Friday 16 December 2016

Iola's Top Ten Christian Novels of 2016

By Iola Goulton

I had a lot of trouble writing this list last year—it’s no small feat to narrow over 150 books read into a top ten list for the year.

This year, I decided I’d get sneaky. I’ve been writing monthly posts of my favourite books for my author blog, So coming up with this list should have been easy, right?


But after some arguing with myself (I won. And I lost), I’ve managed to come up with a list of my Top Ten for the year. I stuck to novels published this year—cutting non-fiction and novellas was the only way I could do this … but I must cheat and give a shout-out to the excellent Aussie Summer Christmas romance novella collection. Click here to read my review.

So here are my Top Ten Christian Novels published in 2016 (in alphabetical order. It was enough trouble to narrow them down to ten without having to rank them!):

Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

Since You’ve Been Gone starts with a twist on a cliché: a groom who doesn’t show up to the wedding, and a bride-to-be who is left to work out why. The obvious is soon discovered (he’s dead in a car wreck), but that doesn’t answer the important questions … Click here to read my review.

Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

An excellent dual timeline story from Lynn Austin, showing the difficulties faced by early American settlers, and their determination to succeed. And their faith. Click here to read my review.

The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall

This is the fourth novel in The Everstone Chronicles, and it’s as good as the rest. Don’t worry—you don’t have to read them all. But you’ll want to. Excellent historical romantic suspense. Click here to read my review.

Intermission by Serena Chase

Intermission isn’t Serena Chase’s first novel, but it’s the first one I’ve read—an excellent Young Adult novel with some valuable lessons about God and obedience. Click here to read my review.

Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac

Kiwi author Kara Isaac has actually released two books this year: Close to You, and Can’t Help Falling. While I’ve read and enjoyed both, Can’t Help Falling is definitely my favourite. Click here to read my review.

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears

A Heart Most Certain looks like a typical romance novel set in the American West in the late 1900’s—a sweet romance between two almost-perfect characters. Bland, predictable. But it’s anything but, and that’s what makes it so good. Click here to read my review.

No One’s Bride by Nerys Leigh

I love a good mail order bride story, and this one was excellent. Even better, it’s the start of a series and I’m already holding the date to review book two. Click here to read my review.

The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo

Everyone has been telling me I need to read Amy Matayo’s work. I finally did, and everyone was right. She’s brilliant—real characters with real strengths and failings. I’ll certainly be reading more. Click here to read my review.

The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James L Rubart

No, I didn’t include this simply to include a token male author (although I do read a lot more female authors than male). James L Rubart is an excellent writer of almost-speculative fiction. I say ‘almost’ because we serve a God of miracles, so who is to say these things couldn’t happen? Click here to read my review.

On the Edge by Theresa L Santy

On the Edge won the FaithWriters 2013 Page Turner Contest … and it certainly was a page turner. I’ll be watching for more from this debut author. Click here to read my review.

Although my choices are a mix of contemporary and historical, American authors and authors from England and New Zealand, they all have one thing in common. No, they’re not all romance novels (although yes, most are).

No, the one thing they all have in common is flawed characters doing their best to become better people.

Just like we all do in real life.


  1. Replies
    1. Good titles, but possibly not your cup of tea. What's the best book you've read this year?

  2. Great list, Iola. Interesting how a few of them have appeared on a number of readers Best of lists ...

    1. I promise I wrote my list before reading yours or Andrea's, so if there's any duplication it's because we like the same kind of books. Honest!

    2. Of that I'm certain, Iola. Especially as you've read many more novels that I and, I believe, Andrea. Just reflects the quality of those novels. I grabbed On The Edge … wondering if I should read Serena's. Rel loved it too. I'm not a huge YA reader.


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