Surprised by Love - Book Review

She can turn the head of the man who spurned her-
but can she turn his heart?

When Megan McClare left San Francisco to study in Paris,
no one would accuse her of being poised and pretty.
But on the other side of the Atlantic, 
this wallflower blossomed into a beauty with big dreams.
When she returns to California 
and accepts an internship at the district attorney's office,
she's thrilled that her life is taking shape.
But the exciting opportunity quickly loses its glow when she discovers
she'll be working alongside Devin Caldwell,
who mercilessly mocked her at school - 
and with whom she was hopelessly enamored.

Bram Hughes is the best friend 
to whom Megan has always turned for support and advice.
But when she seeks his counsel about working with Devin Caldwell,
Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl
he had always thought of as a little sister.
He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself
for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

My Thoughts

First of all, this is the third book in The Heart of San Francisco series.
Silly me, I did not realize that until I had the book in my hands.
I did not read the previous two books in this series
 and found myself trying to keep up with the characters 
because it was obvious they had a history together from the first two books.
Aside from being the third book in the series, it was still an enjoyable read.
I would recommend reading book one and two first before jumping into this one.

Now having said all that. . . 
I would say this book was good and enjoyable, but not exactly great.
I was caught up in the first chapter with Meg's homecoming.
The author mentions makeup brands and fashion during 1904 that I thought was quite fascinating 
and even goes as far as talking about contacts which was a new invention back then.
Meg is a delightful character - sweet, compassionate, full of life, and extremely bright.
She lives with conviction and has a heart of gold for her family and friends.
Her reacquaintance with Devin Caldwell is rather amusing
and had me smiling as I imagined the scene unfolding in my mind.

Bram is...the perfect gentleman - practically faultless.
When I say "practically" it's because he is living with a burden upon his shoulders,
a burden that has been with him for years,
a burden that he can't seem to be rid of,
a burden of unforgiveness.
He is full of wisdom throughout the book 
and at one point gives encouragement about forgiveness,
something he needs to seek and ask for.

"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.
But if one were to utilize the same level of emotion it takes to hate
and channel it into God's precepts instead. . .
Well, then it becomes like the steam in my Stanley - all the hot air not only
has the power to take you where you want to go,
but farther, faster, faster, and safer than allowing all that hate to grind on the gears.
Forgiveness is God's precept, and ironically,
it's only His power that can accomplish it in our lives." -(pages 230, 231)

Now the reason I say this book is not great is because I found it to be a bit redundant at times.
I felt the author repeated herself a few too many times
which made the pages grow long and the storyline become a tad boring.
I will say the ending was a thrill and a big surprise!
The beginning and ending of the book were wonderful,
unfortunately the middle chapters needed more flare and excitement
with less repetitiveness.

I appreciate the Biblical wisdom throughout the book
and for me that helps with "overlooking" a few of the other things 
that were lacking in the story.
All-in-all I would give this book 3 1/2 stars.

** I was given a free copy of this book from Revell Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author:

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston series,
the Winds of Change series, and The Heart of San Francisco series.
The recipient of seventeen Romance Writers of America and other rewards,
Lessman was chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year
in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers' Choice Awards.
She resides in Missouri with her family.
Learn more at:


Camille said...

I appreciate your honesty, Stephanie. I have read a few books in my day that were a bit slow going in the middle as well. :) Doing a book review and having to say some negative things must be difficult. I think you did it graciously. Hugs to you! Camille

Christine said...

Thanks for your thorough review, Stephanie
I have read Julie Lessmans Daughters of Boston derives and might just give this series a try.
Have a blessed weekend

mamasmercantile said...

Its always good to have someone else's opinion on a book and you have reviewed with great honesty. Have a great weekend.

Anne Payne said...

Your review is excellent, Stephanie! It's balanced, thoughtful and honest. I'm one that truly appreciates that in a reviewer. Sometimes it's difficult to say less than desirable things about a book, but you have done so with a delicate hand. Thank you, dear friend!

Geloof, Hoop & Boeken said...

I love your honest review because you write thoughtful! Thanks

Sola Scriptura said...

Thank you for doing these book reviews! I really appreciate your opinions. Hugs to you.

Scrappy quilter said...

Great job on your review. I haven't read this series yet however I've always enjoyed her books so probably will once the library brings them in.

Unknown said...

Hello from Spain: I did not know this collection of books. This argument seems entertaining. Fabulous review.Keep in touch

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Stephanie. Hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful Saturday. I always look forward to your Sunday hymns!

White Lace and Promises said...

I've got to get this! Thanks for the review. I was thinking about how long it had been since I'd had a good pleasure read.

White Lace and Promises said...

I hate that some Christian writers can be redundant. I love Francine Rivers. She's probably my favorite Christian write.

Vee said...

Sometimes, there's nothing finer than a gentle story with an eternal theme. I'd say that you gave it a good, honest review.

Susan said...

Hello Dear Stephanie....Love the piano music in the background on your blog. It's so soothing.

To tell you the truth, I'm not too much into fiction. But the book you describe sounds good.

Take care and have a lovely weekend. Susan

Miss Val's Creations said...

Great review with your honesty. I would be intrigued by the historical aspect of cosmetics too. How interesting that contacts existed in the early 1900s! I did not know that!

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