Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Julie Lessman's A Heart Revealed ~ Reviewed


A Heart Revealed
By Julie Lessman
Published by Revell
ISBN# 9780800734169
505 Pages




Back Cover:


Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston as a battered woman, escaping the husband who scarred her beautiful face. The physical and emotional wounds have faded with time, and her life is finally full of purpose and free from the pain of her past. But when she falls for her friend Charity's handsome and charming brother, Sean O'Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her. Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she's ever known?


Filled with intense passion and longing, deception and revelation, A Heart Revealed will hold readers in its grip until the very last page.




Review:


I am grateful to have received a review copy of a novel that is written by an author who's passionate about her relationship with Jesus and others she loves. Not only does Julie have a zest and love for life but Julie’s passion for her Savior radiates throughout this book and not in a preachy way, but an honest and enlightening way. Julie’s newest novel shows that what we have in our hearts is revealed through our actions, thoughts and words. Just like Julie’s characters this often takes us by surprise, thinking we’ve dealt with that matter or didn’t realize a matter bothered us so much. I enjoyed this complex and tender story.


I loved A Hope Undaunted, the first book in the Winds of Change series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on A Heart Revealed and see where Julie would take me next. This story started out in the time of the great depression of 1931 – where people struggled to survive. They had a hard time balancing, work and family just like we deal with today. This author also talks about true love, making a time for passion, talking face to face (not texting) and how we have to work at keeping a love relationship alive.


I also like how Julie shows that just because these characters accepted Christ in their hearts and go to church; it’s not all happily ever-after. Life can be painful at times and God wants to heal our hurts if we let him. I also enjoyed how Julie Lessman naturally weaves the theme of how we can be free in Christ through forgiveness! Julie shows us how unforgiveness can keep us a prisoner to the pain of the past and never let us walk in what we can be in current time. It’s the freedom we have in Christ through forgiving others, and ourselves. You never know what heavy burden someone was carrying around before Jesus set them free.


Julie answers the question, what does it look like to accept Jesus into our hearts, say we love Him but don’t make him Lord of our lives? And what does someone do when they discover their heart is still bleeding from deep hurts they hide from their conscious mind. Julie shows this very thing and so much more in A Heart Revealed. Each of us has a story to tell, we don’t get out of this life alive and untouched by the tragedies of the world. I love how Julie shows her passion for God through the characters' passion for each other and how all relationships take work.


I liked how Julie honestly looked at marriage on so many levels. Julie looked at the parents Marcy and Patrick's marriage along with Faith and Collin, Charity and Mitch, and Katie and Luke. It’s hard to do creative a loving marriage in changing times and almost impossible to do it without God working in you and through your life. This author gives a peek into these marriages that have very different personalities. I loved how she showed that without God marriage isn’t possible. With each husband and wife seeking God’s will for their lives and asking help in loving their spouse the way he would is the only way they make it. Julie did show the fun side of marriage too. All wasn't serious. I enjoyed the tender moments that left most of the romance to the readers’ imagination and I loved reading about them laughing and having fun; especially when the whole family gets together for game night.


Julie talked about being single in this book and enjoying it. I liked how she handled matter. She showed Sean and Emma as being totally fulfilled in being single. They fully walked in all it meant to be for them. They were both single and living for Jesus. I also liked how she revealed that Sean and Emma could be best of friends. They were confidants; they prayed for one another and held each other accountable. I also liked that even though Emma made strong suggestions to Sean that he sought God on his own terms. He didn’t take someone else’s word for what he was supposed to do.


A Priest said to Sean, “Emma sees herself as – a scarred woman, inside and out. Keep in mind that when a woman’s self-image has been destroyed, both by the man she loved and the very sins that have imprisoned her most of her life, she can’t see what you see. It will only be though the mirror of God’s love and that of your own that Emma will finally have a glimpse of the beautiful women God created her to be.” Powerful stuff.


Julie is creative and fun and had a newsletter contest and two people won the prize. The prize was to have their names in Julie's new book. Casey Herringshaw and Michelle Tuller won. It was fun to read Casey’s name in this book because I work with her on the ACFW book club loop.


I loved reading about all the members of the O’Connor family; they all have so much fun interacting with each other. I highly recommend this book and Julie’s other as well for an honest, passionate look at love and life and everything in-between. Her books are definitely worth your time. Let Julie and her books sweep you into the O’Connor family and into the arms of Jesus. You’ll enjoy her passionate characters in this book and her others.


Reviewed by:
Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

3 comments:

Alli said...

Thanks for your review on this book! Julie Lessman is my all-time favorite author, and I just absolutely LOVE how she incorporates SO MUCH the lives of the characters we have grown to love from her previous books! So by the time you get to this book - A Heart Revealed - you already know and LOVE Sean and Emma before even starting the book!

This one was a bit different than all of Julie's other books - because Emma is married, there isn't the heated romantic passion right off the bat and then all throughout the book (which is kinda Julie's "thing" in all of her other books.) Sean and Emma's story shows their love blooming through friendship, but don't worry - she still gives us plenty of her trademark passion and drama through Luke and Katie and Mitch and Charity!! And things definitely heated up for Sean and Emma too, which was great!! :-)

The book is also full of the regular "Julie Lessman" roller coaster-like ups and downs and then of course back up again...with of course a surprise or two thrown in!! I promise - this one will be one for the KEEPER shelf - along with ALL of her other ones!! A definite must read!

Kelly Klepfer said...

Thanks for adding your thoughts to the review, Alli. I'm sure Julie appreciates them, too.

Danmark said...

Julie Lessman captures your heart with the passion she instills in her characters and in her stories. A HEART REVEALED is no exception, but even better than her previous books if that is possible. I always hate finishing a good book because I know I'm going to miss those characters. But with Julie's series, you have the joy of meeting up with them again and again. Its like living with true friends. I can hardly wait for A TRUST RESTORED.