Best Christian Fiction Books

Best Christian Fiction Books

Books | Best Sellers

Religion, spirituality and faith - january 15, 2017.

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Religion, Spirituality and Faith

by Tim Tebow

The Heisman Trophy winner writes about overcoming obstacles.

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by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams

A discussion between two spiritual leaders about how to find joy in the face of suffering.


by Joel Osteen

Faith Words

A strategy for reprogramming your mind so that you can reach new levels of achievement and purpose.


by Don Miguel Ruiz


A guide to conduct, spiritual freedom and a life with fewer limitations, by a Mexican healer. Originally published in 2000.

by Lysa TerKeurst

Thomas Nelson

The author examines the roots of rejection and how it can poison relationships, including one’s relationship with God.


by Ann Voskamp

How to soothe an aching heart or broken spirit through Christian faith.


by Jonathan Cahn

The journey of a traveler and a spiritual teacher through a series of mysteries, which are also applied to daily challenges.


by Shauna Niequist

A woman’s path from "burned out on busy" to a life of grace, love, rest and play.


by Eckhart Tolle

New World Library

A guide to personal growth and spiritual enlightenment. Originally published in 2002.


by Michael Medved

Crown Forum

An argument for divine providence in American history.

The New York Times Book Review

100 notable books of 2023.

Here are the year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, chosen by the staff of The New York Times Book Review.

best fiction books christian


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Bible Keeper

The Best Christian Fiction Books Of All Time For All Ages

Books written by Christian authors have been known to enrich the reading experience of readers of all ages. Their stories, filled with romance, mystery, history, faith, and forgiveness, can be both uplifting and entertaining. Often, they may even have a positive message to help you navigate difficult times in your life. These recommended Christian fiction books include books by both well-known and new authors.

Given the inspiring nature of Christian fiction[ 1 ], it might be worth picking up some exciting tales to motivate you on your spiritual path while also being able to relax and escape into a world of imagination and creativity. By taking advantage of these Christian fiction stories, you can immerse yourself in the life of a character who has chosen to live out their faith. Also, these books have the power to help you strengthen your personal relationship with God .

  • 1.1 1. The Chronicles of Narnia
  • 1.2 2. The Lord Of The Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition
  • 1.3 3. Redeeming Love
  • 1.4 4. The Screwtape Letters
  • 1.5 5. Crime And Punishment
  • 1.6 6. The Pilgrim’s Progress: A Readable Modern-Day Version Of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress
  • 1.7 7. The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity
  • 1.8 8. Before We Were Yours: A Novel
  • 1.9 9. The Hiding Place
  • 1.10 10. When Crickets Cry
  • 2 What Can Christian Fiction Books Offer?
  • 3 Conclusion

Here Are The Top 10 Best Christian Fiction Books

the chronicles of narnia

1. The Chronicles of Narnia

This book is a hardcover collection of C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series, including all seven novels, introduced by black-and-white images, and an essay by Lewis on the craft of writing. The essay On Three Types of Writing for Children is also included in this collection.

For nearly sixty years, readers across the world, both young and old, have been enchanted by this world where magic and reality meet. It is full of fantastic creatures, heroic acts, epic battles between good and evil, and amazing experiences. The Chronicles of Narnia was first written as a fantasy series, but it is now considered a masterpiece of English literature.

the lord of the rings

2. The Lord Of The Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition

This story is a certified classic of Christian fiction. The first Rings of Power were made by elven smiths, and Sauron used his power to give power to the One Ring so that he could use it to control all the others.

Yet he could not recover the One Ring after searching all of Middle-earth for it. After many years, a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins got it. From the safety of the Dark Tower in Mordor, Sauron could exert his influence over a vast area.

They brought every Great Ring to Sauron, yet he never stopped seeking the One Ring, which would give him absolute power. When Bilbo was eleven and a half, he vanished, leaving his young cousin Frodo with the Ruling Ring and the dangerous goal of traversing Middle Earth, entering the shadow of a Dark Lord, and destroying the Ring by hurling it through the Cracks of Doom.

The Fellowship of the Ring, consisting of the Wizard Gandalf, the Hobbits Frodo Baggins, Merry, Pippin, and Sam, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, Boromir of Gondor, and a mysterious tall man named Strider, embark on a perilous journey in The Lord of the Rings .

redeeming love

3. Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love is set in the Gold Rush era of the 1850s in California, a critical period of history when ladies sold their sexuality for a bed in a small town and men traded their souls for only a bag of riches. It follows the story of Angel who anticipates nothing, save for betrayal by men. A juvenile prostitution client’s only means of survival is a healthy dose of her vengeance.

And the men who do so only to leave her feeling drained and lifeless are the ones she despises the most. Suddenly Michael Hosea, a man after God the Father’s own heart, enters her life. After hearing God’s invitation to love her without conditions, Michael decides to marry Angel. Day by day, he goes against everything that Angel has ever known to be true, and eventually, despite every resistance, her icy heart begins to melt.

Still, the sudden change has left her with crippling feelings of inadequacy and fear. So, Angel takes off. She fled into the night, away from her devoted husband, scared of the reality she could no longer ignore: her ultimate restoration would have to come from the person who loves her more than Michael does.

A life-altering account of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love, Redeeming Love is a retelling of the story of Gomer and his son Hosea.

the screwtape letters

4. The Screwtape Letters

C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters is a masterwork of Christian satire that entertains readers with Screwtape’s subtle and sardonic observations on human nature as a high-ranking aide to the devil, who calls himself Our Father Below. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is the most exciting story ever about the struggle against temptation and eventual victory.

It is both a fun and worthwhile read that offers thought-provoking insights into the human experience and spiritual conflict.

crime and punishment

5. Crime And Punishment

Richard Pevear is a great man and Larissa Volokhonsky’s translation of The Brothers Karamazov won the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Award. They’ve done it again with Dostoevsky’s amazing psychological thriller, updated for his bicentennial. 

An act of murder and robbery committed by Raskolnikov, a poor student living in tsarist St. Petersburg, sets in motion a novel nearly unparalleled in literary history in terms of its agonizing suspense, atmospheric suspense vividness, and depth of character and vision.

Fyodor Dostoevsky takes a gruesome murder of an older woman and turns it into the most profound and engaging philosophical work of the nineteenth century by focusing on themes of sin, remorse, and salvation.

the pilgrim's progress

6. The Pilgrim’s Progress: A Readable Modern-Day Version Of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress

John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Journey can be quite hard to navigate, even for the most accomplished readers. This new edition, which renders the original archaic language to basic conversational English, makes history’s most famous Christian allegory accessible to readers of all ages.

Christian, a man from the City of Destruction, embarks on a journey to the Celestial City to find the truth, and the novel follows his epic journey. Dramatic tension builds as Christian travels through exotic locations and meets fascinating characters, some of whom talk and aid him along his difficult path and others who stand in his way. 

Bunyan’s allegorical tale recounts one man’s astonishing journey to faith through encounters with a cast of exciting individuals and excursions to various vivid settings. You can now read Bunyan’s classic and reimagine this renowned quest that has challenged and encouraged believers for ages without sacrificing the accuracy of the original text.

In addition to providing direct citations from the Bible, this book also offers a biblical study method that can be used privately or in a group setting. The story’s message of perseverance, faith, and redemption has been a source of inspiration and encouragement for countless believers .

the shack

7. The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

Missy, the youngest of the two children the daughter of Mackenzie Allen Philips, goes missing while the family is on holiday in Oregon. Relics from what may be her horrible murder are discovered in a remote cabin. For some reason, four years later, when Mack is in the throes of his Great Sorrow, God invites him back to the hut for the weekend. He foolishly returns to the scene of his worst dread on a cold winter afternoon, arriving at the house. 

What Mack discovers there will irrevocably alter his life. In a secular world, religious faith seems less and less critical. In The Shack , the age-old issue “Where is God in such a world fraught with unimaginable pain?” is explored at length. The information Mack uncovers will shock and change him forever. It should be no surprise that everyone you know will be willing to pick up a copy of this book.

before we were yours

8. Before We Were Yours: A Novel

The year is 1939, and Memphis is the place. Rill Foss, age twelve, and her four siblings enjoy a fantastical existence on their family’s shanty boat on the Mississippi River. But when Rill’s father has to hurry their mother toward the hospital during a storm, Rill is left in charge until a group of strangers arrives.

Abandoned by their parents and placed in the care of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, the Foss children are told they would soon be reunited with their family. Nevertheless, they soon come to understand the grim reality. Rill struggles to protect her family from the facility’s ruthless director and the uncertain future it presents. Current day Aiken, South Carolina. 

Avery Stafford, who was raised in a privileged environment, appears to have a promising profession as a federal prosecutor, a good-looking fiancé, and a big wedding on the horizon. Yet when Avery returns to her hometown to help her father through a health crisis, a chance meeting leaves her with unsettling questions and forces her to embark on a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, which could end in destruction or redemption.

Lisa Wingate’s compelling, heartbreaking, and uplifting story is based on one of the most infamous scandals in American history: the head of a Memphis-based adopting company, Georgia Tann, kidnapped and sold underprivileged children into wealthy families across the country.

the hiding place

9. The Hiding Place

A remarkable preacher and survivor of Hitler’s prison camps, Corrie ten Boom, was originally a Dutch watchmaker. She and her family put themselves in danger to aid Jews and underground laborers during World War II, and as a result, they were put through the wringer in one of the Nazi concentration camps. Corrie ten Boom was the only member of her family found dead to make it out alive to tell the tale of how faith can overcome evil.

This page-turning narrative details how Corrie ten Boom and her family helped rescue many of the Israelites. For 35 years, millions of people have witnessed that no depth is too low for God’s love to reach. Reissued for a new audience, The Hiding Place maintains its message that God’s love can ultimately triumph, heal, and restore.

when crickets cry

10. When Crickets Cry

The beginning of this captivating story opens in a quiet Southern town in the shaded town square. The lemonade stand run by an enterprising seven-year-old girl is rather successful. A scar on the little girl’s chest is visible despite her lovely yellow clothing. 

A bearded man finishes his drink and walks out to his car, thinking about his own life and the boat he’s fixing up at the adjacent lake. It turns out that he knows more about the scar than he is willing to say.

What’s more, their lives are about to be altered by the battered bread truck careening from around the corner with its radio blaring. They’ll both learn that there are sad reasons for crickets to weep and that you can find miracles in the most uncommon places before it’s all over.

What Can Christian Fiction Books Offer?

People often look to fiction books as a method to escape from the world, but these stories can also be a tool for spiritual growth. Reading has been known to help people unwind, expand their knowledge, and get the confidence they need to develop their own reading and writing skills. Reading fiction benefits Christians because it can broaden their worldview, deepen their understanding of the Bible, and even serve as a form of prayer.

Christians who are less dogmatic in their faith can read whichever novels they like. However, believers need to be careful and recognize their own limitations. You always have the option to close the book, especially if it makes you feel guilty or tempts you to sin. Christians can gain valuable knowledge from reading various works, not just Christian fiction.

woman sitting holding a cup and reading a book and best christian fiction books

Whether or not it proclaims the Christian faith, good literature will inspire, challenge, and educate its readers, leaving them with a lasting impression. The sins of profanity, violence, sexual settings, and the more subtle sins of idolatry and self-worship are often not openly displayed in Christian fiction, as it offers more than just the thrill of these transgressions.

In a corrupted world, it’s only natural for characters, as humans with a life of their own, to make mistakes. Nevertheless, the dismal realities of life are not shown in Christian fiction for the simple purpose of realism or for the sake of excitement but rather to lead the reader to the only trustworthy source of hope : God Himself.

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best fiction books christian

17 Of The Best Christian Fiction Authors For Your TBR

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Enobong Essien

Enobong is a former professional dancer turned publicity and marketing assistant and life-long lover of books. Fully Nigerian and fully British, Enobong now lives in Chicago with her nonfiction enthusiast husband and peculiar yet adorable cat roommate.

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This list is a roundup of some of the best Christian fiction authors to satisfy all cravings. Sometimes you might find yourself in the mood for some Christian romance . Maybe you’re on the hunt for novels with religious themes . Other times you may not have time to read per se and are turn to a great Christian audiobook to edify your daily walk. But when you’re just in the mood for a good Christian novel, this list might just be the best place to turn.

These Christian fiction authors are roughly ranked by their fame, notoriety, and the impact they have had on both the Christian and literary world.

C.S. Lewis may be known for his essays and apologetic texts but he is also one of the most prolific Christian fiction authors. His work encompasses science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. However, he is best known for his children’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia .

Pro tip: Read the books in order beginning with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and then read The Magician’s Nephew , technically the first book in the series.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Ardent Catholic and best friend of C.S. Lewis, Tolkien is best known for his epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings . However, he also authored a wealth of additional books, not all connected with Middle Earth.

Flannery O’Connor

Devout Catholic Mary Flannery O’Connor wrote 32 short stories and two novels. Her stories contain complex characters and deal with issues of race, class, disability, and mental health, in a manner reflecting her faith. All of her works are available in her National Book Award winning Complete Stories .

Evelyn Waugh

Praised as being one of the best masters of prose, Waugh’s novels are perceptive and funny. As a very conservative Catholic, his work often reflected his world view, as can been seen in his famous classic Brideshead Revisited .

Marilynne Robinson

Robinson’s Christian faith strongly influences her work, as do her congregationalist beliefs and the ideas of theologian John Calvin. A writer of both fiction and nonfiction, Gilead is her most acclaimed novel, winning the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Madeleine L’Engle

A firm believer that Christianity and science do not have to be mutually exclusive, Madeleine L’Engle’s work is a firm reflection of both her faith and her love of science. She is best known for A Wrinkle in Time but has written many more novels plus several poetry collections and a number of nonfiction books.

Beverly Jenkins

Publishers didn’t initially know what to do with Jenkins’s novels, as she was writing historical fiction about African Americans that didn’t involve slavery. However she has gone on to receive great success with her books, the most popular of which is Bring on the Blessings . In 2013, she was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.

Well known as the evangelical pastor of The Potter’s House church, T.D. Jakes has written a number of both nonfiction and fiction books. That is, in between leading a megachurch and hosting a talk show . The most famous of his novels is  Not Easily Broken .

Francine Rivers

Francine Rivers is one of the best Christian fiction authors in the field of inspirational romance and historical fiction. Her novels contain themes that reflect her identity as a born-again Christian. Redeeming Love , loosely based on the biblical story of the prophet Hosea, is a great place to get into her work.

Frank E. Peretti

A New York Times bestselling author of Christian fiction with supernatural themes, Peretti has sold over 15 million copies of his books worldwide. When he’s not writing bestselling fiction, he can be found ministering in The Assemblies of God churches or playing his banjo in Idaho. His best known works are This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness .

William Paul Young

Young is THE inspirational story of self-publishing. After being rejected by 26 publishing houses, Young and his friends self-published his debut novel The Shack . His debut then went on to become a New York Times bestseller and a Hollywood movie.

LaHaye is an evangelical protestant minister best known for his Christian apocalyptic Left Behind series. Although the theology of this series has come under scrutiny with many Christian communities, the commercial success of these books grants him a place on the list.

Penny Culliford

Penny Culliford has it down when it comes to Christian romantic comedies. Looking for a fun blend between Bridget Jones and The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic ? Look no further than her popular novel Theodora’s Diary .

Michele Andrea Bowen

Bowen is a groundbreaking writer of contemporary Christian fiction and best known for her novel Church Folk . She uses her experience from working in social work, public health and education to write uplifting and funny novels with Christian themes.

Joy Ohagwu is an Amazon bestselling author of Christian romance, thriller and suspense. She has published over 20 books, the most popular of which is Red: The New Rulebook .

Piper Huguley

Huguley is another WOC making inroads writing historical fiction featuring African American Christian characters. Her novels The Lawyer’s Luck and The Preacher’s Promise are Amazon bestsellers.

Michelle Stimpson

Stimpson is a Texan church-loving public speaker writing contemporary Christian fiction. Her most notable is the acclaimed Boaz Brown . She also runs writing workshops and owns an educational publishing company, Right Track Academic Support Services.

Editor’s Note: This post has been revised to correct a statement made in error that Beverly Jenkins won the Image Award.

best fiction books christian

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21+ best christian fiction books to read now.

Aryn May 23, 2021 Christian Fiction 8 Comments

Best Christian Fiction to add to your TBR list today

Time to talk about some top Christian books, specifically Christian fiction books, but before we dive into the Christian novels book list, we should probably discuss what makes Christian novels worth reading.

Because there are tons of well-written books out there, and even more that are not so well done. But to niche down specifically to CF, there has to be a good reason. What is the incentive to read Christian books over the latest bestseller in the general market?

And for the record, I put a number in the headline, but there are way more than 21 books in this post. If you follow the genre links towards the middle, you’ll find 100s of the best Christian fiction books to read, for people of all ages!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I may make a small commission. I only recommend books and resources that I’ve enjoyed personally, or believe that you would like. You can read my full disclosure here . You will also find information on Scripture translations there.

What to look for in good Christian fiction books

What Makes the Best Christian Fiction Books?

We’ve already talked about the pros and cons of Christian romance books , so we’ll just talk about general Christian novels today.

There are a few things to pay attention to when picking out good Christian fiction books. Just because they make the Best Selling Christian Fiction Books lists , doesn’t necessarily mean they are good. Certain things that make them different from mainstream fiction, or even from “Clean” books (which are wonderful places to visit, too).

Yes, we look for clean books, free of explicit content, and not promoting harmful or evil things. But what sets good Christian books apart is that they unfailingly point to Jesus in some way.

Sharing the Gospel Through Christian Fiction Novels

Good Christian fiction novels share the Gospel. The Good news that Jesus is real, and has a real compassion and involvement in our daily lives. Top rated Christian fiction books have the ability to do that without coming across as preachy. The truth is woven in to the story without beating anyone over the head with it.

Life Lessons of Character In Fictional Christian Books

There are so many life lessons of character, and we can get practice for our own lives by experiencing character building situations alongside the people in fictional Christian books. Whether it’s marriage, parenting, work decisions, friendship issues, dealing with government, or parents, or neighbors, or… great christian fiction books take you on a journey through so many decisions and choices and consequences. Then, when we face them in real life, maybe we’ve picked up how to (or NOT to) handle them a little better!

The Best Christian Fiction Books Point to Jesus

The best Christian fiction books point to Jesus every time. Not “follow your heart” “one day my prince will come” or even “get over it and get back in there.” No. Good Christian fiction books will always show the way Jesus can and will help you through the worst and the best circumstances. Trusting Jesus to get you through.

*If you don’t know Jesus, click here to read about the 3 steps of salvation , and how to get to know Jesus better. Plus there’s a free printable.

The Best Christian Fiction Books to add to your TBR

The Best Christian Fiction Books To Add to Your TBR List Today

Now that you know what to look for in the best Christian fiction books to read, something worth putting on your TBR list, and actually reading, let’s get to the good stuff. The book recommendations!

Best Christian Fiction Books by Category

If you’re not concerned about year, these genre-specific posts are loaded with great Christian books.

  • Biblical Fiction Authors
  • Christian Fiction Authors
  • Christian Romance Stories
  • Christian Time Travel Books
  • Christian Allegory Books
  • Christian Fantasy Books
  • Middle Grade Books
  • Children’s Books that Inspire Faith
  • Christian Historical Fiction Books
  • Christian Mystery Books
  • Christian War Novels*

*Denotes post coming soon. (I’m working on it as fast as I can!) Any Topic Requests???

If the idea of brand new Top Christian Fiction books mailed right to your doorway appeals to you, you might be interested in the Truly Yours Book Box ! Including romance, mystery, suspense, and Amish fiction, you never know what you might get! Maybe sign up with a friend, and have a Christian book of the month club between you!

Top Christian Fiction Books 2019

Top Christian fiction books 2019 would have to include Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette. This Biblical historical fiction account of the goings on in and around one of the Cities of Refuge in the time between Joshua and Judges is AMAZING!

Another unforgettable Christian novel from 2019 is The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin. It’s part of a powerful WWII trilogy of 3 brothers whose relationship seems shattered beyond all hope. Or are they?

I thoroughly enjoyed Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof, you can see why here . It’s a story of forgiveness that is well done.

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews was a unique and passionate take on the book of Daniel. Doesn’t cross any lines it shouldn’t, and makes you think hard about your own choices.

Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron is part of a fantastic Timeslip trilogy of Christian novels you DO NOT want to miss. Castles, Justice, Mysteries, and sweet romance!

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks was full of suspense and drama, and a dog. in the desert. Does she have a prayer of surviving this?

Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens takes the story of Ruth and plants it firmly in Period England. It was unforgettable. You get so lost in the new story that something you should have expected catches you unprepared. Fun and challenging!

Aiming for Love by Mary Conneally is hilarious, sweet, and opens your eyes to looking at things fresh. It is a historical western, and while it has its serious moments, and unsolved riddles (book one in a trilogy), it makes you grateful for the ability to read your Bible!

The Inn at Hidden Run by Olivia Newport is about a genealogist, so there’s definitely a timeslip factor, fun mysteries to solve both in the present and the past, and with it being a father-daughter team, it’s not really a romance. When they rely on God, they get the job done. This is a series of good Christian fiction books you’re not going to want to miss!

Christmas on Breakers Point by Chautona Havig is the start of what looks to be an unforgettable series. Uncle Bud’s last request before his ‘expiration date’ arrives, is for his niece to help restore someone’s faith. A friend who’d gotten tangled up in “Why would God allow such evil” to the point she’d lost her way.

Top Christian Fiction Books 2020

The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin (final book in this WWII trilogy) is a beautiful picture of restoration. Her ability to tie everything together without making feel too neat and clean is awesome!

Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar is on my TBR, as I’ve long been fascinated by Prisilla and Aquilla, and Tessa Afshar is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors! I just picked up the Audible version, and can’t wait to dive in!

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer explores the backwoods mountains of the 1930s. An undeniably tough time in history, but a beautiful testimony of purposeful kindness. You can read my full review here.

Daughter of Cana by Angela Hunt is a unique and fun exploration of what it might have been like as the family of one of Jesus’ disciples. Or Jesus’ own brother. The concern, the doubts, the curiosity.

Star of Persia by Jill Eileen Smith was a fantastic telling of the story of Esther, that emphasized wisdom and compassion in beautiful ways.

Tempting Tait by Chautona Havig is a contemporary Good Samaritan story that becomes a marriage of Conviction (NOT Convenience). It’s a beautiful story, and one that will challenge your ‘getting involved’ muscles and ask you to put your actions where your faith is.

The Wilkester Mysteries by Barbara Cornthwaite are really good Christian novels, cozy mysteries that have you evaluating your thought life and insecurities. Brought to Book was wonderful, but book 2, Snuffed Out , was even better!

Here’s what I’m reading in 2021

Top Christian Novels Free Printable

If you want a handy printable list of top 10 Christian fiction books in several genres, (Biblical, Historical, Contemporary and Fantasy) I’ve got you covered ! Plus you’ll get access to other great Christian Bookish Printables!

best fiction books christian

Best Selling Christian Fiction Books

According to the Amazon’s Best selling Christian Fiction Books list, here are a few highlighted Christian novels that are among the top choices as of the publication of this post:

The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, which is a series of letters between demons, filled with coaching strategies on how to cause the most damage among the humans. This one will probably always make the best selling Christian fiction lists!

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon, a contemporary retelling of the book of Esther. Review Here (Spoiler, it’s Great!)

The Circle Series by Ted Dekker, a 4 in 1 collection. This series of Christian novels has been highly recommended to me, and I’m looking forward to diving in.

Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt is another cozy mystery, about a college student turned crime scene cleaner who uncovers evidence the police missed… it’s a lot of fun, with a budding faith. To date, there are 16 Squeaky Clean Mysteries in this series.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, an American west historical novel based on the book of Hosea. If you don’t cry while reading it, and examine your heart, I’d be surprised! Thankfully, you’ll also laugh a lot while reading this, as with any of Francine Rivers’ Christian novels.

I have to say I like the best selling Christian fiction book list on Amazon , and check it out too often, both the top 100 free and paid! It’s a wonderfully dangerous tool for Christian bookworms!

Best Christian Fiction Books for Teens

If you’re looking for the best Christian fiction books for teens, here are a few I would suggest.

Lisa T Bergen’s River of Time series, both the one in Italy and the one in California . These are great Christian novels for girls who dream of adventure, but you’re not sure how they’d handle it if they actually found it.

No Space Like Home by Dell Tunnicliff is a fun Wizard of Oz allegory set in space. It’s remarkable how much fun I had with these young people! And my faith and compassion grew, too!

Dragons in Our Midst by Bryan Davis is a series of Christian fiction books for teens (and adults) who love a little bit of fantasy mixed with real adventure and spiritual warfare unmasked. Bryan Davis has a couple of other series of Christian novels they’d probably love too!

Susan Muira’s Healer is a contemporary story of a 17 year old girl who has to learn to trust God’s will, his timing, and his wisdom as she discovers an incredible gift. Learning to hold to the truth is a powerful skill for us all!

Melody Carlson and Melanie Dickerson are some more wonderful Christian fiction authors who write Christian fiction books for teens that we don’t have to worry about what they’re being taught.

The Best Christian Fiction Authors to add to your Must Read list

The Best Christian Fiction Authors to Put on your Must Read List

When building your library of Christian fiction books, these are the best Christian fiction authors to keep an eye out for.

As far as Biblical Fiction Authors , you want to keep your eye out for Lynn Austin . Her Chronicles of the Kings and Restoration Chronicles are powerful, offering perspective and hope throughout.

Christian fiction authors like Tessa Afshar , Mesu Andrews , Connilyn Cossette , and Jill Eileen Smith will captivate and encourage you while opening the scriptures for you to experience firsthand in their Biblical fiction accounts.

Some of the best Christian Historical fiction authors, in my opinion, are Lynn Austin again, Penelope J Stokes , Sarah Sundin , Tamara Alexander , Tracie Peterson and Laurine Snelling .

Contemporary Christian fiction books written by Hallee Bridgeman , Chautona Havig , Toni Shiloh , Carol Moncado , Sharon Srock , and Amanda Tru are awesome to read.

Christian Novels of the Suspense genre, if they’re written by Joel Rosenberg , Jerry B. Jenkins , Terri Blackstock , Alana Terry , Carrie Stuart Parks , Robin Caroll , and Ginny Ytrupp are fantastic. Intense, but not overwhelming.

And then of course, there are the classic Christian authors like CS Lewis , Laura Ingalls Wilder , and Charles M Sheldon . They may have been around a long time, but their Christian fiction books are still powerful, meaningful, and relatable today.

These talented Christian fiction writers know how to hook you, and point you to Jesus every step of the way.

best fiction books christian

Best Places to Find Affordable Christian Novels

  • Answers In Genesis
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What Are Your Favorite Christian Novels?

What are your favorite Christian novels? Did you find a new favorite here? I’d love to hear about it! Please comment, and help us grow this list! (and my TBR mountain!)

Christian novels have a tendency to lift my mood, carry me away for a bit of a break from reality, while preparing me to handle reality with a little more grace and compassion than I might have otherwise.

Time with God will do that, and this is one way I spend time with him. Another way is through short inspirational devotions like these. Or these fun women’s devotionals .

What are would you say makes the best Christian fiction books? Which Christian fiction authors are your favorites? And, just because it happens to be on a Best selling Christian fiction list, does that automatically mean it’s worth reading?

Until Next Time, Love God, Love Books, Shine The Light!!

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  • Christian Moms: 7 Best Books to Read When Pregnant

8 Comments on “21+ Best Christian Fiction Books To Read Now”

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Glad to find your site! Bookmarked it. I have too much time to read, so appreciate your thoughts and recommendations.

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You’re most welcome Carole, I love Christian books, reading and talking about them. Especially Christian fiction books.

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This looks like a great list. I will have to check some out soon. Thank you

Awesome! It’s always fun to discover new Christian fiction books and authors!

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I loved “Though None Go With Me” by Jerry B. Jenkins. Ive read it twice, even better the second time. How DOES a man get into a woman’s head like that. The main character is a girl (high school maybe) and by the end she is 80 or so. Its about how she lives her Christian faith throughout every stage of her life.

That is such a great Christian fiction book! It amazed me too!

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Check out Indie author Minnie Letcher on Amazon.

Thanks for the suggestion 🙂 I will do that. I love hearing about new to me Christian fiction books and authors!

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Kristi Woods

10 Top Christian Fiction Books to Read This Year

woman sitting on a bench reading a book, Christian blog post title overhead for top 10 Christian fiction books to read this year

Looking for a good Christian novel? How about a list of 10 top Christian fiction books to read this year? Here you go!

Best Christian Fiction Authors

This list of 10 Best Christian fiction books isn’t based on numbers, although included are a few best sellers and Christy award winners. It is comprised of some of the best Christian authors for Christian contemporary romance, along with a smattering of romantic suspense, women’s fiction, and a thriller, too.

So here goes. A reading list for you to take into the new year, into summer, to snuggle up with when it’s cold, and to consider for Christmas gift-giving this year.

Best Christian Fiction Books of All Time

What’s on your list of best Christian fiction books of all time? Are these on your list?

1. Pilgrim’s Progress

It’s by far, my favorite Christian fiction book of all time. If you haven’t read this religious allegory, penned in the late 1600’s–no, 1600’s isn’t a typo–then hurry out when you finish this post and grab a copy. I read the unabridged version, and the language was tough to understand. BUT, with a little time and determination, it was worth it. If you’re up for the task, grab an unabridged version, otherwise, look for an abridged copy. There’s also a children’s version. Several, honestly. We bought one years ago, and I read it often to our three kids. Quite enjoyable.

2. Redeeming Love

This is the only book on the list I haven’t read. Well, to be honest, I tried. And I’m probably the ONLY person in history that couldn’t get into and absolutely LOVE Redeeming Love . It’s on the list because a huge, happy crowd of people LOVES this book. And there are now several companion Christian non-fiction products as well.

3. The Shack

This one’s a bit controversial for some folks. It’s considered poor writing by some, while others don’t care for the depictions. Yet others, like me, call it an enjoyable read. The millions and millions it has sold indicate many in that category, too.

4. Love Comes Softly

Historical fiction isn’t my gig, BUT Love Comes Softly , a movie based on Jannette Oke’s novel of the same name, caused me to skip right down to the library and find the book. It piqued my curiosity about Chrisitan fiction after fifteen years of pure silence in the fiction reading arena.

Karen Kingsbury has sold a zillion books–or something like that. Most of those are based on the Baxter family. (They even have their own television series!) God used Karen Kingsbury to draw me back to fiction reading (after the fifteen-year, Holy Spirit-inspired hiatus mentioned earlier.) Her books nudged me into considering that I could write fiction. (That’s still a work in progress but getting there.) Karen has her own style of writing that stands out from all the rest. Good, clean reading with real-world issues at stake undermined by beautiful grace.

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10 Top Christian Fiction Books to Read

Here’s a list of more recent reads to add to your TBR (to be read) list, a few goodies from prior years and others that were released in 2021.

1. Before We Were Yours

Are there words to describe this dual timeline novel by Lisa Wingate , a story based on a true and horrifying reality in a Tennessee children’s home? Fantastic writing? Gripping? Not-to-put-down? Sad? Yes. All of these. This story contains a modern-day storyline as well as a historical one based two generations earlier.

My husband, sixteen-year-old son, and I listened to Before We Were Yours via audio. Did you catch that? A fifty-something woman, her HUSBAND, AND SIXTEEN-year old son listened together. Not many books could keep those three categories of people engaged, but this one did. I crown Before We Were Yours high on the list of my all-time favorite Christian fiction reads.

2. The Girl Behind the Red Rope

Written by father/daughter duo of Ted and Rachel Dekker , I was introduced to this one by a subscriber . Excellent suggestion, Linda! This fantastic thriller’s underlying theme grips readers in a good and godly way.

3. The Masterpiece

Most folks rave about Redeeming Love . (Read more about it near the beginning of this post.) My favorite Francine Rivers novel, however, is one my daughter, Beka, introduced me to. It’s The Masterpiece . This contemporary, well-written, and gripping story centers on the life of a graffiti artist and a woman who captures his attention. I loved this one! It’s well worth reading.

4. Bridge to Haven

Another Francine Rivers novel to read is Bridge to Haven . This one hovers between contemporary and slightly historic–a generation earlier.

5. The Water Keeper

Charles Martin writes novels threaded with detailed descriptions and deep characters that morph into these life-like figures without the reader realizing it. This novel, based on the character Murphy Shepherd, was released in 2020. The story catapults a redemption theme to the forefront amid human trafficking. The Letter Keeper , next in the series was released in 2021.

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6. Bookshop By The Sea

Each new Denise Hunter release is on my TBR list. They’re pure entertainment in the Christian thread versus a read deep on spiritual themes, but I find my brain needs a little simple escape from time to time. And Denise’s books do the trick.

7. Stay with Me

This novel by Becky Wade just won a Christy Award . As well it should have. Becky always writes a tender, sweet romance, but this one grabbed me. She handled a touchy subject that IS real in a gentle way. This is my favorite Becky Wade novel.

If you’re looking for Becky’s 2021 release, check out my review of Let It Be Me here .

Books for Writers title overtop a stack of books

8. Love and the Silver Lining

While perusing my GoodReads feed one day, I noticed a slew of 5-star ratings for this recent release by Tammy L. Gray. I’d never heard of the author, but by the looks of things, her novel must be good. So I added it to my TBR list.

That assumption was spot-on.

This book IS SO GOOD! Be forewarned, though, that it’s book #2 in her series. Love and a Little White Lie is #1. I recommend it as well. Tammy’s a keeper of a novelist, and her new releases will be on my list for a long time to come.

9. The Writing Desk

This is, so far, my all-time favorite from Rachel Hauck . I fell in love with her writing amid the pages of this novel. If you haven’t read any of her work, try this one out. You might fall in love, too. It was published in 2017 with much acclaim and fantastic reviews. Look for newer Rachel Hauck releases as well.

10. All That Really Matters

Nicole Deese is a new-to-me author this year–and now a new favorite. And guess what? She’s writing buddies with Tammy L. Gray and another beloved writer I follow, Amy Matayo . Isn’t that fun? (EDIT 7/28/23 The latest of Amy’s books appear to fit more in the secular market.) )

You’ll likely smile, laugh, and devour this story in no time. All That Really Matters is a fantastic read–for you or as a gift. (And the cover’s pretty, too!) Be assured, I’ll be reading more of Nicole’s work, and I hope you do too.

Don’t Miss These Christian Fiction and Faith Posts

  • 10 Not-to-Miss Female Christian Fiction Authors
  • 10 Fantastic Christian Fiction Books to Read this Summer
  • Grab this Free Christian Planner Now

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of 10 top Christian fiction books to read. What are your favorite Christian novels? Let us know in the comments below.

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100 Best Christian Books of All Time

  • G. Connor Salter SEO Editor
  • Updated Sep 08, 2023

100 Best Christian Books of All Time

It’s easy to decide what Christian book to read next. Something recently released? A revered classic easily found at the library?

While many books’ reputations come and go, the following list looks at many revered Christian classics—and a few recent books that are on their way to being considered classics. From theology to devotionals to fiction, they nourish different spiritual needs and interests, always bringing something substantial to their readers.

Further Reading: 100 Christian Novels You Have Not Read Yet

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glasses on top of book pile to illusrate best christian devotional books of all time

10 Best Devotional Books of All Time

Whether it’s a meditation on a Bible verse or a broad spiritual theme, a devotional can be a great way to refocus on God and contemplate the next steps in our spiritual journey. These devotional classics include anthologies of classic spiritual writings and themed collections crafted by a single author. Each provides something thought-provoking and practical for living the spiritual life.

1. Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman

2. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

3. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

4. Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

5. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas á Kempis

6. Daily in His Presence by Andrew Murray

7. Devotional Classics edited by James Bryan Smith and Richard Foster

8. Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen

9. The Little Way for Every Day by Thérèse of Lisieux edited and translated by Francis Boome

10. Life in the Spirit by J.I. Packer

Further Reading: Classic Devotionals

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A stack of books, best christian books of all time theology books

10 Best Theology Books of All Time

Theology, the study of God, is a broad term covering all kinds of religious subtopics—from the theory of Christ’s atonement to becoming one of Christ’s disciples. For variety, these books include theological studies and books about practicing theology (getting closer to God through spiritual development).

1.  The City of God by Augustine

2. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

3. A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin, edited by Buck Parsons and Aaron Denlinger

4. Knowing God by J.I. Packer

5. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

6. The Glory of Christ by John Owen

7. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson

8. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

9. Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas

10. The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

Further Reading: 50 Best Christian Books for Deeper Learning

Photo Credit: Prateek Katyal/Unsplash

A stack of books, best christian novels of all time

10 Best Christian Novels of All Time

Sometimes, a well-told story communicates spiritual themes in ways that will fall flat in an essay or explanation. Some of these novels explore Christian characters undergoing struggles. Others feature non-Christians grappling with what they believe about the spiritual world. Each presents an engaging story with insights well worth pondering.

1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

2. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

3. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

4. Godric by Frederick Buechner

5. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

6. The Dry Wood by Caryll Houselander

7.  Silence by Shūsaku Endō

8. Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

9. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace

10. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Further Reading: 10 Novels That Will Shape Your Theology

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man reading books, best christian books of all time books on preaching

10 Best Books on Preaching of All Time

Whether churches meet in people’s homes or packed auditoriums, follow a liturgical tradition that emphasizes the sacraments or a lower church denomination that emphasizes the pulpit, preaching plays a crucial role in Christian gatherings. These books look at many aspects of preaching, from the practical tools to the clergy’s common spiritual struggles.

1. Preaching and Preachers by Martin Lloyd-Jones

2. Between Two Worlds by John R.W. Stott

3. The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards

4. Simplicity in Preaching by J.C. Ryle

5. The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges

6. The Joy of Preaching by Phillip Brooks

7. Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon

8. Expository Exultation by John Piper

9. Saving Eutychus by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell

10. Preaching by Calvin Miller

Further Reading: Celebrating Pastor Appreciation Day and Clergy

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Flowers and book of poetry

10 Best Christian Poetry Books of All Time

Poems may explore feelings or tell a fully developed story. Either way, their vivid language allows them to explore ideas that novels or plays can’t access in the same way. These poets explore different ideas—from the adventures of King Arthur to the fall of Satan—but each brings skill and flair to their subjects.

1. Paradise Lost by John Milton

2. The Divine Comedy by Dante

3. The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser

4. Diary of an Old Soul by George MacDonald

5. Taleissin Through Logres by Charles Williams

6. Endless Life: Poems of the Mystics  edited by Scott Cairns

7. Goblin Market and Other Poem s by Christina Rossetti

8. Holy Sonnets by John Donne

9. The Book of Hours by Rainer Maria Rilke

10. The Singer by Calvin Miller

Further Reading : 7 Christian Women Poets You Need to Know About

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Library full of books best christian books of all time

10 Best Apologetics Books of All Time

Apologetics takes the challenge to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” ( 1 Peter 3:15 ). Some apologists focus on how Christianity functions as a worldview. Others look at the circumstances of Jesus ’ life to make a case that he was who he said he was. Others focus on dismantling arguments by outsiders. These classic works show the many approaches that apologists can take and the classic techniques or arguments that appear no matter which approach apologists use.

1. Against Heresies by Irenaeus of Lyons

2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

3. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

4. The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

5. The God Who Is There by Francis Schaeffer

6. Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace

7. Finding Truth by Nancy Pearcy

8. Christian Apologetics by Cornelius Van Til

9. Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy L. Sayers

10. Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen

Further Reading: Why Should Christians Study Apologetics?

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woman performing on stage, best christian dramas of all time

10 Best Christian Dramas of All Time

Novels and poems tell certain kinds of stories very well. Theater introduces new elements—the performers’ energy, the crackling dialogue—making it possible to tell other kinds of stories and reach audiences in different plays. From religious plays like the Oberammergau Passion Play to historical plays like The Hiding Place , these acclaimed plays explore various religious themes in compelling ways.

1. Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot

2. The Man Who Would Be King by Dorothy L. Sayers

3. A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt

4. Everyman by Anonymous

5. The Surprise by G.K. Chesterton

6. The Zeal of Thy House by Dorothy L. Sayers

7. The York Mystery Plays by Anonymous

8. Shakeshafte by Rowan Williams

9. Becket by Jean Anouilh

10. Thomas Cramner of Canterbury by Charles Williams

Further Reading: Dorothy L. Sayers’ The Man Who Would Be King

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Stack of books, best christian biographies of all time

10 Best Christian Biographies of All Time

Biographies provide a window into the lives of Christians who have done exceptional things, showing the trials they faced and the values that motivated them to overcome great odds. These biographies cover a variety of figures, from missionaries to theologians to artists.

1.  Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliott

2. Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby by Edith L. Blumhofer

3. Strange Glory: The Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Charles Marsh

4. Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden

5. To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson by Courtney Anderson

6. Augustine of Hippo by Peter Brown

7. Susanna: The Mother of John and Charles Wesley by Arnold A. Dallimore

8.  Here I Stand: The Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton

9.  Anne Bradstreet: Pilgrim & Poet by Faith Cook

10.  The Life of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards

Further Reading: 100 Good Christian Books You Should Read Soon

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open book with fairyland coming out of it, best christian speculative fiction books of all time

10 Best Christian Speculative Fiction Books of All Time

While realistic novels can explore many compelling Christian themes, some ideas are best explored in “speculative fiction,” a broad term for anything with otherworldly elements. These books may be considered fantasy, science fiction, horror, or fit between those labels. They have a much longer history than some readers may realize— pastor-turned-author Mike Duran notes that the earliest version of what we would call Christian fiction (books like Pilgrim’s Progress and Dante’s Inferno ) were speculative fiction stories.

Here are some of the best speculative fiction stories that explore spiritual ideas. The list includes a little of all three major speculative fiction genres.

1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

2. The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf

3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

5. Whalesong by Robert Siegel

6. The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr.

7. Ingathering: The Complete People Stories by Zenna Henderson

8. Old House of Fear by Russell Kirk

9. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

10. Shardik by Richard Adams

Further Reading: 15 Classic Christian Fantasy Books for Kids and Adults

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10 Best Christian Memoirs and Autobiographies of All Time

While biographies provide a great overview of Christians’ lives, different insights come when they tell their life stories themselves. These books include autobiographies (which cover the subjects’ entire lives) and memoirs (which look at specific periods or subjects within the writer’s life).

1. Confessions by Augustine

2. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

3. Brother to a Dragonfly by William Davis Campbell

4. Joni: An Unforgettable Story by Joni Eareckson Tada

5. The Autobiography of George Müller by George Müller

6. God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill

7. Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose

8. Chronicles of Wasted Time by Malcolm Muggeridge

9. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

10. The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner

Further Reading: 6 Keys to Writing Your Spiritual Memoir

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Viorika

Connor Salter

best fiction books christian

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best fiction books christian

Aminata Coote

21 Brand-New Releases in Christian Fiction: September 2023

Here are some new releases in Christian fiction. These books will release in September 2023. I’m sure you’ll find one or two (or half a dozen) to add to your TBR list.

There I Find Love, by Jessie Gussman (September 5)

Table of Contents

Clara Landry hates her job. When her boss informs her she needs to transfer to The Cities from her office at Lake Michigan she decides it’s a good time to quit and to start her dream business selling her art at a small artisan shop in Strawberry Sands. The decision would be a no-brainer, except she’s been in love with her boss for years. But he doesn’t know and wouldn’t be interested in her. Getting out is the best choice.

Alexander Hudson has become a ultra successful businessman, making millions with his investments and shrewd business sense. He pretty much raised himself since his parents were in and out of his life. He determined at a young age to “make something of himself” and break the cycle. What he’s found is that he’s not any happier at the top than he was while he was on the bottom. The one ray of sunshine in his life is his administrative assistant, Clara Landry, and she’s just informed him that she’s quitting.

Alexander doesn’t want to lose her.

So he follows her to Strawberry Sands, and what he finds there will change his life forever.

Could it be love?

A Counterfeit Betrothal, by Denise Weimer (September 5)

A frontier scout, a healing widow, and a desperate fight for peace.

At the farthest Georgia outpost this side of hostile Creek Territory in 1813, Jared Lockridge serves his country as a scout to redeem his father’s botched heritage. If he can help secure peace against Indians allied to the British, he can bring his betrothed to the home he’s building and open his cabinetry shop. Then he comes across a burning cabin and a traumatized woman just widowed by a fatal shot.

Freed from a cruel marriage, Esther Andrews agrees to winter at the Lockridge homestead to help Jared’s pregnant sister-in-law. Lame in one foot, Esther has always known she is secondhand goods, but the gentle carpenter-turned-scout draws her heart with as much skill as he creates furniture from wood. His family’s love offers hope even as violence erupts along the frontier—and Jared’s investigation into local incidents brings danger to their doorstep. Yet how could Esther ever hope a loyal man like Jared would choose her over a fine lady?

All’s Fair in Love and Christmas, by Sarah Monzon (September 5)

Two workplace rivals. One festive competition. And a romance that upends it all.

Every December two things are guaranteed for graphic designer Mackenzie Graham–Christmas celebrations and the annual promotion at her workplace. Those two things are by no means mutually exclusive. In fact, the better an employee is at harnessing the Christmas spirit, the more likely they’ll win the new job. With her social anxiety, Mackenzie never thought she’d be a contender in her company’s holiday competition, so how exactly has she found herself dueling her workplace crush with wrapping paper tubes and using tinsel as her weapon of choice for a much-needed raise?

Jeremy Fletcher’s life is meticulously planned out, including how to win this year’s promotion at work. Not only will the new position fulfill some of his career goals, but as a single guardian to his twin niece and nephew, he needs the salary increase to support his family. Jeremy has barely noticed Mackenzie Graham around the office, but now that she’s his rival, he can’t stop thinking about her. Her quirkiness intrigues him, and he’s afraid that if he can’t get his head on straight, the promotion isn’t the only thing he’ll end up losing to Mackenzie.

You Make It Feel like Christmas,by Toni Shiloh (September 5)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year–for everyone except Starr Lewis.

As if going home for the holidays jobless and single wasn’t bad enough, she’s dragged into a holiday season full of activities leading up to her sister’s uber-romantic Christmas Eve wedding–to Starr’s ex-boyfriend. But when her brother’s best friend, Waylon Emmerson, attends their family Thanksgiving, she starts to wonder if maybe coming home for Christmas isn’t so bad after all.

As Starr finds the perfect distraction in helping Waylon make over his late mother’s Christmas shop, the most wonderful time of the year works its magic and the spark between them grows. But with the holidays fast approaching, Starr must decide what she wants out of life after the gifts are unwrapped and the ornaments are put away–to go back to New York City or to open her heart to a love that will last beyond Christmas Day?

Luke, by Liz Isaacson (September 5)

He swore off women when his ex told him he might not be their daughter’s father. But a paternity test confirmed he is, and Luke Young has dedicated his life to Corrine and his brothers’ band. There hasn’t been time for a girlfriend anyway. He’s tried here and there, and the women in small-town Coral Canyon are certainly interested in him.

But he’s been thinking about his massage therapist for a while now…

Sterling Boyd struck out on her own last year, right when Luke asks her to go on tour with him. So she says no, and they begin a delicate dance around their feelings for one another. She’s desperate to prove to the haters at her former spa that she’s capable, that she’s worthy, that she’s visible.

The problem is, no one has ever seen her before.

Until Luke. He can’t get her out of his head, and when she shows up at the Young Family New Year’s Eve party, the whole night takes a turn for the better. And when his parents play their silly kissing song, Sterling is the blonde bombshell right in front of him.

She’s panicking, because she’s just told Luke’s nephew that they’re dating, so he won’t set Luke up with a friend of his. And when that song plays…Sterling tips up and kisses Luke right on the mouth.

Now that real feelings are out, the sparks between Luke and Sterling are hotter than ever. Will Luke’s status as a single dad and local celebrity put too much strain on their new relationship? Or will they find that taking a risk on each other is worth it to find belonging and true love?

Meet the next Young brother and continue the family saga in this clean, Christian, single dad cowboy romance by USA Today and Top 10 Kindle All-Star author Liz Isaacson!

Expired Vows, by Lisa Phillips, Laura Conaway (September 12)

Fire. Family. Faith. Last Chance Fire and Rescue

She sees the promise of freedom. He vowed to always be the hero.

EMT Trace Bently came back to Last Chance County to escape his past. After the loss of his wife, he gave up a promising career as a police officer for the chance to save lives every day as part of the Fire Department. When a hostage situation demands the help of a local counselor, Trace realizes the past he left behind has found him. He’s being given a second chance to save the life of someone he cares about.

If he can face the grief he buried.

Family Counselor Kelsey Scott has to secure this grant or admit failure. She can’t afford to lose any more pieces of the life she wants because of her own choices. When Kelsey becomes the target of a series of dangerous attacks, Trace steps in determined to protect his wife’s best friend. This hero breaks down all her resistance, but Kelsey can’t risk her own heart.

Even if it’s what will set them both free.

Cowboy’s Christmas Librarian, by Clara Pines (September 12)

They’ve got nothing in common but a little girl who needs a special holiday…

Logan Williams works hard, plays harder, and doesn’t care if he’s got a reputation for being rebellious. After all, growing up as part of a great big family on the rambling acres of their beloved farm, he’s never had to worry much about what anyone else thinks.

But when his out-of-town brother asks him to take care of his daughter for a couple of months, Logan decides it’s worth slowing down his after-work activities to get time with his irresistible niece.

Caroline Bard adores being the children’s librarian at Trinity Falls Community Library. With her dream job, a little apartment in town, and her parents nearby, Caroline sometimes wonders if any one person could ever deserve so much happiness.

But when a tragedy rocks her world, she finds comfort with the unlikeliest of people.

She had a crush on Logan Williams back in high school, but never thought the athletic farm boy with the rakish smile would become a regular at the community library, let alone take it upon himself to put the magic back in the holidays for her. The bond she forms with his brilliant young niece becomes a bridge between them, and she begins to see a side of Logan the rest of the world doesn’t seem to know about.

But when push comes to shove, can a man like Logan really reform his ways enough to win the heart of a woman like Caroline?

And even if he does, will he be able to get Caroline’s nose out of her book long enough to notice?

Trinity Falls Sweet Romance is all about finding family – one clean & wholesome romance at a time.

From a widower discovering he has feelings for his kids’ nanny, to a soldier finding out about a secret baby, to a single dad falling in love with his child’s preschool teacher, you’ll lose yourself in these feel-good books celebrating love, family, and the very special small town community of Trinity Falls.

All They Loved, by Rhonda McKnight (September 14)

Leela Ingram is starting over after her divorce from her cheating husband. She’s relocated and lucked into a great career as an event planner. Leela is determined to be successful at maintaining and elevating her new business. She’s focused until she meets television executive, Kiefer Bennett, whose charm, and down-to-earth personality are hard to resist.

Kiefer is overwhelmed by his new position as VP of programming for Bennett Television. Conversations with Leela are a distraction he needs. When he finds out she’s burdened by financial struggles Kiefer proposes a unique arrangement that includes Leela working for him part time and dog sitting while he travels for business. Their professional relationship soon evolves into something more, as Kiefer needs her in ways that consume not only her heart, but her time.

Love is inevitable, but will their romance have a chance once someone from Leela’s past resurfaces, and Kiefer’s insecurities and a complex secret he’s been keeping becomes known.

Cowboy Blind Date Mix-Up for Christmas, by Jo Grafford (September 15)

All she wants for Christmas is one perfect holi-date, not a calendar mix-up between two tall, dark, Texas cowboys — both claiming to be her blind date!

Everyone assumes trick rider Christie Hart has it all. The truth is her rapid rise to fame has left her exhausted inside and out. So when a position at a small-town rodeo opens up, she jumps at the chance to slow the pace a little. And go on a few blind dates. Not on the same evening, of course! And one of them is most definitely NOT supposed to be with Wes Wakefield:

  • Her best friend’s stepbrother.
  • Someone she’s been daydreaming about for years.
  • A guy who doesn’t immediately connect her to the quiet, shy, plus-sized version of her from their first encounter.

Should she play it safe with the blind date she’s never met? Or explore her secret crush on a guy who doesn’t even remember her?

Buy Cowboy Blind Date Mix-Up for Christmas to laugh and sigh your way through this clean and wholesome holi-dating disaster today!

Forever After All, by Mandi Blake (September 17)

He’s stranded with his best friend. Is it a chance for love, or will a threat from his past steal their happy ending?

Jess Patton is blunt, but there’s one person who never bats an eye when she speaks her mind. When that same man rescues her from a bad blind date, her rapidly beating heart is impossible to ignore. Suddenly, she’s second-guessing everything she knows about him.

After everything he’s seen and done, Lincoln North knows he doesn’t deserve a woman like Jess. Not only is she gorgeous, but she doesn’t play games, and being around her is as easy as breathing. She’s also the only woman who has ever made him wish he were a better man, so watching her try to find love with anyone but him might just be the death of him.

In a twist of fate Linc never saw coming, they wind up stranded together in a mountain cabin. As Jess starts to see Linc in a whole new light, he’s tempted to believe he might have a shot at happiness with her.

But Linc’s past is as dark as midnight, and it’s waiting for him back at the ranch. Linc and Jess have more than a storm standing between them and their happily ever after. Will they weather it together, or will he be forced to push her away to keep her safe?

Forever After All is a sweet friends to more redemption romance and the sixth book in the Wolf Creek Ranch series.

Embracing the Life, by Rachael C. Duncan (September 19)

Get carried away by the captivating display of unwavering faith and strength in this compelling tale of the transformative power of God’s love.

Tabitha, a courageous young widow, sets out on a mission to share the message of Jesus Christ with her sceptical uncle, Joram, in the ancient seaport town of Joppa, when—despite Joram’s bitterness and sarcasm—her unwavering faith and infectious joy touch the lives of those around her.

In another corner of the world, newlyweds Kelila and Philip embrace their missionary calling as they arrive in the village of Sychar. But when Kelila’s dreams of a peaceful life clash with Philip’s sacred purpose, she’s led to a path of self-discovery and surrender, where she must learn to let go of her own desires and embrace the greater plan that God has in store for her.

In Jerusalem, Mary struggles with her beloved son as he begins to drift further and further from their faith. Concerned he is far more interested in the pursuit of fleeting pleasures than the way of everlasting life, Mary must put her faith in the Lord and pray for guidance.

Embracing the Life is an inspiring tale of divine plans, unwavering faith, and the power of hope amidst religious upheaval and the sinister forces of darkness seeking to destroy the light of truth.

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Redemption in the Wilderness, by Andrea Byrd (September 19)

Two sisters alone on the Kentucky frontier…love is the last thing they expect to find.

After the death of their parents during the Hard Winter, Margaret and her sister have struggled to survive. Between her mother’s dying wish that Margaret protect her sister, and the nagging sensation that they are not alone, guilt and worry are her constant companions. And if someone is following them, is their watcher friend or foe?

Henry Donegal can’t afford roots, not with the pain and guilt of the life he’s left behind, or the memory of the drink that once threatened to consume him. But his solitary life as a long hunter in the wilds of Kentucky finds a new path when he happens upon a young woman digging a grave for her own mother. Unable to pull himself away when he realizes that she and her sister are on their own, he begins to provide anonymous aid. But when the women truly need him, can he risk leaving his solitary life behind to step in and fill the void?

No Safe Place, by Barbara Ellen Brink (September 20)

An acclaimed mystery writer finds her words brought frighteningly to life…

After her fiancé is violently murdered walking home from the gym one night, celebrated author L.E. Stanfield flees the crime-ridden city of Minneapolis to settle in the comparative safety of smalltown rural Wisconsin. Dealing with agoraphobia and a crisis of faith related to her grief, she lives in a gated, computerized, smart home where she feels safe from the outside world, locked inside by debilitating fear and anger at God, isolated and alone.

When her New York editor is killed in a traffic accident, the publisher quickly assigns a new editor to help meet the deadline on her novel. Carson Scott is handsome, smart, and easy to work with, and she quickly connects with him online, but is there more to his story than meets the eye?

Living under her real name and never leaving the house, no one in town could possibly connect Liya Sharapova to her non-de-plume. But someone has hacked her security system and is busy turning her safe place into a living nightmare by using scenes from her own work-in-progress.

Will Liya release her death grip on the need to control and protect her life and let God transform the ashes of her past into a future ripe with promise?

A psychological Christian thriller with page turning tension in every chapter right up to the surprising twist that you won’t see coming.

King of the Crown Imperials: Inspired by the Story of Queen Esther, by Joanna Alonzo (September 23)

Danger lurks everywhere. No one needs to know. She’s a beautiful diversion. Time to put on a show.

A royal internship in the island country of Ancoria is the perfect way for Vivienne to end her year-long journey across the world. She gets more adventure than she bargains for when the internship requires her to pretend to be the prince’s fiancée.

With two spies missing and rumors of war spreading across the kingdom, the last thing Philip wants is to figure out his love life. A chance encounter with his cousin’s best friend draws the nation’s fascination and provides the perfect distraction to buy him time to protect his throne, family, and country.

Will their farce of an engagement succeed in shielding the kingdom from its enemies? Or will the lies reduce their faith, love, and country to ashes?

The Realtor’s Attendant, by Rose Fresquez (September 25)

She’s escaping an arranged marriage. He’s recovering from a disastrous wedding. When sparks fly between them, will they brave a second chance at love?

Touted as the ideal daughter, Hope Njeri chafes under her dad’s strict rule and dreams of discovering who she is beyond his influence and traveling the world beyond his threshold. So, when he tries to pressure her into an arranged marriage, she flees Kenya for Uganda, determined to become the woman she’s always kept hidden. Even if that means working around the clock as a hotel maid and putting up with her overly critical boss.

After being left at the altar, small-town Realtor Gavin Kress jumps at the opportunity to spend a year in Uganda doing charity work. Maybe some distance from his ex will help him heal. Dating is the last thing on his mind—until the beautiful Hope stumbles into his life and restarts his heart.

When he witnesses her boss verbally harass her, Gavin steps in to help—and gets her fired. With no other options, she accepts his offer to work with his charity organization. But as their feelings blossom, Hope and Gavin must decide how hard they’re willing to fight for true love—especially when they travel back to his small town and his ex wants a second chance.

Gavin’s let a woman walk away before, and Hope’s always let everything get taken away from her. But this time, can Gavin trust the woman he loves isn’t going to walk out? And if Hope fights for the love of her life, can she stand up to his parents who aren’t fond of her?

This is the seventh standalone book in the caregiver series. Each book can be read in any order.

A Companion for Christmas, by Lee Tobin McClain (September 26)

A family secret…

Could be an unexpected Christmas gift.

To escape the small-town gossip around her broken engagement, Kelly Walsh plans to house-sit alone with her therapy dog, Pokey—not spend the holidays with her late sister’s ex-boyfriend. But when Alec Wilkins and his daughter arrive on her doorstep, Kelly can’t turn them away. Soon the temporary arrangement has Kelly wishing for more. Only, Alec has a secret that could change everything…

The Prodigal Prince, by Carol Moncado (September 26)

She’s an actress and model contemplating obscurity. He’s a prince avoiding his responsibilities. Will shared trauma bring them together?

Fiona Westgate has been called many things.

Model Actress Single Mom

But no one ever calls her helpless.

Until the day she gets a message:

We’ve got your kid.

Desperation drives her to Islas del Sargasso where she hopes the royal family will come through for her.

Even if their errant prince never told them he had a child.

News of the kidnapping sends members of at least four royal families into crisis mode. How can they ensure the safe return while bringing those accountable to justice?

Tentacles of a villain long-thought dead spring to life as the journey takes them deep into family lore – and uncovers secrets best kept buried.

The revelations could tear the Sargassian family – and their people – apart or the truth can prove once and for all that family, even royal family, is far more than genetics.

When it does, will he stay and take responsibility or will he once again become the prodigal prince?

Hunted at Christmas ,by Dana R. Lynn (September 26)

Wanted by a bounty hunter.

Chased by a killer.

When single mother Addison Johnson is attacked by a hit man, she learns there’s a price on her head. And Isaiah Bender—the bounty hunter hired to track her down for crimes she didn’t commit—is her only hope for survival. Protecting Addison and her young son from armed assailants means seeking refuge in Amish country. But when their holiday hideout is discovered, can he clear an innocent woman’s name and keep her alive?

Rescuing the Stolen Child, by Connie Queen (September 26)

Time is running out…

and a child’s life is on the line

When Lieutenant Texas Ranger Zane Adcock is attacked, he learns two shocking things: his estranged daughter has a son…and his grandson has been taken. The desperate kidnapper needs Zane to investigate an old murder case, and little Wyatt is his leverage. Zane, with help from his ex-fiancée, Bliss Walker, has days to clear a wrongly convicted inmate—or his grandson will pay the price.

Christmas Bells and Wedding Vows, by Jody Hedlund, Lacy Williams, Misty M. Beller (September 26)

From bestselling and award-winning authors, experience Christmas on the rugged western frontier with three novellas filled with unforgettable adventures, enduring romance, and the timeless message of hope found in the Savior’s birth.

Claiming the Cowgirl by Jody Hedlund Serena Taylor is hiding in Colorado’s high country to keep her son safe, and she knows the best way to protect him is by marrying again and giving him a father. Weston Oakley needs a wife by Christmas to placate his meddling family, but after being spurned one too many times in love, he’s reluctant to give his heart away again. When they agree on a marriage of convenience, both of them get much more than they bargained for.

Doctor’s Snowflake Bride by Lacy Williams Minnie steps off the train ready to become a mail-order bride, but she finds the well-dressed man waiting for her isn’t her intended husband. The protective oath Jed took when he became a doctor doesn’t cover stranded women, but he can’t leave the beautiful stranger alone in a building blizzard two days before Christmas. When circumstances force them into close proximity, Jed and Minnie find that their growing feelings aren’t convenient at all.

Marrying the Mountain Man’s Best Friend by Misty M. Beller Two Stones, a Salish warrior accustomed to navigating between tribes and miners, unexpectedly finds himself summoned to the side of a dying friend in Virginia City. Sworn to honor the miner’s last wish, Two Stones agrees to marry his daughter, Heidi, but plans to take her to live with his parents. He’ll provide all her needs, make sure she’s safe, and visit her on occasion when his path leads him that direction.

As they set out on the journey, their path is fraught with challenges that defy Two Stones’ plans and reveal a surprising depth to Heidi’s character. As they near the end of their trail and join the Christmas festivities at the Coulter Ranch, Two Stones begins to realize this inconvenient marriage might really be a Christmas gift he’ll always treasure.

The Police Chief and the Musician, by Cami Checketts (September 27)

A sweetheart musician pursued by a psycho; a police chief sworn to protect her. Love can’t factor into the equation.

Livvy Moser has been a target of a demented man for over five years. When he’s released from prison her only chance is to let down her guard and turn to Chief Jensen. If only she can keep her feelings for Jensen buried.

Chief Jensen Allendale has loved Livvy Moser from the moment he met her. With her life on the line he’s had to keep his distance emotionally to protect her from being a target for Treven Rindlesbacher. Now he has to protect her from Treven. His longing for her cannot be revealed.

Will Jensen keep Livvy safe or will he only lose his heart?

Don’t miss this new clean romantic suspense series by USA Today Bestselling Author Cami Checketts.

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10 books to help you understand Israel and Palestine, recommended by experts

best fiction books christian

VC Fellow, La Trobe University

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Kronhill Senior Lecturer in East European Jewish History, Monash University

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Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory, The University of Melbourne

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Research Scholar, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University

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Associate Professor in Modern European History and Jewish History, UNSW Sydney

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Senior Lecturer, Macquarie School of Social Sciences, Macquarie University

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Lecturer, History of Ideas, Trinity College, The University of Melbourne

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Senior Lecturer in English and Literary Studies, The University of Western Australia

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Affiliate Researcher, The Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University

Disclosure statement

Dennis Altman received a small ARC grant forty years ago to research the Israel/Palestine debate within the National Union of Australian University Students

Jan Lanicek receives funding from ARC. He is a co-president of the Australian Association for Jewish Studies.

Jumana Bayeh has received funding from the ARC. She is a board member of Arab Theatre Studio.

Ran Porat is a Research Associate for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) and receives funding from this organisation.

Daniel Heller, Ghassan Hage, Ian Parmeter, Micaela Sahhar, and Ned Curthoys do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Monash University , University of Melbourne , and University of Western Australia provide funding as founding partners of The Conversation AU.

La Trobe University , Macquarie University , UNSW Sydney , and Australian National University provide funding as members of The Conversation AU.

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Apeirogon/The Age of Coexistence

  • Recommended by Ghassan Hage, Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory, University of Melbourne

I recommend two much-needed books in the present time. Despite the Gaza massacres seemingly planting the seeds of endless future hatred, the future of Palestine/Israel can only be a future of togetherness.

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These two very different books provide elements for thinking about such togetherness. The first is Apeirogon by Colum McCann. It is about a Palestinian and an Israeli whose daughters have been killed by the enemy other, who struggle to find a way towards peace. One can easily trivialise such an endeavour if one forgets the colonial history and the power relations that locate each father differently within Palestine/Israel. This book doesn’t.

The second book is  The Age of Coexistence  by Ussama Makdisi. This book reminds us that before the modern advent of the ethnonationalist fantasy, Palestine was the home of an indigenous form of religious coexistence, which Makdisi calls the “ecumenical frame”. This offers us an important, realistic resource for thinking about future togetherness.

Rethinking the Holocaust

  • Recommended by Jan Lanicek, associate professor in Modern European History and Jewish History, UNSW

One of the most intriguing historical questions about the origins of the conflict – oft-debated and oft-misunderstood, is the relation between the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel.

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In his book, Rethinking the Holocaust , the eminent Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer offers a balanced perspective on the 1947 vote in the United Nations that approved the partition of British Mandate Palestine and creation of separate Jewish and Arab states.

Bauer’s contribution will be of interest to those who want to learn about the international climate that surrounded the key moments in the origins of the conflict. On the eve of the Cold War (in the turbulent environment after the second world war), an unlikely alliance between the United States and the emerging socialist bloc under Stalin’s Soviet Union helped to secure the necessary majority in the United Nations, setting the international stage of the conflict for decades to come.

Did the world feel guilty about the Jewish tragedy? Bauer says no. Both sides followed geopolitical considerations. The United States wanted to solve the problem of Holocaust survivors scattered over displaced persons camps in occupied Germany, and Stalin hoped Israel would become a communist state.

The considerations to support the aspiration of Jewish people were purely political.

The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonial Conquest & Resistance, 1917–2017

  • Recommended by Jumana Bayeh, associate professor in the Faculty of Arts at Macquarie University

Across his academic career, historian Rashid Khalidi has brought to his readers the wilfully suppressed Palestinian and Arab view – ignored not just by US policy makers, but much of the West in general. His work reaches audiences beyond the academic world and fills a gap in our knowledge.

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This is the case in his recent book, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonial Conquest & Resistance, 1917–2017 . This particular text is different: it tackles the issue of Israel’s control of the narrative of its own establishment by silencing, even erasing, the Palestinian narrative.

This book will be compelling for those largely unfamiliar with the history of Palestine, due to Khalidi’s use of reflections and anecdotes from his own storied Palestinian family. These reflections underpin the text’s core claim, which most Israelis reject – that their state was established through colonial conquest and is today an ongoing project of settler colonial violence.

Year Zero of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1929

  • Recommended by Ran Porat, affiliate researcher, The Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University

Despite his Jewish religious background, as a teenager Israeli historian Hillel Cohen taught himself Arabic while wandering around Palestinian villages near Jerusalem. He is unique in highlighting forgotten and overlooked aspects of the conflict, writing about Arabs who cooperated with the Zionists (“Army of Shadows”) and about the military rule over Arabs in Israel (1948-66) (“Good Arabs”).

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Year Zero of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1929 investigates the 1929 violent riots during which Arabs killed 133 Jews in mandatory Palestine. Almost a century later, Cohen sifted through never-accessed documents and uniquely uncovered a trove of insights, interviewing elderly Israelis and Palestinians, descendants of those who were alive at that time.

The book explains why, after 1929, Jews realised Arabs will forever reject the Zionist dream to have their own state – the root cause of the conflict, which continues today. Cohen also explains the rationale for this Palestinian view of Zionism.

The Crisis of Zionism

  • Recommended by Dennis Altman, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, Latrobe University

Mainstream Australian Jewish organisations appear unanimous in their support of the current Israeli government. The Crisis of Zionism speaks for the many Jews who believe only fundamental shifts in Israel’s policies can bring peace.

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Given the brutality of Hamas and the upsurge of antisemitism, Jews today feel particularly vulnerable. But Beinart recognises that it is Palestinians who are the victims, trapped between Israeli occupation and groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Beinart is an American Jew with close connections to both Israelis and Palestinians. He has become increasingly sceptical of the call for a two-state solution, which was the basis of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Yet as Beinart makes clear, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently worked against any realistic two-state solution.

Beinart wrote this book during the Obama Presidency; there is very useful background to the pressures now facing President Biden.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know

  • Recommended by Daniel Heller, Kronhill senior lecturer in East European Jewish History, Monash University

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I would recommend Dov Waxman, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know . This is a highly readable, engaging and accessible account of the origins of the conflict and the reasons it has proven so difficult to solve.

The book explains key events, examines core issues, and presents competing claims and narratives of both sides. Waxman also offers a range of Israeli and Palestinian perspectives, showing readers that there is no one Israeli or Palestinian view of the conflict, and that this very diversity of views is one of the reasons this conflict has proven so intractable.

  • Recommended by Ian Parmeter, Research Scholar, Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University

I read The Arabs , by Anthony Nutting, during my first year living in the Middle East – in Cairo – in 1977 and I return to it regularly. A one-time Conservative MP, he was also Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and a confirmed “Arabist”. Like a number of others of his ilk, he resigned from the Foreign Office in protest over Britain’s inglorious role in the 1956 Suez crisis. The Arabs was published in 1964, so it does not cover developments in the past 50 years, but it provides the context of these events.

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Nutting describes in highly readable detail the rich history of the Arab world and how it was upended by centuries of colonialism – first Ottoman, then British and French – and the appalling mistakes made by all three.

His book analyses in depth the growth of Zionism in the late 19th century and the key role the movement has played in the region since. It analyses the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, by which Britain and France secretly carved up the Middle East in anticipation of the Ottoman demise. And it analyses the influence of the pro-Zionist Rothschild family on the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It’s often forgotten that the declaration promised that in addition to a homeland for the Jewish people, “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

Nutting’s account of the UN partition of Palestine in 1947 and the subsequent foundation of Israel through the 1948 war is detailed and masterful. Though his natural sympathies are with the Arabs and Palestinians in particular, he is unsparing in his account of their mistakes through hubris or elementary miscalculations. A gifted writer, he brings the events he describes into vivid focus.

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

  • Recommended by Ned Curthoys, senior lecturer in English and Literary Studies, The University of Western Australia

Excavating a crime “utterly forgotten” by the West that the Palestinians mourn as the Nakba, in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine Israeli historian Ilan Pappe seeks to revise our understanding of the 1948 Israeli “war of independence”.

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Rather than a David versus Goliath battle between a brave Jewish army and a hostile, rejectionist Arab world, he demonstrates that the exodus of the Palestinians was the result of Israel’s first prime minister Ben Gurion’s Plan Dalet. This was a plan to expel Palestinians from their villages and urban centres to realise the long-held Zionist dream of creating an exclusivist majority Jewish state by “transferring” the Palestinians to surrounding Arab nations.

Military tactics varied from massacres of entire villages to summary executions, sonic warfare, heavy shelling, dynamiting houses to prevent their occupants’ return, and the torching of fields. This was followed in later years by continuing land appropriation, military occupation and the “memoricide” of Palestinian communities. Pappe reminds us in a chilling epilogue that the “ideology that enabled the depopulation of half of Palestine’s native people in 1948 is still alive” and it drives the “cleansing of those Palestinians who live there today”.

Tolerance is a Wasteland: Palestine and the Culture of Denial

  • Recommended by Micaela Sahhar, Lecturer, History of Ideas, Trinity College, The University of Melbourne

Saree Makdisi’s Tolerance is a Wasteland: Palestine and the Culture of Denial will appeal to those attending Palestine-liberation rallies alongside tens of thousands in Australian capitals, to find little coverage of their scale and orderliness in the media.

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Makdisi outlines, in four comprehensive chapters, how context has been stripped from public understanding of Palestine over decades – obscured by projects that superficially espouse values celebrated in liberal democracies.

In one apposite image, he explains Israel’s state project of afforestation as a cover-up, obscuring vast ruins of Palestinian villages destroyed after Palestinian inhabitants were ethnically cleansed in the 1948 Nakba (the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war). Yet, recent bushfires have revealed traces of the indigenous Palestinian landscape, and with it, “the naked truth”.

Makdisi says , “October 7 is like the forest planted over the ruins; what’s happened since is the ruins themselves”. By which he means, with little institutional outrage, much less intervention, this is how a second Nakba unfolds in plain sight.

  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Antisemitism
  • Balfour Declaration
  • Two-state solution
  • Sykes-Picot agreement

Research Impact Analyst

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Head of School, Sport and Recreation (Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences)

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The 10 best feel-good books of 2023

Need a pick-me-up curl up with one of these..

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Literature has a way of mirroring our agonies and angst. But what about those silly, mundane moments that can be so easy to take for granted?

Here are 10 books that remind us to appreciate the simple things in life — whether that’s a dog-eared book or a newfound friend. Buoyed by hope, these works reach for joy even in times of turmoil.

‘Amazing Grace Adams,’ by Fran Littlewood

Grace Adams was once an award-winning polyglot who spoke five languages and had a future brimming with possibility. Now she’s jobless in her 40s, facing a divorce and failing miserably to deliver a birthday cake to her estranged teenage daughter. Using three timelines, the novel uncovers the choices that led to the dissolution of her marriage and the downfall of her career. While she’s certainly not perfect, Grace is determined to show everyone — especially her daughter — that she is still amazing.

‘Better Living Through Birding: Notes From a Black Man in the Natural World,’ by Christian Cooper

Avid birdwatcher Christian Cooper, a Black man, went viral after a White dog walker called the police on him in Central Park. More than three years later, the host of National Geographic’s “Extraordinary Birder” wrote a touching memoir that reflects on that incident , as well as his lifelong adoration for birds and superheroes. That latter interest led the self-proclaimed “queer nerd” to do pioneering work creating gay superheroes at Marvel. Cooper also narrates the audiobook, each chapter of which delightfully starts with a different bird call.

‘Birdie & Harlow: Life, Loss, and Loving My Dog So Much I Didn’t Want Kids (…Until I Did),’ by Taylor Wolfe

A 20-year-old blogger goes to a Kansas farm and adopts a puppy, what she would later call “the best impromptu decision of my life.” In this hilarious, uplifting memoir, Wolfe, known on social media as @thedailytay, describes her intense bond with Harlow and her journey as a dog mom. Harlow remains an unshakable presence as Wolfe grapples with the chaos of her 20s, marriage and eventually new motherhood.

‘The Book of Charlie: Wisdom From the Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man,’ by David Von Drehle

When a journalist moves to Kansas , he discovers that his neighbor has lived for more than a century — and decides to tell the man’s story. Charlie White would live to be 109, watching the world change over and over through the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, the era of radios and then smartphones (he practiced medicine while open-heart surgery was still developing). Von Drehle, who’s now a Washington Post editor and columnist, paints a tender portrait of the optimistic centenarian who never relented in his pursuit of happiness.

‘The Book of (More) Delights,’ by Ross Gay

In a follow-up to “The Book of Delights,” Gay once again rejoices in the fleeting pleasures of everyday life. This essay collection unearths those moments that are often overlooked in all of the bustle — putting on socks before a walk, meeting a puppy, making a cup of coffee just the way you like. There are also reflections on grief and racism in America that are sometimes angry yet always heartfelt in their own ways. Even when it’s tough, Gay calls on us to marvel at nature’s small wonders and remember that we’re all connected.

‘The Chinese Groove,’ by Kathryn Ma

Eighteen-year-old Shelley arrives in San Francisco with big dreams, leaving behind the grief of his family in China’s Yunnan province. But the luxurious guest room he imagines turns out to be a couch with a two-week limit, and he struggles to find his footing in a new country that consistently falls short of expectations. Still, Shelley refuses to let go of his naiveté and positive attitude. Instead, he continues to have faith in what he calls the “Chinese groove” — the connection between fellow countrymen — in this poignant tale of the immigrant experience. (The audiobook is also “ stunningly good .”)

‘Happy Place,’ by Emily Henry

Harriet and her fiancé, Wyn, broke up six months ago. But their friends from college don’t know, even as they all embark on their annual getaway to a cottage in Maine. Now Harriet and Wyn must pretend to be a couple while secretly pining for each other in a classic will-they-or-won’t-they. The story is interspersed with flashbacks that chronicle the pair’s romance (and eventual breakup) as Harriet’s wholesome friendship with Sabrina and Cleo shimmers in the distance. “Happy Place,” perhaps Henry’s most heart-wrenching love story to date , is an ode to second chances and how we find comfort in one another.

‘Romantic Comedy,’ by Curtis Sittenfeld

Sally Milz has given up on love. After a failed marriage in her 20s, the Emmy-winning writer is content to focus all her energy on a late-night comedy show not unlike “Saturday Night Live.” That is, until the handsome rock star Noah Brewster is the week’s host and they immediately hit it off. Yet Sally can’t fathom why he would be interested in her, “an ordinary, dorky, unkempt woman,” and repeatedly sabotages their relationship. As their romance intensifies and they become pandemic pen pals, she realizes that the greatest obstacle to her happy ending might be herself.

‘What You Are Looking for Is in the Library,’ by Michiko Aoyama, translated by Alison Watts

Tokyo’s most enigmatic librarian, Sayuri Komachi, has a gift: She can sense what someone is missing and the book they need to find it. The novel follows five people at various stages of life who are each dealing with an existential crisis. A simple conversation with Komachi, paired with a timely book recommendation, is nothing short of transformative. Translated from the Japanese, “What You Are Looking for Is in the Library” is a charming novel about the magic of reading.

‘The Wishing Game,’ by Meg Shaffer

Kindergarten teacher’s aide Lucy Hart longs to adopt her orphaned student, Christopher. She just doesn’t have the resources. Then her favorite children’s author announces a new book after a six-year hiatus, and Lucy is chosen to compete on the mysterious Clock Island to win the only copy. In a whimsical nod to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” she must outwit the other three contestants to secure the manuscript for her and Christopher. Between the author’s riddles, his handsome assistant, Hugo, and a shady cast of publishers and lawyers, victory will be far from easy.

Allison Cho is a multiplatform editor at The Washington Post.

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Best Books is drawing ever closer. To mark the moment, we highlight another gem from 2022 as we countdown to our December reveal.

best fiction books christian

The Catch Me If You Can: One Woman’s Journey to Every Country in the World by Jessica Nabongo (National Geographic) is the book we were inspired to keep on hand to create our resolutions and travel bucket lists for the new year. It’s a celebration of cultures disguised as a book. As winter takes hold, it is a great choice to re-visit or visit anew. 

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