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A Love to Behold

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Two years after the Civil War, Lydia Albright, 27, is an established teacher in Boston when she senses God’s call to leave the comfort and security of her job and go south. She accepts a position to teach in a school for former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. A church there that's affiliated with the American Missionary Association offers support, along with room and ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Whitaker House
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Average rating 4.57  · 
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 ·  56 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
In the conclusion to the Forever Freedom Series, readers are taken to Charleston, South Carolina during Reconstruction.

Lydia comes from a family of Quakers in Philadelphia and feels the Lord calling her to teach a group of black children in the south. She is so focused on that calling that she almost misses that perhaps the Lord could have a twofold purpose for as well.

The Ku Klux Klan began during Reconstruction and plays a key part of the novel. Lydia demonstrates courage and perse
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a fan of the cover, but THIS BOOK IS SOOO GOOD *flails*
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful conclusion to The Forever Freedom Series. I loved all three books in this series and wanted to say this would also work as a stand-alone. Ms. MacLaren’s sense to detail and authentic speech patterns makes this book stand out in the historical aspect. It is a troubling time after the Civil War and Ku Klux men are stirring up trouble. This story tugs on your heartstrings. I love the strength that Lydia shows in the midst of being bullied into not teaching the former slaves. This b ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Somehow this is the first book that I have read by Sharlene MacLaren, and I definitely feel as though I have been missing out! Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres because I believe that we can and should learn from the past and use it to not only inform the present but also to help us move forward in faith. Granted, some events from the past are ones that we would rather forget, but to do so would be to stop learning from them and thus risk repeating them. American slavery comes to m ...more
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
3.5 stars

One thing I’ve really enjoyed about the Forever Freedom series is the different perspective on a familiar time in American history. The Quaker involvement in abolitionism – and even, surprisingly, on the front lines of the Civil War – intrigued me from the beginning, and I’ve looked forward to each new book for what else I might learn.

A Love to Behold is a little different from the first two books. It didn’t focus as much on the Quaker perspective, as Albright daughter Lydia has joined
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! A phenomenal and superb story! A Love to Behold is the absolute best one by Sharlene MacLaren thus far. This historical Christian romance is a sweeping story filled with authentic, vivid and picturesque scenes, the dialect of characters with their ethnicity, a strong faith message and history. This was a compelling book that I did not want to put down till I finished. The hero and heroine had strong faith but encountered difficult situations in Charleston, SC after the end of the Civil War. ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a thoroughly delightful book to read! A Love to Behold is about Lydia, a young lady who teaches at a school in Charleston for former slaves. Along the way, Lydia's life is threatened multiple times by the Ku Klux men. Normally, I don't find this type of story enjoyable, but A Love to Behold was excellently done. It was so engaging that I read it all in one sitting, which doesn't happen often in my experience. I can tell that Ms. Sharlene MacLaren did her research in the historical aspect of ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having been with this series from the start, I was thrilled to read the latest book in what I consider to be a riveting, delightfully charming historical christian series. Lydia is beyond one of my favorite characters ever, her strength and love is traits that readers will adore. This was by far my favorite book in the series, I really appreciate the detail to history the author had in this book (and all in the series) and as a reader how fascinating it was to gain some historical details throug ...more
Jeanette Fallon
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just completed book 3 of a series by Sharlene MacLaren.  I was moved by Lydia's determination.  She left all she knew behind to teach children that needed her so desperately.  She was given the gift to serve.   She loved her students and rejoiced in their successes.  She had a plan.  But GOD had additional plans for her.

Reese was one special man.  He followed GOD and did his best to take care of his family.  He opened the door and his heart to those who needed him and something wonderful happe
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Love to Behold, by Sharlene MacLaren, is an excellent read!
I love the era as Civil War/Post Civil War novels are one of my faves in historical Christian fiction.
My favorite character was Reese. The kind of guy that can raise three children without the help of his family, keep a good testimony, and hard working...loved how MacLaren showed what a gentleman should be like even in the midst of adversity.
I've not read other books by this author, but I definitely will seek others out after this exce
Deana Dick
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to a time period where opportunities abound and danger lurks just beneath the surface. Lydia has traveled to South Carolina to take on a job not all townspeople are happy about. She will be a schoolteacher for children of former slaves. I'm sure she was a bit nervous but God called her to do this and her obedience is obvious.

Her arrival is met with a shootout right in the middle of town. The author makes the story realistic with details that put you right n the center of the story. I lov
Connie Saunders
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional book and I wish that I could give it more than five stars! "A Love to Behold" is labeled as Christian historical fiction and it has facts that are as relevant today as they were in 1867 with its theme of racial bigotry and the attempts to label certain people as undeserving. The heroine of this story isn't a young girl just out of school; she is 27 and has already enjoyed a teaching career in Boston. Lydia Albright has been raised as a Quaker and she now feels God's call t ...more
Ruth Hill
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

First of all, I will be honest. I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I have read my share of historical Christian romances, and very often, they fall into a very standard format that makes them good for what they are but nothing extraordinary. I fully expected this one to follow suit and maybe just be a little bit above average. After all, I ha
Nicole Wegscheider
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding Story - Unfolds Like A Movie

The book, A Love to Behold is an outstanding story of the impact of President Lincoln’s abolition of slavery in the community of Charleston, South Carolina. Under the direction of a church initiative, a new school for black children to read and to write for the first time is being implemented. Lydia Albright —a white, female teacher and newcomer to Charleston feels a strong calling by God to support this new school. The Charleston community has mixed respo
Ibjoy1953 Hannabass
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book leaves me full of emotions, some good, some not so good. I just barely remember when the KKK was going pretty strong in our area. And as a child, I’ll admit I was scared to even hear talk of the group. I also remember feeling like the men were cowards because they wouldn’t show their faces. And it’s was the same reasons that the men in the KKK group in this story. They didn’t want anyone to know what they were doing. But they had such a hatred for people f
Becky Lewis
Sharlene McLaren’s A Love to Behold is a beautiful, thought-provoking story about the Reconstructionist South. A time of the country being deeply divided, neighbors hating neighbors, and people not recognizing the worth of others made in God’s image. Although it sounds like it could be a tale of today, it is in reality, a tale of over one hundred fifty years ago.
I loved the spunk and spirit of Lydia. She has a mission and nothing can dissuade her. She is a “Steel Magnolia” from the North, deter
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“A Love to Behold” by talented wordsmith Sharlene MacLaren is another one of her great works. It is Book #3 in her Forever Freedom Series but can easily be read as a stand alone. This is a historical Christian fiction with a powerful message of hope, love, diversity, acceptance, and faith.

Author MacLaren has done a fabulous job with this installment in her series. I picked up some interesting historical information that I did not know. I love it when a book teaches me something. There is no ligh
MaryAnn Bell
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Two years after the Civil War, Lydia Albright, 27, is an established teacher in Boston when she senses God’s call to leave the comfort and security of her job and go south. She accepts a position to teach in a school for former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. A church there that’s affiliated with the American Missionary Association offers support, along with room and board at the parsonage. The Ku Klux men are hell-bent on seeing that the new school fails. Lydia’s life is threatened, and t ...more
Patti Pierce
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the third book in the Forever Freedom Series. I have not read the first two books, but found I was able to keep up with the concept of the story. I found the information about the Quaker involvement in the Abolition movenment and the part they play in asssisting with reconstruction afterwards.

The book is well-written and contains enough factual information to be informative. I also loved the storyline. The idea of a Northern white woman coming to teach black children in a school in the s
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you have been reading the Forever Freedom Series by Sharlene MacLaren from the beginning, you will be tremendously satisfied with the ending.

I love that even though each book is part of a series, they can easily be read alone without feeling lost. Case in point, somehow I missed book two and read book one and then book three!

A Love to Behold has all the elements you want in a historical romance - mystery, romance and danger. Lydia Albright is a spunky young lady who has nerves of steel. And
Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)
This has been such a wonderful series to read, and I am sorry to see it go. MacLaren has a way of bringing you deep into the hearts of her characters, charming you with her settings and story line, all while teaching you a history lesson! An author who can bring history to life in a creative way that pulls the reader in is a hero in my book. I think this series, and this book in particular is one that even those who didn’t like history class would enjoy.

I think Lydia just might be my favorite ch
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It has been awhile since I have read a book by Sharlene MacLaren but I have always enjoyed them. I also have not read the previous books in this series but that did not take away my enjoyment or understanding of this excellent novel that easily stands on its own merits.

With vivid imagery and strong characterization, the author offers an intimate look at the era following the Civil War in Charleston, South Carolina including a glimpse of the early days of the Ku Klux Klan. Teacher Lydia Albright
Tiffany Hall
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I usually do not read a lot of historical romance books, but upon reading the synopsis of this book, I decided to give it a try and am so glad I did! I was absolutely absorbed in this historical romance set back in the days after the Civil War!
Lydia Albright, a young teacher from Boston, feels her call to the south and follows God’s leading to Charleston, South Carolina, to teach at a new school for black children with no education whatsoever. Only 2 years after the end of the Civil War, not ev
Maureen Timerman
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I enjoyed this read, a period of rebirth in our country after the Civil War, and we are in the deep south, South Carolina.
Now this is the third book in this series, and the first that I have read, but now I need to get my hands on the others.
The author has given us a young woman of Faith that has a lot of spunk, but has a heart for others. She has come from Philadelphia, by way of Boston, to help start a school for children of color. She has a desires to help those in need, and the tenacity to m
Becky Dempsey
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
"A Love to Behold" is the third book in the Forever Freedom series. Characters from the first two books are mentioned, but I don't think it is entirely necessary to have read them before reading this book. I found the book well written and felt it was easy to read. I liked Lydia and her spunk and determination to do what God had called her to do. I also liked Reese's quiet faith and resilience. I liked the amount of spiritual content it had and it felt natural and fit well into the story. It is ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed "A Love to Behold" by Sharlene MacLaren. It is the third book in the series but it can be read as a standalone.

This is a story that takes place after the war and the Ku Klux Klan is trying to stop a teacher from teaching children of former slaves. This is a story about forgiveness and trusting in Jesus. It is also a love story, which makes it a triple joy.

I really felt Reese's pain as he struggled with not feeling loved by his parents. I simply cried for Luetta's as she fought t
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. Each book shows a different aspect of the Civil War. This book shows what happens after.

What really struck me was the appreciation the black students had for education. In a day when students think it’s their right to be given a Chromebook or iPad at school (and then complain about that) we see a glimpse of how these students probably reacted to be given a slate and chalk.

The romance between Lydia and Reese is slow, which is nice. It doesn’t happen too fast
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Love to Behold is yet another fabulous addition to Sharlene MacLaren’s Forever Freedom series. In this installment, it is readers are introduced to 27 year old Bostonian Lydia Albright. She finds it her calling to accept a position teaching former slaves in beautiful post Civil War Charleston, South Carolina. She quickly finds out that she is not welcome and her school and life is threatened by the Ku Klux Klan. Will she be fearful and leave town? Or will she be brave and stay?
I believe A Love
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What might happen when a Northern teacher comes to the South to teach former slave children in a newly established school for blacks? The people of Charleston, South Carolina, are divided over this issue. Some heartily help this worthy cause, and others oppose the efforts with heated words and destructive actions. Would the fledging Ku Klux Klan go to far as to harm the new teacher, Lydia Albright? I think this novel portrays the issues and feelings well, including the painful prejudice of the t ...more
Kendra Neal
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christian Fiction readers
Historical Fiction is one of my favorite Genre's to read and this book was no exception.

The book is set in the Cival War times and the author, Sharlene MacLaren really brings the History to life in this book. A LOVE to Behold is the 3rd book in Forever Freedom series. I have not read the first 2 YET, but after reading book 3 I am hunting for them!

A few things that really kept me interested and not wanting to put the book down are:
The main character Lydia, has a strong determination about her and
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After 31 years of teaching second and fourth grades, Shar decided to say, "Bye-bye, Students!" and "Hello, Writing World!" and it's been an interesting, exciting, challenging, and inspiring adventure. One thing she knows for certain—God dropped a seed of passion for writing in her heart back in the summer of 2000, and He's been growing it ever since. She signed on with Whitaker House Publishers in ...more

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