10 Year Anniversary, Celebration Day #4 ~ Historical Romance & Jody Hedlund


Hello! Sorry I didn’t get to vlog yesterday and you can find out why in my video! I’m thrilled to feature the super talented Jody Hedlund in my interview today and am amazed that ten years ago she was writing The Preacher’s Bride. She has so many books out now it’s hard to believe she still wasn’t published a decade ago. Today I decided to talk historical novels and share some of my old favourite. I’m painfully aware that some of my readers weren’t born when a number of the books I am chatting about were published and I bought them…sigh 😉

Two more brilliant giveaways below, thanks to the marvelous folk at Waterbrook Multnomah. Can’t wait to chat about historical romance novels in the comments with you all!

Jody Hedlund

10 years ago…

I was writing…. The Preacher’s Bride (my youngest daughter was just a baby and I wrote the book during her nap times)

My favourite thing to wear was… anything clean; 10 years ago I had five children under the age of ten and getting laundry done was a major feat!

My most beloved book to read was… Lynn Austin books

I was dreaming about… being published!


I am writing… I’m editing my 15th published book, Never Forget, which releases in January and is the 5th and final book in my lighthouse series

My favourite thing to wear is… stylish shirts and scarfs that I borrow from my twin daughters (now seniors in high school)

My most beloved book to read is… I currently have too many favorite authors to name!

My new dream is… continuing to go wherever God takes me in my writing career

As you look back over the past decade, how has God inspired/transformed/challenged you?

My writing journey hasn’t been easy. I happened to get my first publishing contract at a time when the Christian publishing market was really expanding—new genres, new authors, new publishers. Not long after I began traditionally publishing, indie publishing came of age which flooded the market even more.

While the explosion of books and authors is really awesome from a reader’s perspective (lots of choices!), the changes have made it much harder for authors to make a name for themselves, earn a living, as well as have “good enough” sales to retain publishing contracts.

Through it all, I’m learning to trust God with my writing career. He’s been teaching me that my success is measured in lives touched for His glory (as opposed to my own glory!).

What would you like to say to your readers?

I love my readers dearly! And I love hearing from them (on Facebook, Twitter, or via email).

Read my review of The Preacher’s Bride

Connect with Jody

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Instagram || Pinterest


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Waterbrook Multnomah historical bundle contains:

The Wood’s Edge – Lori Benton

A Flight of Arrows – Lori Benton

The Governess of Highland Hall – Carrie Turansky

Saffire – Sigmund Brouwer

Newton and Polly – Jody Hedlund

Miriam – Mesu Andrews

Guide Me Home – Kim Vogel Sawyer

rr10-wm-cont a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Waterbrook Multnomah contemporary bundle contains:

Table By the Window – Hillary Manton Lodge

Reservations for Two – Hillary Manton Lodge

Together at the Table – Hillary Manton Lodge

The Angel of Forest Hill –Cindy Woodsmall

Back in the Saddle – Ruth Logan Herne

The Art of Losing Yourself – Katie Ganshert

A Stillness of Chimes – Meg Moseley

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162 Responses to 10 Year Anniversary, Celebration Day #4 ~ Historical Romance & Jody Hedlund

  1. I mostly read historical fiction. I loved A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin.

  2. My fave historical and contemporary romances are those by Julie Lessman, she was just the 2nd Christian Fiction author whose work I read. I enjoy both historical and contemporary romance, however, historical is probably my fave. Thanks for the wonderful interview, Jody, and thanks for the giveaway opportunity, Rel!!

    • Bonnie Roof » Wow, somehow I assumed you’d been reading CF for a much longer time, Bonnie. What fun to have so many books to catch up on!

  3. I love both genres, but I find myself leaning more towards contemporary at this time. I’ll still read historical from my favorite authors but with contemporary I’m finding more new-to-me authors that I’m really enjoying!

  4. My first historical romance I can remember reading is Pride & Prejudice. In Christian fiction, it was Tamera Alexanderxs From a Distance and I was hooked. Then came A Passion Most Pure and I remembered kept going back to the library for more!

    Now I enjoy both contemporary or historical.it depends on my mood, but I typically like to switch back and forth.

  5. I think Jeannette Oke first got me started years ago….

    P.S just want to confess some envy over all those books behind you in your video :) soooooooo many books lol

    • It is a common problem, Lisa. The first time I saw those shelves I just sat and stared at them during book club, all evening long. And sighed. And made little plans in my head to convert some windows in my house to walls because the lovely man who made those shelves is mutual friend. Alas I have not the wall space in my house. Shelf envy it is!!!

    • Lisa » I know I’m blessed by my bookshelves and books. If I were you, I’d be envious, too, especially as they were a lovely gift from dear friends.

  6. I read both historical and contemporary… honestly enjoy both equally and love the variety in books… there are so many amazing Christian authors and seem to be more and more :) so many books… so little time lol

  7. I think I enjoy contemporary books more but I do read historical as well. In fact, I’m reading “An Elegant Facade” by Kristi Ann Hunter right now. Am enjoying it.

  8. If asked, I would not class myself as a historical fan. And then I read a historical fiction book and I don’t know what to do with myself! There are so very many that I have adored over the years. Revealing myself as the same age-ish as you, dear Rel, I too was taken with Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series (I now have most of the DVDs as well). Before that I was reading Hilda Stahl’s ‘Elizabeth Gail’ series (kids fiction & not historical). Since then I have read some great stuff that tells me I shouldn’t reject a genre out of hand, because great, skilled authors will make anything hard to put down. Like Sharon Hinck’s Sword of Lyric series, and Lisa Bergren’s River of Time series. Jessica Dotta’s debut novel ‘Born of Persuasion’ was exquisite, and as I mentioned the other day, Dotti’s ‘Carry Me Home’ was perfectly stunning. There are so, so many!!!! Perhaps I am an historical fan after all!

  9. If I remember correctly, the first historical novels I read and that made me fall in love with historical, were Lori Wick books. Since then, I have found so many new authors in this genre that I love.

    I love both historical and contemporary. I think I choose which one to read based on my mood at the time. 😃

    Thank you,

  10. I’ve learned a lot of history through historical fiction!

  11. Janette Oke’s books

  12. I read both, but I guess more historical

  13. I mostly prefer historical but I have been reading both contemporary and historical lately.

  14. I read both, but like the contemporary the most.

  15. I like both historical and contemporary romance pretty much equally. The first Christian romance I remember reading was by Grace Livingston Hill. I’m guessing it was a historical; it was over forty years ago so I can’t be certain! I do remember it was given to me by my Sunday School teacher when I was probably junior high aged.

  16. Picking between historical and contemporary fiction is a bit like picking a favorite child to me! I love them both for different reasons. Historical fiction gives me a feel for times and places in hiatory that I wouldn’t “see” otherwise. As a fan of genealogy, I also enjoy getting a glimpse into what life might have been like for my dear ancestors. That is very precious to me. As for contemporary fiction, I love that I can relate to the characters in an easier way, and sometimes it’s nice to get a break from historical language or customs! Haha

  17. It’s funny that you should mention Jody Hedlund. I swooned when I read Rebellious Heart! I LOVE colonial stories, and Jody’s books are incredible! I’m a Michigander like her, so I also love the history behind her lighthouse books. We were never taught such cool stuff in our Michigan history classes! Haha

    • Karen » A Noble Groom is my favourite of Jody’s. Like you, I love a historical novel that teaches me some history, too. Laura Frantz, Lori Wick, and Tamara Leigh are all excellent in that regard…and for just stellar storytelling, too!

  18. I like reading both contemporary and historical books.

  19. I first fell in love with Lori Wick’s historical books.

  20. Rel,
    All those books look really fantastic!
    I have read the Blue Door series by Hillary and loved it! She got me craving Italian and French food.
    I really want to read Newton and Polly by Jody. I love the whole Amazing Grace story.

  21. Rel,
    I forgot to tell you that I too read all the Zion books. I really think they might have been some of my first historical books to read.
    I remember taking a note pad and writing all the names of the characters so I could keep them all straight from book to book.

  22. Love, love, love hearing your passion for books. So much fun watching your excitement about all those oldies. And golly gosh some of them were thick books.

    So sorry to hear about your knee, Rel How did you do it? Be praying for your healing.

  23. My first historical fiction read was Emma, but my first thought when answering this question was Little Women and Little House on the Prarie, though they are technically probably labeled some other genre.

  24. I read Karen Kingsbury’s series on 9/11…Tuesday Morning… Although they were not true stories, it gave me a lot to think about.

  25. I read both. Once I get hooked on an author, I follow that author for a while.

  26. Historical fiction is my favorite!! My first Christian Fiction novel which was a historical with a romance was Vienna Prelude by Brock and Bodie Thoene. Fabulous series!! Thanks for the opportunity to win this fabulous collection of books!

  27. In 1990, when I was a pregnant life form on bed rest, I read ALL of the Bodie Theone books. I LOVED her style!! And did you know that she worked for John Wayne?? THE John Wayne!?!?!

  28. Pride & Prejudice was the first book I fell hard for. When I travel, I take the same paperback copy with me that my dad bought me as a teenager.

    The first book my mom ever gave me was from her Grace Livingston Hill Collection, Crimson Roses. I read that book until it fell apart and then I bought myself a copy. My sister and I LOVE Bodie Thoene’s books. She would read them over and over while I would read Gilbert Morris.

    When I really started reading christian fiction, I fell in love with Tamera Alexander’s early historical books.

  29. I read both – depends on my mood and the author – but I lean more toward contemporary.

  30. I can’t remember the first historical romance books I read, maybe Sara Donati’s Wilderness series….

  31. I read both types of books now. I love well-written, engaging stories, so the settings don’t matter.

  32. It is not really classified as a historical romance novel but after reading Gone With The Wind, in my early teens, I became an even more avid reader, particularly of historical fiction. There really wasn’t a “Christian Fiction” market at that time.

  33. I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction, but the last few years I have read some exciting contemporary suspense novels, so I’m falling in love with that genre now too! Historical fiction will always be my favorite though. :)

  34. I read both historical and contemporary fiction but lean toward historical as my preference.

  35. I’ve always had a thing for historical fiction. I really loved Lisa Tawn Bergren’s Northern Lights Trilogy. I recommended it to everyone. I’m not a book snob. I love reading books, whether it’s contemporary or historical or another genre. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  36. The first historical romance novel that I really enjoyed was The Frontiersman’s Daughter by Laura Franz.

    I think that I’ve always been a fan of historical novels because they transport me away from everyday life, although I do enjoy many contemporary novels as well.

  37. I was going to say the Kristen Heiztmann Diamond of the Rockies series, but then someone else mentioned Janette Oke – that’s one of the first series I remember reading!

  38. Bless your heart! Your poor knee :-(! I’ve had knee problems in the past so I totally sympathize with you. Please take good care of yourself and know I’ll be praying for you. And that the crutches will incur little abuse over the next few weeks. :-)

    To answer your questions, Linda Windsor and Gilbert Morris were some of my favorites back in the day. I still enjoy historicals, but like contemporary just as much. Honestly, as long as the story is good I don’t care what genre it’s written in.

    You made my heart very happy, by saying you may continue to vlog. It would be very hard to not see your smiling face nor hearing your enthusiasm for books once the anniversary celebration is over. This week I find myself even more eager to get to your blog than usual, to see what book goodies and information you have to share. Please don’t go! (insert weeping uncontrollably here)

    • Amy » You are too sweet, my friend, and yes, I can tell you know what it is like to have an uncooperative knee! Loved Linda’s books – both historical and contemporary. She can write with great humour.

      To vlog or not to vlog… :)

  39. I don’t remember the first historical romance fiction I read but I do enjoy both historical and contemporary romance fiction.

  40. I do read both, but I’m finding that I like the historical books a lot!

  41. How about contemporary fiction with a historical twist??

  42. I enjoy both historical & contemporary fiction but historical is my favorite.

  43. I don’t recall which first historical fiction I loved first but I’m sure it had to do with the Civil War.

  44. I love a good historical novel every now and again, but I definitely gravitate toward contemporaries. If it’s a new-to-me author, I’m more inclined to give the book a try if it’s a contemporary title.

  45. The first historical novel I read was Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke. Long, long ago. I read both historical and contemporary novels, and don’t prefer one over the other.

  46. I have been reading historical romance for so long, I can’t even remember how I got started. But I do love Jody Hedlund’s writing.

  47. I read both historical and contemporary books, but I prefer reading historically set books. I am always saying that I was born in the wrong time period, so reading them gives me the chance to experience many different lives!

    • I have always read historical books even since childhood. The Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha Finley are one of the first historically set books that I remember reading. I loved those books and still read them today!

  48. I loved this vlog! :) You had me smiling and nodding my head over many of those. I was a teen, and just really getting in to Christian fiction back in the late 90s. Those you showed by Lisa Samson, were some of my favorites back in the day. I think I need to go see if I can find them back on my shelf, dust them off, and read them again! I also loved Lori Wick, Angela Hunt, and more. But what really got me started was again, like you, Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly Series. My Grandma had the entire set, and really, all of Janette Oke’s books, and I think those are what really began it all for me.
    I do so love a good historical fiction. I’ve learned so much about many different eras, just by reading those.
    thanks again! :)

    • Rosalyn » Just adore this, Rosalyn! I’m thinking I’m probably a decade older than you but sounds like we spent our teenage years and my early 20s reading the same books! Who do you love now in the historical fiction genre? I’m a BIG fan of Laura Frantz, Jody Hedlund, Lori Benton, Dorothy Adamek, Julie Klassen, Joanne Bischof…just to name a few!

  49. Hey Rel. Thank you so much for the shout out! And thanks for the post and vlog. It brought back a lot of great memories. I have all of the books you mentioned, definitely some great stories. As you well know, I am first and foremost a lover of historical fiction. And Gilbert was my entry point to CF and my first passion/obsession, whatever you want to call it. I was reading secular historical fiction before that, especially John Jakes and the series by different authors of Book Creations, Inc, like Wagons West and others. I didn’t like some of the stuff in those books so was thrilled to find books doing it from a Christian worldview like Gilbert. My enduring loves in the genre are of course still Gilbert, with the Winslows being my favorites. But I actually think the best book he ever wrote (among many fantastic ones) is “The Sword of Truth,” the first in the Wakefield Dynasty. B.J. Hoff’s Emerald Ballad books are all-time favorites along with Judith Pella’s Russians series. I love Lauraine Snelling, Tracie Peterson, Lawana Blackwell, and so many others. I love Robert Funderburk’s “Innocent Years” books. And Lynn’s Cheney Duvall series is truly one of the best in any genre. More precious to me is that I have been blessed to get to know many of these authors and can call them friends. I will say that I do enjoy the historical romances being written today, but I will confess to missing the days the books were much more historical than romance. I agree with Lori Wick, another great storyteller, when she said that a lot of the stories, and she was mainly referring to her own titles, were period fiction rather than true historicals. But the most important aspect is that God receives the glory from them all! Oh, and I am loving some of the new historical mysteries being done today, like those by Julianna Deering. While not much of a suspense lover, I love a good whodunnit cozy. Thanks again, and blessing to you.

    • Aaron McCarver » Hey Aaron – thanks for sharing your favourites. I loved the Cheney Duvall books, the Wakefield Dynasty, and the Russians series. Also loved Michael Phillips’ Secret of the Rose series. So many books that shaped my growing up years that might seem a bit different to today’s offerings but were marvelous reads in those years.

  50. I loved the daughters of England series by Philippa Carr, it followed one family lone from Tudor times right to the present day.

  51. The first historical fiction series I fell in love with is The Cheney Duvall series by Lynn Morris.

  52. I love contemporary and historical fiction. It is especially nice when the story flip flops back and forth between both.

  53. I enjoy reading all types of christian fiction ,there are too many wonderful authors who write all different types so i can pick and choose either.
    Thank you for the interview and the giveaway.

  54. Thanks for the lovely giveaway possibilities, Rel!

    My first (Christian) historical romance was a powerhouse one – Francine Rivers´s Redeemed love. What a book!!!

    I love both historical and contemporary novels – what is important is the quality of the plot and the quality of writing!

  55. That was so long ago! I think the first historical fiction was the Little House series – Little House in the Big Woods, and the Caddie Woodlawn books.

  56. I enjoy both genres but my favorite is historical. And the book that stands out in my mind
    Right now is Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love.

  57. I mostly just read historical romance cause they’re clean. I don’t love reading too many details of intimacy. And I love Dawn Crandall and Julie Klaussen.

  58. I read both if they’re good, but historical probably more often. I also like Star Trek novels.

    I can’t remember the first Christian fiction book I ever read.

  59. Both…

  60. Prefer historical fiction. Fell in love w/Hotel at the Corner of Bitter & Sweet.

  61. The first christian novels I read were the ‘Love Comes Softly’ series. My older sister (10 years older) lent them to me when I was in my early teens and I remember really loving them. I also love watching the movies!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  62. I would guess we are of a similar age, because we started out reading some of the same Christian fiction. Janette Oak’s Love Comes Softly and Canadian West series, I’m sure I read at least three or four times each!

  63. I definitely read both historical and contemporary Christian romance. The first historical romance novels I first fell in love with….wow, that’s hard…if not my first, one of the early historical romance series I fell in love with was Elaine Schulte’s California Pioneer Series.

  64. Historical fiction is my first love, but there have been a lot of great contemporary releases in the past few years . I’ve been reading several by Katie Ganshert lately, and Becky Wade is another good one!

  65. I read both historical fiction and contemporary romances. I have read so many over the years, it’s hard to name a favorite.

  66. My first historical romance was Love Comes Softly too! I then read several more of Janette Oke’s but that series will always be my favorite! I read a lot of historical fiction before that though since most of my childhood books were all HF. After Love Comes Softly I had Lori Wick, Her Californian’s series is still one of my favorites to this day!

    I have to say I love Historical and Contemporary equally, it just all depends on the book itself!

  67. Definitely depends on how I’m feeling but I do read both genres! I like to swap settings quite regularly to avoid ruts!

  68. I first fell in love with Al & Joanna Lacy’s “Mail Order Bride Series.” I loved the concept of a woman traveling out west to marry a man she had never met and the two falling in love. That opened the door to many other Christian fiction romance authors and their books.

  69. I loved The Scarlet Pimpernell.

  70. I read both styles. A good story is more important than the setting.

  71. I love all genre of books. The first Christian book I read was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, followed by a good list of reading Jeannette Lake books. I love to read a good story by good authors.

  72. I fell in love with Janette Oke books. I read all of them, looking back there was a lot of them!!

  73. I read mostly historical, but some contemporary. I think it’s because they’re so different and interesting.

  74. More contemporary than historical, but both are great mixed with suspense :)

  75. Pride and Prejudice was the first historical fiction book I fell in love with when I was about 15 and I believe it started my love for romantic comedies. P&P is the ultimate witty romance.

  76. I first fell in love with Francine Rivers historical novels. I enjoy reading both historical and contemporary.

  77. Two of the first two historical romances I remember really sticking with me are A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman and the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. All were amazing reads and really cemented my love of the genre.

  78. The Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke is the first historical set I fell in love with. Read them for the first time over 20 years ago and loved them. I go back and reread them every once in a while still. I love both historical and contemporary books. Mostly depends on the mood I’m in which one I prefer at the moment.

  79. loved reading a little about the beginning of your career

  80. First historical novel I fell in love with? Probably Roses for Mama by Janette Oke, which I read when I was about ten. Since then, I’ve discovered so, so many amazing historicals! :)

    I do read both contemporary and historical, but I definitely prefer historical. There are a few contemporary novels that I adore, though. :)

    Thanks and blessings!

  81. Goodness, I don’t know! Historical fiction is probably my favorite and I’ve read so much of it in the past 15+ years… Back then, I thought that Lois Walfrid Johnson’s “Adventures of the Northwoods” & “Freedom Seekers” series (two of my favorites, for sure!) were pretty romantic. 😉

    • Oh, and I definitely love both contemporary and historical! Though I’m pretty sure I probably read more contemporary, I think I’d say historical is truly my favorite. 😉

      Thanks so much for these awesome giveaways!! 😀

  82. I read both historical and contemporary romance although I find myself gravitating more towards the historical. My first historical romance that I can remember reading was Redeeming Love. I also remember reading a lot of Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill back in the early days.

  83. Love Comes Softly Series

  84. I read both, but prefer Contemporary

  85. Though I love both historical and contemporary fiction I’m more of a fan of contemporary fiction.

  86. First Historical romance that I fell in love with was A Texan’s Honor by Shelly Gray. I love both historical and contemporary novels

  87. The very first historical novel I read was “The Meeting Place” by Janette Oke.

  88. I read both historical and contemporary romance. As to which one I choose, it depends on what mood I am in :-).

  89. Bodie Thoene’s books were and still are my favorite historical books. I still have them on my bookshelf.

  90. Bodie Thoene’s books were and still are my favorite historical books. I still have them on my bookshelf.

  91. All of Kristy Cambron’s books

  92. My favorite character is Captain Jack in Slightly Noble by Lilly Gayle! He is a caring, passionate, and all around hero! I dream of meeting him!

  93. I first fell in love with historical fiction when I read the Anne of Green Gables series in junior high school. I’d been devouring books for years before that but Anne was the first for that all consuming reader experience!

  94. I do consider historical fiction my first love but I enjoy reading both contemporary and historical I don’t think I prefer one over the other. Kind of like my kids, I’ve had some of them longer but I have a special love for each 😉

  95. I enjoy reading both historical and contemporary novels equally. I usually read several of one genre one right after the other when I’m in the mood for that kind of reading. Then I’ll switch and read several from the other genre.


  96. Gilbert Morris American Century series is what hooked me on Christian Historical Fiction. I recently started reading contemporary and I LOVE it! I can’t pick which is my favorite though lol!

  97. When Love Calls (The Gregory Sisters #1) by Lorna Seilstad
    http://lanehillhouse.blogspot.com/2013/05/when-love-calls-by-lorna-seilstad-2013.html Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    • I like the combination now and then two-generational stories; will have to concede historical fiction is my very favorite genre. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

      (I seem to be doubling up on my answers! When Love Calls is the first remembered historical romance about being a telephone operator that I enjoyed :D)

  98. I read both genres. Historical would be my first choice, but I have certain contemporary authors I love and would buy their books automatically.

  99. Thanks Rel for a great vlog. The first historical romance I remember reading was Gone with the Wind. And Ann of Green Gables – if that can be included!
    I do enjoy reading both historical and contemporary romance, sometimes depends on my mood :) but I usually prefer contemporary. With a bit of action thrown in preferably!

  100. All of Oke’s stand alones! And when calls the heart!!

  101. I read both but do prefer contemporary!

  102. I read both contemporary and historical – and I can never quite decide which one I like better. So I guess I like both of them equally :)

  103. The Preacher’s Bride

  104. Yes, I read both genres and love them both. I generally prefer the historical though.

  105. Love historical fiction!Congrats on your 10th anniversary.

  106. Christina Pereira

    My first favorite historical romance was Jane Eyre.

  107. I don’t know the first one I read, but it was either one by Julie Klassen or Sarah M. Eden I think. Now I have SO many authors I love and have learned about over the years; it’s so fun when books are constantly coming out! :)

  108. I like Contemporary and Historical, but prefer Historical usually. There is something about being whisked away both in a nice plot and in a distant time. I do read both though, so if the storyline is good and clean, I’ll read it!

  109. Favorite historical romance is either Hidden Places by Lynn Austin or Jane Eyre; I read them both for the first time during the same summer.

  110. I enjoy both contemporary and historical romance; it depends on the author and the day which I prefer more.

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