mary's book basket ~ "a hope undaunted" by julie lessman

In the first book of the new Winds of Change Series, A Hope Undaunted, author Julie Lessman brings us the story of the youngest O'Connor sister, Katie Rose.

Product Description:
"The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever? A Hope Undaunted is the engrossing first book in the WINDS OF CHANGE series from popular author Julie Lessman. Readers will thrill at the highly charged romance in this passionate story."

I was really looking forward to this book and Ms Lessman does not disappoint. Katie Rose O'Connor is one spoiled young lady. It's the roaring '20's and the youngest of six siblings she has spent her youth bucking her fathers rules and getting away with it way too often. Then one evening she crosses the line and her father the indomitable Patrick O'Connor puts his foot down and informs his headstrong daughter that she will be volunteering at the Boston Children's Aid Society for the summer. After trying desperately to get out of it she acquiesces and begins her summer "confinement".

Enter Luke "Cluny" McGee. Once a Boston street rat befriended by Katie's brother-in-law Brady who helped him get off the streets. He has known Katie since she was ten and he fourteen. Oil and water is a fabulous way to describe their relationship. He is now the second in command at the BCAS and Katie's boss for the summer. Let the fun begin!

I really enjoyed this book. Watching the character arcs throughout the book of both Katie and Luke was compelling to say the least. They wrestle with their emotions and both change considerably by the end of the book. Katie makes the most dramatic change which was an absolute delight to watch unfold. Her ability to finally let go of control and trust that God has a plan for her was packed with fabulous inner dialogue and personal/spiritual conflict. The last fourth of the book was filled with scene after dramatic scene taking the reader on quite the emotional journey alongside Katie and Luke.

Some of the most moving scenes are between Katie and her siblings, one on one, exploring her confusion about God and His plan for her life. They were emotional and just so beautifully written. The reader is drawn into the heart of a young woman searching for true love. Ms. Lessman has provided some of the best writing I have had the privilege of reading in a long time.

Ms. Lessman has a gift when it comes to portraying large families and their intricate dynamics. I love the light hearted competitiveness between the siblings that is instantly dropped when someone is in trouble. The scenes at the family table take me back to my own families Sunday dinners filled with raucous laughter, teasing and wonderful conversation. These scenes are just sensational. The dialogue quick and packed with humor. I absolutely love when Katie's mother Marceline gets that "steely tone" known to all mother's world wide. Just fabulous!

This will go on the keeper shelf next to Lessman's first trilogy Daughters of Boston. So pick up your copy of "A Hope Undaunted" today at any of your favorite booksellers. You will not be disappointed.

Happy Reading,