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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Review of a Great Read: Sarah, My Beloved

Mail-Order Bride Story with a Twist

When I see the words “mail-order bride” on the back cover of a book, I get excited. These are my favorite reads, followed closely by marriage of convenience stories. I was in for a treat when I discovered Sarah, My Beloved by Sharlene MacLaren, because this story involves the former turning into the latter. A well-written tale with captivating characters I loved from the start, Sarah, My Beloved exceeded my expectations. The ever-increasing emotion and conflict kept me turning pages eager to find out how two strangers could overcome the obstacles MacLaren throws in their path. It’s easy to see why this book has garnered so many great reviews. Like others, I highly recommend the story, confident those who love a historical with heart will enjoy this book from an author who’s delivered a moving inspirational romance.

MacLaren’s rich, spirited heroine, Sarah Woodward, follows the Lord’s leading to leave her life of luxury in Massachusetts and head to Little Hickman Creek in Kentucky. Upon arriving, Sarah discovers her intended has fallen for someone else and was unable to get a message to her in time. When a lifelong friend from home arrives in town pushing a marriage she wants no part of, small-town farmer Rocky Callahan proposes. He needs a mother for the niece and nephew left in his care when his sister died, but what he doesn’t need is a romantic entanglement. Can Sarah win the heart of her reluctant husband, and can Rocky deal with the loss of his first wife and young son and find his way back to the Lord?

• • • • •

What Do You Think?

Do you enjoy mail-order bride and marriage of convenience stories? If so, what is it you like about them?

Do you prefer action-packed, suspenseful stories, or are you partial to those based upon the characters and their growth as the story progresses?

Do you like to read rich lady of luxury meets working-class man stories?

Attention, Romance Readers

If you enjoy reading inspirational romances as I do, I invite you to let me know. I will be, at random, gifting gently read copies of books I review, motivational bookmarks or other items of my choosing. You can let me know of our mutual interest in the inspirational romance genre or a particular book via a comment in which you include an email address or by sending a message using my email address, which is listed in the sidebar under “Contact Information.”

Last Week's Winner

Congrats to Jarmara Falconer, winner of Dreaming of Home by Glynna Kaye.

(Note: Because I’ve decided to to forgo holding regularly scheduled drawings, this will be my last announcement of a winner.)

Special Note

I purchased my copy of Sarah, My Beloved and am offering this review of my own accord and without remuneration of any kind.


Renee said...

Ohhhh I know what you mean! My favorite romances are mail-order bride and marriage of conveniences! I also LOVED this book! Sharlene is SUCH a great author! I like this series better than her newest series, although it is good too! Thank you for sharing!

xoxo~ Renee

Diane said...

I'm not really sure what my favorite genre is..... I guess it's whatever I am in the mood for at that particular time. I do like mystery, romance, sci-fi and general action/adventure books. Every book you review sounds wonderful and it is obvious what pleasure you take in doing these. :O)

Keli Gwyn said...


This was the first book I read by Sharlene MacLaren, and I'm sold on her as an author.

I'm delighted to find a fellow fan of mail-order bride and marriage of convenience stories. I can't get my fill of them. If you can recommend any, I'd love to hear about them.


Laura Frantz said...

I'm thinking of doing a mail-order bride story, all because of you:) I've not had the privilege of reading any of Sharlene's books yet but she'll be at the Kentucky book fair with me next month so will meet her there (and buy one of her books). Thanks for a great post - once again!

Keli Gwyn said...


With so many interests, you'll never run out of reading material or be bored. :)

I do like reviewing books I've enjoyed. I peruse reviews online, which is how I discover many of the titles I select. My desire is to pass on recommendations that will be helpful to others in the same way those reviews I've read have been to me.

Keli Gwyn said...


How wonderful that you'll have the privilege of meeting Sharlene when you attend the Kentucky Book Fair. I wish I could be there and meet you both in person.

And even more exciting to me is the fact that you're considering a mail-order bride story. I'd love to read one written by you with your lyrical Voice, ability to capture the period with accuracy, vividly painted scenes and characters that linger long after I close your book. I'll be watching for this particular book with eagerness. But then, I await all your books in that same spirit of expectancy. :D

Virginia C said...

Hi, Keli! SARAH, MY BELOVED sounds wonderful. I also love "mail-order bride" and "marriage of convenience" romance stories. There is something irresistible about following a relationship forged from those beginnings into the love of a lifetime! Thank you for your lovely stories set in my favorite time period, the mid and late 1800's.

I am also quite enamored of frontier and Old West historical fiction. Laura Frantz wrote a terrific pioneer romance: THE FRONTIERSMAN'S DAUGHTER.

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

Hey there Keli!

Loved your review! I have this whole series, but have yet to read them. My sister is reading them right now, and loving them. =)

There is a new mail-order bride series coming in April 2010 ~ it's by Vicki McDonough ~ you can check it out on my blog here:

I enjoy most all Christian Fiction romance: Historical, Contemporary, etc. You already have my email address! LOL

BTW, I see you've already discovered your, you're quick...before I could even get over here to tell you about it! Don't forget to pick it up here:

Oh, one more thing, I saw a comment from Laura Franz and just wanted to let her (and you) know that I got a copy of her book, The Frontiersman's Daughter, yesterday and can't wait to read it. =)

Thank you for sharing!

Keli Gwyn said...

Virginia, I enjoyed reading Sarah, My Beloved and think you will, too, since you're also a fan of mail-order bride and mariage of convenience stories.

Like you, I savored The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz. I generally read romance, but Laura's wonderfully crafted historical with romantic elements was a delight. You can see how much I liked it by reading my recent review here

Keli Gwyn said...

Lori, I'm glad you enjoyed my review. I look forward to reading more of yours as well at your great blog Some of My Favorite Books.

Thanks for telling me about the new mail-order bride series coming from Vicki McDonough. I'll check it out.

And thanks again for the blog award. I was so surprised to visit and find mine in the list beneath your own award.

I was swept away by The Frontiersmans' Daughter, which I reviewed here. Laura is an artist who uses words as her medium to paint scenes so vivid and characters so engaging they pop off the page. I look forward to hearing what you think of her story and which character(s) capture(s) your heart.