Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Surprised by Love

Surprised by Love is a Christian historical romance by Julie Lessman, the third book in The Heart of San Francisco trilogy.

Though each book in the series focuses on a different family member, I’d still advise reading the books in order to avoid spoilers – as the characters overlap. First you’ll want to read Love at Any Cost and then Dare to Love Again. Click on the titles to read my reviews of those novels.

A year ago plump, smart Megan McClare left San Francisco to study in Paris.

During that year she has turned into a beauty – having slimmed down, learned some makeup tips and fashion how-to. Even her own family has a tough time recognizing her at first!

With ambitions and a heart that is as strong in faith as ever, Megan embraces the opportunity to intern at the district attorney’s office.

But then she finds out that Devin Caldwell will also be interning there – the boy that she had a crush on when she was younger.

The boy who mocked, teased and hurt her with callous words.

Faced with this difficulty, Megan turns to her best friend Bram for advice – but Bram counsels forgiveness while alternately struggling with his own newfound, troubling attraction to this girl who used to think of as a little sister.

Will recommending forgiveness push Megan into the cad Devin’s arms?

I liked the transformative story – a duckling turning into a swan, essentially – but it did get a little old rather fast for me. You can only take so many exclamations of shock and so many statements of Megan’s beauty before you think, “Okay! I get it!!!”

As always, the strength of Surprised by Love and the other books in the series is in the grounding of the family – encompassing both drama and romance. An ongoing romantic dilemma between Megan’s widowed mother Cait and her uncle Logan has been pleasing – yet even that starts to feel like we’re going around in circles.

At 150 pages, I was enjoying Surprised by Love but felt the novel lacked direction. Just felt like there was a little of repetition and a frustrating lack of progress. The romantic themes began to feel like they were being conked over my head.

Yet, by the end of Surprised by Love, there were some healthy shocks and a few pretty darn touching family moments, as well as romantic declarations.

So – take from that mixed feedback what you will!

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

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