Courting Emma is the first book of Sharlene MacLaren’s that I’ve read despite multiple recommendations from people. I’ve now added her other books to my list of must reads.
Courting Emma tells the story of Emma Browning, who runs a boarding house for the misfits of Little Hickman Creek. She’s finally free of her abusive father — or thinks she is — until the preacher, Jonathan Atkins, moves into her empty room.
Jonathan has a clear impression that he’s supposed to help her father. Though he doesn’t know why, he knows he’s supposed to extend the grace of God to Emma and Ezra. Only trouble is the more he’s around her the more he realizes he’s in love with Emma and can’t do anything about it.
This story is a historical, and for that reason I applied a higher standard to it. For some reason, I have a high threshold because of a been there, done that mentality. Yet the author managed to take this plot and make it fresh. The writing is vibrant and full of descriptions. With the time near the turn of the 20th century in Kentucky, the characters clearly fit that time and place.
Sharlene had me carrying deeply about her characters from the first couple chapters, and I couldn’t wait to see how all the twists, turns, and conflict would turn out and be resolved. The book didn’t disappoint.
If you enjoy historicals, this one is worth adding to your pile. And even though it’s the third in a series, it can be read independently.