It’s finally summer! For some of us that means beach reading, which for me is just regular reading. I don’t choose different books based on the season. So, sorry, there’s only one light contemporary romance on the list—it’s a good one, though! Whatever reading time you have available this summer, I have some great books for you to consider.

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

With rich history, emotional intensity, and faith issues encompassing a depth rarely seen in novels, The Mark of the King completely swept me away into the world of the eighteenth century. The book begins in France, where midwife Julianne Chevalier is wrongly imprisoned for the death of a client. After trading her life sentence for exile to the French colony of Louisiana, she marries a fellow convict in order to sail, but when tragedy strikes—and a mystery unfolds—Julianne must find her own way in this dangerous new land while bearing the brand of a criminal. I loved everything about this book. It details some pretty rough situations, but I really appreciated the reality of Green’s presentation of the rugged Louisiana wilderness. I also adored the love story, which has significant obstacles to overcome. Green explores themes of faith, family, redemption, and love in this raw and somewhat heartrending tale of pre-America.  

Full Disclosure: This book is published by Baker Publishing Group. I work for this publisher, but this is a personal review and reflects my own opinions.

The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber

This is an excellent historical mystery novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. Finding a good mystery that’s not really gritty is not easy. One of the things I like about this book is that even when dealing with a pretty gruesome crime, the tone is light and it never goes too deep into the dark. The Anatomist’s Wife is told from the point of view of Lady Kiera Darby, who has been rejected by society due to her forced collaboration on her deceased husband’s published works on anatomy. The mystery involves the body of a woman found during a house party at Kiera’s sister’s estate. Out of desperation, Kiera’s brother-in-law requests that she use her expertise in anatomy to help solve the case. When Kiera becomes a suspect in the investigation, she must find a way to work with fellow guest and inquiry agent Sebastian Gage to protect her family and clear her name. The book is a quick read with a compelling plot and the opening scenes of a romance. Bonus: If you like this book as much as I did, you’ll be happy to know it’s the start of a series!

The Day I Met Jesus: The Revealing Diaries of Five Women from the Gospels by Frank Viola and Mary E. DeMuth

This is an amazing book for personal Bible study, especially if you’re looking for a unique look at biblical women or a fresh perspective on some New Testament stories. Written by a respected biblical scholar and a successful author of both fiction and nonfiction, The Day I Met Jesus looks at five New Testament women: the woman caught in adultery, the prostitute who loved much, the desperate Samaritan woman, the woman with a flow of blood, and the woman whom Jesus loved. Each chapter begins with a fictional diary from each woman recalling “the day I met Jesus.” These are beautifully written and very engaging, leading you to think about the story in a deeper, more personal way. I think we can get to the point where we think about Bible stories as just stories. But these women had lives. They lived before their moment with Jesus. They lived on—totally changed by the experience. The fictionalized diary is followed by the Scripture account of the event and teaching on that scriptural text. The teaching is solid and thought-provoking. Also, there are study questions for each chapter in the very back of the book that are worth doing.

Full Disclosure: This book is published by Baker Publishing Group. I work for this publisher, but this is a personal review and reflects my own opinions.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

This delightful contemporary novel is well written, sweet, and tons of fun. When Swedish visitor Sara arrives in Broken Wheel, Iowa, she finds her pen pal and fellow booklover, Amy, has died. However, the town is bound and determined that she stay and enjoy the two months she had planned to spend anyway. She decides to open up a small bookshop in the town and the project enlivens the inhabitants—and the town itself—in meaningful ways. With plenty of quirky characters, humor, small-town antics, and a clean, heartwarming romance, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is perfect for those looking for a cozy, comforting read.