Friday, January 20, 2017

Review (+Tour Giveaway): Summer on Sunset Ridge

Summer on Sunset Ridge
By Sharlene MacLaren
Forever Freedom #1
Whitaker House, 2017


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.

Sherriff 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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My thoughts

Summer on Sunset Ridge begins a promising new series entitled Forever Freedom, set during the years just prior to the Civil War. Sharlene MacLaren crafts a spirited narrative filled with interesting historical detail and strong spiritual themes that add richness to the story.

Rebecca Albright is an engaging character and I especially enjoyed her family, which included many siblings. Rebecca is kind, compassionate, and has a burning desire to help with the Underground railroad, which forms a backdrop for the story. The initial meeting between Rebecca and Clay, a sheriff searching for a run-away slave, doesn’t bode well for their future – and this makes for great storytelling. The chemistry between these two is great.

The historical detail about the Quaker faith and the Underground railroad was an integral part of the story, pulling me right into the setting – although the Underground railroad didn’t play as big a part as I had expected. I thought spiritual themes were relevant for us today, such as when man’s laws and God’s laws conflict with each other. And I loved how Clay’s temporary memory loss provided the foundation for him to make life decisions that he might not have made otherwise.

I enjoyed Summer on Sunset Ridge and look forward to future books in the series.


I was provided a free copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Sharlene MacLaren 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, andAbbie 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.



  1. I loved this book. Enjoyed your review.

  2. Thanks so much for the fantastic review!!! So appreciated it.

    Also, Lucy, I'm pleased as can be that you already read it and loved it. How sweet of you to comment. Thanks so much.

  3. Another Shar book - - YAY!! :) I'm sure this one will be as amazing as all your other books.

    1. Hey there, CatMom (aka Patti), I love you. I hope you will have a chance to read the book. You know you are one of my best fans on earth.

  4. Hello, dear CatMom (aka Patti)! You know I love you. I hope you get a chance to read my book. You're one of my best fans. Hugs...

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

  6. Hi, Karen! Thanks for your comment. I really hope you'll give "Summer" a try. (Hugs)

  7. I am so loving each take on your book Sharlene, another wonderful review and I am so excited to read this book in the near future !
    Linda Marie Finn
    Faithful Acres Books