Monday, September 20, 2010
Julie Lessman's A Hope Undaunted ~ Reviewed
A Hope Undaunted
By Julie Lessman
Published by Revell
The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?
I was thrilled to receive a review copy of this moving, heart warming epic story. I had read all three books in her Daughters of Boston series and couldn’t wait to read this first book in the Winds of Change series. The authors character descriptions with their reactions, to each other and their situations made me feel as if I were watching them on the big screen taking in every detail hook, line and sinker.
Katie O’Connor is the main character who is the youngest and feistiest of the O’Connor sisters. It’s the roaring twenties and Katie has big plans to marry rich, go to law school and be the first woman to gain a seat in Congress. She wants to be in a position of influence to change the flight of women and children.
Jack, Katie’s boyfriend, adores her and fits all the criteria for her plan beautifully, that is until Katie is forced to work with Luke McGee in the summer of 1929. Sparks start to fly between then on all fronts as they butt heads at work. They’d known each other as kids, Luke was mean back then, and it didn’t appear he changed much. Why did Luke bother her so much now? Couldn’t she let her childhood memories go?
Luke says, “You know, Katie, you’ve always been a cold and callous little thing, but I actually believed it was just a front. You know a thin coat of steel to protect your fragile little heart? But I was wrong. Seems that steel is as thick as that stubborn head of yours when it comes to making life decisions…You’re a cold, cold woman, Katie O’Connor…your ‘plan’ is your god, and God help anybody who gets in your way.”
“Katie couldn’t believe his words. …I want to be a lawyer, mother- to blaze the way for women who think they need a man to take care of them, women like Mrs. Rhodes at church—everyone knows that tyrant she lives with beats her. But will she leave? Not on her life. And in the end, it will probably cost her hers….. Was it wrong to have a plan? She had her plan! God was some fairy tale for weak people right?”
I thoroughly enjoyed every second I spent reading this book. I got caught up in the characters and their drama. I couldn’t believe Katie and the lengths she would go to in the progression of her plan. And the fight inside her heart to do what was right.
I got a kick out of the family gathers, filled with games, conflict, resolve, love and great fun. I felt as if I were in the middle of it all. I smiled big at the satisfying ending and a book filled with an array of colorful characters and their situations. Julie included the entire O’Connor clan the reader got to know in her other books, with a few amusing additions. Julie is a master story teller. I love how she naturally wove their struggle with God and his direction for their lives in this novel. It wasn’t preachy but realistic. Julie’s writing touches all the readers’ senses and pulls on your heart strings as she makes the reader feel as if really know and care about these people. This books a keeper and I feel her best book so far. I’ll definitely be reading this book again, you will too!
Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
The Book Club Network
Since the end of the Daughters of Boston series, Julie Lessman's devoted readers have been eagerly awaiting the release of A Hope Undaunted, heralding the Winds of Change trilogy and the ongoing saga of the O'Connor family. Katie and Cluny's journey was bound to be fiery, intense and heartfelt as Julie always writes from the heart with authenticity and courage. The uniqueness of Julie's prose reveals itself in palpable emotion and an almost unmatched ability to create vivacious characters that step from the pages and into the reader's heart and mind. Family drama, human tragedy and tempestuous love provide an evocative and compelling read that is impossible to put down. A Hope Undaunted is a brilliant read and sets high expectations for A Heart Revealed, the story of Katie's older brother Sean, the only O'Connor man determined to remain a bachelor!
Reviewed by: Rel Mollet