Reviewer: Rebecca Maney
Rebecca Albright lives the simple, plainspoken life of a Quaker, but she is openly passionate about family, faith, and freedom, persuading her to seek involvement with her father's efforts to aid and equip runaway slaves along the Pennsylvania Underground Railroad. One fateful evening, that determination introduced her entire family to Sherriff Clay Dalton, a supposed slave catcher, who suffers a severe head injury in his attempts to intercept two young men on the run. Instructed by her father to nurse the confused patient back to health, Rebecca experiences a certain measure of adventure rather than her orderly, predictable summer.
Clay Dalton cannot remember a thing about who he is, where he came from, or whether or not he is even married. He sincerely hopes that he is not married, as attraction to his beautiful nurse increases daily, not to mention the fact that Rebecca's parents have arranged a marriage to a local farmer whom it is obvious that she does not love. Living among and growing to love the entire Albright family, Clay is not only drawn to Rebecca, but to the God they serve so selflessly, making Clay have second thoughts about whether or not he can even be the same man when his memory returns.
Sharlene MacLaren has written a lovely story, drawing from her father's own Quaker roots and exemplifying the power of personal testimony. It was a pleasure to receive an advance copy of this book. The opinions expressed above are entirely my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Summer on Sunset Ridge by Sharlene MacLaren is a book that once begun, is hard to put down. I love the characters of Clay Dalton and Rebecca Albright. The contrast of their lives, and in particular how they meet, makes for an excellent story. Rebecca and her family are Quakers and her father helps with the Underground Railroad, escorting slaves to freedom. Her desire is so strong to help, she follows her father one night to see how things are done and inadvertently gets caught by Sheriff Dalton, who is hunting for two escaped slaves. The story takes a remarkable turn and the author leads us on a journey of love, faith and the discovery that God is ultimately the one we need to listen to if we just seek His guidance.
The thing I particularly liked about this story was that it wasn't just the main characters who grew and changed, but others too have their moments (like Rebecca's mother) and everything was so cohesive as far as plot goes that any side stories flowed quite smoothly. If you love a good historical romance, filled with a solid faith-filled message, you will love Summer on Sunset Ridge. I highly recommend it.
Reviewer: Carol A. Brown
Summer on Sunset Ridge is a wonderful historical romance about the Underground Railroad and portrays the role of the pacifist Quakers in helping slaves escape to the northern U.S. states where slavery was illegal.
Another plot line is the collision of the non-violent Quaker lifestyle with the gun-totting culture of the day. I appreciated the creativity in the ways Quakers found to live two strongly held principles of their faith. That of non-violence and the belief that all people should be free—no one should enslave another. MacLaren’s characters do a good job of distinguishing between their faith and their culture.
I found the book to be flawless technically. The story was well paced; the twists of plot pull the reader along to keep those pages turning! I suppose it is possible that my eyes glossed over a typo or grammar issue because I was so eager to find out what happened next, but I don’t remember any! Characters were well developed and believable. You love the heroes and dislike the villains.
I would confidently recommend Summer on Sunset Ridge to readers of historical fiction or romance, and those who enjoy books with a Christian theme.
Reviewer: Gail Davis
Summer on Sunset Ridge by Sharlene MacLaren is an engrossing book. With the introduction of the characters in the first few chapters, you get a feel of who will be the hero and heroine and that they will get together, hopefully, but are not sure how that will come to pass.
The book’s storyline is different than others I have read previously. Being set in the “free” north of America during the slavery days, you would expect to hear about the Underground Railroad, which indeed occurs. You would expect to learn of slave catchers, which happens. You would also expect to hear about disagreements regarding the enslavement of people, which happens mildly. In this genre of book though, you rarely hear about Quakers and their hand in the Underground Railroad. To hear of their involvement in the endeavor to help fleeing slaves find freedom is unusual though it shouldn’t be. Considering the pacifist stand of Quakers, it should be expected to learn of their involvement, but is so often unspoken. That is one of the things that make this book interesting – hearing about Quakers and their assisting runaway slaves to freedom even though a law existed against this.
The other thing that makes this story interesting is watching the slave catcher - a sheriff - change. He is confronted with the reality of slavery, consider it, and change. This sheriff, also, is confronted for the first time with the grace of God and his need for Jesus Christ as his Savior. What will win within the man? Who will the man be after this encounter with the Quaker family, God, and the slaves?
Only by reading the story will you know the answer. Only by reading the story will you find out how the hero and heroine meet and finalize their relationship. You be challenged and changed by the love of Jesus through this story. Join Sharlene to learn about the role of Quakers on the Underground Railroad. Find out what happens to the sheriff and how his life and the life of this Quaker family will change. I give this book 5 stars!