Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Genre: Historical Romance
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 of 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.
Reviewer: Becky Hrivnak
A Love to Behold, by Sharlene MacLaren, is an excellent read! I love the era as Civil War/Post Civil War novels are one of my faves in historical Christian fiction.
My favorite character was Reese. The kind of guy that can raise three children without the help of his family, keep a good testimony, and hard working...loved how MacLaren showed what a gentleman should be like even in the midst of adversity.
I've not read other books by this author, but I definitely will seek others out after this excellent read!
If you're a post Civil War buff and want to read how truly terrible it could be for former slaves at that time, this read is for you. Well done!
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher through Interviews & Reviews website. All thoughts and comments were my own.
Reviewer: Caroline Star
What a thoroughly delightful book to read! A Love to Behold is about Lydia, a young lady who teaches at a school in Charleston for former slaves. Along the way, Lydia's life is threatened multiple times by the Ku Klux men. Normally, I don't find this type of story enjoyable, but A Love to Behold was excellently done. It was so engaging that I read it all in one sitting, which doesn't happen often in my experience. I can tell that Ms. Sharlene MacLaren did her research in the historical aspect of this book - the story matched what I expected would be the feel of a post Civil-War setting perfectly.
I absolutely adored the characters as well. Reese, the male protagonist, will be a character that I will remember for awhile, and I admire Lydia's courage and determination as her life is threatened. While there was a bit of a love triangle, none of the usual drama accompanied it, which was SO refreshing. I definitely loved reading about the romance so much as it developed. This book is a keeper and I would highly recommend it to historical fiction fans (I mean, hey, I'm not a historical fiction fan myself, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story).
Reviewer: Nicole Wegscheider
The book, A Love to Behold is an outstanding story of the impact of President Lincoln’s abolition of slavery in the community of Charleston, South Carolina. Under the direction of a church initiative, a new school for black children to read and to write for the first time is being implemented. Lydia Albright — a white, female teacher and newcomer to Charleston, feels a strong calling by God to support this new school. The Charleston community has mixed responses.
The tapestry of the story unfolds with so many fascinating elements flowing together. Reese Lawton — a widower, family man and affluent businessman his life was powerfully transformed by God through an agent of God, Miss Wiggins, a former childhood family slave. Reese is a supporter of the new school whereas his father and brother are not supportive. An abandoned and homeless mulatto child runs the streets to survive. There are very interesting discoveries regarding this homeless child.
Due to undesirable school conditions, one of Reese’s youngest children, Owen, a white child, joins the new school and he begins to thrive. Meanwhile, a new chapter of the Ku Klux Klan is formulating in Charleston, implementing fear tactics directed towards the new teacher. In the midst of all these challenging experiences new, supportive and encouraging relationships are developing between Reese Lawton and Lydia Albright, Lydia and the black children, Lydia and Owen, Reese, Lydia and the homeless mulatto child and Lydia with the community. I like two powerful messages — as we trust in God, he will direct our path and all things (no matter how messy they might appear) to work together for good. I particularly liked the kindness and the acts of love directed towards the homeless child by Reese and Lydia.
In my opinion, Sharlene MacLaren’s book, A Love to Behold is an outstanding story that unfolds like a movie. I would highly recommend this book.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
If you have been reading the Forever Freedom Series by Sharlene MacLaren from the beginning, you will be tremendously satisfied with the ending.
I love that even though each book is part of a series, they can easily be read alone without feeling lost. Case in point, somehow I missed book two and read book one and then book three!
A Love to Behold has all the elements you want in a historical romance - mystery, romance and danger. Lydia Albright is a spunky young lady who has nerves of steel. And she needs them when she relocates from Boston to Charleston to run a school for former slaves. The newly formed group, the Ku Klux Klan, are determined to stop her and with a strength of character and gentleness that shows her Quaker upbringing, Lydia meets their challenges head-on. But first, she has another issue to deal with - her growing feelings for Reese Lawton, a local widower and father of three.
I believe I am going to miss Reese and Lydia! I was drawn into the story immediately and found it hard putting this book down. Good thing I'm a night owl! I finished the book in two days, but I like to give the story a bit of time to soak into my soul before I write my review.
A Love to Behold may be historical fiction, but it is a heartwarming tale with a timely message. I highly recommend it.
Lillian I Lum
12/2/2018 09:58:03 pm
An excellent writer.
12/2/2018 10:00:00 pm
I am always intrigued with reading books written by Sharlene MacLaren. Once I have started reading her books, I just can leave them unread. They are so fascinating with adventure, suspicion, and wit. Yet, there is real history woven within her books of fiction. I can't wait for her next book to be released within days!
12/2/2018 10:40:25 pm
I love all of Sharlene’s books read everyone she’s written more than once. I can’t wait for this new one.
12/2/2018 10:56:02 pm
Love this author and her style that leaves the reader wanting more. Her books are so wonderful that I don’t want to stop. A beautiful talent!
Penni J Shaw
12/2/2018 11:11:01 pm
This book is sure to be her best book. She just keeps getting better and better. Love every she has wrote.
12/3/2018 02:59:10 am
Thank you so much for all the kind comments! I appreciate it so much more than you can imagine!
12/3/2018 06:33:24 am
Sharlene's books make me laugh and cry all the way through. They are filled with characters who begin to feel like neighbors and friends, and it's always bittersweet when I get to the end of a book, because I just want it to keep going! You can't go wrong with a book by Sharlene MacLaren!
12/3/2018 06:54:37 am
12/3/2018 03:07:17 pm
Shar writes like no other!
12/3/2018 04:40:31 pm
Love Shar book once you start reading it you can't put it down.
12/3/2018 10:23:39 pm
LOVE all of her books!
12/4/2018 10:25:40 am
I have read all her books more then once, she is a fine author .
12/4/2018 04:04:05 pm
I love Shar's Forever Freedom Series! I can't wait to read "A Love To Behold!" I've read nearly all her books. She's a wonderful author!
12/4/2018 08:58:53 pm
12/5/2018 11:44:43 am
She is a great author.
12/5/2018 09:46:48 pm
Love, love, love Shar's books!
12/6/2018 04:26:19 pm
Looking forward to reading this book ,sounds like it's going to be another good one
12/7/2018 08:40:26 pm
She is a great writer.
12/8/2018 10:57:56 am
Love your books, keep on writing .
12/9/2018 11:08:50 am
Sharlene you keep getting better with your book writting, you are awesome.
12/9/2018 12:51:41 pm
I really love your books, injoy reading them.
12/9/2018 11:36:52 pm
You should have plenty of time when you begin a book written by Sharlene McLaren. She has a way of capturing your attention until the end of each chapter draws you into the next one. Her stories and characters become a part of you, making it hard to read "just one more page."
12/10/2018 06:13:02 pm
Love to read her book she's a good writer be glad when this one come out.
12/11/2018 01:59:55 pm
really really injoy Sharlene books.
12/12/2018 06:07:26 pm
You are the best author, I love when you start reading one of your books you cannot put it down.
12/13/2018 07:20:03 pm
Sharlene is a awesome writer
12/14/2018 12:23:22 pm
She's the joy of the day, when you're reading one of her books.
12/15/2018 05:48:12 pm
Love your books.
12/16/2018 05:08:48 pm
I read a lot of books, but still love your books.
12/16/2018 06:06:38 pm
Hi Barbara, I think you must be Shar's biggest fan. Just so you know, you don't have to leave a comment every time you vote. The votes go through either way.
12/17/2018 02:49:12 pm
Well somebody told me I didn't have to leave a commet every time I vote,so they are so wrong, Sharlene you are the best author in my book.
12/17/2018 07:21:24 pm
Barb, it's wonderful that you are leaving messages for Shar! I'm the owner of Interviews & Reviews. I just thought you were leaving a comment every time because you might have the impression that the vote doesn't count if you don't leave a comment. It does. But comment away! This is a thrill to watch. I've never seen anything like it! Sharlene has great fans.
12/18/2018 09:50:06 am
I appreciate your books Sharlene .
12/19/2018 02:18:54 pm
You a wonderful lady.
12/20/2018 10:15:43 am
Sharlene! May God bless you in your writing .
12/21/2018 06:03:19 pm
Sharlene you are a amazing writter
12/22/2018 10:39:54 am
Sharlene you are a beautiful lady and writer,we love your books.
12/24/2018 11:44:53 am
Sharlene you're the best,I didn't see my post from 12-23-18 and I voted.
12/25/2018 08:06:28 am
You're the bestest, keep up the great work that you do.
12/26/2018 10:53:34 am
Sharlene is awesome
12/29/2018 09:46:50 am
I had no idea people were leaving so many replies, especially Barbara Wenner. Barb, you are amazing. Thank you for being such a faithful fan. My goodness, girl! Love you.
12/26/2018 04:58:12 pm
Sharlene is a awesome writer.
1/13/2019 02:42:45 pm
Oh my! With every novel that Sharlene writes I say, this is my favorite one. At midnight last night I finished reading A Love To Behold. I literally could not put it down. Other comments above describe the setting and characters so I will not repeat them. What I want to say is that this book drew me in and didn't let go. Being a retired teacher myself, I felt a kinship with Lydia. Sharlene keeps you reading page after page, you must know what happens next. It is inspiring, exciting, loving, all wrapped between the pages. My only wish is like many others I think .... tells us what happened next in the life of Lydia. I felt that there was more to be told; more about the precious children she taught, more about Reese's children. Come on Sharlene, we want more!
1/31/2019 07:11:05 pm
Reading now and living every page.
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