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Saturday, September 25, 2010

My review of A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman and pit stop for Revell blog tour here!

Hope Undaunted, A: A Novel (Winds of Change)

About the book:

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 Jake 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 Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jake? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

My review:

A Hope Undaunted was an emotional roller coaster that kept me guessing! I love a book that makes me feel such strong emotions that I have tears streaming down my face as I'm reading. This book did that for me. In fact, I think all of Julie's books have had places in them where I've felt genuine grief for the characters, and they aren't even real people! The characters in A Hope Undaunted were so multi-dimensional that they felt real, so I hurt when they hurt. Kind of like the O'Connor family is special, these books remind me of Karen Kingsbury's Baxter family. As a reader and "fan," you want their stories to go on forever and ever. You can't get enough. I loved how I worried about these fictional people and their situations. My heart pounded right along with theirs because the author pulled no punches with them. I love it when I learn some of those hard-earned lessons with the characters, and when I think about a story long after I finish it. Here is what made this story special to me...

Katie Rose needed to learn a lot of things that only God could teach her. I loved how the author set up each situation in such a way that Katie had to learn to love the Lord first. Sometimes getting your heart broken again and again can knock the stubbornness right out of a woman. And the brokenness and beauty that is left when the fallout is cleaned up is often breathtakingly sweet. I loved how the author showed that humility and patience is beautiful, and how women really do want strong men in their lives, not pushovers. My pastor is a great example of that, and people respect him because he doesn't bend with every wind that blows through the church.

I adore stories that include sacrificial love themes as well as tough love. This story has both. Real love, the kind that comes from God, seeks another person's good over their own will. Nothing gets the waterworks going for me quicker than sacrificial love in a story. That's why the story of Christ's redemption is so powerful and emotional. It is a rare and beautiful thing when people find this kind of love that "seeks not its own way" with each other.

My husband exemplifies this kind of love in my life. He's like my Patrick, my Collin, my Brady, my Mitch. God has been deeply involved in my life as well as my husband's, and God has shaved off the rough edges to bring us to that deep kind of love that we share as husband and wife to this day. It's an O'Connor kind of love, filled with deep emotion, passion, loyalty, friendship, and trust. This story illustrates to all women who are single that the right man (the one God has in mind for you) is worth waiting for. It also speaks to the hearts of married women, that love is give and take, and that there is a time to disagree...but it should never be in front of the children. ;) And passionate kisses? Don't get me started. I absolutely love that Julie's books are full of them!

Bottom line is I love all of Julie Lessman's stories so picking a favorite is incredibly hard. This story ranks near the top for sure. It's making my best fiction list for question about that.

Thank you Revell, for providing a copy of this book for me to review! This book was released Sept. 1, 2010.

Blew me away


Pepper said...

Totally agree. Your review sounds a whole lot like mine, Michelle. I was gripped with the emotions of the characters. At the end, there were times I wanted to kick someone and then kiss someone. Crazy emotional roller coaster, but a wonderful read.

Julie Lessman said...

"Best fiction list for 2010" ... WHOO-HOO, girl, I am SO pumped to hear that and SOOO very grateful for your incredible review!! There are few lists I'd rather be on than your top-ten for the year, my friend, so thank you again!!


justpeachy36 said...

I just posted my review of this book as well. I love it! It was exciting and emotional and full of all the things a book should have. Joy and sadness and deep wisdom.

Great book!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great review, Michelle! I agree, its definitely one of my top picks for the year :)

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