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A Love Surrendered

A Love Surrendered is the third and final novel in Julie Lessman’s 1930s era historical series Winds of Change.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to read the Winds of Change series from the first book, A Hope Undaunted, I would suggest avoiding this review. In fact, I’d recommend reading the Daughters of Boston trilogy first and foremost – a luxury that I forewent when I got the chance to read the second Winds of Change novel, A Heart Revealed. I started late – but that doesn’t mean you have to! Don’t ruin the surprises!

I’m trusting that you’ve made the right decision…

The youngest O’Connor sibling and officer of the law, Steven, finds himself the only single man left in his large Irish-American family. From his sisters and his best friend he feels pressure to give the world of women another shot – but Steven is haunted by mistakes he’s made in the past and doesn’t trust himself anymore. Not much can convince him otherwise.

But then there’s Annie. Orphaned in Iowa, she’s moved to Boston with her little sister to live with their wealthy, estranged aunt. She’s always been the good girl, the inexperienced, sweet, hard-working student. But now she’s beginning to put her toe in the water of the fast crowds of Ocean Pier – Steven O’Connor’s friends, actually – and finds herself in over her head.

It’s not long before an attraction to Steven feels like it’s turning deeper – and a connection to his big, loving family pulls her deeper into the fold. Annie’s hiding something, though – something that could ruin her and Steven’s tentative, hesitant steps towards love…

Anybody who has read Julie Lessman’s books (and you better have, if you’ve read this far!) knows that while each book might focus on one new love – it also expands on the established love lives of the other family members (introduced in the other books in the series’), which I adore!

With A Love Surrendered appearing to be the end of the O’Connor novels (*sniff*), each moment spent with the characters is precious – and that’s coming from someone who’s only read one other book! I still can’t wait to read all the other tales of each sibling, even though I know some particular plot points are spoiled for me – which is sad. But as a HUGE fan of A Heart Revealed, I was especially pleased to see more of Emma and Sean’s story!

Here we meet Annie, whose softhearted naiveté grows into a true person as we delve into her struggle with faith, insecurities, and heartrending grief. Steven is also much more believable as a red-blooded man, far more realistic than most inspirational, Christian-based fiction portrays them. In A Love Surrendered, and all of Julie Lessman’s books, the sizzle, passion and desire of human nature do play its proper part amidst this romantic family drama. The struggle with longing is much more frank and genuine than you ordinarily see, and shows the beauty of turning to God in that fight.

Oh, how I love the large, boisterous, multi-personality O’Connor family and want desperately to read about them from the beginning!!! We get to see love at many different levels and lengths – from the first moments of burgeoning love, to newlyweds, longtime marrieds, and parents with full-grown children! We get to follow their commitments, beliefs, financial and health difficulties, and LIFE – with a sparkle of hope and joy.

A Love Surrendered also shocked me with some really messy turns of events in relationships, more twists than a pretzel – wow! I did not see some of these kinks coming at all! It’s so crazy, emotional, and mixed with the war between the honorable thing and the honest thing – and I had no idea how it’d end.

Julie Lessman has created yet another epic, family story and legacy to remember and savor! And though I am dismayed the O’Connor story is complete – I look forward to her next novel!

*Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*I received a copy of A Love Surrendered from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

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