There is nothing like snuggling up with a good book next to the Christmas tree, warm drink in hand, fire crackling in the hearth. Whether you are looking for a good read for yourself or an inspirational idea for a book to gift, you have come to the right place. I want to share my top three favorite fiction reads of 2020 with you (not necessarily published in 2020, but books I found in 2020!) I hope you pick up a copy, whether through your local bookstore, online retailer, or library to read and be encouraged this season or you can add to TBR list for 2021.
Quite the coincidence (or maybe not– after all they do produce great writing!) all three of my favorite books for this year are by authors who are on “My Top Five Christian Authors List” (along with Rachel Hauck and Denise Hunter).
So let’s get right into it:
BOOK ONE: A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen
First up is my latest read of 2020, A Castaway in Cornwall by author Julie Klassen. It just released December 1st so grab your copy online or request from library as soon as possible!
The main spiritual theme seen in this book is FORGIVENESS: Forgiveness of others and also forgiveness of self.
From the back of the book:
Laura Callaway daily walks the windswept Cornwall coast, known for many shipwrecks but few survivors. She feels like a castaway, set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers. Now living with her parson uncle and his parsimonious wife in North Cornwall, Laura is viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong somewhere again.
When ships sink, wreckers scour the shore for valuables, while Laura searches for clues to the lives lost. She has written letters to loved ones and returned keepsakes to rightful owners. She collects seashells and mementos, and when a man is washed ashore, she collects him too.
As Laura and a neighbor care for the castaway, the mystery surrounding him grows. He has abrasions and a deep cut that looks suspiciously like a knife wound, and he speaks in careful, educated English, yet his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Their attraction grows, and while she longs to return the man to his rightful home, evidence against him mounts. With danger pursuing them from every side, will Laura ever find the answers and love she seeks?
My review: FIVE STARS! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ This story couldn’t have held me more captive! Julie Klassen takes a different and new turn in this book, adding a huge element of mystery and adventure, in an all new English location. With beautiful descriptions of the scenes off the shores in Cornwall, an action-packed journey to Jersey and two lovable characters who transform before the reader’s own eyes– Julie has a masterpiece on her hands! I enjoyed the book tremendously and felt as if I had journeyed with the characters– identifying with Laura in her need for closure from her past and Alexander in his long journey back home to make things right.
I just found the writings of Julie Klassen the end of 2019 and have blazed through thirteen of them this year! Some of her other books that are my favorites are: An Ivy Hill Christmas (New Release), The Tutor’s Daughter and Girl in the Gatehouse.
Check out https://julieklassen.com for more information!
BOOK TWO: The Number of Love by Roseanna White
This was my very favorite read of 2020! I had never read this author before and have come to find she is now one of my top favorites.
The main spiritual theme of this book is authenticity in relationship with God, relying on God. The main character, Margot, faced tragedy in the book and also wrestled with a time of frustration in not being able to hear from God. The book showcases her struggles when it seems God is silent, her authentic calling out to Him, and His answers for her– mainly through His presence. I felt this was one of the most real portrayals of a Christian walk that I have read in Christian fiction thus far and it resonated with me deeply, especially how the world seemed to come alive again when she found her faith restored in Christ. It also holds spiritual notes of love and loss.
From the back of the book:
Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.
Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?
Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.
My review: FIVE STARS! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ (Can I please give 6 or 7? 😉)
Roseanna White’s book is a page turner! With a masterfully crafted plot and characters, she thrusts the reader into the secret intelligence hub of the Admiralty, Room 40: Codebreakers. I found myself enraptured with all the action of intercepted messages, espionage, and a good love story. The main character Margot, was so different from usual heroines with her love for numbers, quirkiness and determination to not fall in love. The love interest, Drake, was swoon worthy as a secret spy and tender brother to his sister, Margot’s best friend. Together they get into quite a tangle, including an unnamed enemy who’s narration shows up through the book causing quite the element of suspense. Things go topsy-turvy and get nitty gritty in this amazing read and this was definitely a page turner– one I couldn’t put down (I truly think I read it in record time 😮). It’s definitely on my re-read list– yes, it is that good!
Make sure to check out Book 2, On Wings of Devotion, and Book 3, A Portrait of Loyalty in the series as well. This is my favorite new series and on my Christmas list this year!
News! Roseanna has a new book, Dreams of Savannah, releasing January 5th.
Find out more about Roseanna and her books at https://www.roseannamwhite.com
BOOK 3, Daughter of Cana by Angela Hunt
And while so many books clamored to be named in this third and final book slot, I am always sure to enjoy an Angela Hunt book! She’s been my absolute favorite author since I found her in my college days with The Heirs of Cahira O’Connor series. Lately she is writing Biblical fiction and I loved how each time I read one of her books, my eyes are opened to the historical context of Biblical events (Esther, Bathsheba, Mary of Magdalene, Cleopatra to name a few) and possibilities within a fictional context. (And guess what? I have come to know Angela as a fellow writer by attending her writing conferences in 2017-2019. She’s a creative soul and such a pleasure to know.)
For this specific book, The main spiritual theme of this book is the process from DOUBT to BELIEF. Through the eyes of the disciple Thomas’ sister, Tasmin, and Jesus’ brother, Jude, we see them process the unbelief at Jesus’ transition into ministry and claim as the son of God and go on a journey leading them to their own proclamation of faith.
From the back of the book:
When a miracle-working stranger draws Tasmin’s twin brother away from her side, she becomes determined to win him back. Thomas and Tasmin, twin siblings hired to oversee a wedding feast in Cana, worry when the host runs out of wine . . . until a guest tells Tasmin to have the servants fill the pitchers by the gate with water from the cistern. Reluctantly, she obeys, and is amazed when the stagnant rain water turns into the finest wine ever tasted in Cana. When Thomas impulsively decides to follow the teacher from Nazareth, he and Tasmin argue, and since the twins have been together since birth, Tasmin can’t accept losing her brother to some prophet-magician. Aided by Jude, younger brother to Yeshua of Nazareth, she decides to find the wandering group of idealists and do whatever she must to mend her fractured relationship with Thomas and bring her brother home.
My Review: FIVE STARS! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️I absolutely love how reading this book opened my eyes to the troubling doubt that Jesus’ own brothers (and sisters) could have had about him being the Son of God. The book includes Jesus’ first miracle–the turning of water to wine– and the author is very careful to have Yeshua’s dialogue only come straight from the Scriptures (keeping it accurate and unpolluted). Hunt also weaves a fictional story of what Thomas’ twin could have been like, and her own process of coming to believe in Jesus as the son of God. So much action, history, and excitement are included in these pages making it a stellar read.
News! Angela Hunt has a new book, A Woman of Words (Jerusalem Roads Book 3), featuring a fictional account of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Matthew’s retelling of Jesus’ Ministry, coming out May 4th. (Did I mention her Biblical fiction is just soooo good?! 😉)
Find out more information at https://www.angelahuntbooks.com
So, as you can see, I gave each of these books FIVE STARS and I am very picky with my book ratings. Not many books I rate get more than a 4 or 4.5. (Ha ha!) So that shows you the caliber of these wonderful reads. Check my profile out at Goodreads Link at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/74295832-melanie-talevski to see more of my reads for 2020.
Until next time,