Monday, August 24, 2009

Review for Maggie Rose by Sharlene MacLaren

Title: Maggie Rose
Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Publisher:Whitaker House
ISBN: 978-1-60374-075-3

From the back cover:

"Maggie Rose, the spunky, friendly, twenty-year-old middle daughter of Michigan resident Jacob Kane, feels compelled to leave her beloved hometown of Sandy Shores to pursue what she feels in her heart are God's plans for her life--in New York City.

Maggie Rose adjusts to her new life at Sheltering Arms Refuge, an orphanage that also transports homeless children to towns across the United States to match them with compatible families. Most of the children have painful pasts that make Maggie aghast, but she marvels at their resiliency. As she gets to know each child, her heart blossoms with new depths of love and compassion.

When a newspaper reporter comes to stay at the orphanage in order to gather research for an article, Maggie is struck by his handsome face -- and concerned by his lack of faith. She can't deny their mutual affections, though. Will she win the struggle to maintain her focus on God and remain attuned to His guidance?"
When we open up the cover of our latest romance novel, we expect to be drawn into a love story. We hope for our own hearts to yearn and hope for the happy ending that usually awaits at the end of whatever trials the characters must endure. With inspirational romance, we even come to expect some kind of growth in the characters. The very best authors may even challenge us as we read to look at our own lives and how the lesson apply to ourselves.

What Sharlene MacLaren has done with Maggie Rose goes above and beyond all those things. She picks out stories of the least of these and makes them shine like emeralds. The tales of the orphans and poor of that period aren't new to us, nor are they absent today. This book weaves theirs into the plot so smoothly that you cannot tell what the main story is. Whether her true purpose was to grab our hearts with the redemptive love of a man and woman, or with the endearing characters of children who had no hope without the men and women who volunteered and showed them compassion, self-worth, and God's love ~ It is a tale masterfully woven.

Everything sings about this latest book. The cover art is gorgeous, the writing is descriptive, and the plot is exciting and tension filled.

I have to admit I didn't do this review justice. Every time I would think of what I wanted to tell people about the book, it seemed to give the plot away. I don't want to spoil the story for anyone else ~ so I had a very hard time writing this review. Once I had written it, then I realized some things may be taken the wrong way. When I said she had weaved the story of the orphans together with the rest so well that it was hard to tell the main story ~ it was meant as a compliment. Some people set out to talk about social issues and the romantic relationship is just a backdrop. Sometimes it is the other way around. I thought she did such an excellent job telling both stories and balancing them that it just sounded like real life. There was nothing false about it. Another pitfall she avoided was the tendency to feel "preachy." Her characters lived and grew and shared in genuine ways. They were the kind of people I would have loved to be around.

I have a drawing going on on my website for a free copy of this book. The drawing ends Aug 31st. Stop by and enter. If you don't want to wait that long, or don't end up winning, this book should definitely make your list of books to read.


  1. Hi Lee,

    Renee (Steeler Girl's Blog) recommended your blog, so here I am. LOL I love your butterfly ~ it's beautiful!

    I have this book on my Wish List ~ and I see that I'm late by ONE DAY to enter your contest! :( ~ it sounds like a wonderful book. I have Hannah Grace in my TBR piles but haven't quite gotten to it surprise there!

    I know what you mean by "having a hard time writing this review"! I was working on my first review ever (yay!) yesterday, for Julie Lessman's, A Passion Most Pure, and I had the hardest time figuring out what to say w/o giving away the whole book! LOL I think you did a great job with Maggie Rose ~ thank you for sharing. Now I really can't wait to read it! :o)

    It was nice "meeting" you!

    ~ Lori

  2. Hi, Lee,

    Lori (sugarandgrits) recommended your blog to me, and I just love your review of Shar's book. :o) I have a couple of books by her that I have not read yet (I think this might be one of them), but I am now very eager to read this one in particular. I thought your review was just fabulous, and I find that I struggle with the same things when writing reviews....I'm constanting hitting that backspace key so I don't give too much away. :o) I look forward to reading some other reviews from you in the future!

    Hope you have a wonderful day! :o)


  3. P.S. One more thing....where is the link to your website? It must be right under my nose, but I can't find it. :o)


  4. Lori - I am a huge fan of Julie Lessman! My copies of her books already have worn spots in the spines. lol

    I'm sorry you missed the drawing, but I'm glad you enjoyed the review and I hope you will check out the book.

    Christy - The website is listed under my complete profile. Here it is for you as well:

    I'm glad you stopped by and thanks for the encouragement. It's good to know I'm not the only one who struggles with not giving too much away. :o)

  5. Hi Lee! You got 3 followers in one day! Great!!!
    I did a fun meme on my blog and I tagged you in it! Check it out here!

  6. Hey Lee,

    I just wanted to pop back in and tell you that I got "Maggie Rose" this past weekend at LifeWay...I had a 33% off coupon...that's not a good as FREE, but I'm still happy!! LOL

    YAY! Another "Julie" fan! Her books are the BEST!! I can hardly wait for her next series to be released ~ they're going to be great, too. :D

    FYI ~ I created a new blog (in addition to my original one) that's going to be devoted completely to my Book Reviews. I wanted to share the link with you:

    Have you read Mary Connealy's "Montana Rose" yet? If not, be sure to drop by and check out my review ~ it's a wonderful book.

    ~ Lori