One of the best things about book contests is that readers get an idea which books they should add to their to-read lists. The American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) instituted a “best book” award some years back which morphed into the Carol Award a few years ago, named after a long time editor with Bethany House, I believe.
ACFW had its start as American Christian Romance Writers, and there’s still a residual emphasis on the romance end of things, though they tout themselves as the primer conference for the broad spectrum of Christian fiction.
Apparently between 500 and 600 writers, agents, and editors congregated for the conference in Indianapolis this year. At the banquet held Sunday, the award winners were announced. Here are the finalists in each category, with the winners noted.
Category [I have no idea what this encompasses, but it would seem to be romance, based on the publishers, and somewhat shorter than most novels but longer than a novella, based on the note about length at the ACFW site]
Seaside Reunion by Irene Hannon (Love Inspired * Editor: Melissa Endlich)
A Horseman’s Hope by Myra Johnson (Heartsong Presents * Editor: Rebecca Germany)
Winner Lost Legacy by Dana Mentink (Love Inspired * Editor: Emily Rodmell)
You Don’t Know Me by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House * Editors: Karen Watson/Sarah Mason)
Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane (Abingdon Press * Editor: Ramona Richards)
Winner Heart Echoes by Sally John (Tyndale House * Editors: Karen Watson/Stephanie Broene,/Kathy Olson)
Proof by Jordyn Redwood (Kregel * Editor: Dawn Anderson)
A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh (Guideposts Books * Editors: Beth Adams/Rachel Meisel/Lindsay Guzzardo)
Winner Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert (Waterbrook/Multnomah * Editor: Shannon Marchese)
At Every Turn by Anne Mateer (Bethany House * Editor: Charlene Patterson)
The Discovery by Dan Walsh (Revell * Editor: Andrea Doering)
Winner Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick (Waterbrook/Multnomah * Editor: Shannon Marchese)
To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander (Zondervan * Editor: Sue Brower)
Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House * Editor: Karen Schurrer)
Winner A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller (Revell * Editor: Vicki Crumpton)
Downfall by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan * Editors: David Lambert/Sue Brower/Ellen Tarver)
Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing * Editor: Karen Ball)
Winner The Soul Saver by Dineen Miller (Barbour Publishing * Editors: Rebecca Germany/Jamie Chavez)
You’re a Charmer, Mr. Grinch by Paula Moldenhauer (Barbour Publishing * Editors: Rebecca Germany/JoAnne Simmons)
Impressed by Love by Lisa Karon Richardson (Barbour Publishing * Editor: Rebecca Germany)
Winner A Recipe for Hope by Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson * Editor: Natalie Hanemann)
The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson * Editors: Natalie Hanemann/L. B. Norton)
An Uncommon Grace by Serena B. Miller (Howard * Editor: Holly Halverson)
Winner Saving Gideon by Amy Lillard (B&H Publishing * Editors: Julie Gwinn/Julie Carobini)
Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson * Editor: Ami McConnell)
Saving Hope by Margaret Daley (Abingdon Press * Editor: Ramona Richards)
Winner When a Heart Stops by Lynette Eason (Revell * Editor: Andrea Doering)
Daughter of Light by Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)
Judge by R. J. Larson (Bethany House * Editors: David Long/Sarah Long)
Winner Daystar by Kathy Tyers (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)
Prophet by R.J. Larson (Bethany House * Editors: David Long/Sarah Long)
The New Recruit by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press * Editor: Jeff Gerke)
Winner Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley (Zondervan * Editor: Jacque Alberta)
Of course the greatest drawback to the Carol Awards is that only members of the organization may enter their works. That means a lot of good books were not under consideration.
Be that as it may, of the books from ACFW members, these would seem to be the top of the line. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners. Hope you find something in this list to enjoy.