Category: Forever Freedom

BOOK REVIEW: Their Daring Hearts by Sharlene MacLaren

Posted January 30, 2018 by Fizzy Pop in book review, Forever Freedom, Sharlene MacLaren / 3 Comments

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by CelebrateLit. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEW: Their Daring Hearts by Sharlene MacLarenTheir Daring Hearts by Sharlene MacLaren
Series: Forever Freedom #2
Published by Whitaker House on January 9th 2018
Genres: Christian, Fiction, Historical, Military, Romance
Pages: 336
Source: CelebrateLit
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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 

I’m really struggling with writing this review.  I sorta let myself get swept up in the story instead of actually also paying attention to the things that make the story.  I will say that reading an ARC(Advanced Reader Copy) comes with it own set of interesting quirks.  Finding wrong words (though instead of thought – which personal experience I know will NEVER be caught by spell check), awkward wording where the same word (or even phrasing) is used very closely together that makes you feel like you are reading the same sentence again.  I didn’t realize, when I started this book, that it was a second in a series.  That does not in any way detract from this book at all.  I could have sworn I had checked into that when I realized it was a series and convinced myself that it was the first.  I was wrong, I didn’t realize until I finished the book.  I have to wonder if I actually looked into it or just thought so hard on it I convinced myself I did.  Had I realized I would have tried to get my hands on book on because well…series.

There were a few little things I thought as I read this book that made me wonder if other people ever think these things.  As a 19 year old woman Josie (Gordan) joins the army, pretending to be a man.  I mean there’s this little monthly thing that pops up and I had to wonder how the gravy she hid that.  It was mentioned, briefly, once, but it didn’t cure my curiosity in the least and actually brought about more questions.  Tell me I’m not the only person who things about these things?!?  The other little tidbit that came up for me was when her true identity was discovered and the feelings of those that knew, particularly Levi.  Here’s this ‘guy’ you’ve become friends with who is suddenly a woman.  Not long later you are kissing ‘her’ in the hospital tent.  I mean I think that would totally give me the heebee jeebees.  And what were you thinking kissing the person everyone else still knows as a boy and how that would go if you were seen?  I think it would take me a lot longer than a couple of weeks to come to terms with something like that.

That being said this book wasn’t just a light breezy Civil War love story.  There was war, that while not overt and in your face, was so well written that I could sense myself on the battleground.  There was comradarie of group brought together by a common cause.  And finding their place in smaller groups through their faith in God.  There was a little mystery that ran partway through the story that legitimately kept me guessing right up to the reveal.  This book had all the good things that make a great book hard to review.  Things you don’t want to spoiler away, action that brings you into the environment, characters you care about, some intrigue along the way, and a story of love.  Love for others, love for cause, love for God, and romantic love for another person.

Their Daring Hearts
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About Sharlene MacLaren

Sharlene MacLaren

Born and raised in western Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren graduated from Spring Arbor University then traveled nationally with a contemporary Christian vocal ensemble. She married Cecil, with whom she’d grown up in Spring Arbor, and the couple had two daughters. Shar embarked on a teaching career that would span over 30 years. As she contemplated retirement, Shar sought God’s guidance, praying for a vocation that would provide the kind of fulfillment and joy she experienced as a teacher and mother. A lifelong gifted story teller, she began to write Christian romance novels. Her first book, Through Every Storm, published in 2007, was met with critical acclaim and brisk sales. The rest, as they say, is history. Whitaker House’s bestselling fiction author, she’s subsequently published 18 books, mostly historical romances. Shar enjoys reading, singing in her church choir and worship team, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She’s very interactive on Facebook and Twitter.

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