Tag Archive | Courtship

MY REVIEW OF

“SURPRISED BY LOVE”

BY JULIE LESSMAN

(Book #3 in the Heart of San Francisco series)

FIVE STARS

5 STARS

surprise

Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney’s office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school–and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram’s vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a kid sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

Fan favorite Julie Lessman draws a romantic triangle that will have readers in a tizzy in this glittering Gilded Age tale of transforming love.

…….MY REVIEW…….

Megan McClare has metamorphosed into a stunning butterfly during her year with the Rousseau’s family in Paris.  None of her family or friends expected it – let alone her best friend Bram Hughes.  Bram is unpredictably attracted to Megan and plays like a turtle withdrawing into himself confused.   Stunned even more when Megan attempts to tell him her true feelings, which drives him further away.  Bram is the one man who could make a shy and awkward little girl feel beautiful despite the baby fat and glasses.   The confidante to Meg for years in regard to the bullying Meg received from classmate Devin Caldwell.  Being older – he has been the big brother to Meg –affectionately referring to her as “Bug.”

 

The story begins at a happy reunion of the McClare family, Caitlyn McClare, matriarch to this clan; cousin Cassie McClare McKenna and her new husband, Jamie; Alli McClare and her fiancé Nick; Uncle Logan McClare, once engaged to Caitlyn and still in love with each other – secretly; Blake McClare, still single; seven year old Maddie McClare; Bram Hughes; and of course their housekeeper Rosie O’Brien and Hadley, the butler who is nearly deaf and blind.  Not to forget Miss Behave – the family parrot.

 

Julie Lessman is true to her excellence in constructing a story, leaving one breathless as she ends almost every chapter with a question.   Ms. Lessman has a knack for creating page turners – consolidating several stories – each with a conclusion, some predictable – most all surprising!  However, be aware for explosions and mysteries to happen throughout.   You may think you can predict what might happen, but do not be too quick to assume anything where Julie Lessman’s writing is concerned.

 

Meg’s mother Caitlyn has arranged for Meg to be an intern for District Attorney Andrew Turner, who just happens to be Logan’s worst enemy, ex-best friend.   To complicate matters, Andrew is in love with Caitlyn and pursues a courtship with her.  And then – lo and behold – Devin Caldwell is also a summer intern for DA Turner and does not recognize Meg – until she prompts his mind.  Devin falls in love with Meg and they become close.  Meg cannot forget Bram and feels rejected.  Meg’s kindness helps turn Secretary Bonnie Roof from a weed into a flower so that George, the executive assistant DA would notice her.  One of Meg’s better qualities was her interest in bettering life for everyone.

 

All of the above led to heartache, romance, mystery, humor and exhilaration – even dirty politics melds into this story to thwart Caitlyn and Meg’s plans to wipe out the horrible plight of women and girls ensnared in the brothels of the Barbary Coast.   Hopefully you have read the first two books in this series.   You might better understand this tale – however “Surprised by Love” is easily a stand-alone story.  There is much more activity to entertain you including Jamie’s mother and sister’s story from a preceding book.  Believe me, you will never be bored!

 

Bram’s mature faith in God spoke to me time and again.  He mentored Logan into praying and believing.  You will not be able to hold your tears while he describes how he feels trapped into marrying Amelia Darlington to help his father’s business survive.  Bram’s guilty conscience over his involvement in hurting his father’s health and sight is well hidden – but just another reason why he cannot entertain the idea of being in love with Meg.  Julie Lessman’s own faith in God is so apparent in the prose and scripture that fill this novel with the beauty and splendor of God’s intervention with the characters.  Ms. Lessman has a proverbial pen that does not disappoint.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for an honest review

INTRODUCING AUTHOR JULIE LESSMAN……..

10389436_10153010917093455_3619818035950028069_nHello … I’m Julie Lessman, an Inspirational Romance author with a passion for God and a passion for romance. Since the age of twelve, I’ve been in love with the idea of being “in love.” It happened the moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks. Suddenly I was a goner, spellbound by the emotional ebb and flow of romantic relationships.

As an adult, I quickly learned that true romance is spiritual as well as physical and emotional. And one pass through the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible told me that God was the biggest romantic of them all, deeply passionate in His love for each of us. Through my love affair with Him, I have discovered that romance can transcend to another dimension where romantic passion and spiritual passion merge, creating a 3-D love story: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together. I hope you enjoy my stories … and may they bring you closer to the Father’s heart.

I am a lucky wife, mother, and grandmother who also happens to write inspirational family-saga romance!! My tagline is “Passion with a Purpose,” so if you want to know what that is, check out my website at julielessman.comand/or my Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/JulieLessmanAuthor

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.”

Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series—A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her “Winds of Change” series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010.

You can connect with Julie on her websiteblogFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

MY REVIEW

OF

THE DAUGHTER OF HIGHLAND HALL

(Edwardian Brides Series Book II)

BY

CARRIE TURANSKY

Daughter-Highland-Hall-134x210

ABOUT THE BOOK…….What if the title, the estate, the life of security and splendor… what if it isn’t enough?

Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.
 
When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served. 

…….MY REVIEW…….

5 STARS

What can I say that has not already been said in prior reviews regarding Carrie Turansky’s captivating story about Kathryn, The Daughter of Highland Hall?  How can Ms. Turansky always be at her best with each novel that she writes?  I really adored this book!  It has been quite a while since I read the first book in this series, and I had double the fun of re-reading parts of The Governess of Highland Hall – about William and Julia to refresh my mind and it picked up right where this book left off.

 

It is now April 1912 in London, England and the young teenager Katherine Ramsey is preparing for her presentation before the King and Queen of England, followed by her debut.  Where Katherine behaved as a bratty kid in the previous novel, it appears that she and Julia have come to a new understanding of congeniality.  Of course, when a woman like Lady Louisa Gatewood, Katherine’s aunt, insists that every well-bred young lady must be made ready for her debut into English society and ready for marriage – frustration sets in with all the curtsy practice involved.  Lady Gatewood aided Katherine in creating a list of qualifications for her future husband.  He would need to be a man of wealth and title. 

 

Let us refer to Katherine as Kate from here on.  Before coming to London from Berkshire, England – a bit of family history.  Kate would have inherited Highland Hall, but lost control of her inheritance upon her father’s death.  Her second cousin William Ramsey had taken her father’s title as baronet and became the master of Highland Hall as well as her guardian until she married.  Highland Hall in Berkshire had been partially destroyed by fire necessitating a move to Ramsey House in London.  Much of this story concentrates on Julia Foster and her family.  Jonathan Foster, her brother, was a medical student intending to return to India to continue the mission his family had begun.  Jon was employed by Dr. Pittsford who had moved his practice to the East End of London, a slum full of danger.  Jon lived in William’s home in London.  A wedding for William and Julia was in the future.  There was already strife between William and his brother David.

 

A nervous Kate had made a big faux pas at her presentation before royalty.  Imagine the uproar from Aunt Louisa!  Jon’s shoulder was available for Kate’s commiseration.  More trouble abounds when Kate’s lady’s maid learns her unmarried sister Helen is pregnant and in an abusive situation.  However at her debut, she met Edward Wellington who met every detail of her list.  Could this be her future husband?  Edward asked to court her, but was strongly influenced by his parents.  Then, emanated the big scandal involving Williams brother David.  Edward dropped out of the picture and Jon and Kate began to fall in love.

 

All of this and more creates a novel reminiscent of Downton Abbey….and I am fond of that series.  Ms. Turansky weaves together fascinating facts, mystery, humor, and faith in God and well developed characters with accurately researched Edwardian etiquette.  I am not at all certain how Carrie Turansky gives such a great pen to her ideas, but I am glad she is an expert doing so.  I am in awe of her writing – naturally making it all about God’s answers.  If you haven’t read The Governess of Highland Hall, I suggest you do before you read The Daughter of Highland Hall.  Both are stand-alone novels – that go together.  I am certainly looking forward to the third book, A Refuge at Highland Hall.  Might Ms.Turansky bring war and the wounded into this novel?  We won’t know unless we read it!

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group for my review.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…….

Born and raised in Oregon, my heart longs for tall evergreens, the rugged Oregon Coast, and the pristine Cascade Mountains. . . but I presently live in beautiful, but very flat, central New Jersey. This is the Garden State, so we enjoy shopping at our local farmers’ market for sweet corn and juicy tomatoes or picking strawberries, blueberries, and peaches at local farms. We are close to Princeton University, Philadelphia, and New York City, so we sometimes take day trips in and enjoy museums, plays, and touring around.

I am married to Scott and we have five great kids, two lovely daughters-in-law, a wonderful son-in-law, and four adorable grandchildren. My roles of wife, mother, and grandma are very rewarding and fulfilling for me. Scott and I partner in ministry at Calvary Chapel Living Hope, a church we helped plant along with a team of hardworking, Jesus-following friends. Our ministry at Calvary has been very gratifying and exciting for us. We feel blessed to have the privilege of serving the Lord with these dear frineds. If you would like to know more about Calvary Chapel Living Hope you may visit our website at http://www.takejesushome.com.

My husband is the author of several great parenting books filled with practical insight and godly wisdom. We invite you to visit our ministry website for parenting tips, articles, resources and much more. That web site is www.biblicalparenting.org.

I have been writing since 1999 and have published several articles, short stories, devotions, and essays. Writing fiction is my passion, and I thank the Lord for all the creative ideas and characters He puts in my mind and heart. I am very thankful for friends and family who have believed in me and encouraged me on my writing journey.

When I’m not writing you will find me enjoying time with my family, working outside in my flower gardens, cooking healthy meals for family and friends, or walking around the lake near our home.

http://carrieturansky.com

carrie.turansky.3@facebook.com