Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Summer on Sunset Ridge by Sharlene MacLaren

January 19, 2017 Christian, giveaway, historical, romance, Sharlene MacLaren 47


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about the book

Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is charitable, peace-loving, submissive—and a feisty abolitionist. Determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter what the cost, her path collides with that of formidable slave-catcher Clay Dalton. When Rebecca is assigned to nurse Clay back to health following a near-fatal gunshot wound, her uneasiness around him and the questions surrounding his mysterious past complicate their strained but developing relationship.

Sheriff Clay Dalton is grimly fighting several battles of his own as he stays on at the Albright farm to work off his debt to the family that has saved his life and taken him in. He is torn between his past commitments in the South and his unlikely present among this quiet Quaker community in the North. Almost against his will, he begins to ponder the impossible idea of a future with Rebecca.…

When tensions between North and South escalate, Rebecca and Clay find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be, and they soon realize that each holds a key to the other’s answer.

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SERIES: Forever Freedom #1
GENRE: Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Whitaker House
RELEASE DATE: January 10, 2017
PAGES: 320

“What a predicament, falling in love with a man who could never be hers…”

Summer on Sunset Ridge looks at one of my very favorite parts of American history – the Underground Railroad. And while the Underground Railroad isn’t featured in the story as much as I had hoped, it does spotlight a rarely studied aspect… the Quakers and their involvement. In fact, the runaway slaves and their quest for freedom really just provide the framework for the story, but it’s solid enough that it still appealed to the history geek in me.

Rebecca and Clay have instant chemistry … well… after we get past the fact that they meet while he’s holding her at gunpoint lol. But the road to a happily ever after for them is full of complications. For starters, Clay doesn’t remember who he is – or whose he is – and the fact that he might be married is enough for Becca to take drastic measures when she realizes she’s falling in love with him. The romantic tension between them though? Whew. Keep a fan handy!

Lots of emotions play out on these pages. You’ll smile at Rebecca’s family, but you’ll want to purse whomp a few characters too. The plight of the slaves – escaped or still in bondage – definitely tugs at the heart, and there are other scenes which may have you swallowing back a few tears. And I can’t forget to mention the kisses, laced with emotion and longing and love.

Bottom Line: Summer on Sunset Ridge by Sharlene MacLaren is sweet and layered and romantic, but most of all it points to Jesus as the source of true Peace and Freedom. The “plainspeak” gets a bit tedious as the story goes on, but it’s easy to overlook that minor issue because the characters feel like friends and their development is thoughtful and dimensional. Particularly Clay, as we watch him decided what to do/how to spend this chance he’s been given to start over, to begin a new life. The parallels to his transformation and the slaves’ path to freedom is subtly but poignantly drawn. I am looking forward to more of this series, especially if Levi (definitely my favorite secondary character) is featured in one of the next books!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Great book!

KissingBook Level: 3.5 / Forget breathing, probably best to have a fan at hand

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about the author

Born and raised in western Michigan, award-winning, bestselling author Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. After graduating, she traveled with a nationally touring Christian vocal ensemble, returning home to Spring Arbor to marry her husband, Cecil, whom she’d known since childhood. Together they raised two daughters. Now happily retired after teaching elementary school for 31 years, “Shar” enjoys reading, singing in the church choir and worship teams, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. Her novels include the contemporary romances Through Every Storm, Long Journey Home, and Tender Vow; the beloved Little Hickman Creek series (Loving Liza Jane, Sarah, My Beloved, Courting Emma, and  Christmas Comes to Little Hickman Creek, a novella), and three historic romance trilogies: The Daughters of Jacob Kane (Hannah Grace, Maggie Rose, and Abbie Ann); River of Hope (Livvie’s Song, Ellie’s Haven, and Sofia’s Secret); Tennessee Dreams:  Heart of Mercy, Threads of Joy, and Gift of Grace.

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Other Books by Sharlene MacLaren


To celebrate Sharlene’s tour, Whitaker House is giving away:

Grand Prize

Brown and tan fashion purse with cross, multiple interior and exterior pockets

and

Five Sharlene MacLaren titles: Summer on Sunset Ridge (Forever Freedom #1); Heart of Mercy (Tennessee Dreams #1); Livvie’s Song (River of Hope #1); Hannah Grace (Daughters of Jacob Kane #1); Loving Liza Jane (Little Hickman Creek #1)

Second Prize

“Keepers of the Light” Orange/Cinnamon/Clove candle from www.acheerfulgiver.com and

Summer on Sunset Ridge

Third Prize

Summer on Sunset Ridge

Enter via the PromoSimple form below. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway!

Click here to view this promotion.

Follow along with the Celebrate Lit Blog Tour for a list of tour stops and more chances to win!

Carrie

47 Responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Summer on Sunset Ridge by Sharlene MacLaren”

  1. Jan Hall

    I like that this book features more quaker characters. Great review. I am convinced that I need to read this book.

  2. Jeanne Bishop

    This is going on my TBR pile. Carrie, you make me laugh almost every day especially with your “kissing level” rating. Who doesn’t want to read a book that is rated as, “Forget breathing”?

    • Shar MacLaren

      Jeanne, because I write faith-based fiction, I have to be careful how “graphic” I get with my characters’ level of affection for each other, but I almost always fail when it comes to the kisses. Oh, how I love to describe a good kiss. (grins)

      • Jeanne Bishop

        Shar, I do appreciate a “clean” read. I’ve found so many faith-based writers that are very good at describing passion and affection while keeping away from the tawdry. Looking forward to reading your book.

  3. Cathy Hickling

    It’s tough for me to be objective as the Whitaker House publicist and die-hard Sharlene MacLaren fan. That said, I love a good story just like anyone and I’m a historical fiction junkie. I LOVED THIS BOOK! Great review, Carrie! I’m loving the comments, too. I don’t know about you, but I was woefully ignorant on Quakerism despite its profound impact on American history & culture. After reading “Summer” I do believe I could play a Quaker mama on TV. Or in the movie. Looking forward to more stops on the tour!

    • Carrie

      Hi Cathy! Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m a huge fan of Whitaker House’s books! I knew a bit about Quakers and their role in the Underground Railroad but not enough. And I don’t remember ever reading something set during that period from their perspective. Now I want to do even more research!

    • Shar MacLaren

      And may I just say, Cathy Hickling is a lovely publicist! She works hard on my behalf and for all Whitaker House authors. I like to think I’m her “favorite” though. Shhh.

  4. Dianne Casey

    This book sounds like an amazing read. Like that it involves Quaker’s during the Civil War era.

  5. Karen G.

    New author to me. Summer on Sunset Ridge sounds really interesting. Adding it to me wish list.

  6. Shar MacLaren

    Carrie, I want to thank you again for posting your review. It’s been great fun reading and replying to each of the comments. You’re awesome!

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