Hi Friends, Are you a Downton Abbey fan? Will you be seeing the Downton Abbey film that comes out this weekend? I caught an early showing last week and really enjoyed it.
Scott and I loved visiting Highclere where Downton Abbey was filmed a few years ago. That was a great inspiration for my English historical novels set in the Edwardian Era.
If you enjoyed Downton Abbey and would like to read some inspiring novels set in that same time period in the US and England, here’s a list for you! Happy Reading!
The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky
Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents’ financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn’t sure what to make of the estate’s preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.
Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin’s two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from the financial ruin. The last thing he needs is any distraction coming from the kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.
The Daughter of Highland Hall By Carrie Turansky
Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin, Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.
When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love.
A Refuge at Highland Hall By Carrie Turansky
In this third and final book in the Edwardian Brides Series set in 1915 England and France the Ramsey family and their staff and friends face the dramatic challenges and losses of World War One, yet they also experience the hope and triumph that comes as they put their trust in God to carry them through. Penny Ramsey helps the family welcome a group of orphaned children to Highland Hall, but she soon discovers caring for them is more difficult than she’d expected.
Penny writes to Alex Goodwin, a daring British pilot, who chases German zeppelins across the sky over the Front Line in France, and longs for the day she will see him again. You’ll be delighted by two pure and heartwarming romances: Penny and Alex, and Lydia Chambers and Marius Ritter, a lady’s maid and a prisoner of war.
Shine Like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky
In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event shattered their idyllic family life and their future prospects. Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart as she begins to wonder if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.
When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son and Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, Nathaniel, returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll, and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.
Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate–and reconciling with God? Will the search for the truth about her parents’ death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?
Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky
Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?
No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky
Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans–but was that the truth?
After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the edge of poverty in London in 1908, leaving their mother to support her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans’ home before Laura is notified about her family’s unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.
Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?
Not By Sight by Kate Breslin
In the spring of 1917, all of Britain’s attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.
A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country’s cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball. But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death.
High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin
In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle’s café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She’s a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.
When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.
Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin
In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life—a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.
Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel’s half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.
When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives.
The Lost Heiress by Roseanne White
Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she’s British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook’s friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.
The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threatened do they draw close–but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother. As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that what began as friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?
The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna White
Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she’s never felt good enough–not for her father, not for the man she thought she’d marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she’s willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping those threatening her life.
Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, yet the last thing he needs is the distraction of the newly introduced Lady Rowena. He has enough on his plate having recently come into possession of a rare treasure for which many would kill, yet those around him seem intent on pairing him with this desperate but beguiling girl.
Rowena is reluctant to marry this notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in some kind of questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she’ll end up in more danger than she fled.
A Name Unknown by Roseanna White
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?
Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.
But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?
The Thornbearer by Pepper Basham
From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of France, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all.
When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman?
In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone. Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend’s mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend’s former fiancé and his own childhood companion.
As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship. When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.
The Thorn Keeper by Pepper Basham
With her past in shambles, how can she fashion a future of hope? Catherine Dougall’s past of manipulation has left her future in threads. With a new faith, she longs to take the remnants of her life and make something beautiful, but shame, societies’ judgments, and the natural consequences of an unplanned pregnancy test her newfound hope. Dr. David Ross doesn’t help either. His kindness, sacrifice, and tenderness tempt her to impossible dreams. A fallen woman doesn’t merit a fairytale.
David Ross has made every effort to keep his life above reproach. His passion for the sick pump fresh purpose through his choices, but without financial support to maintain his war hospital, all is lost. When his notorious aunt offers an easy solution, David is tempted to give in to her demands, but his growing affection for the reformed flirt, Catherine Dougall, unwinds the careful wall around his heart and offers an unexpected choice. When the worst of war tears them apart, can love renew the memory of what was lost or will tragedy steal away their hope forever.
My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream by Pepper Basham
Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?
Promise Me This, By Cathy Gohlke
Michael Dunnagan survived the sinking of the Titanic, thanks to the courage of Owen Allen, and promised to help Owen’s family, his younger sister, Annie, in England and the rest of the family living in New Jersey, since Owen could not. Michael started to communicate to Annie through letters, but her anger over her brother’s death was steeped in each of her responses. Eventually, Annie begins to lay aside her anger and their letters become friendlier. Michael saves up enough money to bring Annie to America just as WWI breaks out in Europe…then all communication with Annie ceases!
Band of Sisters By Cathy Gohlke
Maureen O’Reilly and her younger sister flee Ireland in hope of claiming the life promised to their father over twenty years before. After surviving the rigors of Ellis Island, Maureen learns that their benefactor, Colonel Wakefield, has died. His family, refusing to own his Civil War debt, casts her out. Alone, impoverished, and in danger of deportation, Maureen connives to obtain employment in a prominent department store. But she soon discovers that the elegant facade hides a secret that threatens every vulnerable woman in the city.
The Heart of San Francisco Series, By Julie Lessman
Love at Any Cost
Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache, Cassidy travels west. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. When Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than he is, Cassidy finds herself bucked by love a second time. Will Jamie discover that money can’t buy love after all? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?
With delectable descriptions and a romantic sensibility, bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. Readers will faithfully follow Lessman to the West Coast for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations found in Love at Any Cost.
Dare To Love Again
Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman, resorting to a mammoth hat pin for protection on her way to and from the school where she teaches. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast she quickly discovers she is no match for rum-soaked brute strength.
Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite jiu-jitsu, but it seems he has little choice in the matter. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But when Nick suddenly leaves town, Allison realizes he’s a fraud just like all the rest of the men she’s cared for. Does she dare love again?
The lushness of the glorious Gilded Age beautifully showcases Lessman’s passion as a writer in this engaging love story written with humor and heart. From the glamour of San Francisco’s Nob Hill to the seedy gambling dens of the Barbary Coast, Dare to Love Again is a journey to find a love that never fails. Fans will love revisiting the world of the cousins McClare, and new readers will seek more of Julie’s passion-filled novels.
The Gilded Legacy series by Maureen Lang
Book 1: Bees in the Butterfly Garden
Raised in an exclusive boarding school among Fifth Avenue’s finest, Meg Davenport has all she’s ever needed . . . but none of the things she’s wanted most, like family or dreams of a future that include anything other than finding a suitable match. So when her distant father dies, she seizes the chance to throw etiquette aside and do as she pleases. Especially when she learns that John Davenport wasn’t the wealthy businessman she thought, but one of the Gilded Age’s most talented thieves.
Poised to lead those loyal to Meg’s father, Ian Maguire knows the last thing his mentor would have wanted is for his beloved daughter to follow in his footsteps. Yet Meg is determined, and her connections to one of New York’s wealthiest families could help Ian pull off his biggest heist yet. But are they both in over their heads? And in trying to gain everything, will they end up losing it all?
Book 2: All in Good Time
Dessa Caldwell has a dream: to open Pierson House, a refuge for former prostitutes in Denver’s roughest neighborhood. But after exhausting all charitable donations, Dessa still needs a loan, and nearly every bank in town has turned her down. Her last hope hinges on the owner of Hawkins National Bank.
Henry Hawkins has a secret: though he owns the most successful bank in town, his initial capital came from three successful raids on Wells Fargo coaches. Now he’s the most eligible bachelor in Denver, but to protect his criminal past, he’s built a fortress around his heart. Not even the boldest matchmaking mother can tempt him . . . until the day Dessa Caldwell ventures into his bank requesting a loan.
Though he’s certain her proposal is a bad investment, Henry is drawn to Dessa’s passion. But that same passion drives her to make rash decisions about Pierson House . . . and about whom she can trust. One man might hold the key to the future of her mission—but he also threatens to bring Henry’s darkest secrets to light. As the walls around their hearts begin to crumble, Henry and Dessa must choose between their plans and God’s, between safety and love.
The Grand Tour Series by Lisa T. Bergren
Book 1: Glamorous Illusions
When Cora Kensington learns she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king, her life changes forever. Even as she explores Europe with her new family, she discovers that the most valuable journey is within. The first book in the Grand Tour series takes you from the farms of Montana through England and France on an adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awakening, and self-discovery.
Book 2: Grave Consequences
For Cora Kensington, the journey of a lifetime takes unexpected twists. And her future—her very life—depends on the decisions she’ll make at each crossroad. As her European tour with her newfound family takes her through Austria, France, and Italy, an unseen enemy trails close behind. Meanwhile, a forbidden love continues to claim her heart, putting everyone’s plans in danger.
And as Cora stays one step ahead of it all, what might need the most protection is her own heart, torn between the dramatic pursuit of a dashing Frenchman and a man who has been quietly staking claim to her affections all along. Love has dangers all its own. She must escape the bonds of the past and discover the faith to make the right choices, as each one has grave consequences.
10) Book 3: Glittering Promises
Hounded by journalists chasing the beguiling story of the newest American heiress, Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. But as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, she begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart.
Complicating matters is the stubborn pursuit of Pierre de Richelieu and the increased demands on her time and attention. Cora must stand up for what she believes—regardless of how that might challenge current family and cultural norms—in order to remain true to who she really is.
And as she glimpses the end of the tour, Cora knows it’s time to decide Who and what defines her … and who and what does not.
11) Daughters of Fortune Series, by Susan May Warren
Book One: Heiress
The beautiful heiress daughters of newspaper magnate August Price have been given everything their hearts desire. But what if they want only to be loved–without an enormous price tag attached? When one daughter pursues a desirable marriage, she secures for herself a comfortable and glamorous life. But among the duties of privilege, will she also find the happily-ever-after she seeks? Her sister rejects the trappings of wealth, choosing instead to build a new life on the still-untamed frontier. Will she find happiness in independence or discover that she’s left her heart behind in New York’s glittering society? Set in the opulent world of the Gilded Age, each woman discovers that being an heiress just might cost her everything–including the chance for true love.
12) Book 2: Baroness
Lilly and Rosie, daughters of an empire coming of age in the roaring twenties, can have anything they want…except freedom. Expected to marry well and to take the reins of the empire, they have their lives planned out for them. But, Lilly, Esme’s daughter longs to return home to Montana, to adventure outside the confines of New York City. And Jinx’s daughter Rosie dreams of the bright lights of the newly emerging silver screen. But following their dreams – from avant garde France, to Broadway, to the skies in the world of barnstormers and wing-walkers will take all their courage. And if they find love, will they choose freedom or happily ever after?
A Poppy in Remembrance by Michelle Ule
Spanning three countries and the four years of World War I, A Poppy in Remembrance tells the epic story of a young American woman’s struggle to become a journalist in her father Jock Meacham’s world. As she searches for where she belongs professionally in London, Claire Meacham meets Reverend Oswald Chambers who opens her eyes to a completely different life. Working as Jock’s stenographer, Claire journeys to Egypt in 1916 where unbeknownst to him, she volunteers at Chambers’ YMCA ministry for ANZAC soldiers.
Claire finds her heart divided between a YMCA worker and a New Zealand soldier, while her reporting opportunities increase. When Jock demands she choose between her family and her faith, Claire struggles to find a balance. Chambers’ death throws everything into confusion as she and Jock transfer to France for the final year of the ghastly war.
Poppies mark WWI battlefields, but also serve as a mythological sign of hope. As Claire survives the final days of war in France, how will she find a way to encourage a ravaged world, a man to share it with and that elusive byline?
Among the Poppies by J’nell Ciesielski
The ideal lady wears lace, speaks quietly, and never under any circumstances fixes her own automobiles. But Gwyn Ruthers has never cared two snaps for the ideal lady. With the war to end all wars exploding across the Channel, she leaves behind her restrictive life as a chauffer’s daughter to serve in an all-female ambulance unit in France. Rambling over bomb blasted roads is far from the exotic travel she had in mind, but not even a handsome captain can distract her from the purpose at hand. Most of the time.
Slogging through mud and a despair that no man should have to witness, Captain William Crawford stumbles over a woman—quite literally—who has the ridiculous notion to enter a man’s fight along the Front. Why can she not sit patiently at home like all the other complacent women?
Bound together by circumstances beyond their control, Gwyn and William must fight to survive the battle raging all around them. Can their love survive or will it become another casualty of war?
My publisher, Penguine Random House, created this lovely poster for libraries showing more books like Downton Abbey:
Until Next Time . . . Happy Reading,