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Ten Christian fiction books to start the new year off right

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A new year will soon be here and 2014 will bring with it all sorts of new books for the bibliophile to add to their collection. Christian fiction books about to be released in January and February promise to keep readers busy with romantic escapades, murderous drama and supernatural suspense.

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Authors like Ted Dekker, Julie Klassen, Erin Healy and Julie Lessman will be releasing books sure to delight their large fan base and bring new readers to their tales of mystery, love, redemption and surprise endings. While the following list is just a small sample of the Christian fiction titles that will be available soon, they are on the Christian Fiction Examiner's list of must-read books for the new year.

"A Draw of Kings" by Patrick Carr (Bethany House Publishers, Feb. 4, 2014) This is a debut novel for Patrick Carr. It's a fantasy medieval tale of battles for Illustra, the death of a king and forces of good and evil. The Staff and the Sword series is sure to please readers of mythical books like "The Lord of the Rings" and "Chronicles of Narnia."

"The Dancing Master" by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers, Jan. 7, 2014) Klassen's Regency era titles are favorites with fans of Jane Austen. This is the story of a family who must start over when the son, Alec Valcourt, suddenly finds himself responsible for his mother and sister. He decides the family will move to Devonshire and he will provide dance instruction to the villagers. However, dancing has been forbidden in the small community because of a long-ago event.

"Stranger Things" by Erin Healy (Thomas Nelson, Jan. 7, 2014) Serena Diaz thought her life couldn't get any worse; her promising teaching career has been derailed by accusations of sexual misconduct. When she takes a walk through the woods she stumbles upon an abandoned house being used by criminals and the only man who tries to save her is murdered. Her life becomes a media circus and she tries to discover why a stranger would sacrifice his life to save hers.

"Dare to Love Again" by Julie Lessman (Revell, Jan. 7, 2014) Lessman never disappoints in her accurately-researched historical romance novels. Set in San Francisco during the Gilded Age, Allison McClare is an independent young woman who teaches school and wants to learn to protect herself. She decides to visit the Barbary Coast and finds Detective Nick Barone and convinces him to teach her jiu-jitsu. But just when she begins to care for him, Nick disappears and she learns he is a fraud.

"Eyes Wide Open" by Ted Dekker (Worthy Publishing, Jan. 21, 2014) This is the first title in a new series from this bestselling author. Christy Snow is a seventeen-year-old girl buried alive. She knows she is about to die and is terrified because no one knows she is in a coffin buried under tons of concrete. Christy knows some won't believe her and others won't believe she even exists. Who is Christy Snow and why is she about to die?

"Huckleberry Hill" by Jennifer Beckstrand (Zebra, Jan. 7, 2014) Despite his protests of looking for a wife, Moses Zimmerman's grandparents are determined to find the perfect Amish girl for him. They hire Zia Shetler to work for them for the summer with the idea that she and Moses will soon be husband and wife. Unfortunately, neither of them wants to marry and Lia's younger sister Rachel has designs of her own on Moses. And Rachel always get what she wants!

"No One to Trust" Lynette Eason (Revel, Jan. 7, 2014) Summer Abernathy thought she knew her husband; he was a computer programmer she met in line at the bank. But when she wakes up one morning to find her husband gone and three strange men in her home looking for him, she knows her life has been a lie. Was she just a cover for her husband as he tried to hide from the mob or did he really love her despite the lies he told her?

"London Dawn" by Murray Pura (Harvest House, Feb. 1, 2014) This book series takes place during the same era as PBS' "Downton Abbey" and will likely thrill fans of that show. This is the final book in the series that is about the Danforth family of Lancashire. The family is reunited at last, but the summer of 1940 is fast approaching and with it the beginning of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. How will the family survive this latest crisis?

"Poison Town" by Creston Mapes (David C. Cook, Feb. 1, 2014) Why are people in the poorer neighborhoods of Trenton City, Ohio suffering from cancer at an alarming rate? The manufacturing plant is accused of poisoning the community, but no one can find anything that connects the illnesses to the plant. When Jack Crittendon's mechanic becomes sick, he decides to investigate for himself. What he uncovers is more than just a physical illness; he finds corruption, scandal and more.

"The Traitor's Wife" by Allison Pataki (Howard Books, Feb. 11, 2014) Many know the story of Benedict Arnold, John Andre and their treasonous acts against America during the Revolutionary War. However, Arnold's wife, Peggy Shippen Arnold, is the one who orchestrated the entire affair. Seeking fame and glory for herself and her husband, Peggy's story is told from the viewpoint of her maid; a woman whose faith and loyalty to a developing nation causes her to risk everything.

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