Saturday, September 25, 2010

Revell Blog Tour: My Review of A Hope Undaunted

Here's a description of the book from Revell:

"What happens when the boy she loved to hate becomes the man she hates to love?

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 eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke 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?"

My Rating: Spring/Summer

My Review:

After reading the "Daughters of Boston" series, A Hope Undaunted felt like attending a wonderful, crazy, and heart-warming family reunion! One of the best parts of the book was getting to know the O'Connor family again--catching up with all the older sisters and their families, as well as Patrick and Marcy, the exemplary parents. In every Julie Lessman book, there are a lot of powerful lessons about relationships, whether they be between a man and a woman, a daughter and a father, or a person and God.

This book doesn't disappoint when it comes to drama! There were times when it seemed a bit much to bear, but Lessman's characters always run deep. In any case, the book was filled with pain and passion, and it's hard not to sympathize with these characters. Their feelings are real and serve as a connection between the reader and the story.

I will say that there were some events in this book that felt rather abrupt, regarding romantic relationships. For example, one character seems to sort of disappear from the pages after a revelation in Katie's life, and I found it a little odd that the character simply left without a scene.

However, I really did enjoy this book, and I loved some of the subplots with other characters in Katie's family. It was a joy to get to see how characters from the previous series had grown, and also to see how love in a marriage can be both exciting and enduring! It was hard to read about some of the struggles within marriage, as well, but I appreciated learning more about understanding and forgiving one another.

This book is long, no doubt about it, but Lessman uses those numerous pages well to tell a beautiful story of hope and family. There is a sweet satisfaction after finishing the last page, and lovers of romance and history will be well-advised to pick up a copy of this great book!

*With thanks to Revell publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

“Available September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

16 comments:

Susan Anne Mason said...

Nice review, Amber! I just started reading this book last night, and already I love Katie O'Connor!

It's going to be quite a ride, I can tell.

Julie's one of my favorite authors, hands down.

Cheers,

Sue

Julia M. Reffner said...

Nice review, Amber. Which is your favorite of Julie's books?

Amber S. said...

Susan,

Thank you! Katie's quite the character, isn't she? ;) The book is definitely quite the ride--lots of drama and emotion, for sure!

Julie is an amazing author, I agree! :D

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I hope you enjoy the book!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Julia,

Thank you! My favorite is still A Passion Most Pure, although this one was very good, too. :)

I really identified with Faith, and I was really drawn into the epic, moving story in A Passion Most Pure. Julie did such an amazing job of making me love both Mitch and Collin, and it was really hard to know which one I wanted to end up with Faith. I fell in love with Mitch, especially. :) It was such an emotionally charged story, and I really think the way Julie kept me guessing and agonizing over Collin and Mitch was phenomenal!

I loved how the story took place in two different countries and during the Great War--I felt like I was invited to be a part of the arduous but beautiful journey.

Plus, I think it depends when and where you read a book. I have such great memories of reading A Passion Most Pure in Borders, in a tree, etc., whereas I felt kind of rushed reading A Hope Undaunted in order to review it on time.

Either way, Julie is a great author, no question! ;) Which of her books is your favorite?

~Amber

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Great review! I must say that Julie sure does know how to do drama doesn't she? I am not wanting this O'Connor saga to ever end!

XOXO~ Renee

Amber S. said...

Renee,

Thanks! :) And as for Julie knowing how to write drama...boy, does she ever! ;) With all these children and grandchildren sprouting up, I don't know how Julie will be able to stop the stories from flowing!

Thanks for stopping by!

~Amber

Vince said...

Hi Amber:

How do you do such a comprehensive blog, 500 page plus reviews, and go to college full time? Are you twins? Do you not sleep? Are you a speed learner? Can any guy keep up with you? Everything is such good quality!

I was all set to read “A Hope Undaunted” on September 1st but it did not come out as a Kindle and I saw today that it just came out for Sony. I’ll wait a little longer for Kindle before going with Sony. Kindle is so much better.

BTW: I don’t like it when the heroine spends most of the book trying to decide between two heroes. I always vicariously identify with one of the heroes and I don’t like losing! : ( (I lost!!) Does it bother women to not know which hero is going to be the winner or do you like having two guys mad about you?

I really like your new look for the blog.

Vince

Amber S. said...

Vince,

All I could do was laugh while I was reading your comment! :D Thank you so, so much for the kind words! I confess that I've become quite the night owl--just ask my roommate. ;) She goes to bed much earlier than I do, so she just lets me know she's going to bed and I know to turn on my desk lamp and turn off the overhead light.

So, yes, I don't sleep as much as I probably ought to. I don't know if I'd consider myself a speed learner, though. I'm sure once the end of the semester rolls around, I'll probably be blogging a little less as I'll be working on papers, projects, etc. But I really love blogging, so reading/blogging/etc. is what I do in my free time. :) I've even brought some of the books I've read (like A Hope Undaunted) up to the gym with me to read while I use the bike or the elliptical!

As far as guys go, I haven't found one to keep up with me yet. ;) I guess I'll just have to wait and see what God has planned for that area of my life!

I don't know too much about the differences between Kindle and Sony, but Kindle does seem to be more well-known. Plus, I don't know if they have this for Sony, but it's neat that they have Kindle for PC. :) I hope you get a chance to read A Hope Undaunted on your Kindle soon!

Hmmmm...concerning your question about two heroes, I think I'm kind of torn. Have you read Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren? I thought Warren did a great job with the two heroes in that book. Plus, I've never read Christy (I've only just started it), but I love the T.V. show! I was so desperate to know whether Christy would choose David or Neil! So, at least for me, I think I really do like that emotional tension. It keeps me deeply involved, eager to know who the girl is going to choose and why.

That's probably one of the key things there: why? In our own lives, romantic love never seems to be black and white. We want to know what we're supposed to be looking for, why we should choose one person to live with forever and not another. In fiction, it's really hard to read about two heroes--but it helps you as a reader see some of the reasons people choose a certain person to marry. It doesn't necessarily mean you agree with that character, but it broadens your understanding of true love.

However, I know what you mean about the "losing" aspect. It's so sad to see one of the heroes lose, especially when both heroes are both "equally" good. Your heart aches for them, but perhaps that also helps deepen your compassion and sense of hope--that the other person might find their own true love. Like with Mitch "losing" Faith in A Passion Most Pure, but "winning" Charity in A Passion Redeemed. (I hope I'm not giving anything away for you here! I'm sure you've read all the "Daughters of Boston" series, right?) ;)

And, to be honest, it does feel good having two guys mad about you. Well, two guys mad about the protagonist, actually. Because in real life many of us are in the place of one of the guys (being in love with someone who is in love with someone else), rather than in the place of the girl (being loved by two people). At least, I've found that to be more often the case in my own life. But maybe other women wouldn't agree. ;)

Well, here I go again writing another 500 page comment! It was certainly interesting to think about your question. :)

Thank you again for your kind words about my blog and the new design! I really appreciate your comment!

~Amber

Kav said...

LOL -- love your comment to Vince. I just finished reading A Hope Undaunted. All I can say is I'm in mourning and it's a whole year before the next one is out.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great discussion going here :)

Amber, I think I'm tied between A Passion Most Pure and A Hope Undaunted. I love the character of Faith and she is the one I most relate to, plus like you I love war stories. But wow, Julie's mastery of her craft as she's continued on keeps me appreciating the writing of this book the best, I think (and she was fabulous to begin with...but I definitely see growth through this book).

Amber S. said...

Kav,

Haha, it was fun writing it! ;) So glad to hear you enjoyed A Hope Undaunted! I'm excited to read Sean and Emma's story! They're such sweet characters. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Julia,

Thanks! There are a lot of fun comments on this post! ;)

Julie's work is great, isn't it? I definitely agree with you about A Passion Most Pure. :) And A Hope Undaunted was great, too! Like I said, I probably would have enjoyed it a bit more if I wasn't trying to balance school and the need to review the book by a certain time. Either way, Julie is definitely talented!

~Amber

Vince said...

Hi Amber:

My favorite book is “A Passion Denied” because Elizabeth is the sister I would have wanted to marry.

I didn’t like Charity and I rooted for both heroes to drop her and find better mate. There actually is a serious issue with readers regarding Charity. I also don’t think there was enough going on in book 2 to justify its length. Both books 1 and 3 have much more going on besides the hero/heroine relationship.

I think book 2 has a problem in the series analogous to the sagging middle of a romance novel. There is a lot of energy to start a trilogy and a lot more to use up for the last book. It’s the middle book that serves as a bridge that tends to sag. I have found this to be the case in other trilogies. Compare your own experience.

I think the ‘loving someone who loves someone else who loves someone else’ is more common in college where the set of friends is smaller and more homogeneous than the outside world. I think it is important not to judge men by college guys. I think going on a mission or going to a cooking school in Italy or even working to protect turtles in Greece during the summer would be a good investment.

I think God has many plans for each of us and which plan, or mate, that comes our way will depend largely on the choices we made exercising our free will. There is not just one plan or one man. : ) (If this be heresy, call me Martin.)

Vince


P.S. Instead of answering this post: do your homework. :))

Ashley (Ibreath2read) said...

Goodness! I agree with that Vince fellow, how do you do it? I can't even seem to get a review done, let alone go to college as well. It blows my mind, at what all you do, Amber Girl!
Love the review, Amber! Their always straight forward, informative and fun to read. Basically the polar opposite of my reviews, but oh well. And I agree with you, APMP is was my favorite too, but AHU is so close, I can't decide which one I like better. I always LOVE APMP because I love Faith and Colin to death (especially Colin) But, Katie and Luke are a pretty great couple. The jury is still out, which I think their blaming it on a hanging Chad...or something like that.LOL;D
Anyways, have a great week!!!
Love Ya,
Ashley

Amber S. said...

Vince,

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts (and your advice)! ;) I appreciate your time and the thoughtfulness you put into your comments!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Ashley,

Awww... *blushing* Thank you, Ashley! The last couple of days I've been sick, so I've actually been going to bed at a decent time, which meant less blogging--but I think it's been good to take a little break! ;) Sometimes we all need some rest, and making priorities are definitely important.

Thank you for your kind words about my review! Your reviews are great--I love your honesty and enthusiasm! You are such a fun, sweet person. :) I agree that Katie and Luke were a great couple, but is it bad that my favorite is still A Passion Most Pure? ;)

So glad you could stop by! Now, I'm off to class...

~Amber