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Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Love to Behold Celebration Tour FB Banner

About the Book

A Love to Behold
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.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Sharlene maclarenBorn 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 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,


Welcome to a time period  where opportunities abound and danger lurks just beneath the surface. Lydia has traveled to South Carolina to take on a job not all townspeople are happy about. She will be a schoolteacher for children of former slaves.   I'm sure she was a bit nervous but God called her to do this and her obedience is obvious.

Her arrival is met with a shootout right in the middle of town. The author makes the story realistic with details that put you right n the center of the story. I love this time period and am amazed at how hard people worked to survive. I think Lydia is in for a big adventure and she has no idea what she has gotten herself into.

Reese is a good character who is wealthy, but uses his money to help others. His father is a bit unconventional and doesn't mind speaking his mind.  Reese's brother has a huge problem with slaves being freed and supports the Klu Klux society along with his father.   It is hard to imagine how prejudice people were even back in the frontier days. Reese has experienced a great loss in his life that has left him lonely. I loved that he still trusts God and knows how important his relationship with God  is to keep him grounded in the Word.

Reese's children are delightful and full of energy. They are excited to meet Lydia and already trying to get their dad to marry her. I love their enthusiasm and how full of life they are. Their addition to the story is fun and I laughed every time they got a bit carried away with things. Reese has done a great job raising them and teaching them about God.

It is very evident that some people in town and even in other states disagree with the Freedmen's Bureau. I loved when Lydia said, " Isn't it our duty as Christians to show forth an attitude of love so that others may see Christ at work?"  Lydia is determined that the school will be a success, but others may have a different opinion. The author writes a story about a subject that even today we still are divided about. God made us in His image. Lydia is the perfect character in this story to fight for what is right. She is feisty and has a strong sense of treating everyone equal. She will be tested over and over again as danger lurks near her. The author writes a scene that was an example of how far people will go when they decide to see only the color of someone's skin. It made me shiver with fright as tears ran down my cheeks while reading what happens at school one day.

I love the way the author puts a bit of humor  in the story with sayings like, " As excited as a piglet in a puddle of mud." It is such an expressive way of saying someone is happy. The story flows easily and I loved learning  more about how slaves were treated and the struggles they had to overcome. There is a romance blossoming that is definitely something to catch readers attention. Overall the story is a wonderful example of the struggles during this time period. I am reminded that God loves us not matter what the color of our skin is. We just need to learn to see people the way Jesus does.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

" Hatred can carry from one generation to the next. But if the current generation wishes to stop the hatred, they can do it, one step at a time, one person at a time."

Blog Stops

Maureen’s Musings, January 22
Genesis 5020, January 23
Splashes of JoyJanuary 25
Mary Hake, January 26
Godly Book Reviews, January 27
Daysong ReflectionsJanuary 27
Robin is Bookish, January 28
The Becca Files, January 30
Texas Book-aholic, January 31
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.