MacLaren, Sharlene. 2008. Courting Emma.
Courting Emma is the third book in the Little Hickman Creek series. (The first two are Loving Liza Jane and Sarah, My Beloved.) Each book in the series features a new heroine. Liza Jane was a school teacher. Sarah was a mail order bride. And Emma--featured in both Loving Liza Jane and Sarah, My Beloved--runs the town's boarding house. She's known for being a bit grumpy, a bit moody. But my mom and I both agreed while reading the other two that Emma needed a book of her own. She was screaming to be the heroine of her own book. So we were both ecstatic to see that Courting Emma was on the way!
If Emma has issues, she has just cause certainly. Her father--who raised her alone after her mother's death--was an alcoholic. Is an alcoholic. Known prominently as the town drunk. Emma worked hard to separate herself from her father, from her upbringing. Worked hard to make herself respectable. When our story opens, we see this immediately. It's the fourth of July and once again her father is being a drunk and causing a scene in front of everyone. Emma has to "fetch" him away and try to save face. It is embarrassing to hear everyone talk, everyone whisper about what a hopeless disgrace her father is.
The knight in shining armor? Jonathan Atkins. (Another character that deserved his own book.) A man who grew up in this community, gone away to school, and returned as preacher. He wishes that he could help Emma out. He wishes that Emma would open her heart to him and to the gospel.
Courting Emma is a story of grace, of forgiveness, of broken hearts healing. It is a novel all about second chances. A novel that proves it's never too late.
I highly recommend this series. All three books are enjoyable. I loved them all.