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Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love (Isle of Hope Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Despite this major (in my eyes) flaw, I did thoroughly enjoy the story and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.
The characters have depth, are well-drawn, and inhabit their modern coastal Georgia isle so naturally they made me long for a beach vacation.
The dramatic plot turns in Isle of Hope call to mind a soap opera (as they often do in Julie Lessman’s historical novels), which is less a criticism and more a testament to the author’s savvy given the enduring popularity of soaps (and perhaps a nod to her well-known love of Gone With the Wind). The novel includes perhaps the best one-sentence chapter-ending cliffhanger I’ve ever read.
The faith element is organic to the story, but is more extensive than in most inspirational romances or women’s fiction as multiple characters’ arcs echo the themes of forgiveness, (re)conversion, and redemption. I highlighted several passages that struck a chord – something I typically don’t do. By showing the natural consequences of selfish actions, the narrative deftly demonstrates how no sin is truly private, and its repercussions affect many people besides the perpetrator.
Some beautiful, tender, heart-melting moments of grief and sorrow are interwoven with the painful longing and simmering passion you’d expect.
A little tightening to reduce thematic repetition and some of the analogies would only make this good novel even better. As it is, it’s an engaging story of love, forgiveness, healing, and rebirth that left me looking forward to the next book the series.
After being away for eight years; Lacey Carmichael is back to her old stomping grounds in Isle of Hope. She’s back to help her best friend with her wedding. She expected to run into her ex-Jack O’Bryen eventually (a man she almost married 10 years ago), but now? “Her first two minutes in town? Really?”
My heart went out to Lacey Carmichael as she is forging ahead in her new walk of faith and trying to heal old wounds. Jack asks her why she’s back. She tells him about her friend Nicki’s wedding. Lacey then says she's home to make amends with the people she’s hurt.
He replies, “Well that should keep you busy!... “Just with my family alone.”
I like how this author weaves a faith message in the middle of everyday life for her characters. I also liked how this author showed Christians putting their faith into action in a loving way/ This author is not afraid to talk about touch issues and messy situations with love and grace. What does the grace of God look like? Characters encourage one another to do the right thing and they love each other through hardships and go the extra mile when they feel the call. It’s not easy. The author masterfully mixes her well timed humor in the story as shes hows the struggle in our spirit and with our emotions in forgiving others and ourselves. This story shows how God redeems and restores our mistakes if we’ll let him. We don’t have to punish ourselves for past mistakes.We can be healed!
Here’s a peek into this novel; Lacey has a talk with her Mamaw about doing the right thing and making amends with her father. Lacey says she’s not ready. Mamaw replies, “That may be, darling, but it’s been this old women’s experience that when God changes our heart of stone to a heart of flesh, it’s a wee bit like laying a new foundation….Unfortunately, the longer we wait to heed His call, darling, the more we run the risk of our new heart calcifying just like concrete….And you can’t risk that Lacey, because if we want the blessing of God in our lives, we have to make sure we have a clean heart.”
“Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.”
Lacey heard that still small voice in her spirit. …”Mamaw’s words piercing her with the painful truth. And if there was anybody who knew about clean it was Mamaw. In fact, Lacey was pretty sure she was a distant relative of Mr. Clean…”
This story is fun, a great escape, helps you walk in a few people’s shoes and learn a thing or two. There are a few surprises too! It’s a wonderful book for your group to read and discuss at book club. If you haven’t tried this author yet you should. She’ll be your new favorite.This is an Inspirational story of hope, healing and forgiveness. This book’s a keeper!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. 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”
Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com
I have never read a novel by Julie Lessman that I didn’t absolutely love until now. Every one of these characters, and there are way too many, are carrying a ton of baggage and hurt. Then, they keep being brash, unyielding, and butting heads with each other, even to the ones they love. They tease to the point of doing things the other one hates just to prove they can. The book started off with beautiful descriptions, showing Lessman’s talent as a writer, but they soon became heavy-handed and bogged the story down, which, at 522 pages, is much too long. The first half should have been cut some, because it didn’t become a page-turner until the second half. Although two couples end up happily, the third’s relationship is left hanging, and by their descriptions, the following books in the series is about someone else entirely. This book is good and certainly worth reading, but I didn’t love it.
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