spy

“Margaretha has always been a romantic and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to the castle, claiming to be an English lord who was left for dead by Claybrook’s men. . . . She soon finds herself running for her life—and it may be up to her to save her father and her family from one man’s wicked plot.”

6. The Golden Braid

“Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry. . . . As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life.”

Dorr, Roberta Kells

The Queen of Sheba (Biblical fiction)

“[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.”

Dostoevsky, Fyodor 

Crime and Punishment (Russian classic)

“The poverty-stricken Raskolnikov, a talented student, devises a theory about extraordinary men being above the law, since in their brilliance they think ‘new thoughts’ and so contribute to society. He then sets out to prove his theory by murdering a vile, cynical old pawnbroker and her sister. The act brings Raskolnikov into contact with his own buried conscience and with two characters—the deeply religious Sonia, who has endured great suffering, and Porfiry, the intelligent and discerning official who is charged with investigating the murder—both of whom compel Raskolnikov to feel the split in his nature.”

The Idiot (Russian classic)

“. . . a saintly man, Prince Myshkin, is thrust into the heart of a society more concerned with wealth, power and sexual conquest than with the ideals of Christianity. Myshkin soon finds himself at the center of a violent love triangle in which a notorious woman and a beautiful young girl become rivals for his affections.”

Douglas, Lloyd C.

Magnificent Obsession (inspirational novel)

“When Robert Merrick’s life is saved at the expense of the life of an eccentric but adored surgeon, the carefree playboy is forced to reevaluate his own path. Merrick embarks on a course of anonymous philanthropy, inspired by reading the doctor’s private papers.”

The Robe (Christian historical fiction)

“The story of the soldier who tossed for Christ’s robe and won.”

Downing, Sharon Jarvis

The Healing Place (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Elizabeth Ewell is driving alone across the desert, perhaps the longest drive of her life. She leaves behind the woman her ex-husband wanted her to be and hopes to find herself in a new, foreign place, a place to heal. Determined to isolate herself from relationships and practically the rest of the world, Liz settles in a small farming community south of Salt Lake City. She is gradually drawn into the lives of her neighbors, most of whom are LDS. She discovers wounds heal better in warmth and acceptance of friends.”

The Kaleidoscope Season (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Set in a small town in southern Georgia 1948, the book centers around Emily Jean Knowles, a soon-to-be-twelve-year-old girl who lives with Granna. Granna is a staunch Southern Baptist who has raised her granddaughter to be a well-mannered young lady, but Emily has retained much of her childhood ‘activity’ and ‘inquisitiveness.’ . . . Uncle Bob comes home to live and work for the summer, and he and Emily Jean separately undertake journeys of religious discovery.”

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan

The Sign of Four (Scottish classic, mystery)

“[Sherlock Holmes’s] mood is . . . lifted by a visit from a beautiful but distressed young woman–Mary Morstan, whose father vanished ten years before. Four years later she began to receive an exquisite gift every year: a large, lustrous pearl. Now she has had an intriguing invitation to meet her unknown benefactor and urges Holmes and Watson to accompany her.”

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Scottish classic, mystery)

“Holmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville families home warns the descendants of that ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the power of evil is exalted. Now, the most recent Baskerville, Sir Charles, is dead and the footprints of a giant hound have been found near his body.”

Sherlock Holmes stories (Scottish classics, mystery)

Dumas, Alexandre

The Count of Monte Cristo (French classic, adventure)

“Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.”

Note: I’ve only read an abridged version.

The Man in the Iron Mask (French classic)

France in the 1660s is a boiling cauldron of plots and counter-plots as King Louis XIV struggles to extend his power and transform himself into the ‘Sun King.’ Locked within the dreaded Bastille prison may be his enemies’ ultimate weapon: an anonymous prisoner forced to wear an iron mask so that none may see his face—and learn his astonishing secret.”

Dyreng, Chelsea

The Cenote (fantasy romance)

“Forced to marry a complete stranger, Sandpiper tries to adjust to life in her new village. But the mysterious Cenote, a great pool of water, has bewitched the men of the village, and Sandpiper must know why.”

The Last Messenger of Zitol (fantasy romance)

“Taken captive to the magnificent kingdom of Zitol, an ancient American city with a passion for food, gold, and human sacrifice, Rishi is forced to decide between betraying her virtue or being sacrificed to the city’s pagan gods.”

Eliot, George (pen name of Mary Ann Evans)

Adam Bede (English classic)

“The story of a beautiful country girl’s seduction by the local squire and its bitter, tragic sequel is an old and familiar one which George Eliot invests with peculiar and haunting power.”

Daniel Deronda (English 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 (English 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 (English 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.”

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Evans, Richard Paul

The Christmas Box (novella in book form, Christian fiction)

“. . . 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.”

Timepiece (historical fiction)

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 (American classic)

Stories that revolve around “beautiful and willful young women” coming of age on the threshold of the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby (American classic)

After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. When Gatsby finally does reunite with Daisy Buchanan, tragic events are set in motion. Told through the eyes of his detached and omnipresent neighbour and friend, Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald’s succinct and powerful prose hints at the destruction and tragedy that awaits.”

Fleischman, Lisa Huang

Dream of the Walled City (historical fiction)

Born in 1890, the privileged and sheltered daughter of a high-ranking imperial official, Jade Virtue spends her childhood enclosed by the towering walls of her family’s sprawling mansion, never glimpsing the desperate struggle of China’s ancient society, as the old ways are challenged and the twentieth century . . . rushes in. But when her father mysteriously dies, young Jade Virtue is suddenly thrust into poverty, and experiences firsthand a traditional culture falling apart under the onslaught of growing rebellion against the Emperor, rapid social changes, and the mounting aggression of Japan and the West.”

Forbes, Esther

Johnny Tremain (juv historical fiction)

“Fourteen-year old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper, the Boston Observer, and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren.”

Forster, E.M.

Howard’s End (English classic)

“The Schlegels are intellectuals, devotees of art and literature. The Wilcoxes are practical and materialistic, leading lives of ‘telegrams and anger.’ When the elder Mrs. Wilcox dies and her family discovers she has left their country home—Howards End—to one of the Schlegel sisters, a crisis between the two families is precipitated that takes years to resolve.”

A Room with a View (English classic)

“A charming young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch, faints into the arms of a fellow Britisher when she witnesses a murder in a Florentine piazza. Attracted to this man, George Emerson—who is entirely unsuitable and whose father just may be a Socialist—Lucy is soon at war with the snobbery of her class and her own conflicting desires.”

Gaskell, Elizabeth

Cranford (English classic)

“The formidable Miss Deborah Jenkyns and the kindly Miss Matty live in a village where women rule and men usually tend to get in the way. Their days revolve around card games, tea, thriftiness, friendship and an endless appetite for scandal (from the alarming sight of a cow in flannel pyjamas to the shocking news of the titled lady who marries a surgeon). But, like it or not, change is coming into their world.”

Mr. Harrison’s Confessions (English classic)

“The story revolves around the arrival in the town of a young doctor and the attempts of the ladies of the town to place his status within their society and of course to find him a suitable wife.”

My Lady Ludlow (English classic)

“Lady Ludlow is absolute mistress of Hanbury Court and a resolute opponent of anything that might disturb the class system into which she was born. . . . But [she] is not as rigid as one may think.

North and South (English classic)

“Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret [Hale] becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction.”

Wives and Daughters (English 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.

Green, Jocelyn

Between Two Shores (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

“The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.”

A Refuge Assured (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

“Vivienne Rivard fled revolutionary France and seeks a new life for herself and a boy in her care, who some say is the Dauphin. But America is far from safe, as militiaman Liam Delaney knows. He proudly served in the American Revolution but is less sure of his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Drawn together, will Liam and Vivienne find the peace they long for?”

Hale, Shannon

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)

“In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess. . . . Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.”

Hardy, Thomas

Far From the Madding Crowd (English classic)

“Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community.”

Return of the Native (English classic)

“Clym Yeobright, the native of the title, returns to Hardy’s fictional Egdon Heath determined to be a force for social progress. Dazzled by the beauty of Eustacia Vye, he imagines they’re soul mates, woos and wins her, and enters into what is at first a passionate marriage. He soon discovers that what she really wants is a passport to a more exciting and sophisticated life, away from provincial England.”

Tess of the D’Urbervilles (English classic)

“When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D’Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.”

Under the Greenwood Tree (English classic)

While the Reverend Maybold creates a furore among the village’s musicians with his decision to abolish the church’s traditional ‘string choir’ and replace it with a modern mechanical organ, the new schoolteacher, Fancy Day, causes an upheaval of a more romantic nature, winning the hearts of three very different men–a local farmer, a church musician and Maybold himself.”

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Hawthorne, Nathaniel

The House of the Seven Gables (American classic)

“Built over an unquiet grave, the House of the Seven Gables carries a dying man’s curse that blights the lives of its residents for over two centuries. Now Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon, an iron-hearted hypocrite and intellectual heir to the mansion’s unscrupulous founder, is attempting to railroad a pair of his elderly relatives out of the house. Only two young people stand in his way—a visiting country cousin and an enigmatic boarder skilled in mesmerism.”

The Scarlet Letter (American classic)

An ardent young woman, her cowardly lover, and her aging, vengeful husband—these are the central characters in this stark drama of the conflict between passion and convention in the harsh, Puritan world of seventeenth-century Boston.”

Headly, Leslie Beaton

Twelve Sisters (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“On the surface, the fast and testimony meeting seems quite ordinary. Prelude music only slightly masks the noise as members of the ward fill up the pews and the bishop smiles benignly over the assembling Saints. But beneath their scrubbed and freshly pressed exteriors, each of the women in the Foothills Ward struggles with challenges and decisions that others in the congregation are not aware of.”

Zoe’s Gift (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Struggling with profound personal grief, Connie Leavitt stumbles across an overgrown pioneer cemetery on the prairie outside her small town. She becomes fascinated by the names she reads on two of the tombstones. In her mind’s eye she pictures the friendship that might have formed between two young women who endured together the thousand-mile trek from Utah to southern Alberta in 1903. Connie discovers that the pioneer women have much in common with her and her friend Zoe Daykin.”

Henderson, Zenna

Ingathering: The Complete People Stories (science fiction)

“Zenna Henderson is best remembered for her stories of the People which appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from the early 50s to the middle 70s. The People escaped the destruction of their home planet and crashed on Earth in the Southwest just before the turn of the century. Fully human in appearance, they possessed many extraordinary powers. Henderson’s People stories tell of their struggles to fit in and to live their lives as ordinary people, unmolested by fearful and ignorant neighbors. The People are ‘us at our best, as we hope to be, and where (with work and with luck) we may be in some future.’”

Hilton, James

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (historical fiction)

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.”

Hoff, B.J.

Song of the Silent Harp (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

Nora Kavanagh, left a widow by the Irish Potato Famine, turns for help to rebel Morgan Fitzgerald, who arranges for her and her son to make a dangerous voyage to New York.”

Hugo, Victor 

Les Misérables (French classic)

Victor Hugo’s tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. But his attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly put under threat: by his own conscience, when, owing to a case of mistaken identity, another man is arrested in his place; and by the relentless investigation of the dogged policeman Javert. It is not simply for himself that Valjean must stay free, however, for he has sworn to protect the baby daughter of Fantine, driven to prostitution by poverty.”

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)

House of Many Ways (juv/YA fantasy)

“When Charmain is sent to look after Great-Uncle William’s house while he is away being cured by the elves, she is unprepared for the house itself. But she is prepared for reading—and that makes her indispensable to the Wizard Howl, in this sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle.”

Kidd, Kathryn H.

Paradise Vue (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“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.”

Kilpack, Josi S.

The Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott (historical romance)

“Passion and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?”

Kipling, Rudyard

The Jungle Book (English classic)

“Set in Central India, Mowgli is raised by a pack of wolves. Along the way he encounters memorable characters such as the foreboding tiger Shere Kahn, Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear. Including other stories such as that of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, a heroic mongoose and Toomai, a young elephant handler, Kipling’s fables remain as popular today as they ever were. ”

Konigsburg, E.L.

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver (juv historical fiction)

A biographical novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife to two kings and mother to two others.

Lackey, Mercedes

The River’s Gift (story in book form, fantasy)

Fifteen-year-old Ariella, lady-to-be of medieval Swan Manor, possesses magical healing abilities that she practices on the animals in the forest adjacent to her father’s lands. One day a magnificent black horse emerges from the nearby river in need of her ministry. The horse is Merod, and he is a more-than-mortal Kelpie, a magical being who converses telepathically with Ariella. Distrustful at first, he warms to Ariella gradually, which is vital to her when, after her father’s sudden death, she is taken away by a brutish cousin to be his bride.”

Lane, Rose Wilder

Young Pioneers, previously published as Let the Hurricane Roar (YA historical fiction)

“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.”

Lee, Harper

To Kill a Mockingbird (American classic)

“The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it.”

Le Guin, Ursula K.

The Earthsea Cycle (juv/YA fantasy)

1. A Wizard of Earthsea

“Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.”

2. The Tombs of Atuan

“When young Tenar is chosen as high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, everything is taken away—home, family, possessions, even her name. For she is now Arha, the Eaten One, guardian of the ominous Tombs of Atuan. While she is learning her way through the dark labyrinth, a young wizard, Ged, comes to steal the Tombs’ greatest hidden treasure, the Ring of Erreth-Akbe.”

3. The Farthest Shore

“Darkness threatens to overtake Earthsea: the world and its wizards are losing their magic. Despite being wearied with age, Ged Sparrowhawk—Archmage, wizard, and dragonlord—embarks on a daring, treacherous journey, accompanied by Enlad’s young Prince Arren, to discover the reasons behind this devastating pattern of loss. Together they will sail to the farthest reaches of their world—even beyond the realm of death—as they seek to restore magic to a land desperately thirsty for it.”

L’Engle, Madeleine

The Austin Family Chronicles (juv/YA fiction)

1. Meet the Austins

“For a family with four kids, two dogs, assorted cats, and a constant stream of family and friends dropping by, life in the Austin family home has always been remarkably steady and contented. When a family friend suddenly dies in a plane crash, the Austins open their home to an orphaned girl, Maggy Hamilton.”

2. The Moon by Night

“Vicky Austin is filled with uncertainties about everything. Her parents call it Vicky’s ‘difficult year.’ But fourteen-year-old Vicky is not so consumed with her problems that she can’t enjoy the exciting adventures of her family’s summer cross-country camping trip.”

3. The Young Unicorns

“With the Austins going in different directions, they don’t notice that something sinister is going on in their neighborhood—and it’s centered around them. . . . If they don’t start telling each other what’s going on, someone just might get killed.”

4. A Ring of Endless Light

“After a tumultuous year in New York City, the Austins are spending the summer on the small island where their grandfather lives. He’s very sick, and watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes is almost more than Vicky can bear. To complicate matters, she finds herself as the center of attention for three very different boys.”

5. Troubling a Star

“For her birthday, Vicky receives the gift of a trip to the Antarctic, where her friend Adam Eddington is working as a marine biologist. But as Vicky meets her fellow travelers, it quickly becomes clear that some of them are not what they seem. Vicki’s trip into adventure becomes a journey into icy danger.”

Time Quintet (juv fantasy)

1. A Wrinkle in Time

Meg’s father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?”

2. A Wind in the Door

“Meg Murry can’t help but be worried when her six-year-old brother, Charles Wallace, announces there are dragons in the vegetable garden. He’s so bright and so different from other kids, he’s getting bullied at school, and he is also strangely, seriously ill.”

3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet

“Fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and the unicorn Gaudior undertake a perilous journey through time in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the world by the mad dictator Madog Branzillo.

Leroux, Gaston

The Phantom of the Opera (French classic, mystery)

“After a time at the opera house, [Christine Daae] begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine’s childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous ‘ghost’ of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears.”

Secret of the Night (French classic, mystery)

The surviving Nihilists have condemned the Russian General Trebassof to death for the crimes he and his troops committed against the revolution. Three attempts on his life have failed, but the Czar is determined to keep him alive. The Czar assigns the redoubtable French detective reporter Rouletabille to the case. It quickly becomes apparent that one of the General’s own retinue is in league with the assassins! But why?”

Levine, Gail Carson

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.”

Lewis, C.S.

The Chronicles of Narnia (juv Christian fantasy)

1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

“Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.”

2. Prince Caspian

“A prince denied his rightful throne gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.”

3. The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”

A king and some unexpected companions embark on a voyage that will take them beyond all known lands. As they sail farther and farther from charted waters, they discover that their quest is more than they imagined and that the world’s end is only the beginning.”

4. The Silver Chair

“Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, a noble band of friends is sent to rescue a prince held captive. But their mission to Underland brings them face-to-face with an evil more beautiful and more deadly than they ever expected.”

5. The Horse and His Boy

“On a desperate journey, two runaways meet and join forces. Though they are only looking to escape their harsh and narrow lives, they soon find themselves at the center of a terrible battle. It is a battle that will decide their fate and the fate of Narnia itself.”

6. The Magician’s Nephew 

On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible.                      

7. The Last Battle

A false Aslan roams the land. Narnia’s only hope is that Eustace and Jill, old friends to Narnia, will be able to find the true Aslan and restore peace to the land.

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The Great Divorce (Christian allegory)

“C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside.”

The Space Trilogy (science fiction)

1. Out of the Silent Planet

“In the first novel of C.S. Lewis’s classic science fiction trilogy, Dr Ransom, a Cambridge academic, is abducted and taken on a spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra, which he knows as Mars. His captors are plotting to plunder the planet’s treasures and plan to offer Ransom as a sacrifice to the creatures who live there. Ransom discovers he has come from the ‘silent planet’–Earth–whose tragic story is known throughout the universe…”

2. Perelandra

“The second novel in Lewis’s science fiction trilogy tells of Dr Ransom’s voyage to the planet of Perelandra (Venus). Dr Ransom is sent by the Elida to Perelandra (Venus) to battle against evil incarnate and preserve a second Eden from the evil forces present in the possessed body of his enemy, Weston.”

3. That Hideous Strength

“The third novel in the science-fiction trilogy by C.S. Lewis. This final story is set on Earth, and tells of a terrifying conspiracy against humanity. The story surrounds Mark and Jane Studdock, a newly married couple. Mark is a Sociologist who is enticed to join an organisation called N.I.C.E. which aims to control all human life. His wife, meanwhile, has bizarre prophetic dreams about a decapitated scientist, Alcasan.”

The Screwtape Letters (Christian satire)

“The story takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior ‘tempter’ named Wormwood, so as to advise him on methods of securing the damnation of a British man, known only as ‘the Patient’.”

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (fantasy)

“Disfigured and embittered, Orual loves her younger sister to a fault and suffers deeply when she is sent away to Cupid, the God of the Mountain. Psyche is forbidden to look upon the god’s face, but is persuaded by her sister to do so; she is banished for her betrayal. Orual is left alone to grow in power but never in love, to wonder at the silence of the gods. Only at the end of her life, in visions of her lost beloved sister, will she hear an answer.”

Lewis, Laura Marie, a.k.a. Laurie (L.C.) Lewis

Secrets Never Die (contemporary suspense)

“Tallie Brown’s life has never made any sense. Raised in isolation by her mother, Julia, Tallie was dragged suddenly and without explanation from one third-world outpost to another until life normalized seven years ago when Julia took a position on a mountaintop in the Pacific northwest. But when Julia unexpectedly dies, Tallie uncovers clues suggesting that Julia had a secret life.”

Unspoken (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

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 (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“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 (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“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.'”

Livesey, Margot

Eva Moves the Furniture (historical fantasy)

On the morning of Eva McEwen’s birth, six magpies congregate in the apple tree outside the window—a bad omen, according to Scottish legend. That night, Eva’s mother dies, leaving her to be raised by her aunt and heartsick father in their small Scottish town. As a child, Eva is often visited by two companions—a woman and a girl—invisible to everyone else save her. As she grows, their intentions become increasingly unclear: Do they wish to protect or harm her?”

Lovelace, Maud Hart

Betsy-Tacy Series

1. Betsy-Tacy (American classic, juv)

“From the moment they meet at Betsy’s fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy become such good friends that everyone starts to think of them as one person—Betsy-Tacy.”

2. Betsy-Tacy and Tib (American classic, juv)

“[The girls] are not as good as they might be. They cook up awful messes in the kitchen, throw mud on each other and pretend to be beggars, and cut off each other’s hair. But Betsy, Tacy, and Tib always manage to have a good time.”

3. Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (American classic, juv)

“The girls fall in love with the King of Spain, perform in the School Entertainment, and for the first time, go all the way over the Big Hill to Little Syria by themselves. There Betsy, Tacy, and Tib make new friends and learn a thing or two.”

4. Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (American classic, juv)

“Betsy, Tacy, and Tib are twelve—old enough to do lots of things…even go downtown on their own. There they see their first horseless carriage, discover the joys of the public library, and see a real play at the Opera House. They even find themselves acting in one!”

5. Heaven to Betsy (American classic, YA)

“High School is Heaven! It’s Betsy Ray’s freshman year at Deep Valley High School, and she and her best childhood chum, Tacy Kelly, are loving every minute.”

Note to parents: This contradictory little book is both the most frivolous of the series and the most deeply religious. While it seems in the beginning that the only thing fourteen-year-old Betsy thinks about is boys, she also converts to a sect different from that of her parents. To make things even more contradictory, interwoven into the plot is an Ouija board that serves as a party game—and a foreshadowing device. You may want to read this one before you give it to your kids and use it as a starting point for discussion.

6. Betsy in Spite of Herself (American classic, YA)

“Whether she’s carrying out her duties as class secretary, trying to charm the exasperating Joe Willard, or juggling the demands of rhetoricals, football games, parties, and exams, Betsy’s got her hands full.”

7. Betsy Was a Junior (American classic, YA)

“Betsy’s luck takes a bad turn. The Crowd is getting into trouble at school, and Betsy isn’t given a chance to compete in the annual Essay Contest. Could Betsy’s best school year turn out to be her worst?”

8. Betsy and Joe (American classic, YA)

“Betsy Ray has always thought that she and the fascinating Joe Willard would make the perfect couple. Now, in her senior year at Deep Valley High School, it looks as though she’ll get her wish.”

9. Betsy and the Great World (American classic)

“It’s the trip of a lifetime. Betsy Ray, 21 years old, is heading off for a solo tour of Europe. From the moment she casts off, her journey is filled with adventure—whether she’s waltzing at the captain’s ball, bartering for beads in Madeira, or sipping coffee at a bohemian cafe in Munich.”

10. Betsy’s Wedding (American classic)

“Betsy returns from Europe to marry Joe Willard—and soon learns that beloved friend Tacy is expecting a baby! It’s wartime in America, but Betsy, Joe, and their wonderful circle of friends brave their hardships together.”

Lowry, Lois

The Giver (YA dystopia)

“The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.”

Lund, Gerald N.

The Freedom Factor (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Nathaniel Gorham, an original Founding Father, visits young Bryce Sherwood, a rising aide to a Washington senator and a key player in an attempt to pass an amendment that would eliminate the checks and balances built into the Constitution. When Bryce refuses to change his position, Gorham transports him into a world where the Constitution was never ratified.”

The Work and the Glory series (Christian historical fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“PILLAR OF LIGHT begins the saga of the Benjamin Steed family, who, in the fall of 1826, move from Vermont to Palmyra Township in upstate New York in search of better farmland. Almost immediately they meet a young man named Joseph Smith and are thrown into the maelstrom of controversy that swirls around him.”

  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 (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

For Mark Jeppson, a professor of Arabic, life has suddenly become dangerously complicated. He’s hired by an arms dealer to help cinch a multi-million dollar deal with Saudi Arabia and he’s pulled into a world of international politics, fast living and organized crime. Is the deal, the money and the knowledge of horrible crimes, worth the risk of losing his children and fiancee?”

MacDonald, George

“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.

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.”

Marshall, Catherine

Christy (Christian historical fiction)

“In the year 1912, nineteen-year-old Christy Huddleston leaves home to teach school in the Smoky Mountains—and comes to know and love the resilient people of the region, with their fierce pride, their dark superstitions, their terrible poverty, and their yearning for beauty and truth. But her faith will be severely challenged by trial and tragedy, by the needs and unique strengths of two remarkable young men, and by a heart torn between true love and unwavering devotion.”

Julie (Christian historical fiction)

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.

Maxwell, Neal A.

The Enoch Letters, previously published as Of One Heart (Christian philosophical fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Elder Neal A. Maxwell tells the story of Enoch’s ministry and the glory of his Christ-centered society through the eyes of a man called Mahijah, who urges his friend Omner to move to Zion before it’s too late. Mahijah’s imaginary letters provide a vivid portrayal of life in the city of Enoch, whose inhabitants the Lord called Zion, ‘because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness’ (Moses 7:18).”

McCaffrey, Anne

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.”

McCloud, Susan Evans

Abide the Dark Dawn (Christian historical fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“It is 1939 and a dark plot, begun in Germany is spreading to the shores of England. Life along Britain’s coast becomes dangerous and uncertain. Linnet Murray, bereft of the man she loves, has only her brother and a close friend to keep her safe. But they too are caught in the grip of a world at war, and, when suddenly the war rages at her own doorstep, Linnet must find courage to fight it alone.”

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)

“Sixteen when a baby is brought to her to raise, Sybel has grown up on Eld Mountain. Her only playmates are the creatures of a fantastic menagerie called there by wizardry. Sybel has cared nothing for humans, until the baby awakens emotions previously unknown to her. And when Coren—the man who brought this child—returns, Sybel’s world is again turned upside down.”

Ombria in Shadow (fantasy)

“Ombria is a place heaped with history—and secrets. There is a buried city beneath it inhabited by ghosts, accessible only through magical passages and long-forgotten doorways. When the Prince of Ombria dies suddenly, his wicked great-aunt Domina Pearl seizes power by becoming regent to the prince’s young son, Kyel. Minutes after the prince’s death, Domina kicks Lydea, the prince’s longtime mistress, out into the streets to die. But she is saved by a strange girl named Mag, a supposed waxling created by a powerful sorceress who lives underneath the city.”

The Riddle-Master of Hed trilogy (juv/YA fantasy)

1. The Riddle-Master of Hed

“Morgon, prince of the simple farmers of Hed, proved himself a master of . . . riddles when he staked his life to win a crown from the dead Lord of Aum. But now ancient, evil forces were threatening him. Shape changers began replacing friends until no man could be trusted. So Morgon was forced to flee to hostile kingdoms, seeking the High One who ruled from mysterious Erlenstar Mountain.”

2. Heir of Sea and Fire

“By the vow of her father and her own desire, Raederle was pledged to Morgon, Riddle-Master of Hed. But a year had passed since Morgon disappeared on his search for the High One at Erlenstar Mountain, and rumors claimed he was dead. Raederle set out to learn the truth for herself, though her small gift of magic seemed too slight for the perils she must face.”

3. Harpist in the Wind

“All around [Morgon], the realm shook with war and disaster as mysterious shape-changers battled against mankind. Without the missing High One, Morgon must assume responsibility for all his world. After leading an army of the dead to protect his land of Hed, he and Raederle set out for Lungold, where the wizards were assembling against the evil Ghisteslwchlohm.”

Winter Rose (fantasy)

“Roaming wild and barefoot in the woods that border Lynn Hall, Rois Melior meets Corbet Lynn, who has returned to rebuild the estate of his murdered grandfather, and Rois becomes obsessed with Corbet’s secret past and the curse that haunts him.”

McKinley, Robin

Beauty (juv/YA fantasy)

“Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage. When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will.”

The Blue Sword (YA fantasy)

“Harry Crewe is an orphan girl who comes to live in Damar, the desert country shared by the Homelanders and the secretive, magical Hillfolk. Her life is quiet and ordinary-until the night she is kidnapped by Corlath, the Hillfolk King, who takes her deep into the desert. She does not know the Hillfolk language; she does not know why she has been chosen. But Corlath does. Harry is to be trained in the arts of war until she is a match for any of his men. Does she have the courage to accept her true fate?”

McLaughlin, Ann L.

Sunset at Rosalie (historical fiction)

“Carlin McNair is ten years old in 1910, when she realizes that Rosalie, the Mississippi cotton plantation where she was born and has lived all her life, is failing due to the boll weevil. She worries about her family, especially her father, who has struggled to keep the plantation going. She worries, too, about the black servants and field workers, all of whom she knows well. Her adored Uncle Will envisions agricultural change, but he is tragically limited. Carlin keeps a journal and imagines breaking out of the South. Change comes finally in a destructive form, but Carlin is ready.”

Miller, Walter M., Jr.

A Canticle for Leibowitz (science fiction)

“In the Utah desert, Brother Frances of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz has made a miraculous discovery: the relics of the martyr Isaac Leibowitz himself, including the blessed blueprint and the sacred shopping list. They may provide a bright ray of hope in a terrifying age of darkness, a time of ignorance and genetic monsters that are the unholy aftermath of the Flame Deluge. But as the spellbinding mystery at the core of this extraordinary novel unfolds, it is the search itself—for meaning, for truth, for love—that offers hope to a humanity teetering on the edge of an abyss.”

Montague, Terry

Fireweed (Christian historical fiction, Latter-day Saint)

LDS German girl Lisel Spann struggles to survive and hold on to her faith during the turbulent years of World War II.

Montgomery, L.M.

Anne of Green Gables series (Canadian classics):

1. Anne of Green Gables

As soon as Anne Shirley arrived at the snug,  white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she  wanted to stay forever… but would the Cuthberts  send her back to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not  what they expected–a skinny girl with decidedly  red hair and a temper to match. If only she could  convince them to let her stay, she’d try very hard  not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes or blurt  out the very first thing she had to say.

2. Anne of Avonlea

At sixteen, Anne is grown up…almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. . . . When Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else’s romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behaviour of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe.

3. Anne of the Island

“New adventures lie ahead as Anne Shirley packs  her bags, waves good-bye to childhood, and heads for  Redmond College. With old friend Prissy Grant waiting in the bustling city of Kingsport and  frivolous new pal Philippa Gordon at her side, Anne tucks her memories of rural Avonlea away and discovers life on her own terms, filled with  surprises…including a marriage proposal from the worst fellow imaginable, the sale of her very first story, and a tragedy that teaches her a painful lesson.”

4. Anne of Windy Poplars

“Anne Shirley has left Redmond College behind to begin a new job and a new chapter of her life away from Green Gables. Now she faces a new challenge: the Pringles. They’re known as the royal family of Summerside—and they quickly let Anne know she is not the person they had wanted as principal of Summerside High School. But as she settles into the cozy tower room at Windy Poplars, Anne finds she has great allies in the widows Aunt Kate and Aunt Chatty—and in their irrepressible housekeeper, Rebecca Dew.”

5. Anne’s House of Dreams

“A new life means fresh problems to solve, fresh surprises. Anne and Gilbert will make new friends and meet their neighbors: Captain Jim, the lighthouse attendant, with his sad stories of the sea; Miss Cornelia Bryant, the lady who speaks from the heart—and speaks her mind; and the tragically beautiful Leslie Moore, into whose dark life Anne shines a brilliant light.”

6. Anne of Ingleside

“Anne is the mother of five, with never a dull moment in her lively home. And now, with a new baby on the way and insufferable Mary Maria visiting—and wearing out her welcome—Anne’s life is full to bursting.”

7. Rainbow Valley  

“[Anne’s] boys and girls discover a special place all their own, but they never dream of what will happen when the strangest family moves into an old nearby mansion. The Meredith clan is two boys and two girls, with minister father but no mother—and a runaway girl named Mary Vance. Soon the Meredith kids join Anne’s children in their private hideout to carry out their plans to save Mary from the orphanage, to help the lonely minister find happiness, and to keep a pet rooster from the soup pot.”

8. Rilla of Ingleside

“Rilla, almost fifteen, can’t think any further ahead than going to her very first dance at the Four Winds lighthouse and getting her first kiss from handsome Kenneth Ford. But undreamed-of challenges await the irrepressible Rilla when the world of Ingleside is endangered by a far-off war.”

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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.

Murray, Stuart

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.”

Nathan, Robert

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.'”

Newman, Marsha

1. The Lightning and the Storm (Christian historical fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Charlotte O’Neill meets Joseph smith and dances with him and challenges even him in her head-strong, rebellious way. But Joseph sees into her heart and perceives her character. . . . From start to finish [The Lightning And The Storm] dramatically portrays the struggles of Charlotte’s passionate soul and her lifelong conflict with a man, stronger-willed than even she and determined to possess her. But Charlotte has a vision of love, a sweeter love, a tender love. Will she ever find it in this life?”

2. A Love Beyond Time (Christian contemporary fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Shielah Sorensen had loved Stephen since they were children together. Stephen with his teasing ways, twinkling blue eyes, and tall, blonde good looks. He returned from a mission in Scotland and a year later was sent to Vietnam with the U.S. Army. Where did Paulo D’Agosta fit into her life? Why had he seen a vision of her ten years before?”

3. The Fire and The Glory:The Millennial Story (Christian apocalyptic fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Paulo D’Agosta’s life has been haunted by the vision of a woman—his eternal soul-mate. Is it Shielah? He has never stopped loving the guileless, tender young girl who blossomed into womanhood because of his love. But what of the portrait he glimpsed of Charlotte O’Neill. Shielah’s beautiful, mysterious ancestor from another century. In this book, both women return to tantalize him with that which he has never known—love and fulfillment.”

Nicholson, Meredith

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)

“A country house mystery involving a missing actress of exceptional talents and virtues, a bogus widow, a returned soldier, spies, plots and suspicions.”

Nietz, Kerry

The Dark Trench Saga (Christian science fiction, evangelical)

1. A Star Curiously Singing

“As a debugger, Sandfly has an implant in his head that connects him to the world’s technology—and doles out mental shocks to keep him obedient. All he wants is to fix bots and avoid shocks. Now he’s been called into Earth orbit. The masters have a new spacecraft—one capable of interstellar flight. On its maiden voyage, the only robot on board went mad and tore itself apart. . . . When Sandfly reviews the bot’s final moments, he perceives something unexpected. Something impossible.

2. The Superlative Stream
3. Freeheads

Norton, Mary

1. The Borrowers (juv fantasy)

“The Borrowers are tiny people hidden away in houses and safe places, living off what they borrow from human Beans. Pod and Homily want daughter Arriety to be safe, never seen, but she feels lonely and trapped. The Boy visiting Great Aunt Sophy brings doll furniture in exchange for Arriety reading, until mean housekeeper Mrs Driver calls the rat-catcher.”

2. The Borrowers Afield (juv fantasy)

“Old Tom Goodenough, once young, hid tiny 6″ borrowers behind his granda’s hearth, and spoke to fearless Arriety. With parents, practical Pod and worried Homily, the Clocks settled in an old boot in a field. Wild Spiller brought meat and needs from gypsies. Until Mild Eye took back his footwear.”

3. The Borrowers Afloat (juv fantasy)

“Borrowers are tiny people who borrow from human Beans to survive. The Clock family, Pod, Homily, and Arrietty, want to find a mythical tiny village, but a flood threatens to wash them away.”

4. The Borrowers Aloft (juv fantasy)

“The Borrowers, a family of tiny people, are kidnapped from their home in Little Fordham and held captive in an attic.”

5. The Borrowers Avenged (juv fantasy)

“Hidden 6” people borrow from “human beans” to survive. Guided by silent Spiller, the Clocks – Pod, Homily, and Arrietty – accept a new home from lame Peregrine “Peagreen” Overmantel in a rectory library, and reconnect with uncle Hendreary, aunt Lupy, and energetic cousin Timmujs’s family. But weaselly Sydney Platter and florid wife Mabel pursue.”

Norton, Andre and Lyn McConchie

The Key of the Keplian (fantasy)

“All of Witch World knows to fear the hated, fire-eyed Keplian horses who lure riders to their deaths. All that is, save for one young Native American girl new to Witch World, who rescues a Keplian mare and her foal and discovers an awesome truth—the Keplians were created to serve light, not darkness, and to ride with humans.”

Nunes, Rachel Ann

Where I Belong (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“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?”

Baroness Orczy

The Scarlet Pimpernel (English classic)

Armed with only his wits and his cunning, one man recklessly defies the French revolutionaries and rescues scores of innocent men, women, and children from the deadly guillotine. His friends and foes know him only as the Scarlet Pimpernel. But the ruthless French agent Chauvelin is sworn to discover his identity and to hunt him down.”

The Elusive Pimpernel (English classic)

“In this thrilling sequel, the terrorist Chauvelin devises a vile plot to eliminate the Pimpernel . . . once and for all.”

El Dorado (English classic)

“The still-raging French Revolution continues to claim lives, and the shadow of the guillotine draws ever nearer to the young Dauphin, son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. No one dares to attempt to liberate the little prince—no one, that is, but the . . . Scarlet Pimpernel.”

Orwell, George

Animal Farm (modern literature, English)

“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.”

Palliser, Charles

The Quincunx (mystery)

Searching for clues to his origins, John Huffam, a young man from the north of England, comes to believe that he is the victim of a vast and ancient conspiracy, and that only by claiming his mystery-enshrouded birthright can he escape it. . . . Each time he believes that he has eluded the conspiracy, its tentacles seem to entrap him and those dearest to him, destroying them or turning them against him.”

 Pella, Judith and Michael Phillips

The Russians series (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

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

Pella, Judith

The Russians series (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

  1. Heirs of the Motherland
  2. Dawning of Deliverance
  3. White Nights, Red Morning
  4. Passage Into Light

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Beloved Stranger (Christian romance, Evangelical)

“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 (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

“Against a riveting backdrop of court intrigues and knights at war, a bitter conflict rages between two brothers . . . and a noblewoman holds the key to their future.”

Peretti, Frank

Illusion (Christian science fiction romance)

“Dane and Mandy, a popular magic act for forty years, are tragically separated by a car wreck that claims Mandy’s life — or so everyone thinks. Even as Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970. Distraught and disoriented in what to her is the future, she is confined to a mental ward until she discovers a magical ability to pass invisibly through time and space to escape.”

Perry, Anne

The Cater Street Hangman (mystery, Pitt)

“While the Ellison girls are paying social calls, one of their housemaids becomes the third in a series of young women murdered in a genteel Victorian London neighborhood. As the investigation proceeds, uppercrust facades begin to crumble, and [Thomas] Pitt relies on help from the unconventional Charlotte Ellison. Although drawn to her, the Inspector knows that a romance between a lady and a policeman is unthinkable.”

Callander Square (mystery, Pitt)

“Murders just don’t happen in fashionable areas like Callander Square—but these two have. The police are totally baffled. Pretty, young Charlotte Ellison Pitt, however, is curious. Inspector Pitt’s well-bred wife doesn’t often meddle in her husband’s business, but something about this case intrigues her—to the point that staid Charlotte Pitt is suddenly rattling the closets of the very rich, seeking out backstairs gossip that would shock a barmaid, and unearthing truths that could push even the most proper aristocrat to murder.”

Rutland Place (mystery, Pitt)

“When Charlotte [Pitt] learns of her mother’s distress in losing a locket with a compromising picture, she has no idea that it’s just the beginning of a series of bizarre events that will end in sudden death. For hidden behind the sumptuous elegance of Rutland Place, where Charlotte’s mother lives, are terrible secrets—secrets so horrifying that only murder can conceal them.”

Bethlehem Road (mystery, Pitt)

“The gentleman tied to the lamppost on Westminster Bridge is most elegantly attired—fresh boutonniere, silk hat, white evening scarf—and he is quite, quite dead, as a result of his thoroughly cut throat. Why should anyone kill Sir Lockwood Hamilton, that kindest of family men and most conscientious member of Parliament? Before Inspector Thomas Pitt can even speculate on the reasons, a colleague of Sir Lockwood’s meets the same fate in the same spot.”

Ashworth Hall (mystery, Pitt)

“When a group of powerful Irish Protestants and Catholics gather at a country house to discuss Irish home rule, contention is to be expected. But when the meeting’s moderator, government bigwig Ainsley Greville, is found murdered in his bath, negotiations seem doomed. Unless Superintendent Thomas Pitt and his wife, Charlotte, can root out the truth, simmering hatreds and passions may again explode in murder.”

Brunswick Gardens (mystery, Pitt)

“In London’s affluent Brunswick Gardens, the battle over Charles Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution intensifies as the respected Reverend Parmenter is boldly challenged by his beautiful assistant, Unity Bellwood—a “new woman” whose feminism and aggressive Darwinism he finds appalling. When Unity, three months pregnant, tumbles down the staircase to her death, superintendent Thomas Pitt is virtually certain that one of the three deeply devout men in the house committed murder.”

The Face of a Stranger (mystery, Monk)

“His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detective. But the accident that felled him has left him with only half a life; his memory and his entire past have vanished. As he tries to hide the truth, Monk returns to work and is assigned to investigate the brutal murder of a Crimean War hero and man about town. Which makes Monk’s efforts doubly difficult, since he’s forgotten his professional skills along with everything else.”

The Sins of the Wolf (mystery, Monk)

Nurse Hester Latterly finds herself well-suited for the position: accompany Mrs. Mary Farraline, an elderly Scottish lady with delicate health, on a short train trip to London. Yet Hester’s simple job takes a grave turn when the woman dies during the night. And when a postmortem examination of the body reveals a lethal dose of medicine, Hester is charged with murder—punishable by execution.”

A Breach of Promise (mystery, Monk)

In a sensational breach-of-promise suit, two wealthy social climbers are suing on behalf of their beautiful daughter, Zillah. The defendant is Zillah’s alleged fiancé, brilliant young architect Killian Melville, who adamantly declares that he will not, cannot, marry her. Utterly baffled by his client’s refusal, Melville’s counsel, Sir Oliver Rathbone, turns to his old comrades in crime—William Monk and nurse Hester Latterly. But even as they scout London for clues, the case suddenly and tragically ends, in an outcome that no one—except a ruthless murderer—could have foreseen.”

Peters, Elizabeth (pen name of Barbara Mertz)

Crocodile on the Sandbank (mystery)

At thirty-two, strong-willed Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster, decides to use her ample inheritance to indulge her passion, Egyptology. On her way to Egypt, Amelia encounters a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes. The two become fast friends and travel on together, encountering mysteries, missing mummies, and Radcliffe Emerson, a dashing and opinionated archaeologist who doesn’t need a woman’s help—or so he thinks.”

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.”

Potok, Chaim

The Chosen (Jewish fiction)

“Out of a baseball game that nearly became a religious war, two Jewish boys become friends. Danny comes from the strict Hasidic sect that keeps him bound in centuries of orthodoxy. Reuven is brought up by a father patiently aware of the twentieth century.”

The Promise (Jewish fiction, sequel to The Chosen)

“Young Reuven Malter is unsure of himself and his place in life. An unconventional scholar, he struggles for recognition from his teachers. With his old friend Danny Saunders—who himself had abandoned the legacy as the chosen heir to his father’s rabbinical dynasty for the uncertain life of a healer—Reuven battles to save a sensitive boy imprisoned by his genius and rage.”

Pyle, Howard

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (American classic)

“In this enchanting version of the story of King Arthur, the renowned American illustrator and storyteller Howard Pyle displays his unique talent for capturing and stimulating the imagination of the young. Inventively retold and vividly illustrated, these stories describe the perilous and thrilling adventures of King Arthur and his knights in that glorious age of chivalry and honor. ”

Richardson, Boyd

Voices in the Wind (Christian western, Latter-day Saint)

“Billy Brigham (Walking Short), a full-blooded Shoshone Indian, was raised by a Shoshone tribe, then adopted by a prominent Mormon family. He does not feel fully accepted in either world, yet honors the good in both. When he rescues the Brisk family he faces the rage of outlaws, the anger of his own people, and the sting of racial prejudice.”

Richter, Conrad

The Light in the Forest (YA historical)

When John Cameron Butler was a child, he was captured in a raid on the Pennsylvania frontier and adopted by the great warrior Cuyloga. Renamed True Son, he came to think of himself as fully Indian. But eleven years later his tribe, the Lenni Lenape, has signed a treaty with the white men and agreed to return their captives, including fifteen-year-old True Son. Now he must go back to the family he has forgotten, whose language is no longer his, and whose ways of dress and behavior are as strange to him as the ways of the forest are to them.”

Rinehart, Mary Roberts

K (romance)

A mysterious man who calls himself “K” moves into the neighborhood and is befriended by Sidney Page.

Sanderson, Brandon

Elantris (fantasy)

“Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping . . . to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. . . . Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god. But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city.”

Scott, Sir Walter

Ivanhoe (Scottish classic)

“Published in 1819 and set at the close of the 12th century, this classic historical romance unfolds in a kingdom torn asunder by the hatred between Saxons and Normans. Its dispossessed heroes, Ivanhoe and Richard the Lion-Hearted, face an uphill battle against firmly entrenched adversaries. The success of their fight rests upon the support of an unlikely crew of outsiders, including a Jew accused of sorcery, a swineherd slave, a jester, and the legendary Robin Hood.”

Kenilworth (Scottish classic)

“In the court of Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, is favoured above all the noblemen of England. It is rumoured that the Queen may chose him for her husband, but Leicester has secretly married the beautiful Amy Robsart. Fearing ruin if this were known, he keeps his lovely young wife a virtual prisoner in an old country house. Meanwhile Leicester’s manservant Varney has sinister designs on Amy, and enlists an alchemist to help him further his evil ambitions.”

Sears, Gale

The Silence of God  (Christian historical fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Based on an amazing true story of the only Latter-day Saint family living in St. Petersburg during the Bolshevik Revolution, The Silence of God is a rare glimpse into a fascinating period of history and a powerful, extraordinary novel of devotion and loyalty.”

Shusterman, Neal

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.”

Silone, Ignazio

Bread and Wine (modern literature, Italian)

Set and written in Fascist Italy, this book exposes that regime’s use of brute force for the body and lies for the mind. Through the story of the once-exiled Pietro Spina, Italy comes alive with priests and peasants, students and revolutionaries, all on the brink of war.”

Stevenson, Robert Louis

The Black Arrow (Scottish classic)

“Young Dick Shelton, caught in the midst of England’s War of the Roses, finds his loyalties torn between the guardian who will ultimately betray him and the leader of a secret fellowship, The Black Arrow. As Shelton is drawn deeper into this conspiracy, he must distinguish friend from foe and confront war, shipwreck, revenge, murder, and forbidden love, as England’s crown threatens to topple around him.”

Stewart, Mary

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.

Sutcliff, Rosemary

Lady in Waiting (historical fiction)

“Shy and retiring, [Bess Throckmorton’s] dream was to capture the heart of the proud and restless [Walter] Ralegh, in whose life it seemed she would always come second.”

Tan, Amy

The Joy Luck Club (historical/contemporary)

“. . . 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.”

Taylor, Sydney

All-of-a-Kind Family  (juv historical)

“It’s the turn of the century in New York’s Lower East Side and a sense of adventure and excitement abounds for five young sisters—Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. Follow along as they search for hidden buttons while dusting Mama’s front parlor, or explore the basement warehouse of Papa’s peddler’s shop on rainy days. The five girls enjoy doing everything together, especially when it involves holidays and surprises. But no one could have prepared them for the biggest surprise of all!”

Tennant, Emma

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.

Thoene, Bodie

The Shiloh Legacy series (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

“The Shiloh Legacy is a historical fiction series set in the United States between the WWI and WWII. The series follows a group of soldiers through the war and home as they seek to build their lives.”

  1. In My Father’s House
  2. A Thousand Shall Fall
  3. Say to This Mountain

Zion Chronicles series (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

“The Zion Chronicles series covers the events surrounding Israel’s statehood in 1948. Each book vividly portrays the intense struggle of the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the forces, within and without, which engulf the Middle East in conflict and controversy even today.”

  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 (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

“Opening in 1936, the Zion Covenant series tells the courageous and compelling stories of those who risk everything to stand against the growing tide of Nazi terrorism that is sweeping through central Europe under the dangerous and deceitful guise of Hitler’s Third Reich.”

  1. Vienna Prelude
  2. Prague Counterpoint
  3. Munich Signature
  4. Jerusalem Interlude
  5. Danzig Passage
  6. Warsaw Requiem

Thoene, Bodie and Brock

Shiloh Autumn (Christian historical fiction, Evangelical)

“In the autumn of 1931, Birch and Trudy Tucker are proud of what they’ve built with their love and labor in Shiloh, Arkansas. The farm produces fine cotton. The pantry and cellar are full of food for the winter. . . . Then, on October 1, 1931, disaster strikes. The cotton market collapses in Memphis, and the little town of Shiloh is hit hard. It will take a miracle to save what Birch and Trudy and so many others have labored to build. Yet even the forces of nature seem to conspire against them. . . .”

The Twilight of Courage (historical fiction)

“Follow diverse and memorable personalities such as American journalists Josie Marlow and Mac McGrath as they narrowly escape from the collapse of Warsaw in the fall of 1939 and suddenly find themselves caught up in the events of the so-called Twilight War—when Hitler was preparing to march and the Allies did nothing to stop him.”

Todd, Ilima

Remake (YA science fiction)

“Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. . . . But Nine isn’t like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day—her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they’ll be. When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives.”

A Song for the Stars (historical romance) 

“John has been Captain James Cook’s translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with [Maile’s] homeland and her people—and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John’s guilt over the death he caused, and Maile’s guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle—a secret she’s kept hidden from everyone on the island.”

Tolkien, J. R. R.

The Hobbit (fantasy)

“Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who wanted to be left alone in quiet comfort. But the wizard Gandalf came along with a band of homeless dwarves. Soon Bilbo was drawn into their quest, facing evil orcs, savage wolves, giant spiders, and worse unknown dangers. Finally, it was Bilbo—alone and unaided—who had to confront the great dragon Smaug, the terror of an entire countryside.”

Lord of the Rings trilogy (fantasy)

“In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.”

  1. The Fellowship of the Ring
  2. The Two Towers
  3. The Return of the King

The Silmarillion (fantasy)

Designed to take fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings deeper into the myths and legends of Middle-Earth, The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien’s world. . . . The tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.”

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Tolstoy, Leo

Anna Karenina (Russian classic)

“Married to a powerful government minister, Anna Karenina is a beautiful woman who falls deeply in love with a wealthy army officer, the elegant Count Vronsky. Desperate to find truth and meaning in her life, she rashly defies the conventions of Russian society and leaves her husband and son to live with her lover. Condemned and ostracized by her peers and prone to fits of jealousy that alienate Vronsky, Anna finds herself unable to escape an increasingly hopeless situation. Set against this tragic affair is the story of Konstantin Levin, a melancholy landowner whom Tolstoy based largely on himself. While Anna looks for happiness through love, Levin embarks on his own search for spiritual fulfillment through marriage, family, and hard work.”

The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Russian classic, novella)

“The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his dying so much as a passing thought. But one day, death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise, he is brought face to face with his own mortality.”

War and Peace (Russian classic)

War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.”

Turgenev, Ivan

Fathers and Sons (Russian classic)

“Returning home after years away at university, Arkady is proud to introduce his clever friend Bazarov to his father and uncle. But their guest soon stirs up unrest on the quiet country estate—his outspoken nihilist views and his scathing criticisms of the older men expose the growing distance between Arkady and his father. And when Bazarov visits his own doting but old-fashioned parents, his disdainful rejection of traditional Russian life causes even further distress.”

Twain, Mark (pen name of Samuel Clemens)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (American classic)

“When Huck escapes from his drunken father and the ‘sivilizing’ Widow Douglas with the runaway slave Jim, he embarks on a series of adventures that draw him to feuding families and the trickery of the unscrupulous ‘Duke’ and ‘Daupin’.”

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (American classic)

“Perhaps the best-loved nineteenth-century American novel, Mark Twain’s tale of boyhood adventure overflows with comedy, warmth, and slapstick energy. It brings to life and array of irresistible characters—the awesomely self-confident Tom, his best buddy Huck Finn, indulgent Aunt Polly, and the lovely, beguiling Becky—as well as such unforgettable incidents as whitewashing a fence, swearing an oath in blood, and getting lost in a dark and labyrinthine cave.”

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (American classic)

“This novel tells the story of Hank Morgan, the quintessential self-reliant New Englander who brings to King Arthur’s Age of Chivalry the ‘great and beneficent’ miracles of nineteenth-century engineering and American ingenuity.”

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (American classic)

“This historical novel chronicles the French heroine’s life, as purportedly told by her longtime friend—Sieur Louis de Conté. A panorama of stirring scenes recount Joan’s childhood in Domremy, the story of her voices, the fight for Orleans, the splendid march to Rheims, and much more.”

The Prince and the Pauper (American classic)

“This treasured historical satire, played out in two very different socioeconomic worlds of 16th-century England, centers around the lives of two boys born in London on the same day: Edward, Prince of Wales and Tom Canty, a street beggar. During a chance encounter, the two realize they are identical and, as a lark, decide to exchange clothes and roles—a situation that briefly, but drastically, alters the lives of both youngsters.”

Tyers, Kathy

Note: Since Kathy Tyers has published both traditional and Christian 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): (Christian science fiction, Evangelical)

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 (Christian science fiction, Evangelical)

“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.”

Walker, Joseph

Christmas on Mill Street (nostalgia)

“It’s 1962, and young Sam Andrews just moved to Utah from Arizona. A tall, overweight, semi-clumsy outsider, he’s still trying to fit in with the neighborhood boys. When discussion about sledding down the infamous Mill Street begins, Sam pipes in and says he’ll do it. The problem is, Sam has seen snow only in pictures and has never actually ridden a sled. And to top it off, Mill Street is practically a vertical drop with two deadly curves. But there’s no turning back now.”

Webster, Jean

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’!”

Wells, H. G.

The First Men in the Moon (English classic, science fiction)

“When penniless businessman Mr Bedford retreats to the Kent coast to write a play, he meets by chance the brilliant Dr Cavor, an absent-minded scientist on the brink of developing a material that blocks gravity. Cavor soon succeeds in his experiments, only to tell a stunned Bedford the invention makes possible one of the oldest dreams of humanity: a journey to the moon. With Bedford motivated by money, and Cavor by the desire for knowledge, the two embark on the expedition. But neither are prepared for what they find—a world of freezing nights, boiling days and sinister alien life, on which they may be trapped forever.”

The Invisible Man (English classic, science fiction)

“With his face swaddled in bandages, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses and his hands covered even indoors, Griffin—the new guest at the Coach and Horses—is at first assumed to be a shy accident victim. But the true reason for his disguise is far more chilling: he has developed a process that has made him invisible, and is locked in a struggle to discover the antidote. Forced from the village and driven to murder, he seeks the aid of his old friend Kemp. The horror of his fate has affected his mind, however—and when Kemp refuses to help, he resolves to wreak his revenge.”

The Time Machine (English classic, science fiction)

“When a Victorian scientist propels himself in the year 802,701 AD, he is initially delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment and peace. Entranced at first by the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man, he soon realises that this beautiful people are simply remnants of a once-great culture—now weak and childishly afraid of the dark. They have every reason to be afraid: in deep tunnels beneath their paradise lurks another race descended from humanity—the sinister Morlocks. And when the scientist’s time machine vanishes, it becomes clear he must search these tunnels if he is ever to return to his own era.”

The War of the Worlds (English classic, science fiction)

“The night after a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky from Mars, a cylinder is discovered on Horsell Common near London. At first, naive locals approach the cylinder armed just with a white flag—only to be quickly killed by an all-destroying heat-ray as terrifying tentacled invaders emerge. Soon the whole of human civilization is under threat, as powerful Martians build gigantic killing machines, destroy all in their path with black gas and burning rays, and feast on the warm blood of trapped, still-living human prey. The forces of the Earth, however, may prove harder to beat than they at first appear.”

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Wentworth, Patricia

The Grey Mask (mystery)

“After Charles was jilted at the altar by Margaret, he discovers that she is mixed up in a vicious kidnapping plot masterminded by a sinister figure in a grey mask. Charles turns to Miss Silver to uncover the strange truth behind Margaret’s complicity, and the identity of the terrifying and mysterious individual behind the grey mask.”

Wharton, Edith

The Age of Innocence (American classic)

The return of the beautiful Countess Olenska into the rigidly conventional society of New York sends reverberations throughout the upper reaches of society. Newland Archer, an eligible young man of the establishment is about to announce his engagement to May Welland, a pretty ingénue, when May’s cousin, Countess Olenska, is introduced into their circle. The Countess brings with her an aura of European sophistication and a hint of scandal, having left her husband and claimed her independence. Her sorrowful eyes, her tragic worldliness and her air of unapproachability attract the sensitive Newland and, almost against their will, a passionate bond develops between them. But Archer’s life has no place for passion and, with society on the side of May and all she stands for, he finds himself drawn into a bitter conflict between love and duty.

Ethan Frome (American classic)

Burdened with an unproductive farm and a hypochondriac wife, Ethan Frome becomes obsessed with his wife’s pretty young cousin.

Whitney, Phyllis A.

Sea Jade (romantic suspense)

“When lovely Miranda Heath, suddenly penniless, turns for help to her father’s old partner, Captain Bascomb, she finds herself plunged into a whirlpool of danger. From the moment of her arrival at the gloomy Bascomb mansion in the New England port Scots Harbor, Miranda becomes the target of a strange, hostile conspiracy.”

Seven Tears for Apollo (romantic suspense)

“Ever since Dorcas Brandt’s husband, Gino Nikkaris, died in a plane crash, she’s been beset by troubling suspicions that his shady intrigues in the art world may have been the cause of his death. . . . Now, as her husband’s mysterious past casts a shadow over Dorcas’s every move, the young mother must confront not only a terrible truth but also the terrifying fate that awaits her on the white cliffs of the Aegean.”

Wilde, Oscar

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Irish classic)

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray sells his soul in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, where he is able to indulge his desires while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only Dorian’s picture bears the traces of his decadence.”

Wilder, Laura Ingalls

1. Little House in the Big Woods (juv historical)

“Wolves and panthers and bears roamed the deep Wisconsin woods in the 1860’s. Still, Laura Ingalls’ father preferred to live miles away from the nearest neighbors. So Pa built a snug cabin for Ma, Laura, Mary and Baby Carrie. He hunted and trapped and farmed. Ma made her own cheese and sugar. All night long, the wind howled lonesomely, but Pa played his fiddle and sang, keeping the family safe and cozy.”

2. Little House on the Prairie (juv historical)

“Laura Ingalls is heading west! The Ingalls family packs up their covered wagon and sets off for the big skies of the Kansas Territory, where wide open land stretches as far as the eye can see. Just when they begin to feel settled, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict.”

4. On the Banks of Plum Creek (juv historical)

“Laura and her family find a new home in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where the nearby creek and swimming hole lure Laura with dangerous, yet thrilling adventures. Too soon, their life is threatened when prairie fires and other strange events jeopardize their crops.”

5. By the Shores of Silver Lake (juv historical)

“Laura and her family are head to the Dakota Territory for a chance to own their own land–and stop moving. The new town of De Smet is filling up with settlers lured west by the promise of free land, and the Ingalls family must do whatever it takes too defend their claim.”

6. The Long Winter (juv historical)

“The town of De Smet is hit with terrible, howling blizzards and Laura and her family must ration their food and coal. When the supply train doesn’t arrive, Almanzo Wilder and his brother realize something must be done. They begin an impossible journey in search of provisions, before it’s too late.”

7. Little Town on the Prairie (juv historical)

“The long winter is finally over, and with spring comes a new job for Laura, town parties, and more time to spend with Almanzo Wilder. Laura also tries to help Pa and Ma save money for Mary to go to college.”

8. These Happy Golden Years (juv historical)

“Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary’s tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy.”

Williams, Thomas

The Crown of Eden (Christian fantasy, Evangelical)

“When a simple blacksmith unearths the lost crown of Eden, he is torn between his love for a beautiful maiden, who is promised to marry a tyrannical prince, and his duty to honor a 100-year-old prophecy. To deliver the crown is to lose her. To hide it will forever doom the already decimated empire of the Seven Kingdoms. He must choose, but how?”

The Devil’s Mouth (Christian fantasy, Evangelical)

“When political conspirators murder his father, Prince Lanson of Lochlaund flees for his life. He falls in love with a beautiful tavern maid who is hiding from the moral condemnation of the powerful Lochlaund church, which has a stranglehold on the kingdom. Ultimately Lanson must decide whether to release her to the church’s legalistic justice or defy the church and save her life by wedding her.”

Wister, Owen

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)

“When Mairelon made Kim his ward, he promised to teach her to be a lady and a magician. But magic proves to be harder than it looks for a girl who has just learned to read, and being a lady is even harder. Before frustration—and Merrill’s formidably correct aunt—can drive her mad, a mysterious gentleman attempts to burgle the Merrill town house. As disaster strikes Mairelon, Kim must negotiate the hazards of London society, aided by a London moneylender, a Russian wizard prince, seven legendary French wizards…and Mairelon’s charmingly eccentric mother.”

The Raven Ring (fantasy; Lyra)

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.”

Young, Margaret Blair and Darius Aidan Gray

One More River to Cross (Christian historical fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“Powerful new historical fiction series, in the style of The Work & The Glory, that tells the stories of early African-American members of the Church.”

Zola, Émile

The Ladies’ Paradise (French classic)

“Emile Zola documents how the first department stores in nineteenth-century Paris made shopping into a religion, while he simultaneously woos readers with his gripping love story between the enterprising store owner Octave Mouret and the rags-to-riches heroine Denise Baudu.”

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This work by Katherine Padilla is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.