Want to be inspired and edified while reading novels, but don’t want to dig through the “self-help” books? Or, be bored out of your mind? Well then, the following novels are ones you need to check out! Thanks to our special guest author for all of her excellent suggestions listed below!
Drum roll, please…
1. “Edenbrooke” by Julianne Donaldson
- Who says y’all need to save the best for last? This is by far my favorite novel! Marianne and Phillip showed me real love and connection are worth fighting for. All you need is a little courage and maybe a well-intentioned push in the right direction. What is real love and connection? To me: it is a union that has passion, respect, honesty, fierce loyalty, a sense of home/belonging, trust, laughter, and humility. As well as a balance of leadership and utilizing the strengths of one another. But, don’t forget with an attitude of willingness to learn something new. Not only does this love story depict the things I want to cultivate in my marriage, but showed me how essential communication is in relationships.
2. “Borrowed Light” & “Enduring Light” by Carla Kelly
- These beautiful 2-part novels depict how courageous leaps (no matter how random they seem) can lead us to opportunities that are essential for our growth and just might lead us to the person we’ll share our life with. This novel showed me the importance of defining my religious beliefs and how my daily actions reflect those beliefs. I also loved seeing Julia and Paul unite their faith to draw them closer together and utilize that strength to endure challenges. This is something I strive to do with my husband in our marriage. It is an incredible reassurance when one of us is struggling or having doubts that the other one is there to remind us of all that we’ve endured and how faith helped us do it! We need to be there for one another, as two halves of a whole, to lean on in difficult times.
3. “The Kissing Tree” by Prudence Bice
- Well Da’ gum, if this title don’t set your heart a pacin’. LOL In this novel, I learned that home is truly where your heart is and with those who set your heart on fire! I’m so grateful for my own redheaded and hot-blooded love that keeps my heart racin’! Ridge teaches that sometimes you need to have the courage to say or do what’s in your heart before you know how someone will react, even though it feels vulnerable to lay all your cards on the table, it can change the course of your life for the better. This book also instilled a sense of urgency in me to take the time to say those things that need to be said (such as an “I love you”) or do what needs to be done (like steal a kiss) before all that’s left is the memory of those who have your heart.
4. “Mark of Royalty” & “Bonds of Loyalty” by Jennifer K. Clark & Stephonie K. Williams
- These phenomenal novels helped me see myself in a new light by recognizing the value and worth of my infinite potential. I love the individual challenges Sarah faces on an internal level because they are so relate-able as a wife and mom. Raise your hand if you’ve ever doubted your worth or felt the pressure to meet an expectation pressed upon you? Through a path of difficult choices, this woman discovers just what she is made of and how her new discovery impacts the lives of so many others. Sarah’s transformation teaches us that there is so much power in just one person. With that insight, I strive to live my life in a way that reflects what I believe about who I am and who I want to become.
Next top 5 Novels you don’t want to miss
5. “Timeless Waltz”, “A Time to Dance”, “Dancing in the Light”, and “A Dance to Remember” by Anita Stansfield
- Oh bless, these novels that will steal your heart. Life is complicated, hard, thrilling, beautiful, and beyond difficult at times. This series portrays the many ups and downs of life through four compelling perspectives while emphasizing the precious moments of light amid the darkness. Though challenges may test your limits, press you beyond what you feel capable of, or drive you to the brink of despair; if you endure with hope, you will come out a stronger and more beautiful you. I know from personal experience, that in the moments when you feel overwhelmed and like one more thing will break you in half that some sort of relief will come. Maybe that relief will show up in your life as a new friend or an added measure of strength; or it could turn up as a feeling of hope or a sliver of light encouraging you not to give up and just keep, on keepin’ on.
6. “An Inconvenient Romance” & “A Tangled Inheritance” by Chalon Linton
- Gossip, drama, or a stubborn attitude ever got in your way? These novels show you that with love and true friendship one can overcome even the most difficult trials. An additional lesson taught here is the gift of redemption by seeing others as they can become not just for the weaknesses they have. Nora’s example shows that believing in others and encouraging them to see themselves as perfection in progress is an empowering gift. I have had experiences on all sides of these lessons and it’s a powerful thing to come from dark and lowly places, to rise from the ashes, and show others that they can do the same.
7. “Within the Dark Hills” by Sian Ann Bessey
- Running from a difficult past or with heavy baggage is not an easy task especially when you don’t know where you’re going. This can be especially true when that past baggage makes you feel undeserving of love and happiness. However, Annie teaches us that serving others with love can ease those burdens. Perhaps, enough to open your heart to love and much-needed healing. Another lesson learned in this novel is how one deals with the loss of a loved one. When you lose someone you love it can cause your heart to shatter in pieces. Leaving a void in your soul. That deep void you feel may prevent you from opening your heart to love in the future, but the patience and kindness of others has a way of mending broken hearts. Learning to love again is possible as Evan discovers through this heartwarming tale. I know without a doubt, that the heart does not take away love to give it to another, it simply grows more love.
8. “Heart of the West” by Carolyn Twede Frank
- Woah Bessie, the balancing act in life is no easy task! With desires for one’s own aspirations, it can be difficult to find harmony with: family, work, and that never-ending list of responsibilities. Kate faces several of these challenges and my heart went out to her as I could relate with those same struggles at times. However, experience changes perspective and sometimes a little perspective can help you see the big picture. At the end of the day, making sacrifices for those you love and what you love is always worth it. The true challenge is seeing if those sacrifices are bringing you closer to those you love. And, helping you become the person you want to be.
9. “The Gentleman’s Deception” by Karen Tuft
- Lies complicate everything, but it’s the lies we tell ourselves that inhibit us from the joys that surround us. Lavinia and Lucas discover that learning who you are and what you want is an ever-evolving process. Take the time to get to know yourself. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be better and forgive those who have hurt you. Lucas realizes that holding onto the past limits his ability to obtain joy in the present. And, hope for the future. I know that holding onto hatred only inflicts pain and prevents one from feeling the relief of forgiveness. Letting go of that hatred can help you feel the light and love that surrounds you.
10. “Kiss of a Stranger” by Sarah M. Eden
- Trusting others can be a difficult thing to do when you’ve experienced trauma. Catherine displayed in her story of hope how losing herself while coping with trauma was a painful side effect. With time you can heal from your past and not allow it to dictate your future. Learning to take a chance on hope and open your heart to new possibilities can set you free. On the flip side, Crispin learns that loving someone who struggles with trauma can be an emotional journey. Patience is key. Treasure the smiles and bouts of laughter. While remembering, “this too shall pass” during the moments of hopelessness. This novel hit my heart close to home. As someone who has lived through trauma, it’s easy for human error to unintentionally destroy feelings of security. By learning from the examples of Catherine and Crispin, I know love can endure all things.
Reading between the lines and applying concepts from good ol’ fiction novels can inspire great things in your one’s life. The notes with each title contain only a small portion of the things I’ve learned from them. I’ve read these books repeatedly. Each time, I’ve caught different gems and enjoyed the mental journey of each story whenever I’ve needed inspiration. After all, we each have our own stories to live, so why not live them with a little inspired goodness.
Kharyssa is a feisty and sassy hopeless romantic, which ultimately snagged her redheaded hubby. She loves anything that is red, sparkles or heart shape and is the lucky mama of two feisty girls. Kharyssa adores books with a great plot and a marvelous adventure, along with clean and wholesome content. Loves anything that brings her closer to her family and faith, is an Elvis Presley fan and truly a Southern girl at heart.