When jaded 28-year-old Joy Westfall moves back to her hometown with her daughter, the community doesn't welcome the divorcee. Then sparks fly between her and the single pastor, Lucas Jennings---and the congregants are even more scandalized. But when an unforeseen danger threatens Joy, will the tight-knit town open their hearts to the God of mercy?
Joy Westfall seems too young to be jaded, but the twenty-eight-year-old has already weathered more hardship and sorrow than most people twice her age. She moves home to Paris, Tennessee, with her three-year-old daughter, the only good thing to have come from her mistake of a marriage and sets up housekeeping, as well as her tailoring business, in a tiny abode she inherited from her aunt. She doesn't much mind living on the outskirts of town, especially since the residents of Paris seem disinclined to welcome a divorcee. The same is true of the congregants of the church next door. Just as well. Joy doesn't need their sympathy.Lucas Jennings feels blessed to be shepherding his own flock so early in life. Since his arrival, the congregation of Paris Evangelical Church has swelled, of course, it can't hurt that he's an eligible bachelor. Single women flock to the church from all over Henry County, yet none of them, not even the most pious manages to capture his attention quite like the newcomer next door, who is hungry for the gospel but unwilling to admit it.A spark ignites between the "scandalous" divorcee and the upright pastor, but Joy's rocky past has made her wary of male attention, and her feelings of failure, not to mention her disbelief in a God of love, drives an even deeper wedge between them. Moreover, Lucas puts the brakes on their budding friendship when his congregants begin to question his intentions. When an unforeseen danger threatens Joy and her daughter, will the tight-knit town stand by and watch? Or will they open their hearts to the God of mercy and allow Him to do an unexpected work?
Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene attended Spring Arbor University. Upon graduating with an education degree in 1971, she taught second grade for two years, then accepted an invitation to travel internationally for a year with a singing ensemble. In 1975, she married her childhood sweetheart. Together they raised two lovely, wonderful daughters, both of whom are now happily married and enjoying their own families. Retired in 2003 after thirty-one years of teaching, "Shar" loves to read, sing, travel, and spend time with her family-her grandchildren, in particular!Shar launched her writing career in 2006 with the contemporary romance Through Every Storm, a Whitaker House release that was named a finalist for Book of the Year by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Following that was her acclaimed Little Hickman Creek series, consisting of Loving Liza Jane (Road to Romance Reviewer's Choice Award); Sarah, My Beloved (third place, Inspirational Readers' Choice Award 2008); and Courting Emma (third place, Inspirational Reader's Choice Award 2009). Shar's next series, the popular Daughters of Jacob Kane, comprises Hannah Grace (second place, Inspirational Reader's Choice Award 2010), Maggie Rose, and Abbie Ann (third place, Inspirational Reader's Choice Award 2011). Sofia's Secret concludes her latest series, River of Hope, which also comprises Livvie's Song and Ellie's Haven.Shar has done numerous countrywide book signings, television and radio appearances, and interviews. She loves to speak for women's organizations, libraries, church groups, women's retreats, and banquets. She is involved in Apples of Gold, a mentoring program for young wives and mothers, and is active in her church, as well as two weekly Bible studies. She and her husband, Cecil, live in Spring Lake, Michigan, with their beautiful white collie, Peyton.