Sharlene's books are listed below.
For details and synopses please read the detailed descriptions below. If you want to view the photo summary to the right, just click on the picture and it will enlarge the print.
Summer on Sunset Ridge...
Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is expected to be charitable, peace-loving, and submissive, but inner turmoil makes her anything but. A feisty abolitionist, Rebecca is determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter the cost, until her path collides with slave-catcher Sheriff Clay Dalton who's grimly fighting battles of his own. When tensions between the North and South escalate, the two find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be—and whether friendship needs a common enemy.
Their Daring Hearts... Levi Albright rebelled against his Quaker roots to fight for abolition in the Union army in the first year of the Civil War. Two years later, 19-year-old destitute orphan Josephine Winters, with chopped hair, boy’s clothes, and new name, “Snipp,” enlists in the Union army out of sheer desperation. Just over five feet tall and barely weighing as much as a newborn calf, Snipp seems to Levi to be barely old enough to hold "his" gun. But despite being teased by the regiment, Snipp quickly earns admiration for skill with a musket and unequaled bravery. When Levi explains one night that he is a Quaker leading a regiment, it leads to a late-night discussion of faith and a developing friendship. But Snipp’s secret can only be hidden for so long. After an injury forces Josie to reveal her real identity, Levi is angered by her deception. Worse, Josie is marched out of the company without a chance to explain—or even say goodbye. Will their friendship survive? Or will the hatred saturating the war-torn nation affect even the heart of a peace-loving Quaker?
------------ "Finely detailed secondary characters add realistic depth to the story, making the world where the Albrights live feel dangerous and alive. Fans of MacLaren will be delighted with this first book in the Forever Freedom series." —Publishers Weekly review of Summer on Sunset Ridge
Gift of Grace... IT WAS A LEAP OF FAITH for Grace Fontaine to bid farewell to her beloved fiance, Jess Travis, and send him on a four-month stint on the transatlantic luxury liner The Lone Star. But the trip from Boston to London and back again would increase his salary fivefold and would bring the couple that much closer to realizing their dream of marrying and starting a family. When Grace learns that the ship was captured by pirates, her hope deflates, and it eviscerates entirely when the pirate ship is apprehended, with no survivors reported. Two years later, Grace receives word from a doctor in Paris, Tennessee, that her wealthy great-aunt, Iris Brockwell, is on her deathbed and requires round-the-clock care. Grace volunteers, figuring there is nothing left for her in Boston. It isn't long after her arrival in Paris that she meets a charming, driven lawyer named Conrad Hall, who wastes no time sweeping her off her feet and soon proposes marriage. Given his promises to love, protect, and care for her and her great-aunt, how can Grace refuse?Weeks before the wedding, an unexpected guest shows up and threatens to throw a wrench in the plans. Will Grace go through with her marriage to Conrad? Or will an unforeseen turn of events change her mind?
Threads of Joy...
JOY WESTFALL, a divorced woman who runs a tailoring business out of her little home and has a 4-year-old daughter knows first hand the bitterness of rejection. Her talent with a needle supersedes her tainted reputation, however, and she has no trouble finding clients. What she lacks is true friendship. Living next door to a little clapboard church on the edge of town, even the folks of the church pay her little mind when they come and go on Sunday mornings--unless she happens to be outside tending her flowerbeds in which case they quickly turn their children's heads away or shake their own at her in utter repulsion. Inside, their hymns of praise compete with the birds, but outside their hypocritical noses turn up at the sight of her. Not until LUCAS JENNINGS, the new preacher, begins to befriend her and her innocent daughter does she grasp what pardon feels like. The trouble is his congregation begins to accuse him of having sinful thoughts, one woman in particular going so far as to campaign to have him removed from the pulpit. When tragedy strikes, Lucas's messages of repentance resonate with his members, drawing an entire community together, changing the hardest hearts, and turning folks' minds toward what really matters in life--love, faith, and forgiveness.
Heart of Mercy...
Mercy Evans has known a great deal of heartache and hardship in her 26 years. She lost her mother at a young age, and at 16, lost her father to a brutal killing sparked by a family feud spanning several generations. Yet, Mercy never doubts the presence and provision of her Heavenly Father. When a house fire claims the lives of her two best friends, leaving their two young sons as orphans, Mercy offers to be their guardian. It seems simple enough, until the judge mandates that the boys be placed with a married couple. Samuel Connors is a man adrift. Despite the success of the blacksmith business he inherited from his father, he senses a void unaffected by material rewards. His mother keeps nagging him to find a wife, but the only woman who comes to mind is Mercy Evans, and what would she want with the man whose father murdered hers? Mercy is determined to do whatever it takes to win custody of the Watson boys, but marry a mortal enemy of the Evans family? Only God could give her the heart and courage to go through with it.
Sofia's Secret... Scandal surrounds Sofia Rogers, a woman in her early twenties, when it becomes obvious she is pregnant and unmarried. Yet nobody knows the real story. And Sofia isn’t about to share it; she would rather bear the shame than face the threat of consequences. When Eli Trent, the new doctor in town, gets involved, the trouble escalates in the form of thievery, arson, and death threats. Nevertheless, Eli is determined to break down the wall of silence behind which Sofia hides her deep, dark secret. He is out to convince her she is not alone and to make her realize that trusting him—and her heavenly Father is the only thing that makes sense.
A courageous young woman seeking refuge... Ellie Booth was never the type to run away. But she'd witnessed her stepfather commit a heartless crime, and, knowing he'll stop at nothing to keep her quiet, she has no choice but to flee. Soon, she finds herself in Wabash, Indiana, scrambling for a cover identity to evade her stepfather. For lack of a better option, she answers an ad for a wife/housekeeper/nanny, praying that her lack of experience won't be obvious. A widowed father with no domestic skills to speak of...Gage Cooper is reaching the end of his rope. With four children between the ages of three and ten, he needs a reliable nanny, yet each one he's hired has thrown up her hands and deserted her post. When an attractive, spirited young woman applies for the "job," he knows he should pray about the matter, but his desperation for help propels him headlong into a marriage of convenience. A trial by fire of their wedding vows...Ellie immediately falls in love with the Cooper children, and, not long after, with their father. Soon, the "marriage of convenience" becomes less of a business arrangement as husband and wife yield to an attraction neither one had expected. When secrets of the past and dangers of the present arise in their lives, their marriage is put to the test, and God alone knows what will become of their union.
Livvie's Song...Life is far from a breeze for Olivia Beckman, owner of Livvie's Kitchen, a favorite of locals in Wabash, Indiana. The widowed mother of two is struggling to make ends meet–no simple feat, especially when her cook turns in his resignation. Yet she's determined to pull through on her own, just as she did when God failed to save her beloved Frank.
Newly released from a ten–year prison sentence, Will Taylor is ready for a fresh start. With harmonica in hand–the only possession he values, aside from his Bible–he makes his way to Wabash, where a late–night meal at Livvie's Kitchen turns into a job opportunity when the outgoing cook learns about his restaurant experience. What he doesn't know is that the "restaurant" was a prison cafeteria.
But Will became a new man behind bars, thanks to a Christian friend, and he credits God's providence with landing him a job he loves. Soon, he cooks and bakes his way into the stomachs of his customers–and the heart of his employer. Both are hesitant, though, still healing from past hurts. A recipe for love between them will require sharing secrets, braving dangers, and believing God for a bright future.
Tender Vow... Michigan-born brothers John and Jason Evans take a ski trip to the Colorado Rockies, but only one comes home alive—John was tragically killed on a daring descent down Devil's Ridge, an infamously dangerous slope. In an attempt to soothe his guilt and grief, Jason sets out to make amends with his widowed sister-in-law, Rachel, by offering to help with her two small children, doing odd jobs around her house, and trying to ease her own heavy burden of grief. A new Christian, he is bent on growing his faith and helping Rachel see her way through the fog of pain and confusion.
Left to raise her three-year-old daughter and newborn son on her own, Rachel Evans is anything but willing to become her brother-in-law's charity case, particularly since they have a history she'd rather forget. She's determined to make it on her own but soon finds that God has other plans for her--and for Jason. Can she accept the Lord's leading and still honor her late husband's memory?
Abbie Ann... completes the Daughters of Jacob Kane trilogy. This youngest sister is now running Whatnot, the family’s general store in Sandy Shores, Michigan. A social activist, Abbie Ann stays busy assisting the elderly, and working with fervor for the cause of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She has little time -- or tolerance -- for frivolity, so she keeps her distance from the recently divorced Noah Carson who comes to town with a young son in tow to pursue a shipbuilding business. But God has other plans in mind.
Maggie Rose... is the spunky, friendly, twenty-year-old middle daughter of Jacob Kane who feels compelled to leave Sandy Shores and pursue God's plans for her in New York City. The year is 1904 and Maggie Rose adjusts to her new life at Sheltering Arms Refuge, an orphanage that also transports homeless children to towns across the United States to match them with compatible families. When a newspaper reporter comes to the orphanage gathering information for a story, Maggie is attracted to him, despite his lack of faith. Will she win the struggle to maintain her focus on God and remain attuned to His guidance?
Hannah Grace... is the first of a trilogy, The Daughters of Jacob Kane, that takes place in turn-of-the 20th century western Michigan. MacLaren skillfully weaves historic details and events into the plot of all three books. Hannah Grace, the feisty and strong-willed eldest daughter works at the family general store and is being courted by the town’s physician. Her life seems on course when a handsome new sheriff arrives in town, along with a shy boy who has been delivered to Sandy Shores, Michigan on one of the era’s “Orphan Trains.”
Long Journey Home... After divorcing her abusive husband, single mother Callie May is still nursing his scars of a painful past. Living across the hall is Dan Mattson, a former church pastor, who left his flock in Michigan and fled to the Chicago suburbs after the death of his wife and baby daughter in an automobile accident. Embittered by his loss, Dan turns his back on God. When Callie’s ex-husband shows up to wreak more havoc in her life, Dan finds himself coming to her defense—facing his own demons in the process.
Twenty-eight-year old Emma Browning has experienced a good deal of life in her young age. Sole owner and operator of Emma’s Boardinghouse, she is “mother” to an array of beefy, unkempt, often rowdy characters. Though many men would like to get to know the steely, hard-edged, yet surprisingly lovely, proprietress, none has ever succeeded. That is, not until the town’s new pastor, Jonathan Atkins, takes up residence in the boardinghouse, affecting not only her with his devout faith and strong convictions, but her clientele as well. Emma clings desperately to her stubborn ways, refusing to acknowledge God’s love—until all of Little Hickman witnesses a miracle—the conversion of her abusive and alcoholic father, Ezra Browning! Only then will Emma begin to experience God’s transforming power at work.
Sarah, My Beloved... Sarah Woodward has come to Kentucky as a mail-order bride, contracting with the services of the Marriage-Made-In-Heaven Agency. However, when she steps off the stagecoach to meet her betrothed, he kindly informs her he has fallen in love with another woman. Sarah is disappointed, yes, but she feels strongly God has led her to this rickety place for a reason. If not to marry Benjamin Broughton, then to fulfill some other duty and, thus, she will stay firmly planted in Little Hickman until she discovers that plan.
Rocky Callahan’s sister has died, leaving him to care for her two young children. When he meets up with the fiery Sarah Woodward, he proposes the answer to both their problems—a marriage in name only. Sarah soon comes to love the children, but Rocky is afraid that she’ll never survive as a farmer’s wife with her privileged upbringing. Can he let go of the pain of his past and trust God’s plan for his life? Will she leave him or will they actually find a marriage made in heaven?
Loving Liza Jane... 21-year-old Eliza Jane Meriwether moves from Boston to Little Hickman, Kentucky in the year 1895. Naïve, but full of confidence and zeal, Eliza will assume the job as Little Hickman’s schoolteacher. But when she first rides into town on a ramshackle buckboard, her initial thought is, “Oh, Lord, what have I done?” Kentucky is nothing like her native Boston. Will she ever grow accustomed to its rolling hills and wide open spaces, not to mention the lack of modern conveniences? Although filled with doubts, she is convinced God has led her to this point, and soon the new schoolteacher is beloved by all, including Benjamin Broughton, a handsome widower with two young children. Trouble is her contract implicitly states, “marriage or any other unseemly behavior by women teachers is improper and will thereby result in immediate dismissal”.Liza has a lot to learn about God’s perfect plan for her life.
Through Every Storm... When husband and wife Jeff and Maddie Bowman unexpectedly lose their daughter, their relationship slowly begins to deteriorate until divorce appears to be the only option. They must deal with the hurt of losing a child, while risking the chance of losing each other. For readers who have dealt with unbearable loss, Through Every Storm reveals how God’s mercy never fails. He is present even in our darkest moments and only He can redeem lost love. There is always hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.
Copyright 2006, Sharlene MacLaren.
All rights reserved.
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