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White Heart Julie Caton
This novel is based on the true story of Madeline de Roybon D'Allone, who escapes the abusive French court of Louis the XIV to start a new life in America. In the New World, she learns how to be independent, how to love, and how to heal from the things that happened to her. The heroine survives peacefully among to local Native Americans until her trading post is attacked and she is taken captive. The only way to survive is through her faith in God.
This novel is both inspirational and touching. I loved the relaxed pace as Madeline soaks up her surroundings and the interesting people she interacts with. It’s very much an interior, character-driven novel that focuses on accepting the path God sets for us and learning how to find peace among trials.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Lily’s life as a Chinese woman is impossibly difficult, but she is strengthened by her lao-tong – her best friend – and the secret language of women that binds them together.
Every time I read about what Asian women had to go through, I am proud to be an American! The characters had to face foot-binding, arranged marriages, strict traditions, and every kind of oppression you can think of. Yet this book is far from depressing. It helps us see past the restrictions into the beauty life as a woman in China – for every culture has its own beauty – which is a glimpse the Western world rarely gets to see.
Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn
Thea, a slave who becomes mistress to the emperor, and Arius, the gladiator she’s in love with, face impossible odds as evil and cruelty try to tear them apart.
This book has everything a person could want in an ancient Roman novel: corruption, sex, violence, drama, tragedy, and triumph. The characters go through some horrendous things, but their courage and endurance is inspiring, and through it all is the tenderness of a love that is worth fighting for.
The Four Seasons by Laurel Corona
Two orphaned sisters live completely different lives in Venice: Maddelena is a star violin player at a famous musical academy, while Chiaretta is happily married to an aristocrat, yet both of them have to adapt to outrageous circumstances in order to make it in their world.
This book was remarkable in its beauty; I felt like I was there in Venice, listening to music I couldn’t hear, tasting food I never ate. It sweeps you away. But I can’t remember the last time a book made me this angry. Venice has all this ridiculous rules, restrictions, and traditions that make happiness difficult and being in love impossible. Yet despite their situations, the two sisters discover how to find happiness.