Monday, May 24, 2010

Review and giveaway of Long Journey Home by Sharlene MacLaren

I met Shar on ShoutLife a couple/few years ago and was immediately drawn to her sweet, encouraging, and enthusiastic spirit. I thought it was cool that she lives only about an hour from me and when she mentioned a book signing she was doing in the area, my husband and I drove out to meet her. I found her to be just as endearing in person. A beautiful lady with a beautiful heart.

Although Shar has written several books, I (shamefully) admit that I'd never read her work. Until now. Just yesterday, I finished her contemporary romance, Long Journey Home. I was very pleasantly surprised. This book had Shar's personality all throughout its pages, as I would describe it as sweet and uplifting.

I'd love to pass this book along to one of you! If you'd like the chance to win Long Journey Home, leave a comment on this blog post by 8:00 PM on June 1st to be automatically entered. I'll randomly select one name and announce the winner on Wednesday, June 2nd.

**CONTEST DISCLAIMER: Void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents. Odds of winning depend on number of entrants.**

Here's a brief synopsis of the book:

After divorcing her abusive husband, single mother Callie May is still nursing her scars of a painful past. Living across the hall is Dan Mattson, a former church pastor, who left his flock in Michigan and fled to the Chicago suburbs after the death of his wife and baby daughter in an automobile accident. Embittered by his loss, Dan turns his back on God. When Callie’s ex-husband shows up to wreak more havoc in her life, Dan finds himself coming to her defense—facing his own demons in the process.

My thoughts:

Both Dan and Callie are in the midst of major life-change. Callie recently divorced her abusive husband and is raising her daughter as a single mom. Dan just lost his wife and daughter in a car accident, and as a result, left the ministry and is also questioning his faith. Both are on a journey to find themselves. In the process, they find each other.

It takes a while for Dan and Callie to admit their attraction and, true to any good romance, there are times you just want to reach through the page and slap some sense into them both. But their reasons for caution are justifiable and the reader knows it will happen eventually - it's just a matter of time and page-turning patience.

As I said earlier, the story is a sweet love story, although it deals with real-life stuff, like divorce, death, even alcoholism and abuse. Shar does a great job of relaying the issues without getting to heavy. If you're looking for an edgy or gritty book, this isn't it. Instead, it's a solid Christian romance with imperfect characters who are worth rooting for.

Long Journey Home is an enjoyable, heart-warming read. I have a few more of Shar's novels on hand and I look forward to them all.

Born and raised in west Michigan, Shar attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating with an education degree way back in 1971, she traveled internationally for a year with a small singing ensemble, then came home and married one of her childhood friends. Together they raised two lovely, wonderful daughters, both of whom are happily married and enjoying their own families. Retired in 2003 from 31-years of teaching, Shar loves to read, sing in the church choir and worship team, travel, and spend time with her family, in particular, her wonderful, adorable grandchildren, Dylan, Alexis, and Gavin!

A Christian for forty+ years, and a lover of the English language, Shar has always enjoyed dabbling in writing—poetry, fiction, various essays, and freelancing for periodicals and newspapers. Her favored genre, however, has always been romance. She remembers well the short stories she wrote in high school and watching them circulate from girl to girl during government and civics classes. “Psst,” someone would whisper from two rows over, and always with the teacher’s back to the class, “Pass me the next page.”

Visit Shar online at:


Andrea said...

I have an urgent prayer request at arise 2 write.

collettakay said...

This is on my wishlist! Hope I win.


Sara Kay said...

"Long Journey Home" sounds like a good read. I'm always looking for new favorite authors. Thanks for the review.

Merry said...

I enjoy Sharlene's books and Long Journey Home is one I've had on my wish list. Please include me in the drawing. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Would love to read Sharlene's book...thanks for the chance!!!

Jo said...

This sounds like a great read and definitely a book that I want to read. Please include me in the drawing.


Terri Tiffany said...

I met her once too at ICRS and interviewed her. I loved her and would love to win a book:)

Cari said...

Please include my name in the give-away,too. Thanks! -Cari

first coast christian writers said...

Hey Lynda-- Sounds like an interesting book. I would love to read how she explained everything. Would love to win it! Thanks. Christine M. Ramey

stephanie said...

I'm not too late to enter am I? I like how this book goes into contemporary issues facing Christians today.