Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

About the book:

What happens when the boy she loved to hate ... becomes the man she hates to love?

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 eating out of her hand. 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?

My thoughts:

I have been anticipating A Hope Undaunted for well over a year now, and before I even cracked the spine, I knew I would be in for a rollercoaster ride of passion and drama.  In that respect, A Hope Undaunted did not disappoint one bit.  But I have to confess that while Julie Lessman is on my favorite authors list right under Francine Rivers, I just did not love this book.  I know I'm probably one of the few in that category, but I have to be honest.  I liked it, but I didn't love it...there really is a difference.

Having gotten to know young Katie O'Connor in the Daughters of Boston series, I knew her personality wouldn't have changed much from childhood to an older teenager.  She was a spoiled brat in the first series, and she was a spoiled brat through about the first half of this book.  I couldn't seem to get past her selfish nature that popped up all over the place.  And the other half of the time, she couldn't seem to make up her mind which I chalked up to immaturity and wanting to be free from her father's strict rules.  Another thing that bothered me in regards to Katie was that she was eighteen years old, and in between two guys with lots of emotions flying all over the place.  In spite of her father's summer plans to keep her away from bad boy Jack, she still managed to get into, what I thought were, compromising situations with Luke at the Boston Children's Aid Society.  Now, her parents really liked Luke over Jack, as did I, but I think if they knew what was happening between Katie and Luke in the workplace, that whole situation would've been nipped in the bud quicker than a blink.  All that aside, how Katie responded to all of her emotions was completely normal for someone her age.  She wanted so badly to exercise her freedom that she sometimes made unwise decisions regarding her feelings, not to mention that both Luke and Jack were on the receiving end of her emotional decisions.

Julie is known for writing edgy, romantic, Christian fiction, and every bit of that was present in this book.  But compared to her 3 previous novels, the edginess was actually toned down in this book.  There was more focus on the relationships between the characters, especially Faith and Collin and Marcy and Patrick.  Even though I wasn't a fan of Katie as a whole, the romance, and especially the kissing scenes, between her and Luke were explosive!  I don't think Julie will ever lose her touch in that department!  Between the edginess and the romance, you'd think there'd barely be enough space for anything else, but the Christian elements in this book were simply perfect.  And if you're not careful, Julie may just step on your toes a bit with more Biblical truths than your Sunday morning preacher.

Even though A Hope Undaunted was my least favorite book featuring the O'Connor clan, I will never grow tired of getting my O'Connor fix just like Karen Kingsbury fans have to get their Baxter family fix.  I hope the wait won't be long between A Hope Undaunted and her next book, A Heart Revealed, which will tell the story of Sean and Emma.  I have loved Emma's quiet nature from the moment she was first introduced in the Daughters of Boston series.  There's no doubt in my mind that their story will be a good one.  :o) 

4 Stars
**Many thanks to Winsome Communications for providing a copy for review.

**Click here to purchase a copy of A Hope Undaunted.

8 comments:

  1. I liked this one, but it really took me some time to like Katie. I am so excited for the story about Sean and Emma!

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  2. Christy, this is a beautiful review, and I thank you for taking the time to read AHU and write such a detailed review, even though I know A Hope Undaunted was not your favorite.

    After reading this review, I have NO doubt that your favorite book in this series will be Sean and Emma's story because it is impossible not to love Emma with her strength and wisdom. In fact, my husband and crit partner say it is my best book yet, and my 92-year-old aunt calls it a "gangbuster of a story," so hopefully AHR will be a favorite of yours too. :)

    Please know that I am saying a prayer RIGHT NOW for your husband and a quick and complete recovery.

    Have a blessed day!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  3. Julie,

    Thank you so much for your sweet comments, and the prayers for my hubby. He is getting his strength back more and more every day, and I'm so thankful that it wasn't anything more serious.

    I hope I did not offend you in any way with my review of AHU. I try to be gentle, yet honest, with any review I do, and because you are one of my favorite authors (not to mention one of the sweetest people in the world), my hope and prayer was that my review not come across as harsh or critical. Your books are always such a blessing to me, and I wish there were more authors out there (or publishers that would have them) that would step out and write books that show how God intended passion to be shared between a husband and wife. Thank you so much for giving me (and other readers) some of the best books available in Christian fiction.

    *hugs*
    Christy

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  4. I loved this book and I'm glad you liked it too! I'm glad to hear the hubby is doing better no doubt due to your TLC :-)
    ,
    XOXO~ Renee

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  5. Thanks, Renee! Yep, he's getting better every day...actually drove today for the first time in a week. :o)

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  6. Christy- Thanks for linking up to CBRR on my blog. I've haven't read a hope undaunted yet, but I have to say that I wasn't really anticipating it because I didn't like Katie either!

    I will read at some point. It is on my wishlist. Thanks so much for the review. I love Julie Lessman books too!

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  7. Great review!

    I also enjoyed A Hope Undaunted and am a big fan of Julie Lessman.

    I found the characters to be fairly three dimensional and enjoyed the interaction between the two main characters, Katie and Luke - although at times I was surprised by Katie’s sudden abrupt turns. The O’Connor family is true to form in their larger-than-life sort of Irish personalities and entertaining as always.

    I posted a more in-depth review of my own at:

    www.tracysbooknook.com/a-hope-undaunted-by-julie-lessman-book-review/




    -Tracy

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  8. Oops!

    When I said a "more in-depth review" I meant more in-depth compared to the short comment I had made.

    Sorry if that was unclear.

    -Tracy

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I love your comments!! They make me happier than cold sweet tea on a hot summer day! :o)