Sunfire (series)

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Sunfire is a series of young adult historical romance novels published by Scholastic Books in the 1980s. They are currently out of print.

The books were written by a group of authors, including Vivian Schurfranz (9), Jane Claypool Miner (6), Candice F. Ransom (6), Mary Francis Shura (6), Jeffie Ross Gordon (2), and Willo Davis Roberts (3).

Structure of the novels[edit]

The Sunfire books contained two themes: history and romance. Each book featured a teenage girl who experienced a particular period or event in American history. At the same time, with very few exceptions, the girl was torn between two potential lovers. The girl was typically ahead of her time in ideas and actions and the suitor she almost always chose was the one who approved of or accepted her actions. The cover art always featured the main character flanked by her two potential lovers, along with scenes from the historical event or period that was the setting for the book.

Titles & Summaries[edit]

Titles in the Sunfire series listed in order of publication:
(most descriptions taken from the back covers of the books)

(#1) Amanda by Candice F. Ransom

With only a silk dress to protect her from the blazing frontier sun, Amanda fears she will die on the Oregon Trail. As the memories of Boston, the nightly balls, and Joseph fade, the hardships of life on the wagon train fill her days. Changing from a spoiled city girl to a strong young woman, Amanda finds drought and death, beauty and joy, and a love that will last forever.

(#2) Susannah by Candice F. Ransom

Susannah Dellinger had lived her sixteen years as a proper Virginia girl – obedient, dreaming of marriage, leaving the decisions to the men. But when her brother and fiancé are called on to defend the South, Susannah take the first daring steps of rebellion against the old rules. She must fight for her own life, for her family, and for the secret love born in the flames of war. Set during the American Civil War.

(#3) Elizabeth by Willo Davis Roberts

Living in Salem, Massachusetts with a strict Puritan aunt and uncle, Elizabeth finds joy and solace in new friendships. However, danger arises when her friend is accused of witchcraft, and must make a series of choices regarding her fate and future.

(#4) Danielle by Vivian Schurfranz

It is 1814 when New Orleans beauty Danielle Verlain helps Geoffrey, a young pirate, escape from her family's plantation and the authorities. Immediately she is captivated by his dashing good looks and dangerous lifestyle. While her fiancé, Paul, is both handsome and sweet, Danielle yearns for something more. Her change comes when the pirates kidnap her and hold her for ransom. Danielle comes face to face with Geoffrey again. A love stirs inside her, and the spirited Danielle must decide between a comfortable life with Paul or an adventure as a pirate queen! Set during the War of 1812 and featuring an appearance by infamous pirate Jean Lafitte.

(#5) Joanna by Jane Claypool Miner

From her simple farm life in Vermont, Joanna bravely joins the growing number of girls working in the textile mills in 1836. With her she carries the painful memory of Jed, a young man who has left her, loving the sea more than her loves her. In the Lowell, Massachusetts mill Joanna is horrified to find the work both grueling and dangerous. Even a romance with the mill owner's roguish nephew, Theo, can’t keep the daily work from becoming terrifying drudgery. To strike with the other mill women seems Joanna's only way out of a job that threatens her very existence. But defying the mill owners will certainly mean losing her job and Theo. And if Jed ever returns from the sea, will he recognize – could he love – the new Joanna?

(#6) Jessica by Mary Francis Shura

Jessica had lived all her life on the flat Kansas prairie. It was there, the year she turned sixteen, that Jessica fell in love. The young Indian brave, Wheeling Hawk, saved her from a flood, and Jessica's heart was lost. But even the most spirited young woman would have to defy her family and home for so distant a love. And Jessica couldn’t see in Will Reynold's eyes, where once there was anger, there now shone a love of his own.

(#7) Caroline by Willo Davis Roberts

Feisty Caroline sneaks away from home to follow her brothers who are searching for gold. She must disguise herself as a boy to survive on the journey, which makes for plenty of drama and confusion for all involved.

(#8) Kathleen by Candice F. Ransom

Kathleen immigrates to Boston from Ireland during the Potato Famine and must work as a maid. After witnessing her family die on their ship to America, Kathleen quickly became aware of anti-Irish sentiment in the United States. After working several years as a housekeeper, Kathleen was recognized as an Irish noble by local townsmen, one of whom stole her heart and promised her the life she had missed.

(#9) Marilee by Mary Francis Shura

Until her father dies, Marilee lives a peaceful life in England. Suddenly she must cross the ocean to Jamestown, Virginia, to join her brother and his new wife. She is little prepared for the jealous resentment of her sister-in-law, the constant threat of Indian attacks, or so many suitors. Ship's officer Phillip Soames is kind and attentive but often at sea. Michael Braden is dashing but mysterious; and Timothy Reeves, indentured servant to her brother, is insolent but charming. Thrust on her own in this forbidding land, Marilee must follow her heart to find the one she truly loves.

(#10) Laura by Vivian Schurfranz

While men are fighting oversears in World War I, lovely Laura Mitchell is caught up in the struggle for women's rights in the Washington, D.C. of 1918. Dismayed by her willingness to go to jail for her beliefs, Laura's mother and sister encourage her to pay more attention to her suitors. Laura only has eyes for her neighbor, Joe Menotti, who treats her like a kid sister. But her brother's friend, Shawn O’Brien, sweeps her off her feet with his Irish charm and dashing good looks. Yet everyone but Joe wants her to give up her ideals. Should she change herself, try to change the man she loves, or follow her conscience to the main who is waiting with open arms?

(#11) Emily by Candice F. Ransom

At the turn of the [20th] century, Emily Blackburn is a wealthy New York society girl who has everything a girl could dream of. She wears the latest Parisian fashions, and is escorted to parties by the adoring and rich Worthington Bates. But amid the social whirl she feels empty and restless. When she meets the handsome Dr. Stephen Reed, she defies her parents and volunteers at the public hospital where he works. Helping there fills her life with new meaning, and Stephen stirs her heart with love. But he only sees her a s a spoiled rich girl. Emily must prove that she isn’t useless and cares about others, most of all, about him.

(#12) Jacquelyn by Jeffie Ross Gordon

Set during the Depression of the 1930s.

(#13) Victoria by Willo Davis Roberts

To beautiful, lovely Victoria Winters, Texas in 1835 is a place where parties last for three days. It's also a place of turmoil and violence. A war with Mexico can’t be far off. Luis Arista, the son of a wealthy Mexican landowner, offers Victoria security and comfort, but would she ever be able to adjust to his way of life? Cade Riley is a ruggedly handsome Texas Ranger who loves Victoria. But he can’t marry her until – or if – he returns from the battlefields. What will become of Victoria's Texas and the men she loves?

(#14) Cassie by Vivian Schurfranz

Ever since Cassie was captured by the Indians at the age of 4 she has loved her Iroquois family. At 15 she can shoot and ride as well as any warrior. Then her world is destroyed and she is driven from the only home she knows and she must search to find where she truly belongs.

(#15) Roxanne by Jane Claypool Miner

Roxanne has come from a small town to Hollywood with one dream: to become a star. And she will do anything to succeed: change her looks, her name and her friends. She has to decide if she should succumb to John Randolph, the movie producer's son, who can introduce her to all the right people. Or if she should follow her heart to Gary Marlowe, a glittering star who has eyes for all of the beautiful bit players and extras on set. But Roxanne knows she is not going to settle for being just another extra – to Gary or Hollywood…she's going to have it all!

(#16) Megan by Vivian Schurfranz

It's 1867 and beautiful, 16-year-old Megan O’Brien gives up a life of luxury in Washington, D.C. for the hardships of Alaska. Her father's job in international affairs has brought the family to Sitka. As if the harsh climate wasn’t enough to get used to, Megan must also face hostility and threats from angry fur traders who don’t like her father's new rules. She meets handsome Ivan Zolotov, a hardworking fisherman, and dashing Adam Logan, whose father owns Sitka's largest store. When both men fall in love with Megan, she is torn between them. The Zolotovs and the Logans are embroiled in a bitter feud, and she must take a side. Before she is sure which man she will choose, she is kidnapped by vengeful traders. Alone and frightened, she realizes who her true love is. Will she ever have a chance to claim his love?

(#17) Sabrina by Candice F. Ransom

In 1780, the Revolutionary War still rages violently, especially in Charleston, South Carolina, where orphaned, 16-year-old Sabrina Robbins lives and works in her uncle's shop. Sabrina, a staunch Patriot, is in love with Martin Cresswell, a handsome Tory. Even though they are on opposite sides politically, Sabrina believes their love can survive. But when she meets Richard Taylor, a brave but arrogant patriot who is a spy, she is confused. How can she be so attracted to Richard if she loves Martin? When Sabrina's uncle becomes ill, Sabrina has to take over his role in the spy ring, even though doing so means betraying Martin and risking her own life. She knows that Richard things some things – freedom and love – are worth any risks. But will she find the courage to fight for freedom and choose between the two men who love her?

(#18) Veronica by Jane Claypool Miner

Sixteen-year-old Veronica Stewart's main concern on the eve of the Pearl Harbor bombing is whether to date Mike or Phillip, but the devastation in her Hawaiian hometown changes her concerns.

(#19) Nicole by Candice F. Ransom

Wealthy, sixteen-year-old Nicole Sanders encounters tragedy and romance with two very different men--Karl, a young immigrant, and English aristocrat Price Armsey--when she and her mother sail home aboard the Titanic.

(#20) Julie by Vivian Schurfranz

Julie, a young telegrapher whose family is working on the First Transcontinental Railroad, is torn between charming Dylan O'Kelly and serious Samuel Harper.

(#21) Rachel by Vivian Schurfranz

It is 1910 and 16-year-old Rachel Roth and her family are immigrants from Poland to America. When Rachel sees the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, she catches her breath. The magnificent statue seems to promise her a better life. While life in bustling New York City turns out to be hard, Rachel is happy with her new country and her job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Unaware that a tragedy in the factory is about to happen, Rachel thrives on the admiration of handsome Joshua Fine, who wants a traditional home with her by his side. But when Rachel meets Nathan Meyers, an energetic reporter who loves her and wants her to be as modern, as American, as he is, Rachel is uncertain. To be American, must she give up her past? Will her heritage, or her heart, determine which boy she loves?

(#22) Corey by Jane Claypool Miner

After her brothers are forced to fight for the Confederacy, her father is sold, and her mother disappears, Corey, a house slave on a South Carolina plantation, escapes to Philadelphia where she finds dignity, friendship, and the freedom to love.

(#23) Heather (1665) by Vivian Schurfranz

In the English colony of New York in 1665, sixteen-year-old Heather discovers that one of the two men who claim to love her may also be plotting to kill her.

(#24) Gabrielle by Mary Francis Shura

After Gabrielle Prentice, a performer on her father's showboat, meets David Wesley and spends a week on his family's farm, she discovers that farm life is not what she imagined.

(#25) Merrie by Vivian Schurfranz

Stowing away aboard the Mayflower to escape an arranged marriage, sixteen-year-old Merrie Courtland receives no welcome on the Pilgrim ship. Luke Bosworth, the dashing young sailor who finds her, believes she is nothing but a dishonest stowaway. Her sole friend is the doctor's handsome young assistant, Zachariah Gaines. Merrie must be brave and resourceful to make it through the harsh, lonely first winter at Plymouth Colony. But can she persuade the Pilgrims to accept her? Luke wants Merrie to return to England to marry him. Zachariah wants her to stay. As the colony prepares a feast of thanksgiving, Merrie faces the hardest test of all. Does she have the courage to listen to her heart?

(#26) Nora by Jeffie Ross Gordon

San Francisco earthquake.

(#27) Margaret by Jane Claypool Miner

Teaching in a one-room prairie schoolhouse in Nebraska in 1886 means more than giving lessons to 32 very different students. For 15-year-old Margaret, who has left Chicago to start a new life, it also means learning to survive savage blizzards, a deadly plague, and awful loneliness. Then she meets Gerald, the handsome young easterner who is teaching in a nearby town. And she finds herself drawn more and more to brooding, handsome Robert, the 18-year-old farmer's son who is her worst pupil. Gerald offers Margaret a chance to go back to the civilized comforts of the city. But she can’t forget her dreams. A raging prairie fire forces Margaret to prove herself, and gives her the courage to choose the life – and love – she truly wants.

(#28) Josie by Vivian Schurfranz

Ever since her mother died, Josie has taken care of the family. But she dreams of adventure, and a more exciting beau than kind, gentle James, who runs the Carson city pony express office. Then Mike, a dashing new pony express rider, comes to town. Are Josie's dreams coming true? Josie find the answer unexpectedly, when she is the only one who can make a daring ride to get the mail through. Captured by a group of outlaws led by a famous woman bandit, Jodie gets a first-hand look at a real life of daring and danger, and some woman-to-woman advice about love. Does Josie have the heart for another kind of adventure – the adventure of true love?

(#29) Diana by Mary Francis Shura

Diana is a rich young woman living in New Orleans during the Louisiana Purchase. When her beloved city becomes American, she faces challenges, and a choice between a wealthy Creole, and an adventurous Lewis & Clark explorer.

(#30) Renee by Vivian Schurfranz

More than anything, Renee wants to become a New York City newspaper reporter. Her family doesn’t approve. But Nick, the young man they expect her to marry, understands. Or does he? One day, when handsome Steven Morison walks into her father's bicycle shop, Renee gets her chance. Steven's mother owns the New York Gazette. Steven gets Renee a job as a cub reporter. And he asks her out. Then the Great Blizzard of 1888 buries New York City with raging, icy winds and huge snowdrifts, some as high as buildings. Renee is the only reporter to make it to work, and she's told to cover the blizzard! Braving the dangerous, freezing streets, she becomes a heroine more than once. And her story is published – on the front page! She's on her way. Steven has asked her to marry him, and give up her job. She knows she loves him. But does real love mean giving up her dreams?

(#31) Jennie by Jane Claypool Miner

Jennie fights to save her life in the great Johnstown Flood of 1889 and survives to become a telegraph reporter covering the disaster but must choose between two men vying for her affection.

(#32) Darcy by Mary Francis Shura

For her sixteenth birthday, Galveston, Texas belle Darcy wants to have fun. She wants to laugh with her best friend Angela, flirt with Angela's handsome, maddening Yankee cousin Michael, and dance with her old friend Alex. But the Galveston hurricane of September, 1900, changes all that. Caught with Michael in the murderous gale and tides that level Galveston in one night, killing more than 6,000 people, Darcy survives. Now she must face her pain. She must find the strength to help rebuild the island that was her home, so is can never be destroyed by a hurricane again. But after such losses, will she have the strength to love again?

Chronology of Books[edit]

  • 1620 Merrie (#25)
  • 1622 Marilee (#9)
  • 1665 Heather (#23)
  • 1692 Elizabeth (#3)
  • 1755 Cassie (#14)
  • 1780 Sabrina (#17)
  • 1803 Diana (#29)
  • 1814 Danielle (#4)
  • 1835 Victoria (#13)
  • 1836 Joanna (#5)
  • 1846 Amanda (#1)
  • 1847 Kathleen (#8)
  • 1852 Caroline (#7)
  • 1861 Josie (#28)
  • 1864 Corey (#22)
  • 1864 Susannah (#2)
  • 1867 Megan (#16)
  • 1868 Julie (#20)
  • 1873 Jessica (#6)
  • 1880 Gabrielle (#24)
  • 1886 Margaret (#27)
  • 1888 Renee (#30)
  • 1889 Jennie (#31)
  • 1900 Emily (#11)
  • 1900 Darcy (#32)
  • 1906 Nora (#26)
  • 1910 Rachel (#21)
  • 1912 Nicole (#19)
  • 1918 Laura (#10)
  • 1931 Jacquelyn (#12)
  • 1938 Roxanne (#15)
  • 1941 Veronica (#18)