Sharlene MacLaren’s third book in her River of Hope series, Sofia’s Secret, is a story full of mixed emotions and one that explores that, no matter what one goes through in life, God is gracious who always forgives, no matter what.
Sofia Rogers shoulders the heavy burden of raising her brother and working just too make ends meet, since their parents died in a tragic train accident. However on top of all this, Sophia carries the burden of the town’s gossips and stares of bewilderment for she finds herself unmarried and pregnant. Sofia has therefore separated herself from Wabash, only trusting a few people. However when Dr. Elijah Trent arrives in town, with intentions of taking over his grandfather’s practice, he is quite taken with Sofia and willingly helps her, no matter the cost. However Sofia’s independent streak keeps him at bay, knowing it’s for the better. But the more stubborn she is, the more Elijah wants to help, burrowing only more trouble.
What I love about these characters are their personalities. Sofia represents most women who nowadays strive to keep their independence. She is also kind and looks out for others, meeting their needs before her own. Elijah is the type of man any woman would fall for and it is therefore no wonder that Sofia falls for this kind, compassionate and humble man full of integrity, putting himself at risk, no matter the consequences.
Another aspect I loved was the message Sharlene conveyed. In this world, it is common for young women to fall pregnant unwed, and depending on the circumstances, suffer the consequences. This novel does a good job at displaying God’s unconditional love and grace, reminding us all that God still loves them and that we should therefore not judge them, like it was done to Sofia.