ON THE SHELF: Historical romance titles in large print

Published 8:00 am Sunday, February 12, 2023

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features historical and romantic fiction in our New Large Print collection.

“The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unconventional Niece” is the latest by Jennifer Beckstrand. Colorado quiltmaker Ester Kiem knows a great deal about both quilt-making and matchmaking. Her niece Mattie Zook knows about troublemaking. This is why Mattie has been exiled from her Pennsylvania Dutch home to her Aunt Ester’s farm. Mattie grows angry at local discrimination against the Amish, so she is using her Rumspringa to run for town council. Esther prays that Freeman Sensenig — a sensible local farmer — can keep Mattie in check and prevent her from going too far. Freeman thinks Mattie is standoffish at first but comes to understand how much she really does care about others. As the two work on Mattie’s campaign, they come to realize that their strength lies in their ability to work together despite their differences. When unexpected obstacles and a romantic rival suddenly appear, the growing closeness these two share will be put to the test.

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“The Brilliance of Stars” by J’Nell Ciesielski takes place amid the chaos of World War I. In Washington, D.C. in 1914, Ivy Owen knows how to survive on the streets without anything in her pocketbook. When destiny thrusts her into the path of a covert agency of assassins, she acquires a new set of lethal skills. The organization — whose goal is to drive back the world’s darkness — teaches Ivy everything from explosives to etiquette, sharpshooting to sabotage. All this is fun and exciting, but it is the quiet hours that she spends amid the books of the library and stargazing on the roof with Agent Jack Vale that make her heart soar. Jack knew plenty of hardships before he joined the agency and became the man who never misses, but he never knew a feeling of home until he met Ivy. When the pair is sent on a seemingly simple mission to take down Russia’s newest arms dealer, they discover that no amount of training could prepare them for the manhunt that takes them across the frozen Siberian tundra, to Crimea and along the Trans-Siberian Railway. They will both come to know that there is evil in the world that they will never understand.

The latest from Carolyn Brown is called “Texas Homecoming.” Dr. Cody Ryan has returned home to his foster family’s ranch in Honey Grove, Texas after traveling the world with Doctors Without Borders. He is taken by surprise, however, as a blizzard forces him to take shelter in an old barn. He’s even more shocked, as moments later, Stephanie O’Dell yanks open that same barn door. Stephanie — or Dr. Stevie as she is known around Sunflower Ranch — is a veterinarian who has been taking care of livestock in this area for years. Cody has completely forgotten how he broke Stevie’s heart when she was young and naïve and easily smitten by his charm and sharp wit. As the blizzard rages on outside, Cody and Stevie are throwing off new sparks that could possibly lead to a new romance. Will they let go of old wounds to allow new love to flourish, or will they end up as cold as the blizzard outside?

Shelley Shepard Gray’s latest is called “Happily Ever Amish.” Addie Byler is known as Apple Creek’s resident wallflower, but she knows she has a lot to offer and even more to be grateful for. She was raised by her loving grandmother and her days are filled with good friends and hard work. Addie assumes no man will look beyond her glasses and her tendency to talk to her rescue donkey, Snickers, so she is wary of romance. Until one day when she receives a note from a secret admirer. She believes it to be a prank at first, but then a second note arrives. Daniel Miller doesn’t like Addie and he doesn’t want to court her. She’s too willful, chatty, and odd for his taste, but he learns that she’s being teased because she’s never had a beau and decides to send a little note of encouragement. When Addie starts replying with thoughtful little notes of her own, Daniel begins to see her sweetness and warmth. Will this unlikely couple find their way to happiness with one another?

“The Wedding Ranch” is by Nancy Naigle. When Lorri Walker’s husband gifted her with a puppy on Valentine’s Day, she thought he was recommitting to their marriage after having an affair. Six months later, though, he left her and the dog for someone else. Lorri’s recent move to Dalton Mill to untangle her past has proved beneficial. Her new graphic design company is flourishing and her dog, Mister, has plenty of room to frolic while her ex is in Raleigh and on his way to being a distant memory. Ryder Bolt is still grieving the loss of his wife and young son seven years ago. Ranching keeps him busy and spending time with his niece and nephew — who own the Wedding Ranch — keeps him from being lonely. When Lorri and Ryder meet, love is the last thing they were looking for, but when they are together, smiles are easier, and burdens feel lighter. When a long-buried secret surfaces, the forces that brought them together threaten to tear them apart.

Janet Tronstad’s latest is called “Montana Mail-Order Bride.” There’s no future in Chicago for Eleanor Fitzpatrick and her sister, but out West, she can start fresh as a sheriff’s mail-order match. She knows she will be a good mother to Matt Baynes’s orphaned niece and nephew, but will she be a good wife? She has never known an honorable man and learning to trust Matt is a daily struggle. As she bonds with the children — and they begin matchmaking — Eleanor’s resolve is tested. Can this kind, brave man teacher her to trust her own heart and his love?