The Romance Writers of America call romance novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth, and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the story line Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements; however, some of us may be more familiar with the term inspirational romance.
These books follow the romance guidelines of a central love story where the characters find their happily ever after (HEA), but these love stories also include lessons about family, relationships, and faith. As a general rule, there’s no gratuitous sex (usually it is off the page if it happens at all), violence, or blue language. Think the Jeanette Oke books, which inspired the When Calls the Heart television showopens a new window.
Many of these romances take place in the West and feature cowboys and ranchers, but the settings and time periods can vary wildly to everything from high society ballrooms to the battlefields of World War II.
The first in Karen Witemeyer's Ladies of Harper's Stationopens a new window series, about a town where men are optional. That was the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts taught her and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive the women out, Emma is forced to admit they might need a man after all. One who can fight. And there is only one she trusts enough to ask.
Author of more than one hundred inspirational romances, Tracie Petersonopens a new window's newest historical series features the Brookstone Brides. After her father’s death, Lizzy Brookstone, the star trick rider of the all-female Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza, loses interest in performing. What she longs for is a life with the Brookstone ranch foreman, Wesley DeShazer, the man who once broke her heart. Meanwhile, Jason Adler, son of the show’s new financial partner, comes to help with the show, and Lizzy soon finds him vying for her affection.
Set in the modern world, these books feature heartwarming romance with clean language and a focus on emotional intimacy.
Beverly Jenkinsopens a new window is one of the preeminent names in romance, though one often thinks of her historical romances. On Bernadine Brown's fifty-second birthday she received an unexpected gift—she caught her husband, Leo, cheating with his secretary. She was hurt—angry, too—but she didn't cry woe is me. Nope, she hired herself a top-notch lawyer and ended up with a cool $275 million. Having been raised in the church, she knew that when much is given much is expected, so she asked God to send her a purpose. The purpose turned out to be a town: Henry Adams, Kansas, one of the last surviving townships founded by freed slaves after the Civil War.
Becky Wadeopens a new window Bradford Sister's series. After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist Nora Bradford buried herself in her work. When former Navy SEAL John Lawson, an adoptee, is diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his ancestry. John enlists Nora’s help to uncover the identity of his birth mother, and as they work side-by-side, this pair of opposites begins to suspect that they just might be a perfect match. But can their hope for a future survive their wounds from the past?
Sweet stories about trust and forgiveness, falling in love, uncovering secrets, and finding peace in the Amish community.
Beverly Lewisopens a new window is the queen of Amish romance. If you are interested in the genre, she is an excellent place to start. This is a standalone title, but she also has numerous series to chose from. When Sylvia Miller finds an old tinderbox of her father's, her curiosity is piqued. Shocked by the secrets it holds, Sylvia confronts her father. The truth about the tinderbox will forever change not only her own life, but also that of her family and her Amish community.
Wanda E. Brunstetter'sopens a new window Prayer Jar series. Michelle Taylor is not who her new family in Lancaster County believes her to be. The Lapps were looking for their long-lost granddaughter when they met Michelle and she assumed the identity of Sara Murray. Once homeless and hopeless, Michelle has come to love her new Amish friends and even considers the idea of romance among them.
These books often deal with dark themes and feature violent plots, but they maintain a faith-based world view full of hope for a better world.
The first book in Lynette Easonopens a new window's Blue Justice series. When police officer Isabelle St. John's partner is murdered, she must work with Detective Ryan Marshall to solve a case that may force her to choose between family and justice.
This is the first book in Dani Pettreyopens a new window's Coastal Guardians series. A Coast Guard officer is found dead, another goes missing, and special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous assignment yet. Investigative reporter Harper Grace is determined to discover if the Coast Guard is stonewalling the truth. Can they ignore the sparks between them and track down this elusive killer?
Many inspirational romances also become Hallmark Channel Christmasopens a new window movies.
Ryan Kelly spends plenty of time at The Bridge--the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee--remembering the times he and Molly Allen--who moved to Portland--once spent there, and now, with the bookstore in deep financial trouble, it will take a miracle to keep tragedy from unfolding.
Don't forget to let us know about your favorite inspirational romances in the comments! Or Get a Reading Recommendationopens a new window from a librarian tailored to your personal interests.