All avid readers of Christian Romance know one thing: There are certain tropes we just love to read. Sometimes, you pick up a book and love it so much, you want to read more like it. So here, for your ever-growing TBR “to be read” pile, are a list of titles that include pen pals – and the numerous forms they assume. Put simply – books featuring characters who didn’t get to know one another in person – even if they’ve met (perhaps unknowingly). Let the chaos ensue.
WITH EVERY LETTER by Sarah Sundin
Lt. Mellie Blake is a nurse serving in the 802nd Medical Squadron, Air Evacuation, Transport. As part of a morale building program, she reluctantly enters into an anonymous correspondence with Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer in the 908th Engineer Aviation Battalion in North Africa. As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other’s true identity. When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face to face for the first time. Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage to their past? And can they learn to trust God and embrace the gift of love he offers them?
Combining excellent research and attention to detail with a flair for romance, Sarah Sundin brings to life the perilous challenges of WWII aviation, nursing, and true love.
I LOVE this one. Because even in person, before they realize their pen pals happen to be each other, they have the sweetest interactions. You really have to root for these two to figure it out. And for the girl who feels “nontraditional,” this nontraditional romance might be the very story you needed to read for a little encouragement. The heart should always come before appearances.
MY FOOLISH HEART by Susan May Warren
Unknown to her tiny town of Deep Haven, Isadora Presley spends her nights as Miss Foolish Heart, the star host of a syndicated talk radio show. Millions tune in to hear her advice on dating and falling in love, unaware that she’s never really done either. Issy’s ratings soar when it seems she’s falling in love on-air with a caller. A caller she doesn’t realize lives right next door.
Caleb Knight served a tour of duty in Iraq and paid a steep price. The last thing he wants is pity, so he hides his disability and moves to Deep Haven to land his dream job as the high school football coach. When his beautiful neighbor catches his eye, in a moment of desperation he seeks advice from My Foolish Heart, the show that airs before his favorite sports broadcast.
Before he knows it, Caleb finds himself drawn to the host—and more confused than ever. Is his perfect love the woman on the radio . . . Or the one next door?
This one was so… unique. Especially considering it starts over the radio of all places. These two have an interesting meet-cute that I think you’ll find entertaining with some added complications of physical trauma and PTSD. The banter is pretty great as well.
SEASIDE LETTERS by Denise Hunter
“No matter where you are or how long until we can be together, I’ll keep searching for you.” – Tucker
Sabrina never intended to fall in love with Tucker McCabe, the man she serves coffee to every morning at a Nantucket cafe – especially since he’s unwittingly tied to a past she deeply regrets. A past that is so riddled with mistakes, it has separated her from God. But she’s fallen hard and isn’t sure how long she can hide her feelings.
When Tucker learns Sabrina is the research assistant for a local mystery writer, he asks Sabrina to help him with a little sleuthing of his own . . . locating an elusive woman he’s fallen for online.
If Sabrina accepts the job, she’ll spend her evenings in close proximity to a man who can never be hers. If she turns him down, he’ll hire someone else and that would be a disaster. Because if someone else sifts through all those letters and finds out the truth, Tucker will discover her secret . . . that the person he’s trying to find is her.
This one is so heartbreakingly perfect (with a happily ever after, I promise). Sabrina reminds me of a certain character from Francine Rivers’ books – she has a lot to overcome – but the way Tucker goes after her heart is so sweet. There’s some great themes of forgiveness in here. You’ll appreciate the twist in this one too.
PAPER ROSES by Amanda Cabot
The future stretches out in front of Sarah Dobbs like the pure blue Texas sky. Leaving the past behind in Philadelphia, mail-order bride Sarah arrives in San Antonio ready to greet her groom, Austin Canfield, a man she has never met but whose letters have won her heart from afar. But there is one problem–he has died. And Sarah cannot go back East.
As Sarah tries to reconcile herself to a future that is drastically changed, Austin’s brother, Clay, struggles with his own muddled plans. Though he dislikes working on the family ranch and longs for a different life, Clay is driven to avenge his brother’s death. But something between them is growing and neither Clay nor Sarah is ready to admit it.
This one I read a while ago, but I still think about it. Now. When the story picks up the couple is no longer actively writing, but the story of the letters is what drives the plot. Despite the fact that Sarah’s intended groom has died, the letter writer hasn’t…
HEART ON THE LINE by Karen Witemeyer
Witemeyer Returns with Her Trademark Blend of Adventure, Romance, and Humor
Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.
Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.
Like our radio talkshow couple, these two don’t exchange letters, but telegraph messages. I loved getting to learn a bit of the history of telegraph operation. And Karen Witemeyer always tells a great story. This was a neat twist on the way we usually see the hero depicted. He isn’t the tall, strapping cowboy we tend to expect from historical romances. Instead, he’s a little more slightly built… the studious type… but just as charming and every bit as clever.
ECHOES by Robin Jones Gunn
Lauren is tending a broken heart and striving to finish her college degree when she connects with a man who goes by the initials K.C. In a sweet, old-fashioned manner their emails become a source of mutual encouragement.
An invitation to join some of the women of Glenbrooke on a lavish getaway provides Lauren with an unexpected choice. She can meet K.C. face to face or she can say nothing and let her life continue as it is.
Discover what happens when she listens to the voice that echoes in her heart.
This is my first Robin Jones Gunn book and I LOVED it. Kind of a “You’ve Got Mail” set up with an IM/email relationship that comes out of a chatroom. It takes these two a while to get things straight, but it’s oh so rewarding when they do!
Enjoyed this list? I’m brainstorming my next Christian Romance list. Have one you’d like to see? Need some recommendations? Let me know in the comments!