1. Charles Martin (The Mountain Between Us; When Crickets Cry; Thunder and Rain)
He has a pretty wide variety of plots in his extensive book stable, and some of it I don't feel old enough to appreciate yet, but a recurring theme of hurt/comfort and refusal to let his characters engage in sex outside of marriage? I dig it. That's a trustworthy guy.
2. Kate Morton (The Lake House)
I know I keep bringing this book up everywhere, but WHAT A GEM. I cannot believe she has an entire career of books like that one. Which I will probably spend the next 2 decades slowly doling out to myself.
3. Karen White (The Lost Hours)
a.k.a. Kate Morton but for the American South.
4. Marie Blizard (Ghost at Kimball Hill)
An old and unknown author, her books may not be the easiest to obtain, but I WANT MORE. Super innocent and engaging latter-day YA fare.
5. Simone St. James (The Broken Girls)
Guess who has a new satisfying horror/thriller well to draw from?
6. Wendy Webb (The Fate of Mercy Alban)
And guess who has an alternate specializing in historic mansions + ghosts?
7. Diana Renn (Blue Voyage)
Are you sensing a crossover theme with January 1st's post yet? LMAO...anyway, this author looks like she is a go-to for travelogue thrillers in YA. It takes talent to make foreign countries sound this alluring to me, Confirmed Homebody Who Doesn't Like New/Unfamiliar Things.
8. Jessica Love (In Real Life)
Super-satisfying YA romance with zero sex scenes is getting weirdly rare. I have my eye on you with big dreams!
9. Marjorie Reynolds (Dark Horse Barnaby)
I somehow collected four of her six books before ever reading one, but it's pretty hard to go wrong in vintage horse books, so I'm happy to confirm that based on this at least, those $1 books were sound investments.
10. Jessica Alcott (Even When You Lie To Me)
I really hope that writing a student/teacher novel out the gate and not sufficiently punishing the teacher at the end didn't hurt her chances for a second book, because she has nothing on the radar 3+ years later. If she can keep a lid on her overly graphic content (VOYA Magazine is lying to you), I'd love to see more from her.
P.S. Special shout-out to the worst author, whom I feel I can call out because she is wildly successful, Karen Kingsbury. Most painful Christian fiction I have attempted to suffer in a while. I am less embarrassed to read some of my own fanfic that I wrote at age 20 with no beta. Although I will be forever grateful to her for giving me a new fave quote to break out when I wanna be extra dramatique -- "Leave! In the name of Jesus!" (originally shouted at literal demons skittering around the earth, as I recall, a context that makes it much more hilarious to me)