Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Review: Courting Emma by Sharlene MacLaren

Emma Browning runs the boardinghouse in Little Hickman, Kentucky. At twenty-eight years old, she’s hard as nails, bitter as a green persimmon…and all-in-all quite lovely.

Raised by a drunken, abusive father, Emma’s bitterness is understandable. “Forgiveness” is not a word she even considers adding to her vocabulary. But then the handsome, charming preacher takes up residence in her boardinghouse, his very presence prompting self-examination of the soul. To say nothing of the strange letters she receives from a mysterious Chicago woman who seems bent on effecting both forgiveness and salvation within Emma’s heart.

She’s forced to re-examine her feelings when the annoyingly convincing preacher talks her into taking her ailing parent into her home. Emma—along with the rest of the town—watches the once hard-nosed and harder-drinking old codger become a new creature in Christ. Much against her own will, she discovers how much she still loves her father. But will he live long enough for her to be able to say so?

Courting Emma is an enchanting inspirational romance, one that will not be easily forgotten. Sharlene MacLaren has a real handle on developing well-rounded, believable characters who walk right into readers’ hearts. They in turn are drawn so inexorably into the realistic community that they’ll hesitate to leave when they reach the last page.
The first two books in the Little Hickman Creek Series introduced us to Little Hickman and its friendly (as well as not-so-friendly), funny, courtly and captivating residents. We fell in love with the people, the place, and the writer’s masterful storytelling.

Book # 3 continues the excellent standards already set in the first two books. Once again, the author delivers moments of laugh-out-loud humor and others of bring-on-the-tissue pathos. She paints a vivid picture of life at the turn of the century. And once again, a straight-forward message of truth and salvation is woven so intricately into the storyline that one hardly knows they’ve heard it … except for those gentle stirrings within the heart and mind.
Christian fiction at its unforgettable best!

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