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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Sharlene McLaren’s A Love to Behold is a beautiful, thought-provoking story about the Reconstructionist South. A time of the country being deeply divided, neighbors hating neighbors, and people not recognizing the worth of others made in God’s image. Although it sounds like it could be a tale of today, it is in reality, a tale of over one hundred fifty years ago.
I loved the spunk and spirit of Lydia. She has a mission and nothing can dissuade her. She is a “Steel Magnolia” from the North, determined to help the oppressed. I enjoyed the love triangle that develops. Of course, I always wonder why the characters let it go on as long as they do.
What added life and breadth to the novel was the colloquialisms that McLaren uses that were native to the area. Examples are “ fine as sifted flour,” “ heap of tired,” and, “I don’t give a skunk’s ear!”The best part of the book, though, is that the protagonists base their character upon Scriptural principles and pray about their problems.
There is plenty of suspense, mystery, action, and a bit of romance to keep the reader flipping pages to see how God (and McLaren)allow things to level out.
“But if the current generation wishes to stop the hatred, they can do it, one step at a time, one person at a time. We all have to work together, and then, with God’s help, we can achieve peace. God is love and He commands us to love one another. In fact, loving God and others is the greatest, most important commandment of all.”
“They calls her a half-breed, but she ain’t half t’ God, is she? She be whole t’ Him.”
I highly recommend this book, possibly in light of today’s animosity in our country. I never realized this was part of a series as I was reading it, so it stands on its own quite well. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own, and no positive review was required.
I also apologize to the author and other readers who looked for my review earlier. Due to a mistake on my part, it did not appear on time on my blog. Totally my fault and I ask your forgiveness.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 disrepair. 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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Maureen’s Musings, January 22
Jeanette’s Thoughts, January 23
Genesis 5020, January 23
Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, January 24
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 28
My 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. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8d2/a-love-to-behold-celebration-tour-giveaway