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?
When I started reading Sarah, My BelovedI wasn’t sure it would hold my attention. In learning and reading about the craft of writing, it seems to be drilled in our heads to open our story with an interesting hook. This author chose to start the chapter with dialogue.
Well, it worked, because I kept reading. I wanted to know what the women were talking about and where they were. A few lines down I met the heroine and found out she had come to Little Hickman to marry a man, who ended up marrying someone else!
This is a historical romance set in 1896. I’m a sucker for historicals and that goes way back to my love for Gone With the Wind when I was ten and my love/hate relationship over Little House on the Prairie (we’ll save that story for another time.)
I can’t pinpoint what Sharlene MacLaren did to capture my interest, but this book was a surprise hit for me. I suppose this book is one I need to dissect. Figure out what it was that caught my attention and drew me back to 1896.
I love romance novels above historicals. I knew the blend of this particular story would interest me, but I didn’t expect it to be one that I put other things off to read. Finally, I stayed up until two, one morning simply to finish it. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish it and forced myself to go to bed, but was up bright and early, only mere hours later, to finish it. Sarah, My Beloved has a very satisfying ending and it was one I wish could have gone on.
Mrs. MacLaren’s prose was proper for that time in history. The story proved to be an easy, enjoyable read that had me giggling at times and close to tears at other times. Her secondary characters were strong and supported the hero and heroine like real family and friends do. Since this is my first MacLaren novel, and because I knew Sarah, My Beloved was second in the series, I found myself wondering what other characters were featured in book 1 and who she’d write about in book 3. I guessed, and ended up being right 😉
Sharlene MacLaren has many other books. Visit her website to get to know her. As for her historical series, Loving Liza Janeis the first book in the Little Hickman Creek Series and is out now. The third book in the series, Courting Emma, will come out in the Spring of 2008.