Books,  Celebrate Lit

Their Daring Hearts by Sharlene MacLaren


About the Book


Author: Sharlene MacLaren

Genre: Christian Historical Romance (Civil War)

Release Date: Jan 9, 2018

Levi Albright rebelled against his Quaker roots to fight for abolition in the Union army in the first year of the Civil War. Two years later, 19-year-old destitute orphan Josephine Winters, with her chopped hair, boy’s clothes, and new name, “Snipp,” enlists in the Union army out of desperation.

Just over five feet tall and barely weighing as much as a newborn calf, Snipp seems to Levi to be barely old enough to hold “his” gun. But despite being teased by the regiment, Snipp quickly earns admiration for skill with a musket and unequaled bravery. When Levi explains one night that he is a Quaker leading a regiment, it leads to a late-night discussion of faith and a developing friendship.

But Snipp’s secret can only be hidden for so long. After an injury forces Josie to reveal her real identity, Levi is angered by her deception. Worse, Josie is marched out of the company without a chance to explain—or even say goodbye. Will their friendship survive? Or will the hatred saturating the war-torn nation affect even the heart of a peace-loving Quaker?

My Thoughts:

For someone who is very bad with names, Their Daring Hearts had a bumpy start, as there were many names to remember.   Soon, I found there were only a few that were significant.

The premise of the story is a young woman dressing as a man and joining the Union Army.  She didn’t have a lot of options, regarding getting a job, she believed in the cause, wanted to finish the work started by her brother (who was killed in the war) and she wanted to decrease the financial burden on her Aunt, so her cousins could be better cared for.  She also hoped to send some money back to aid them.  This was distracting to me, and I wish I had researched first.  So, let me clear this up for those who don’t want to do the extra research, yes, women dressed up as men to fight in the Civil War and the Revolutionary War.  Some survived without ever being noticed.  Some were found out, usually by being wounded and then their secret discovered by a doctor.  Some were discovered after death.  They did all the work the men did, and even rose in rank.  One ironic story mentioned in the linked article is of a woman disguised as a military prison guard, guarding a woman who was in prison for disguising herself as a soldier.  A few got in trouble and went to jail for a brief period, but most were just sent home.  It’s interesting –

In the beginning, the story is very dialog driven and not a lot of in depth or artistically written descriptions.  Descriptions were more statements of fact to set the scene, rather than helping me experience the story, however and this is a warning – in the middle, there is descriptions of battle grounds and war scenes and the dead.  Not a whole lot of detail, but in some places enough to get the ugly picture.  As the we proceeded, I believe the author improved in her story telling.

There is a level of predictability in the story, however there was a twist that added interest, had that not been there, I think I would have given 1 less star.

Something I’m not quite sure of … the military guys all seemed like a bunch of really nice guys, even the ones who weren’t religious (except for one).  I didn’t know if maybe it was portrayal of another time period or maybe because the author is a woman and maybe writing the way she thinks guys should have been and not the way they were.  But I felt I should mention it, in case someone else reads it and says “Is it just me, or do these military guys seem unfeasible?”

I caution anyone who wants to pass this on to a young Christian or young person to read.  Maybe it would be good to discuss the idea that God does not lead people to sin.  Josie’s deception is being portrayed as acceptable and she described it herself as following God’s leading in her heart.  I believe what she did was sinful, despite that she thought God lead her to do it.  Our hearts are deceptively wicked and following our hearts can lead us into a lot of unnecessary trouble, despite the good intentions.  God doesn’t need us to sin (in this case, deceive authorities) to accomplish his purposes.

In spite of missing one star, I do recommend this story, especially for people who like to read about history and the bravery of men (and women – even if they were wrong to do it) who fought so earnestly for what they believed was right.

DISCLAIMER:  I received this book as a gift.  No compensation was received.  The opinions I express are provided without obligation.

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About the Author


Born and raised in western Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren graduated from Spring Arbor University then traveled nationally with a contemporary Christian vocal ensemble. She married Cecil, with whom she’d grown up in Spring Arbor, and the couple had two daughters. Shar embarked on a teaching career that would span over 30 years. As she contemplated retirement, Shar sought God’s guidance, praying for a vocation that would provide the kind of fulfillment and joy she experienced as a teacher and mother. A lifelong gifted story teller, she began to write Christian romance novels. Her first book, Through Every Storm, published in 2007, was met with critical acclaim and brisk sales. The rest, as they say, is history. Whitaker House’s bestselling fiction author, she’s subsequently published 18 books, mostly historical romances. Shar enjoys reading, singing in her church choir and worship team, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She’s very interactive on Facebook and Twitter. For more:,,  Twitter @ sharzy_lu.

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To celebrate her tour, Whitaker House is giving away:

Grand Prize Package:  Their Daring Hearts (Forever Freedom Series) #2 by Sharlene MacLaren; Summer on Sunset Ridge (Forever Freedom Series #1) signed by the author, Sharlene MacLaren, Abba Jerusalem Hyssop 6” Pillar Candle.

1st Place:   Their Daring Hearts (Forever Freedom Series) #2 by Sharlene MacLaren; Heart of Mercy (Tennessee Dreams #1) by Sharlene MacLaren; Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils.

2nd Place:

Their Daring Hearts (Forever Freedom Series) #2 by Sharlene MacLaren; Whitaker House/Anchor Coloring Book with Colored Pencils.!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

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