About the Book
Book: Her Rebel Heart
Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Cristina Stiles is left to fend for herself and her two young children while her husband goes off to fight in the Confederate army. She also has to deal with two rogue Yankee soldiers who’ve beaten her, stolen her food, and keep coming back to cause more trouble.
Jack Fuller is a God-fearing Christian fighting for the Union. During a surprise encounter, he shoots and kills a Rebel soldier. In his final breaths, the Rebel asks Jack to deliver a letter to his wife—and he agrees. But when he arrives at Cristina’s small farm in West Virginia, she assumes Jack is one of the Yankee trouble-makers, trains her rifle on him, and fires. As he lies on the ground bleeding, he explains the purpose of his visit, and out of a sense of obligation, she decides to nurse him back to health.
What will happen when Cristina discovers Jack is the one who made her a widow? Will her rebel heart forgive him—or finish him off?
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About the Author
Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating with an education degree in 1971, she taught second grade for two years, then accepted an invitation to travel internationally for a year with a singing ensemble. After traveling for a year, she returned to her teaching job, then in 1975, she reunited with her childhood sweetheart, and they married that very December. They have raised two lovely daughters, both of whom are now happily married and enjoying their own families. 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!
Shar has always enjoyed writing, and her high school classmates eagerly read and passed around her short stories. In the early 2000s, Shar felt God’s call upon her heart to take her writing pleasures a step further, so in 2006, she signed a contract with Whitaker House for her first faith-based novel, Through Every Storm, thereby launching her professional writing career. With more than twenty published novels now gracing store shelves and being sold online, Shar gives God all the glory.
Shar’s novels have won numerous awards. Most recently, Their Daring Hearts was named a 2018 Top Pick by Romantic Times and her last book, A Love to Behold, was voted “Book of the Year” in 2019 by Interviews & Reviews.
Shar has done numerous countrywide book signings and has participated in several interviews on television and radio. She loves to speak 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. Shar and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan, with their beautiful white collie, Peyton.
More from Sharlene
Dark-haired, independent, and tough to the bone, Christina cares for her two young children in a ramshackle cabin in Ripley, West Virginia. When the Yankee who killed her husband pays her a visit, she has to decide whether to forgive him—or finish him off. Will this tough Southern woman find grace in her rebel heart?
With a beautiful cover, a slowly-developing romance, delightful characters, and more, Sharlene MacLaren’s “Her Rebel Heart” is an absorbing, heartfelt read. Her writing won me over with “A Love to Behold” last year, and I was thrilled to be able to read “Her Rebel Heart.” Historical fiction has always been my first love when it comes to genres, and the additional fact that this novel features the Civil War made it appeal to me all the more. Exploring the narrative through a Christian lens is particularly enlightening when considering the big picture: how America as a country became so divided, and also the impact on families on both sides.
Several historical facts set “Her Rebel Heart” apart from other historical fiction written about this time period. For instance, I am very interested in learning more about the secession of West Virginia from Virginia, which as we know became permanent. I found it interesting to learn that some West Virginians maintained loyalty to the South, including the main character in this novel. In the spirit of historical accuracy and honesty, I give MacLaren kudos for two of the villainous characters, who are Union soldiers, because this demonstrates that not every Union soldier had good morals, nor did every Confederate have bad ethics. Also, by employing the dialect of the West Virginia town, the author adds authenticity and cultural flavor to the narrative.
As for Cristina’s newfound faith, she starts changing her habits, reading the Bible, and coming to Jesus when she realizes the negative effect that her attitude has had on her children, causing her son especially to feel callous toward others. As Jack comments, “Sure seems like you’ve got the hand of God on you, protecting you time and again, and I’m wondering whether you’ve been aware of that, or whether the idea’s entirely new to you.” Sometimes all it takes is a nudge in the right direction or a kind word to set someone on the right path, and we should all strive to offer that kindness to others. As in “Her Rebel Heart”, one never knows where it may lead.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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