Review of “A Light in the Window”
My reading began with high anticipation as eighteen year old Marceline (Marcy) Murphy stood on the front porch of the O’Rourke home nervously preparing to ring the doorbell. Five long years had passed since Marcy and her family had left Boston for New York where her father had taken a new job as a vice president for Reading Railroad, and subsequently lost due to the worldwide economic depression in 1893, costing him and thousands their jobs. Marcy’s family returned to Boston in hopes of new beginning. How could she predict what heartache lay ahead? She and her family would need to lean on their faith in God to see them through.
Marcy’s best friend Julie (Jewels) O’Rourke lived behind those doors with her large family and the memory of Julie’s older brother Sam made her hands clammy. Hmm, I thought as I read. Sweet memories of Sam? Wasn’t her love interest……? Marcy’s thought leads us into the story, “A Light in the Window” and promptly caught my attention. I still puzzled over Marcy’s romantic thoughts about Sam when she…..oh never mind…just keep on reading.
Among the many fans of Julie’s writing, I had been waiting for her story about the young couple who started this saga of the O’Connor family. Having read all of the previous books in Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change; both series about the O’Connor children, my curiosity about the couple that sired them didn’t end. Finally, Julie Lessman is telling how it all began. This had to be good!
As I continued reading, Jewels opened the O’Rourke front door to an anxious grown up Marcy and enthusiastically noticed the beauty her best friend had become. Jewels commented that Marcy would certainly turn heads during their senior year, especially her brother Sam’s.
The best friends begin to reminisce, giggling and talking about the old crowd…mentioning Sam and his best friend Patrick often. Marcy grimaced at the recalling of what she already knew about Patrick – considering him the rogue of all rogues and thinking him to be the cause of Sam’s unruly shenanigans. She kept her opinion of Patrick to herself because Jewels had a wild crush on him, as did other girls. Their conversation brought up the St. Mary’s church Christmas play fund raiser for the soup kitchen, and Marcy eagerly told Jewels that she had already talked to Sister Francine and got the job to spearhead the fundraiser. She also volunteered Jewels to be the pianist and her assistant in directing the play performance. Marcy was pleased with her selection of the play. It was something old she found that was significant regarding a true Irish tradition at Christmas. At this point, she had no idea of the real meaning that would evolve into her life forever.
Marcy believed that a solid marriage needed commitment and faith in God. It was her heart’s desire to have such a marriage. She recently developed mistrust toward the opposite sex from traumatic revelations of adultery and unfaithfulness before returning to Boston. She thinks she knows Sam and has hope that he will be the love of her life, even though she is aware of his oat sowing. She feels her prayers can change him. Marcy is an only child and looks to the O’Rourke’s as being the ideal family and wants desperately to be a part of them. She considers Patrick a devious rogue and rover, causing her mixed emotions as she gets to know him. What Marcy eventually comes to learn of her parents and family surprises her.
Patrick has been disliked and misunderstood by his father all his life. His father, a hypocrite controls his family through physical, emotional, and verbal abuse. Despite his upbringing, Patrick is a young man with refined values that are not fully developed yet, until he sees Marcy again for the first time after five years. He questions himself and begins to seek the real meaning of his life with the desire to be better.
The scene with Sam and Patrick hiding in a confessional at St Mary’s drinking the sacristy wine from the bottle and smoking shows the audaciousness of youth in a humorous and predictable way. Of course, they get caught! Father Fitzgibbons is not shocked and handles the situation thoughtfully while assigning a consequence to the boys that leads into the gist of the story and from thereon we are hooked.
Julie Lessman’s writing is always a great mix of high emotion, clashes of right and wrong, forgiveness, past and present hurts, secrets, guilt, shame, fun, humor, family stresses, life decisions, love and lust – the good, the bad and the ugly, dishonesty, thievery, hypocrisy, dreams and always God’s love and the human struggle to entrust their hearts Him. Her script is divinely developed around the evidence that she has researched the time period extensively as to history, fashions in style, education, religion, morals, courting, and human behavior which is primarily the same from generation to generation. She writes such beautiful and easily comprehended word pictures that are vivid to the imagination throughout her story. Ms. Lessman has no qualms at expressing belief in the plans that God has for each individual.
The characters are all mostly lovable, with a couple of deterrents there, yet each one is unique and vital to the story. You will meet the children that perform in the play and learn their life struggles. Julie Lessman has no lack of imagination in creating the right character(s) for every situation. The surprising compassion and involvement of one character in the youngster’s lives is heartwarming and tender. It brings a bit of a tear to the eye.
Here is where I will leave my review of Julie Lessman’s book. As always, after I have finished reading a Julie Lessman novel, I discover I have learned much from her words in relation to my own life. Some of my personal damaged emotions begin to heal and my faith in God has rooted deeper. Recently I told Julie “Your talent overwhelms me….how do you do that?” She answered, “LOL … my so-called “talent” overwhelms me too, and I have NO earthly idea how I do it except by the grace of God – just like you!! :)” There, by the grace of God, we write.
WHOO-HOO … THREE CONTESTS:
Kindle Fire Contest!!
A Light in the Window Facebook Giveaways!!
Next three runners-up receive signed printed manuscript of A Light in the Window or $20 gift card.
There will be a random drawing for those with even just one point (with extra entry for each point accrued) for a signed manuscript of A Light in the Window or $20 gift card.
HERE’S HOW TO ENTER:
2.) GET SOMEONE ELSE TO ORDER A Light in the Window (2 points per order).
3.) SHARE this contest page on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, Goodreads, wherever (2 points per 1-time share each).
4.) “LIKE” the book on Amazon and B&N or get someone else to do so (1 pt. per LIKE).
5.) E-MAIL ME through the “Contact Julie” tab of this website to let me know which of the points above you have done, and I will enter you in the contest. NOTE: Kindle winner MAY be required to show proof of purchase via the Amazon Order Confirmation number listed on their confirmation e-mail from Amazon.
Contest ends December 31, 2012 and winner will be announced here on the Contest page and in my January 4th Journal Jot.
B.) REVIEW CONTEST: Publisher’s Weekly states that good reviews are critical to an author’s success!! 1st place (the most points accrued for good reviews posted) wins a character named after them in Love at Any Cost (release date April 1, 2013), a $50 gift card and signed copy of Love at Any Cost.
Runner-up wins a bit character named after them and signed copy of Love at Any Cost.
Random drawing for those with even just one point (with extra entries for every point accrued) for a signed copy of Love at Any Cost.
HERE’S HOW TO ENTER:
1.) POST A BRIEF, POSITIVE REVIEW for A Love Surrendered at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD.com, other online bookseller, personal blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc. (1 point per each review posted.)
3.) E-MAIL ME through the “Contact Julie” tab of this website to let me know where you have posted the reviews and the links to each review.
NOTE: This contest is to promote reviews for A Love Surrendered, but if you are a new reader who has NEVER posted a review for any of my books before, you may do so and accrue points that way as well. However, I regret I cannot count reviews posted in the past for my books as part of one of my prior contests. Winners will be announced in my next newsletter scheduled to mail in FEBRUARY so make sure you are signed up for it via theNewsletter tab of this website.
C.) A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW FACEBOOK GIVEAWAYS: Join me on FacebookNovember 1 – 30 for fun trivia and tips on making Christmas memorable for your family and those you love. The discussion takes place on my author page each day, where I’ll be giving away FIVE copies of A Light in the Window over the course of the month, either e-book or signed printed manuscript, so I hope you’ll be a part. Here’s the link and hope to see you there!
GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS!!!
WOW! Thanks for sharing Julie, I’m very excited! I’ve read ALL of your books and feel like part of the O’Connor family…except I’m not Irish! LOL! I have read your awesome “A Light in the Window” and have posted my review. I’ve already decided that this is another five star read. So – friends, followers and visitors – go for it…..you will be blessed for sure.