The rundown, including those already identified:
1-Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Eleanor Pruitt Stewart
2-For the Life of the World by Alexander Schmemann
3-We Die Alone by David Howarth, a true survival story from WWII
4-Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
5-The Land Was Everything by Victor Davis Hanson. Hanson spoke for my father and thousands of other farmers like him--and Hanson himself--about the farmer's life in California's Central Valley.
Thanks to everyone who looked in on these puzzles. It's a treasure hunt that is perhaps most fun for the one who finds the treasure to hide it in the first place, and I might just do myself the favor of posting another five first lines sometime.