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Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love (Volume 1) Paperback – October 15, 2015
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About the Author
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of "Passion With a Purpose" not only underscores her intense passion for God and romance, but her staunch advocacy for sexual purity before marriage as well. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys reading what she writes -- close-knit Irish family sagas as well as both historical and contemporary religious and inspirational romance for the sweet and Christian markets. Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series with Revell Publishing, Julie was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered 17 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine's 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also named on Booklist's 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction list. Her latest novel, Surprised by Love, appeared on Family Fiction magazine's list of Top Ten Novels of 2014, and her independent novel A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest, as well as sign up for her newsletter. Check out Julie's group blog, The Seekers, Writers Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 "Best 101 Websites for Writers," and Julie's own personal blog, Journal Jots, voted blog of the month in the Readers' Choice poll of Book Fun Magazine.
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Top Customer Reviews
Eighteen year-old "wild child" Lacey Carmichael is kicked out of the house by her heart-surgeon father, Ben - numerous hearts are broken when she flees to California with a friend. Eight years later, Lacey has become a woman of faith; though she returns home to Isle of Hope, Georgia to be the maid of honor in her cousin Nicki Phillips' wedding - her greater purpose is to reconcile with her estranged father and the two people she deserted without explanation: previous seminary-bound boyfriend Jack O'Bryen, and her best friend Cathleen (Cat) O'Bryen, Jack's sister.
However, the tables have turned: Jack, heart-broken by Lacey, and bitter over his pastor father Adam's affair with Lacey's mother, Karen - has turned away from God. Known as man about town "Doctor Swoon" by all the nurses, he is a pediatrician at Memorial Hospital. Lacey's guilt, low self-esteem, and the bitterness with which she is met - present huge obstacles in restoring relationships with two dysfunctional families. Numerous uncovered secrets, by both families, cause additional wounds which can only be mended by a God of hope and love.
When I write a Christian Fiction book review, my prayer is always that it will honor both God and the book itself - there is no author whose work I love, and am inspired by, more than that of Julie Lessman. The passion and emotion with which she writes put her work in a lofty category of it's own; I'm always amazed at the number of beautiful characters and stories she is able to weave within the pages of each book. I read 'Isle of Hope' twice - the first time deeply touched and inspired, the second time even more so.
I related to the warmth and realism of it's characters and their stories on a deep level - storing them in the recesses of my heart; identifying with some of their trials, re: my own younger life, made me love them even more. As with Julie's other books - God is the key around which the characters revolve; the humor from some characters, along with antics of adorable children, balancing the drama and angst. Scattered amongst my reading moments of tears, smiles, and joy - were some of anger and shock, replaced by the inspiration and redemption of the characters through a loving God of hope and forgiveness.
Even though Christian Historical Fiction is generally my favorite book genre, and I loved each of Julie's 10 books and 2 novellas in that genre - I feel 'Isle of Hope', her first Christian Contemporary Fiction, is her best work yet. I joyfully await book 2 of the series and the opportunity it will provide to reconnect with some beautiful, inspiring literary friends.
Chocolate (to revive you from a swoon)
Standby Kleenex (in case you use up all the above mentioned boxes -- and you likely will)
I read Isle of Hope : Unfailing Love with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes and half the time I didn`t know whether to laugh or cry so I did both. Copiously. Yes, my emotions were fully engaged and I was a blubbering mess through most of the book. And that`s because this story is real in that raw, gritty, all too life-like way that this author is famous for.
Two memorable families and a host of unforgettable characters have taken up permanent residence in my heart. I`m bereft now that it`s over and I`ve had to say goodbye to the O`Bryens and the Carmichaels.
God bless Julie Lessman for weaving faith into the very fibre of this story. Intense dialogue that proclaims the truth without seeming stilted or forced bears testimony to the miracle of forgiveness and God`s saving grace. The author doesn`t preach the gospel, she lives it through the lives of her characters. Flaws and all.
And speaking of flaws, the hero has plenty. I`ll admit to having a hard time liking him at the beginning of the book. Sulky, sarcastic, moody, angry. He lets Lacey have it at every turn. But she`s buoyed by her new found faith and bears his jibes rather well. After all, he`s one of the people she`s come home to make amends with.
And here`s where I got my wake-up call. A life lesson I will never forget. I found it easy to like Lacey despite her past because, well, it was her past. She`s chosen a new life in Christ and she shows remarkable courage in facing the people she has wronged. She`s doing the right thing and it was easy to apply forgiveness to this heroine. But Jack -- well, he really got my ire up. I became impatient and frustrated with him. I wanted to reach through the computer and slap some sense into him until I realized that the author was figuratively slapping some sense into me. Because it`s much easier to forgive a repentant sinner than one still mired in his gnarly mess. But isn`t the latter individual the one who needs my forgiveness even more? And who I am to deny him empathy or pass judgment for that matter? Talk about a sucker punch of spirituality.
Lessman has created a masterful tale of love and redemption. There`s plenty of drama, enough romantical scenes to require the aforementioned fainting couch and plenty of jaw-dropping twists guaranteed to keep a reader up late at night. Add in the author`s eloquent turn of phrase (I`m partial to `bullheaded baboon` myself) and, well, all I can say is clear your calendar and be prepared for an emotional ride of a lifetime.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thank you for a great story.