By Julie Lessman
Daughters of Boston book 1
Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. But when Collin tries to win her sister Charity's hand, Faith is not sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. To further complicate matters, Faith finds herself the object of Collin's affections, even as he is courting her sister. The Great War is raging overseas, and a smaller war is brewing in the O'Connor household.
Michelle Sutton review:
This is moving to the top of my list of favorite books of all time. It's packed with romantic tension, and emotional and spiritual passion. It made me crazy as I wasn't sure what I wanted them to do and my feelings were all over the place. I did enjoy the ending, though, as it was very satisfying and I cried through the last three chapters or so. Don't read ahead if you get this book. It'll spoil the joy and wonder of the story for you. I was tempted to do that several times (which I never do) because I so desperately wanted to know who Faith ended up with, but I was good and I'm glad I didn't peek.
What an emotional roller coaster ride! I got whiplash from the plot twists and the changing of the tides. My heart soared and plummeted along with Faith. I could not stop reading this book and hauled it with me everywhere. It's long (like 480 pages) but I wouldn't cut a thing. Everything is relevant and important to the story. I'll admit that I was extremely curious about this book after reading an article that said it was overly sensual. I disagree. Just because you are in her head and her thoughts are honest doesn't make it sensual. A lot of author's can write about kissing but most aren't daring enough to write the honest thoughts in a heroine's head. That's what this author did that was so fabulous. If she took out the internal thoughts she would remove the alleged sensuality, but then the passion is squeezed from the story and it would be a dry scene with description, but no life. I loved this story. It's daringly innovative and the most fabulous debut I've ever read. Plus, the historical portion of the novel was well done, too. I felt like I was there!
One last thought...I see this as a clearly Christian novel in that the emphasis is that having passion for God is what makes a marriage a beautiful, solid, and holy union and anything less than that is robbing you of the joy you could experience if you loved within the boundaries God set. It's a very strong message but done naturally and through the story. It feels real. I knew men like Collin who were insanely jealous of a woman's relationship with God and how they said they felt like they were competing with Him. Without the love of Christ in our hearts we are truly deprived of the most intimate love their is. This story delivers that message with such perfection I want every woman who has not married yet to read this book! It would save a lot of heartache if women trusted God in regards to their marriage partner. He wants marriage to be an example of his love for us and that cannot exist in a marriage without Him at the center.
Before you judge this book you need to read it for yourself. Initially I struggled with the number of POVs but once I got into the story I see how important that was for the author to include so many. Bravo!
Bonus Review by Michelle Griep
A Passion Most Pure is an intense drama involving the O’Connor family, Irish-Americans who live on the south side of Boston. Historically, the reader is drawn into the trench warfare of WWI. Emotionally, the story delivers a gamut of feelings from love and jealousy to sorrow and joy. Spiritually, there is a message for believers and unbelievers alike.
The story centers around eighteen-year-old Faith O’Connor, a stalwart believer who struggles with a feisty anger and passion for Collin McGuire. Collin feels the same for her but does not share her faith. That’s where Charity, Faith’s younger sister, takes advantage of the situation. Sixteen and drop-dead gorgeous, she gains Collin’s attentions to the point of their engagement. It’s quite the emotional love triangle, especially since there’s already a deeply rooted jealousy on Charity’s part because she feels their father loves Faith more than her.
Kicking the romance factor up a notch, the relationship between Faith’s parents is still sizzling after two decades. When her father is sent off to war, her mother languishes to the point of returning home to Ireland.
Without giving away several surprises at the end of the story, there are some unexpected plot turns that come out of nowhere, all resulting in a satisfying read.
I must admit that while an interesting concept and well-written, once the love triangle was established, I was ready to move on as a reader. The spats between Faith, Collin and Charity didn’t hold my attention nearly as much as they did at first.
A Passion Most Pure is Julie Lessman’s debut novel. She’s already garnered many writing awards, and I’ve no doubt there will be more to come.
If turn-of-the-century Americana with a bit of a European twist sounds intriguing, then this is the book for you.