It has been awhile since I have read a book by Sharlene MacLaren but I have always enjoyed them. I also have not read the previous books in this series but that did not take away my enjoyment or understanding of this excellent novel that easily stands on its own merits.
With vivid imagery and strong characterization, the author offers an intimate look at the era following the Civil War in Charleston, South Carolina including a glimpse of the early days of the Ku Klux Klan. Teacher Lydia Albright follows her calling to teach a school for children of former slaves and meets with more opposition than anticipated including threats against her life. Nevertheless, between her own determination to follow the Lord’s leading and a group of strong supporters, Lydia refuses to back down even in the face of repeated violence.
I thoroughly enjoyed A Love to Behold and the history behind it. Plenty of action and danger, a bit of a love triangle, and a strong thread of faith kept me steadily turning the pages. I may just have to pick up the previous books of this series to see what I missed.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
|Title: A Love to Behold
Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Genre: Christian romance, historical
Release date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Whitaker House
Two years after the Civil War, Lydia Albright, 27, is an established teacher in Boston when she senses God’s call to leave the comfort and security of her job and go south. She accepts a position to teach in a school for former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. A church there that’s affiliated with the American Missionary Association offers support, along with room and board at the parsonage.
The Ku Klux men are hell-bent on seeing that the new school fails. Lydia’s life is threatened, and the parsonage, church, and school are vandalized.
But they haven’t contended with a strong, determined woman like Lydia before. It also helps that she has a couple potential suitors on her side.
A Love to Behold is a tale of people who grow strong in the face of adversity and a church that learns love, compassion, and acceptance, even in the face of cruelty and hatred.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating in 1971 with an education degree, she taught second grade for two years, then accepted an invitation to travel internationally with a singing ensemble for one year. In 1975, she came home, returned to her teaching job, and married her childhood sweetheart. Together, they raised two lovely daughters, both of whom are now happily married and enjoying families of their own. Retired in 2003 after thirty-one years of teaching, “Shar” loves to read, sing, travel, and spend time with her family—in particular, her adorable grandchildren!
A Christian for over fifty years, and a lover of the English language, Shar always enjoyed dabbling in writing. She remembers well the short stories she wrote in high school, and watching them circulate from girl to girl during government and civics classes. “Psst,” someone would whisper from two rows over, always when the teacher’s back was turned, “pass me the next page.”
In the early 2000s, Shar felt God’s call upon her heart to take her writing pleasures a step further, and in 2006, she signed a contract for her first faith-based novel, Through Every Storm, thereby launching her writing career. With eighteen published novels now gracing store shelves and being sold online, she daily gives God all the glory. She dedicated her last novel, Their Daring Hearts, to Jesus.
Shar has done numerous countrywide book signings and made several television appearances and radio interviews. She loves speaking for community organizations, libraries, church groups, and women’s conferences. In her church, she is active in women’s ministries, regularly facilitating Bible studies and other events. She and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan, with their beautiful white collie, Peyton, and their ragdoll cat, Blue.
Shar loves hearing from her readers. If you wish to contact her as a potential speaker for a church function or would simply like to chat with her, please feel free to send her an e-mail at email@example.com. She will do her best to answer in a timely manner. You may also find her on Facebook.
GUEST POST FROM SHARLENE:
My dear readers,
It has indeed been my great privilege and pleasure to write this series set in Civil War times. What a thought-provoking, amazing, and heart-wrenching era in American history.
If you read all three books in the “Forever Freedom” series—Summer on Sunset Ridge, Their Daring Hearts, and A Love to Behold—you will have gotten some history lessons regarding the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers; Abolition; the Underground Railroad, which the Quakers were instrumental in launching; life as a Union soldier in the Civil War; the Freedmen’s Bureau; and Reconstruction, that period following the war when the south had fallen into great dis-repair. Also prevalent in this third book is a bit of history regarding the origin of the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group that formed during the Reconstruction period.
Although I did not appreciate history as a young girl, as an older adult, I’m quite fascinated by it. History itself is a great teacher. Learning about it can be everything from exhilarating to depressing, challenging and yet exciting. It is my prayer that as you read my books, you’ll not only find them entertaining, but also inspiring and uplifting. I aim to encourage, not discourage. Much of history—if we dwell on it—can be disheartening, but focusing our hearts and minds on Christ gives us courage and confidence. Let us learn from history, but let us look to the future with hope in our hearts.
With love and a prayer for God’s best blessings,
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Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 23
Genesis 5020, January 23
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 24
Splashes of Joy, January 25
Blossoms and Blessings, January 25
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 26
Mary Hake, January 26
Godly Book Reviews, January 27
Daysong Reflections, January 27
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28
|Robin is Bookish, January 28My Devotional Thoughts, January 29
Locks, Hooks and Books, January 29
The Becca Files, January 30
For the Love of Literature, January 30
Texas Book-aholic, January 31
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 31
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 1
Janices book reviews, February 1
A Baker’s Perspective, February 2
Bibliophile Reviews, February 3
Carpe Diem, February 4
Bigreadersite, February 4
To celebrate her tour, Sharlene is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.