Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sharlene MacLaren's Courting Emma ~ Reviewed

Courting Emma
By: Sharlene MacLaren
Publisher: Whitaker House
ISBN: 978-1-60374-020-3

A Story of Survival, Mystery, and Unexpected Love

Twenty-eight year old Emma Browning has built a barricade around her heart to survive the pain of growing up with her alcoholic father, Ezra. As she runs Emma’s Boardinghouse, she plays host to an array of unkempt, earthy characters while trying to maintain a protective emotional distance from people. No one has succeeded in getting to know the beautiful yet steely edged proprietress. That is, not until Little Hickman Creek’s handsome new pastor, Jonathan Atkins, takes up residence in the boardinghouse and begins to dismantle her carefully controlled world…

Clinging desperately to her stubborn ways and unable to forgive her father, Emma begins receiving letters from a mysterious sender who somehow knows about her and has secret information about Ezra’s past. Amidst all this, she is surprised—and unsettled by the attentions of both Johnathan and Billy, the smooth-talking traveling showman.

When the town of Little Hickman Creek is stunned by an unexpected turn of events, will Emma risk removing her protective shell to accept the love of God---and the love of a man?


The story begins with Emma struggling with hard-heartedness toward God, her father, and anyone who dares to get to close. A childhood schoolmate, now pastor, is led by God to help restore the broken relationship between Emma and her earthly father, as well as, her heavenly one.

Sharlene MacLaren touches on a variety of topics such as forgiveness, grace, prayer, and self-worth in the story. She does a splendid job incorporating scripture throughout the book. I counted sixteen Bible quotes. Some of the sermons told by the fictional pastor are so inspirational they could be used in one’s personal devotion time.

Besides the spiritual wisdom revealed in Courting Emma, it is also a fun read. The book leaves you with a good feeling about God, others, and life in general. It also reminds you that God values you just because your, you. When I finished the last page of Courting Emma I found myself wanting to relive the experience all over again.
Reviewed by: Shellie Powell

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