The Romance Authors Who Inspire Me

So why Romance? What made me make the switch?

Before, I didn’t think Romance was much of an option for me. Because I realized, if I was going to do Romance, I was going to run with it to a level that people wouldn’t expect from me. I was worried for a very long time about being judged for that, so I avoided writing romance.

But no more!! I am so excited to be writing romance. I have a ton of ideas bottled up in this brain of mine and I can’t wait to share them with you. Now, I’d like to talk about some of the romance authors who have inspired me over the years. These authors went a long way in my making this switch, urging me with each page of their beautiful works to begin my journey toward the Romance genre.

As most of you know, my library was limited for a very long time to Christian Fiction. However, a few years ago, I decided to pick up a few books from the general market. And which category did I pick? Romance, of course. 😉

First, let’s talk about the Romance author who taught me what passion could look like on the page. That would be, of course, Christian author and one of my favorites, Julie Lessman. Reading her novels, Julie taught me so much about the romance genre. She was the first author who taught me that putting passion on the page could be meaningful and beautiful and have a real purpose. She turns up the heat while also weaving faith and hope throughout.

Now, we all know that every genre has their Queen (or King in some cases). For me? The Queen of Contemporary Romance is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. The first novel I pickedSEP Books up from a general market publisher was It Had to Be You. Then, I discovered it was the first book of a series so, of course, I had to read the rest! The Chicago Stars series absolutely blew me away and opened up a whole new world to me. The depth of feeling, the authenticity, of It Had to Be You was like nothing I’d ever experienced before and had me laughing, crying, and bubbling with excitement for more!

 

 

In keeping with my love of Historical Fiction, the second novel (or I should say series) I picked up from a general market publisher, was Elizabeth Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers seriesI have since read her Princes Trilogy, Maiden Lane series, and am looking forward to her Greycourt series! Her variety of characters, unique style, and her ability to draw you into a story has been a source of inspiration for me for the past four years and I am thrilled to call myself a fan of hers!

Another favorite who inspires me to mix humor and spice, Tessa Dare! My reading journey with Tessa began with the first novel of her Castles Ever After series Romancing TD Booksthe Duke. Tessa has had me in stitches on more than one occasion and every time I hear of a new release, I am right there pressing the pre-order button! These Regency era romances are true gems, mixing humor and passion in the most brilliant of ways. Without a doubt, Tessa will remain one of my top favorites in the Romance genre!

 

 

Now, on to two new-to-me authors!

I am a new fan of Sarah MacLean. After reading the first book in her Scandal & Scoundrel trilogy, I was hooked. I ate up the other two and immediately went online to purchase a whole bunch more! Let me just say, of the three books of her Scandal & Scoundrel series, book 3, The Day of the Duchess, was my favorite! That book was like a T&S Books 2punch to the gut (which is one of the marks of a great author, by the way!). I had a lump in my throat for most of it and I absolutely LOVED the ending!

Another new-to-me author is the amazing Talia Hibbert! I am still reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown and I am absolutely enchanted. This author’s ability to create characters you instantly love from the very first page is phenomenal. I have never read anything like this before in Contemporary Romance and I am racing through GALCB so I can move on to book 2, Take a Hint, Dani Brown!

 

Unlocking the chains I put around my own wrists, I have opened a whole new world to myself in the writing world. I am no longer afraid to write my stories the way I see them–no longer looking for ways to cut or edit around things I think people might judge me for. How people react–love or hate or disapproval–is up to them!

I came to realize that nothing I do will ever be considered perfect. While my crazy, OCD brain sometimes freaks out over the possibility that I will appear less than perfect–that I will receive a lack of understanding and judgment for human mistakes I make–I have to write what makes me happy. I have to write what makes my heart soar and makes the butterflies in my stomach run wild!

These authors went a long way to helping me discover this freedom.

 

Next Up: Ready for Romance? A Peek into My New WIP …

Coming August 8th!

A Light in the Window

Marceline Murphy has returned to Boston and to her best friend Julie O’Rourke. The biggest problem in her life right now? The fact that she is still head over heels for Julie’s brother, Sam. But things are looking up as she and Julie plan the Christmas play for their church. But when Sam O’Rourke and Patrick O’Connor volunteer to help with the play and, not only that, but both seem to be vying for her attention, Marcy finds herself in bigger trouble than she anticipated.

Because one man stirs her heart, and the other her faith. How is she ever to choose between the two things that rule her soul?

One of the things I love about Julie Lessman is how she gets my stomach twisted into knots and my heart pounding so hard and my mouth smiling so big I think I’m about to explode any minute. That is exactly what she did to me in her eBook prequel A Light in the Window.

I have cherished every single novel about the O’Connor family. I went into this book, knowing exactly who was going to end up with who and yet my stomach still twisted up when Marcy and Sam were together! I almost started to doubt. I would think to myself, ‘Oh no, it’s all over, Marcy and Patrick will never be together!’ and then I’d go back laughing at myself.

This heartwarming story tested the boundaries of love, trust and faith. Patrick’s love for Marcy drove him to do incredible things. Sam’s love for Marcy was selfish and not based on faith and love for God. Marcy’s struggle throughout the book was so deeply felt and my heart broke with Patrick’s over and over again. But I loved how the ‘light in the window’ brought Marcy to the one she was meant to be with and led Patrick down the path that would lead to the greatest love he would ever know.

Like all of Julie Lessman’s stories, this one had me in tears closing in on the end. Knowing Marcy and Patrick’s story is so amazing!! Now, when I go back and read the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series over again (which I most definitely will!), I’ll be able to see Marcy and Patrick in a very new light. Knowing their story changes things. It makes their love even stronger and more faithful in my eyes. Thank you Julie Lessman for writing another phenomenal story! 🙂

a light in the window

Coming Soon: She’s out to avenge her brother’s death…he’s desperate to save his family from the plague…when they finally meet, will June and Day discover that they should actually be on the same side? Look for my review of Legend, by Marie Lu, soon!!

Eternal, Steadfast, Absolute Faith

Cassidy McClare leaves her home in Texas after a pretty boy fortune hunter jilts her. Heart broken, she goes to stay with her aunt and cousins for the summer, hoping that being with them will heal her heart. She never counted on meeting pretty boy Jamie MacKenna, who not only knocks her right off her feet at the train station, but is determined to charm and woo her into a courtship. But Cassie doesn’t know that Jamie has his reasons for wanting to court and oil heiress…and it’s not just because he’s falling for her!

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman was a beautiful example of handing over all of our struggles to God, putting our hearts, trust and faith in His hands and learning that no matter what troubles come our way, He will always be there with His perfect plan.

Cassidy McClare comes to San Francisco looking to forget the fortune hunter who jilted her and heal her heart in the warm, loving arms of her family.Jamie MacKenna wants nothing more than to marry well in order to provide a better life for his mother and sister, and to help get his sister the surgery she desperately needs. When Jamie meets the Texas oil heiress, Cassie McClare, he starts to believe that he can get love and money all in one package…until he finds out Cassie is probably poorer than he is.

You will find yourself swept into a whirlwind of passion, laughter and tension from the moment you open this book to the moment you shut it. From Cassie’s steadfast faith to her lovely relationship with her cousin, Allison McClare, to the love she tries to deny with Jamie. You will find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat, your heart pounding with worry and excitement. Will Jamie realize that loving Cassie is what matters, not whether she’s rich or poor? Will Cassie find it in her heart to forgive him? Can they both trust God to give them the desires of their hearts?

Oh my. Let me begin by saying that Julie Lessman is, and has been for quite awhile now, my favorite author ever!! And this book…OH MY! Putting this book down every time that I had to was painful! It was definitely lighter and funnier than her other books, which I adored because it separated the characters. At first I wondered if when I read about Cassidy, would it be like reading about Faith, or Charity or Lizzie, Katie, Emma and Annie. But it wasn’t! Cassidy was a whole new personality that I fell absolutely, positively in love with. And Jamie? Can all us girls say ‘swoon’? 😉

This book stole my heart in so many ways! The playful teasing and flirting between Cassie and Jamie, the light funny dialogue that had me laughing, not to mention the sweet yet steamy kissing scenes that never fail to bring a grin to my face. As Jamie and Cassie discover love, tension is thrown into the mix with the painful history that stands like a brick wall between Caitlyn McClare and Logan McClare. I refuse to give anything too important away, but those two are one of the many reasons I am now bouncing up and down, anxious to get my hands on the next book!!

Julie Lessman has once again weaved a tale of passionate love, unshakeable faith, and painful realities that are faced by each and every one of us every day. Releasing everything into God’s hands, especially the people you love so dearly and want to protect, can be a very difficult thing. But it is always the right and perfect thing to do. Once again, Julie has given me a story to cherish and has reminded us that every perfect love story always, without fail, has God at the center.

Thank you Julie, for your exquisite writing, your passion for romance but most importantly, your ability to put down on paper what we as weak human beings strive to achieve every day in our hearts. Eternal, steadfast, absolute faith in God.

Love At Any Cost

Coming Soon: She’s out to avenge her brother’s death…he’s desperate to save his family from the plague…when they finally meet, will June and Day discover that they should actually be on the same side? Look for my review of Legend, by Marie Lu, soon!!

The Daughters of Boston & Winds of Change Series

So, I loved Julie Lessman’s book so much I thought I’d group a whole bunch of reviews for each of her books in one post. I hope you enjoy what I have to say, and I hope you read her books! You won’t regret it!! 🙂

A Passion Most Pure:

A Passion Most Pure is probably my favorite of the Daughters of Boston series. Faith and Collin are two of my most favorite characters! They’re two people so different, yet so alike because when they believe in something they believe in it with their whole hearts. Faith’s love for Collin causes her grief and pain, but she knows that she can’t change him, only God can and that was the most beautiful lesson of the book. That only God can change a heart, and if we follow His path, we WILL get the desires of our hearts. Julie Lessman is an amazing writer!!! This is most definitely a must-read!

A Passion Redeemed:

 I can’t decide which is my favorite of the Daughters of Boston series. A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed or A Passion Denied. They were all amazing, the whole series captured my heart and if I were to choose favorite characters…well I couldn’t because they each took a piece of my heart from each member of the O’Connor fa…mily to the best friends of the family like Emma. This book was meant to capture hearts, and the first and third book accomplished the same. This series wasn’t supposed to be your typical boy meets girl, fall in love and live happily ever after that leaves you feeling somewhat indifferent, not really caring what happens to the characters. This series was meant to make you care. This series was supposed to make you love the characters. And that’s what Julie Lessman accomplished, along with a beautiful story of faith and love that rings true, with God always at the center. That’s what true passion is. That’s what true LOVE is. God at the center.
 
A Passion Denied:
 
Lizzie and Brady’s rocky road to love was a story that I will forever adore. Lizzie is one of my most favorite characters and I think that’s because of her faith in true love. Yes, she’s quite the bookworm–like me ;)–and I know that life doesn’t always turn out like the love stories, but that’s a lesson that’s learned over time and that’s the lesson that Lizzie learns. She discovers that no love story is perfect, that no man, including John Brady, is perfect, but that with God on her side she can have faith, forgive and love.
 

A Hope Undaunted:

This book was incredible. I cried SEVERAL times! Julie Lessman’s books are officially at the top of my list of favorites. I absolutely loved Katie and Luke’s story and I love the O’Connor family. One of the best things about Julie Lessman’s books is how close she makes you feel to the characters. So close that you tear up at the thought of the series coming to an end. This book was simply phenomenal and most definitely deserves the title of ‘epic romance’. 😉

A Heart Revealed:

Another epic romance from Julie Lessman!! Once again she has proven just how brilliant a writer she is! A Heart Revealed was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. From Sean’s determination never to get married because of a tragedy during the war, to Emma’s resolve to stay away from men because of a vow she took before God to a man who abused her mercilessly, this book takes you on a journe…y of love, loss, but most importantly, faith. Julie Lessman took two of my most favorite characters from her O’Connor series and brought them together. I absolutely loved this book, mostly because of my love for Emma and Sean. This is a series that’s about family, and you become a part of that family from the moment you open A Passion Most Pure to the minute you close A Heart Revealed. Keep writing Julie!! I can hardly wait for the final book of the Winds of Change series!!
 

To Honor a Vow

Emma Malloy has lived with her scars, on the inside and out, for years. Despite everything her husband Rory put her through, she has honored the vow she made to him as his wife, despite the fact that she ran away from Ireland and him to live in Boston. She has relied on her faith to get her through, and on her best friend Charity Dennehy, without whom she never would have escaped the man who scarred her face forever. But now Emma is faced with a challenge…the challenge of growing feelings for Charity’s brother Sean O’Connor. Loving Sean would destroy them both…because Emma will never forsake the vow she made to Rory.

In Julie Lessman’s latest novel A Heart Revealed we journey through one of the greatest trials of all…the trial of forbidden love.

Sean O’Connor has sworn to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life, but Rose Kelly is determined to keep that from happening. Young Rose has been in love with him since she was just a girl and Sean has avoided her as much as possible, even though he works in her father’s store. When Rose’s forward behavior gets Sean fired, he’s in desperate need of a job. But when Charity suggests to Emma that her brother come and work at the Dennehy’s store, where Emma is the manager, Emma hesitates for a split second. She’s seen a side of Sean that she never wanted to see. She’s seen a rage in him that reminds her much too much of her husband Rory and that frightens her. Sean was always like a brother, they were always close…but now she doesn’t know if she can trust him.

Sean knows that he’s lost Emma’s trust and he hopes he can rebuild it. But the problem is that Emma relies so much on God and he hardly speaks to Him anymore. After what he went through during the war he has trouble trusting that God truly cares and is in control. To make matters worse, Rose Kelly is still pursuing him and Sean finds himself tempted…in all the wrong ways.

Emma encourages Sean to give Rose a chance…especially when she starts having strange feelings when she’s around the handsome Irishman. Love for a man is forbidden because of her vow. She won’t forsake that vow, she won’t allow herself to love Sean O’Connor as long as Rory Malloy draws breath. It’s just not an option.

But when Sean also starts to feel more for Emma than just friendship, they both face a challenge that neither one of them expected. How can one deny a love so strong? A love that is rooted deep by the bond of friendship? They are now fighting a war in their hearts that could very well break them both.

A Heart Revealed is undoubtedly my most favorite of Julie Lessman’s books! She took two of my favorite characters and gave them one of the greatest tests God could give any of His children. Emma and Sean fall in love. And yet they can’t do anything about it because Emma still wears Rory’s ring on her finger. God tests their hearts, especially Sean’s, by giving setting the gift of love just out of their reach. This story was heartbreaking, at best, and yet as you read you still pray and hope that somehow these two will be given the chance at a happy ending…together.

As Emma and Sean deny their love for each other, another test arrives…in the form of Rory Malloy who claims to be a changed man after the death of the son he had with another woman. Will Emma believe that her abusive husband is a changed man and return with him to Ireland? Will Sean be able to let her go if that’s the choice she’s determined to make? Or will God step in and show them both the truth…and give them both a second chance at happiness?

This is most definitely a five star book! Julie Lessman has written yet another winner and I can hardly wait for the last book of her Winds of Change series!

Coming Soon: She’s a search and rescue pilot…he’s a U.S. Marshal reeling from a recent tragedy…they’re two little girls tortured by the evil monsters of the world…will Brannon and Roark be able to work together to save two innocent girls from the clutches of evil? Look for my review of Deliver Us From Evil, by Robin Caroll, soon!!

Happily Ever After

Lizzie O’Connor has fallen hopelessly in love with John Brady, but Brady has always looked on her as a little sister and refuses to see her as anything more. A man who wrestles with the demons from his past, Brady is determined not to fall in love with his best friend’s sister-in-law, hoping instead to remain close friends with her. But Lizzie is a determined young woman, out to get the man of her dreams and a happily ever after that comes right out of one of her novels. In Julie Lessman’s A Passion Denied, we take a lesson in the power of forgiveness.

Lizzie will do anything to make John Brady see her as a woman, not a little girl and certainly not his little sister. With the help of her conniving sister Charity and the gentle advice of her sweet sister Faith, she sets out to get her man and poor Brady is completely unprepared for what she’s about to dish out. But when every attempt seems to fail miserably, Lizzie starts to give up all hope of winning the heart of the man who’s held hers in the palm of his hand for years. Even when she starts going out with a different young man, who’s proprieties are quite different from Brady’s, Brady doesn’t seem to be jealous. Heart breaking more times than she cares to count, she starts to wonder if perhaps she should forget about Brady.

Brady has blinded himself to the woman Lizzie has become on purpose. She deserves better than him, he’s sure. She’s smart, beautiful and will make some man very happy one day. Just not him. But what she doesn’t know is that he is falling in love with her and everyone can see it…except him. Seeking advice from his friend, Father Mac, Brady starts to discover that it’s his past and his pride that’s holding him back from loving Lizzie. But than trouble arrives.

Michael Brady looks almost exactly like his brother and one night, when Lizzie shows up at Brady’s door upset, she is completely fooled by him. Lizzie soon realizes her mistake and is embarrassed and once again heartbroken because of what Michael had led her to believe. But then something strange starts to happen…Michael starts to show an interest and Lizzie begins to fall for his charms, something that Brady knows is dangerous. Michael will only hurt Lizzie, he’s sure, but how can he–a man who’s hurt her multiple times himself–convince her that seeing Michael is wrong?

As Brady starts to let the past back in, with Michael’s help, he starts to realize that forgiving himself is the key to opening his heart to Lizzie. But the problem is, will Lizzie’s love for him be able to strengthen her and enable her to forgive him when she finds out the truth?

 A Passion Denied is probably my favorite of the Daughters of Boston series. Lizzie, like me, is a bookworm who is searching for her happily ever after. But what she starts to come to realize is that not all stories end with happily ever after. She so desperately wants Brady to be her knight in shining armor. He’s the godliest man she knows and her own faith has been strengthened over the years because of his example. In her eyes he’s flawless, sinless. He’s perfection itself. So when the sins of his past are revealed, Lizzie is shocked and hurt all over again.

A Michael makes his move, determined to claim Lizzie as his wife and destroy Brady once and for all, Lizzie comes to a fork in the road. If she can’t have Brady, should she choose Michael?

Brady is in love with her, but is he too late? Has his brother beat him and taken away the love of his life?

Can Lizzie take the sins of Brady’s past and find it in her heart to forgive him? Or will she turn her back on him, unable to see past what he did and find a different life with another man?

This book was an incredible story about forgiveness and how love conquers all and never fails. I loved this story. Lizzie and Brady are in my group of #1 couples. 😉 Their faith and love is a beautiful example of what all of us should strive to find. If you’ve read the first two books of the Daughters of Boston series and loved them as much as I did, then you probably are just dying to start A Passion Denied.

Stop wasting time! You don’t want to miss this last book of the Daughters of Boston series! Trust me, it will leave you wanting to move on to A Hope Undaunted. These books leave you craving more and will also have you shedding tears at the thought of the O’Connor family stories coming to an end.

Coming Soon: He’s sworn to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life…she’s holding tight to a vow she made in her youth to an abusive husband…will Sean and Emma remain strong and deny their feelings for each other? Look for my review of A Heart Revealed, by Julie Lessman, soon!!

Charming Charity

Charity O’Connor always gets what she wants…until she falls in love with Mitch Dennehy. Her charms, her flirtations and even her actions don’t turn that man’s head and who can blame him? She burned him once, destroying the perfect relationship he had with her sister, and he won’t let her hurt him again. No, he’ll hate Charity forever…or so he thinks. In Julie Lessman’s A Passion Redeemed, we find out the truth of God’s love through terrible heartache and tragedy, two things that Charity O’Connor must suffer through before her eyes and heart are opened to God.

Charity O’Connor wants Mitch Dennehy, a dangerously handsome man who is sixteen years her senior. She could have any man in the world, but she’s chosen Mitch, her sister Faith’s ex-fiance. But Mitch has chosen to hate her forever after she put a dent in his relationship with Faith that eventually led to them breaking off their engagement for good. Now Charity, poor desperate Charity who is needy for a man’s love, will do anything to get Mitch Dennehy under her thumb…even if it means dating Mitch’s enemy, Rigan Gallagher, a man who only wants one thing from her.

Mitch Dennehy is furious to see that Rigan has a hold on Charity. Jealousy and hatred rear its ugly head, but he’s determined not to fall in love with Charity O’Connor. But she is Faith’s sister, and he would do anything for Faith…even keep Charity safe. But how can he protect her from Rigan without telling her the reason for his hatred towards the monster she’s now dating? Mitch wants nothing to do with either of them. No, he intends to marry Kathleen, a woman he hurt many years ago. He won’t hurt her again, he decides…but the pull of Charity’s charms, beauty and flirtations are almost too much for him to bear.

Charity’s made a deal with Rigan. He understands that the only reason they’re in this so-called ‘relationship’ is to get Mitch’s attention…doesn’t he? After a while, she’s not so sure anymore. And when Mitch makes it clear that he intends to marry Kathleen, Charity makes it clear that she intends to marry Rigan! Before she knows it, a ring is on her finger and she’s meeting his family…but her troubles have only just begun.

In A Passion Redeemed, we look into the life of a lost young woman, who is really still a scarred little girl inside. Charity O’Connor was treated in an unforgivable manner as a child by an uncle, a man she was supposed to trust, and even though she blocked out the memory, the hatred and scars remained. But she’d turned it against her father, and her older sister Faith. She hated Faith, because she thought Faith had stolen her father’s love and she rejected her father because he wasn’t around to protect her when she needed him the most. Because he was so wrapped up in Faith to notice the trauma and scars that his beautiful six-year-old Charity was struggling through. She had to face those things alone, and that wasn’t right. It scarred her heart and her mind forever. Charity is desperate, needy for a man to love her, but her attempts to make Mitch that man just lead her to more pain and heartbreak. We walk with Charity down a road that leads her first to destruction…and then right into God’s safe, loving embrace.

This story was so beautiful it nearly beat A Passion Most Pure as number 1 on my book list! Never have I read a book where the author takes her character down a road like this. Things just kept getting worse and worse for Charity before they got better. Charity’s relationship with Rigan takes a horrific turn that sends her on a boat back to Boston with Mitch as her companion, but her troubles don’t end there as she continues to deceive Mitch in order to make him her husband. But then she nearly loses him again forever…and Rigan isn’t through getting what he wants from her.

Charity’s pain and everything she suffers before, and even after, she embraces Christ as her Savior and Lord, is something you experience with her. Off of every page, in every sentence, you feel her pain, you see the sweet, innocent child in her that she’s hidden down deep and you just want to hold her. You yourself want to reach out to her and try to make her see the truth, love, forgiveness and mercy that God offers her. Charity is a lost soul who’s dug herself into so deep a hole that only God can reach in and pull her out.

This book was a journey towards salvation and freedom. One that Charity had to take, one way or another. Heartbreaking, yes, frightening, most definitely…but Charity proves herself to be stronger than anyone thought she was. Throughout this book you know that God is calling out to her with open arms, and once again we see just how amazing a writer Julie Lessman is. Never before have I read a book like this, a book only Julie could write! She brings the O’Connor family to life in ways that no other writer has ever brought characters to life for me. And I’m sure by now you’ve realized that she’s my favorite author. 😉

A Passion Redeemed also gets steamy more than once. Charity’s need for Mitch to love her is twisted because she measures how much a man loves her by how much attention she gets from him. She uses her outward beauty to attract men, to lure them and that’s just another lesson she learns throughout the book. It’s not just her outward beauty that counts…its the beauty inside that will really win Mitch’s heart.

So, will Mitch be able to reach into the depths of his heart and forgive Charity for deceiving him over and over again? And will Charity finally place all her troubles and sins in God’s hands, allowing Him to guide her through the rest of her life?

If you’ve read A Passion Most Pure then you’re already much too involved with Charity to leave her story hanging! Read A Passion Redeemed, you won’t regret it and you’ll come to love her as much as you love Faith. 🙂

Coming Soon: Lizzie has always loved Brady and dreams of a happily ever after that will come right out of one of her novels…but Brady is determined not to love the young woman he’s thought of as a little sister since she was just a girl. Look for my review of A Passion Denied, by Julie Lessman, soon!!

Faith

She’s fallen in love with the bad boy of the neighborhood…but he’s determined to marry her sister. In Julie Lessman’s A Passion Most Pure we go on the biggest roller coaster in the world that eventually leads us to the truth of God’s love and the faith that we all should have.

How simple that title has to be. No, it’s not just because the female lead of this incredible book is named Faith, it’s because this whole book is about having faith. The kind of faith that is never shaken, no matter how bad the situation gets. And that, with great faith, at the end of the day love never fails.

Faith O’Connor has been in love with Collin McGuire for years. He’s brash, cocky and most certainly from the wrong side of the tracks. What’s worse, he’s forbidden by her father. So what is she to do, especially when she catches him kissing her sister in their backyard? Faith knows that her sister, Charity, doesn’t share the same faith in God as she does. But she knows that as much as she dislikes her sister, the only thing she can do for both her and Collin is pray for them…and pray for herself to have the strength to move on as Collin wheedles his way into her father’s good graces.

Collin is after the beauty of the O’Connor family. Charity turns heads walking down the street and in many ways Collin and Charity are very much alike. She’s the prize he’s always wanted and he’ll do anything to get her. Even pretend to be the kind of man Patrick O’Connor wants for his daughters. But there’s just one problem…and Faith O’Connor is her name. The woman who Collin has called ‘Little Bit’ since she was a small girl. Suddenly he starts seeing her in a very different way. No, she’s not as beautiful as Charity, but there’s just something about her….

As Collin’s feelings shift from one sister to the other, he tosses the O’Connor’s into a world of chaos that they could have very well done without. But, despite the fact that Faith’s dream is coming true and Collin is falling in love with her, another obstacle stands in her way…Collin’s lack of faith.

A Passion Most Pure is a book that will twist your heart–and your stomach–at the same time. But, the heart and stomach test are what tells me it’s one of the most incredible books ever!! From the first page you’re transported to 1916 Boston and you’re living Faith’s life. Her dreams, her aspirations…but most of all her heartache. Oh how I suffered with Faith while reading this book! I have read all three of the Daughters of Boston series and the first book of the Winds of Change series, and I feel as though the O’Connors are family. That’s how involved Julie Lessman makes you with her characters. That’s how brilliant her writing and her stories are. When you make a personal connection with the characters, you know you’ve just picked up one of the best books you’ll ever read. Faith’s struggles to stop loving Collin because of his lack of faith, and Collin’s struggles to accept the fact that Faith will never be his are heartbreaking situations. But Faith’s knowledge that she can’t change him, that only God can change him, is also a good lesson in life. Only God can change a heart and Faith embraces that in this book.

A Passion Most Pure gets steamy at times, but Faith’s trust in God and her belief in purity is beautiful. Charity’s lack of faith causes her to start down a road to destruction…but you’ll hear more about her in my review of A Passion Redeemed. 😉

So, now the question is, will Faith and Collin ever be together? Or will Collin reject Faith’s belief in God once and for all and continue on down the faithless road he’s been traveling for years? Now, why don’t you go find out? Believe me, A Passion Most Pure is one you don’t want to pass up!

Coming Soon: Charity is determined to get the man of her dreams…unfortunately he’s decided to hate her forever. Look for my review of A Passion Redeemed, by Julie Lessman, soon!!

Smart & Sassy

Katie O’Connor has a set plan for her life. Marry rich Jack Worthington, go to law school, have one child and live happily ever after. At eighteen, she’s smart and sassy and she holds Jack in the palm of her hand. But then the bane of her childhood existence, Luke McGee, comes charging back into her life…and destroys everything.

Julie Lessman’s incredible novel, A Hope Undaunted, took my breath away. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, wondering what was going to happen next. It had my heart aching and breaking. It gave me a picture of pure, unconditional and sacrificial love that I only dreamed could be real.

Katie O’Connor is finally learning her lesson. After missing curfew, her father grounds her, forbidding her from going out with her friends, including boyfriend Jack, for two months. And, on top of that, she’s being forced to volunteer at the BCAS, The Boston Children’s Aid Society. But, Patrick O’Connor tells her, it will be good for her, since she does want to go to law school. It should give her some experience that will assist her.

But neither Patrick or Katie truly realize what they’ve gotten her into. Neither expected that Katie’s boss would turn out to be Clarence Luke ‘Cluny’ McGee, the man Katie loved to hate since childhood. When Luke comes back into her life, Katie is sure that she will die. The last thing she needs is obnoxious Luke telling her what to do.

But Luke sees it as a great opportunity. I mean, when else will he be able to boss Katie O’Connor around. They hated each other as kids, they might as well continue to hate each other as adults. But the thing is, Luke’s old crush on the sassy blonde hasn’t exactly dissipated over the years. And when his friend, Parker Riley, comments that he thinks it would be a good idea if Luke stayed away from Katie, Luke starts to wonder if maybe he’s not right.

Katie soon discovers that she actually likes working at the BCAS. She’s made new and wonderful friends in Betty Galetti and Bobbie Sue. But the strange, and awful, thing is that she thinks she might be attracted to Luke McGee! And that’s something that will destroy all her well-laid plans.

Luke knows he’s in love with Katie…but she’s all set to marry Jack and just wants to be friends. And when Luke’s best friend, Betty–also a woman who touches Luke’s heart in a special way–is in trouble, Luke makes a decision that shakes Katie’s world.

Katie loves him. That becomes all too clear. But now he’s going to break her heart in a way that she never thought he would….

A Hope Undaunted, gave a heartbreaking picture of sacrificial love. Luke McGee sacrificed a life he could have had with Katie, the woman he truly loved, to help Betty through her troubles. His love for Katie was true, pure and strong. But his love for Betty prevailed, because she needed him. Because she was the woman he’d loved first, the woman whose heart he’d broken a few years previous. Because he was the kind of man who would never abandon his friends when they were in trouble.

While reading this book, I found myself thinking that Luke McGee was exactly the kind of man I would want to marry one day. He was an incredible example of the kind of man who would sacrifice anything for the people he loves…even if it meant sacrificing his own happily ever after. God gave Luke McGee a heart of love for the people who fell into his hands and he would never, ever turn his back on them. Just the way God would never, ever turn His back on us.

This book was sassy and powerful. There were a few steamy kisses, a few tense family moments and a lot of heart-break for Luke, Katie and Betty. Put together, it made an amazing novel that I will cherish forever.

But now, the big question is, will Katie and Luke ever see each other again? Or will Katie let her broken heart mend and find her happily ever after with Parker Riley instead?

Coming Soon: The murder of her mother and baby sister, and the kidnapping of her brother has left Morrow haunted and bitter…but when her feelings begin to change, will she be able to finally put the past behind her? Look for my review of Courting Morrow Little, by Laura Frantz, soon!!