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A Hope Undaunted: A Novel (Winds of Change) Paperback – September 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Inspirational romance author Lessman (Daughters of Boston series) opens a new historical fiction series, Winds of Change. In this first book, Lessman's female protagonist, Katie O'Connor, is a smart, sassy young woman full of dreams for a successful career in law. Barriers to Katie's goals are the time period in which she was born (the 1920s) and societal mores that locate women securely in the home. Katie's headstrong nature often does her more harm than good, and her heart pulls her away from a wealthy suitor to childhood acquaintance Luke McGee. With lots of family dynamics and competing story lines, Katie's journey to true fulfillment in both love and faith loses impact. Lessman's writing skill is noteworthy, but the tale would have been more successful if it was more succinct.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* It’s the summer of 1929, and Katie O’Connor knows exactly what she wants: marriage to rich, rakish, albeit spoiled Jack Worthington, and a law career. When Jack and others in her circle of self-centered, privileged friends deliberately humiliate a soda jerk, Katie is embarrassed. Then she breaks curfew too many times, and her father sentences her to work as a summer volunteer at the Boston Children’s Aid Society. Raised on the wrong side of the tracks, Luke McGee has worked his way through law school, and even though he’s now an attorney, he fills in at the soda counter for a friend, only to become the brunt of Jack and the gang’s cruelty. When Luke becomes assistant director of the Boston Children’s Aid Society, his life becomes intertwined with Katie’s, perhaps forever. A rich girl and a poor boy find that love can be the great equalizer in Lessman’s engrossing tale, which has more awareness and sizzle between the hero and heroine than your average inspirational romance. This is the first book in the Winds of Change series. --Shelley Mosley
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The O'Connor family is a large, tight-knit Irish family who knows the value of hard work. They make family a priority, which is good because as the historical events of 1929 derail their careers in many ways, the support of family will hold them together.
Luke, Betty, and Parker made this story interesting. Maybe it was their distance from the O'Connor family, but they added some much-needed flavor to this story. Luke especially adds so much dynamic. While stories that follow families are often entertaining, this family needed Luke to spice it up some. Granted, he is by no means perfect, which only makes him more interesting.
I also just really enjoyed the fact that each member of the family was unique, while still being family. The marriages of Patrick & Marcy, and Collin & Faith were also very important to the flow of the story. They both could have been their own books. The example of faith as the cornerstone is evident in how healthy their marriages were.
I suggest an adult audience, as I am sure that was Lessman's goal while writing this. This is a serious look into what marriage, romance, and love should look like in a Christian home, and what happens when those in relationships do not focus on God, communication, and respect. While the readability is easy, the topics are heavy and deserve a mature reader. Or a reader who needs to see the consequences of stubborn people in relationships.
**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
As always, the writing was superb and Julie really draws you into the story from the first page. This is a book I didn’t want to put down!
I love Katie! She’s strong willed, stubborn, and doesn’t back down from an argument (something I can connect with), but when it matters the most, she’ll release her pride and step up. She obviously loves her family, though she often knocks heads with Patrick. She is the O’Connor who doesn’t believe in God, it was interesting to see how Julie would weave that into the story. I enjoyed seeing Katie grow up and learn that she doesn’t always know best, but rather God does and His plans are always for our good. I also liked seeing her lose a bit of that pride and Miss Know-It-All personality.
I enjoyed how she and Luke meet again (no, I won’t spoil it for you), and was laughing for most of it. Then cringing for other parts right along with her. I felt kind of bad for her, but based on some of the things she puts him through, I couldn’t help but feel she was getting her dues.
I loved Luke, too! He was the perfect foil for Katie. Just as stubborn and determined as her and I enjoyed seeing him put Katie in her place and remind her what is important. Their sparring was entertaining and it was always interesting to see who would win the argument. He is sweet, loyal, and honorable as well as being the kind of heart-throbbing hero that we have come to expect in a romance novel. I loved his kindness to Betty and Gabe, as well as to Katie.
Gabe (Gabrielle) is a great new edition to the series! She is precocious and the kind of child you just want to hug. I can see why Marcy was so taken with her. I kind of wish Julie would write a book for her, but I think if she did that the series might be unending. As it is, it ends with Steven’s book, A Love Surrendered (which I have yet to read), and it should probably stay that way.
As usual, I appreciate having the book come from several different points of view. There is almost a story within a story that follows through each book, and I really like that. It ties them all together.
I highly recommend this book!