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.
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!
Guest Post from Sharlene
My dear readers,
Somehow this is the first book that I have read by Sharlene MacLaren, and I definitely feel as though I have been missing out! Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres because I believe that we can and should learn from the past and use it to not only inform the present but also to help us move forward in faith. Granted, some events from the past are ones that we would rather forget, but to do so would be to stop learning from them and thus risk repeating them. American slavery comes to mind. We recall its horrors and its official end but sometimes tend to forget about the ensuing period, which ultimately culminated in the Civil Rights movement a century later. Reconstruction in the South was a time of immense change and challenges, something that Sharlene MacLaren masterfully addresses in “A Love to Behold”, book 3 in the Forever Freedom series.
Lydia Albright arrives in Charleston, South Carolina in August 1867 to fulfill God’s calling to serve as a teacher at a newly-constructed school for black children. The school is sponsored by a local church, and the way in which the community is divided over the school provides the main conflict. What surprised me the most was that so many citizens were in favor of or at least reconciled to the existence of the school in what I think of as a bastion city of the South. MacLaren adeptly portrayed how some people accepted that the Civil War was over and that times were changing, whereas the more intransigent members of society continued to rebel. The Ku Klux Klan plays an important role in this novel, and it was both frightening and informative to read about their perspective. What I most appreciated was the inclusion of characters such as Lewis, who forms a bridge between the diehard and progressive mentality, and Luetta, whose intelligence battles against years of abuse and neglect. In many ways, this is a novel of finding balance, and clearly the best way to do so is to follow the Lord’s leading in spite of the obstacles that stand in our way—a timely message for all of us.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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