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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Surprised By Love by Julie Lessman – A Book Review

     This is the third book in Lessman’s The Heart of San Francisco series.  The first book found true love for Cassie McClare, the second for her cousin Allie.  This third book focuses on Meg, Allie’s sister, who underwent an amazing transformation while spending her senior year in Paris both in her physical appearance and in her self-confidence while also discovering God’s call to serve women living in poverty doing whatever it took to survive.  Matron of this clan, Caitlyn McClare, also comes to grips with her ability to trust or not to trust her deceased husband’s brother, Logan. A quandary whose storyline spans this trilogy.
     The theme of this book is forgiveness, forgiving those who have wronged us as well as forgiving oneself.  Bram, loving known as Padre by his closest friends, is wise beyond his years;  explaining the importance of forgiveness, “‘ People don’t realize just how much energy it takes to hate and hurt someone who’s wounded them, nor how destructive that hate can be….It’s like a gun aimed at themselves instead of the offending party….It can destroy them and those they love.’”  He also explains how, through prayer, to rely on God’s power to be able to forgive; something that isn’t always possible under our own power.  The theme is well developed, and Biblically grounded. 
     I was excited to see this third book of the series on the list of books available for review. I’d enjoyed the first two books, and was anxious to read the third.  What I found when I started reading the book was that I was tired of the characters, tired of reading about Cassie’s smelly lasso and Allie’s stick both of which they supposedly used to keep the man in their life in line. I was tired of reading about Blake being a rake and family game nights. There seemed to be a lot of redundancy of events and in dialogue. On the other hand, wondering which man Meg would be interested in, even though it was fairly obvious which one she’d end up with, kept my interest in the story, as did pondering how Caitlyn and Logan would work out their differences.
     The heavy emphasis on the importance or impact of physical beauty was a concern while reading this book.  There were a few instances like when Meg reflected on the lesson that, “although the naked eye admires outward appearance, it’s in the mind’s eye where true beauty and confidence begins,” and when Devin states that, “For once I’ve met a girl whose beauty on the inside is so powerful and deep, the surface beauty is almost secondary,” when the author acknowledges the greater importance on\f inner beauty.  For the most part, the reader encounters evidence that the transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan was what inspired men’s ardor and admiration for Meg. 

          I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Surprised By Love for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.