The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof
It was the 1890s circus setting that first made me want to read this one, because I've always been drawn to circus/carnival stories. And this one did not disappoint. I loved Charlie Lionheart, the lion tamer, and his faith, and the sacrifices he made to keep his little niece safe. And I loved watching Ella's cautious friendship with him grow into something deeper. This is a heartwarming and sweet romance. (Thank you, Ashley, for recommending this one!)
The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow
First lines: "It is a sad fact of life that if a young woman is unlucky enough to come into the world without expectations, she had better do all she can to ensure she is born beautiful. To be poor and handsome is misfortune enough; but to be penniless and plain is a hard fate indeed."
Who knew Mary Bennet could be so interesting? She's one of Jane Austen's duller, less memorable characters, but Hadlow has done an excellent job of turning her into a very sympathetic heroine of her own story. (Thank you, Cath, for your review, which made me want to read this one in the first place.)