Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review: A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

Lizzie O'Connor is IN LOVE with John Brady. She's loved him since she was just a young girl and he was her spiritual mentor. Now she's all grown up but she's having a hard time catching his eye as a woman.

Or is she? Is Brady attracted to Lizzie and fighting it because of a past so shameful he can't bear to bring it to light? Or does he truly view her as his younger sister? Can Lizzie win his heart?

Julie Lessman has a special gift. Within pages of opening this book, I was completely swept up in this world and emotionally invested. I absolutely love these books because even though they are chunksters at over 450 pages long, the time just absolutely flies!

It was so great to revisit the O'Connor family...they are a such a passionate bunch! Julie brings to vivid detail the feel of being in their family for dinners or chats and each one feels like a friend.

I do have to say that I think Brady is my favorite hero from the three books. Perhaps because I identify with just how hard it is to accept God's grace and forgiveness and feel worthy of being in relationship with other people. Plus, he had that whole mysterious thing going for him! Having said that, I did want to give him a good talking to from time to time! He was just SO stubborn!

One of the things I loved about this book was just how emotionally honest it was. I certainly shed some tears while reading because I could feel what the characters were feeling. They were so real to me. I'm going to share one of my favorite passages because I think anyone who has had an addiction of any kind will see the truth to it, I also think it gets right to the heart of Brady:

He felt like death and he hadn't even taken a drink. But the scent alone triggered reactions in his body that reminded him just how weak of a man he was. He thought of Cluny and felt a stab of grief. Even now, without tasting a single drop, the poison had traveled his bloodstream in the form of fury and shame, unleashing his temper. To Cluny he was a hero, to the world a man of God but the reality remained, buried so deep that he ached to the core. To himself, he was little more than a failure, hopelessly flawed.

Brady's personal struggle to accept grace and his close friendship with Collin (Lizzie's brother-in-law) were the highlights of the book for me. I was very touched by the friendship between Collin and Brady and their interaction.

There is absolutely no doubt this book is Christian Fiction...I think the spiritual element is the strongest in this one of all three books. But the characters are real...real in their struggles for purity, for passion, for fulfillment, to forgive, to accept forgiveness, to know and be known. I love them all and cannot wait until we get to see them again.

So simply put, Julie Lessman's Daughters of Boston series hit the complete homerun for me!

There are many ways you can win a copy of A Passion Denied or the whole series! Please read the introduction post to this week for details!

Rating: 5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Like I said this is Christian fiction. But also there is a lot of talk about well, sex. :) Storylines between the married couples in the book definitely deal with their bedroom issues, though in a completely tasteful and appropriate way.



Julie P. said...

Oooh! I'm so excited to read this one. I really liked the first two books in the series. Glad to know the third one is terrific too!

Melissa O. said...

Nice review! I'm looking forward to reading this one soon, too. :-)

BurtonReview said...

Wow this is so awesome, and I love chunksters for the good stories! I am not big into the heavily-sexed-romance romps, and I think this would be right up my ally, with the blend of Christianity, History and Romance!
Thanks for your thoughts on this one.

Melissa O. said...

By the way, it's taken me awhile to make the rounds, but I wanted to let you know you have an award to pick up on my blog.

Julie Lessman said...

JULIE P ... Sooo glad you enjoyed the first two in the series. Let's see if I can make it three for three ... :)

MELISSA ... anxious to hear your thoughts on this one, girl, and anxious to meet you in Atlanta in June!

MARIE ... So you're "not big into the heavily-sexed-romance romps," eh? Well, that does alarm me a wee bit since I am VERY heavy on the romance (I was stunted at an early age by Gone With the Wind, what can I say?), but it is all romance within God's precepts and heavily laced with His message throughout, so maybe I have a shot here with you, I hope??? :)


crittyjoy said...

I too loved John Brady! I have been so excited for this book since we met Brady in A Passion Redeemed.

I always enjoy reading your thoughts Amy :)

Courtney said...

Ahhh, this was a great review. The passage you shared was great. Ooooh, I sooo need to find this book!!! :0)

'Least there's a chance with the contest.


Cynthia Hickey said...

I have loved every one of Julie's books. What a great addition to Christian fiction!

Pamela Hamer said...

This is the first I've heard of this series. I want to start from the first book. This review peaks my interest. Thanks for the opportunity to be entered in the contest.

Fliterary said...

Great review! I'm definitely looking forward to buying this book.

Li-An Austin said...

Hi Julie,
I read your post on the ACFW loop and had to drop by.
I only recently heard of these books and thought, these sound like the types of books I'd like. I've just started the first one and hope to read the series by summer's end. What's next after these?

Tamera Lynn Kraft said...

A Week of Pure Passion
This sounds like a great novel. I can't wait to read it. I have joined this blog

Chas. Funderburg said...

" ... all romance within God's precepts and heavily laced with His message throughout, so maybe I have a shot here with you, I hope"

I am hopelessly romantic. I write of such things, and the relationships that go with them.

This sounds like a 'must read' to me. I always love the dynamics of human interaction.

chey said...

This book sounds great! Can't wait to read it!

PatriciaW said...

I've got this one in my TBR pile for an upcoming blog post. But I still have to read book #2, because I REFUSE to read these out of order. I'd better get reading...

Julie Lessman said...

CRITTY JOY (CHRISTY)!!!! Soooo good to see you here, my friend, and I'm anxious to get your thoughts on Denied!

Thanks, COURTNEY, for your sweet comment and for stopping by -- good luck in the contest!

CYNTHIA ... thank you SO much for reading my books and for your kind words. They mean all the more coming from a respected peer.

PAMELA, well we just have to see what we can do about getting the first book into your hot, little hands, don't we? There are SIX chances to win it on Amy's blog this week and additional chances listed on my website calendar at www.julielessmancom, so go for it!

LISA, Mmm ... maybe you won't have to buy the book! Throughout May and June, I am running tons of blog giveaways for free books. Just check my website calendar, okay?

Oh-oh, LEANNA, I always get a wee bit nervous when a fellow ACFW peer reads my book, so if you like it, let me know, okay? And ... uh, if you don't ... well, never mind! :)

TAMARA LYNN ... well, I don't know if it is a "great novel," but I guarantee it will give you your daily recommended dose of romance! :)

CHAS FUNDERBURG ... A fellow "hopeless romantic" who loves "the dynamics of human interaction??? Uh, yeah, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say this is definitely a book for you!! :)


Roseanna White said...

I could NOT put this book down--which was terrible, because I should have been judging entries for a contest;-) Instead, I opened up a package from Revell, let out a shriek, and promptly forgot all other duties. Julie, you are an AWFUL influence on me!


Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

Oh boy I was going to go back and re-read A Passion Most Pure and I can't find my copy!! I probably let one of my many cousins or friends borrow the book and they decided to keep it :-P Maybe I can win another copy on here! I subscribed to your blog via email, Amy and I'm already a subscriber to Julie's newsletter so I guess that entitles me to some additional entries, right? I hope I can win a copy of Passion Most Pure or hopefully it shows up somewhere around my house or on my friends bookshelves! And to everyone who hasn't read these books yet I bet you'll LOVE them as much as I do! Julie's a terrific story teller!

Anonymous said...

Wow, 5 out of 5? I have to check these books out. They sound great. Can't wait!

Rose McCauley said...

Hmm. I posted this once and it didn't show up, so forgive me if it gets posted twice. This is my first visit to your site but it won't be my last as I bookmarked it in my favorites. I subscribed by email and am leaving this post so please enter me four times in the drawing. As I already have the first two books, please enter me for the third one or a #WC thanks!

Edwina Cowgill said...

To Julie:

The book sounds awesome and I can't wait to read it! Would love to win the writer's critique also!

Edwina Cowgill

donnaalice540@msn.com said...

I can't wait to read this book as well as Julie's others. They all sound wonderful!

Julie Lessman said...

CHEY ... Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

PATRICIA W ... grin, so all my browbeating has sunk in?? Good girl ... Charity's story should come first, but to be honest that's not 100% necessary like it is with reading A Passion Most Pure first (that's a MUST to get the most out of this series!). But for a long time, A Passion Redeemed was my favorite book because Charity was just SO much fun to redeem and Mitch was just SO darn cute ... :)

ROSEANNA!!!! Now THAT's the kind of "bad influence" I like to be, my friend. Sorry about the delay in judging your contest entries ... NOT!! :)

Oh no, RENEE, you sound like me when I lose my car keys ... but calm down, girl, because there are LOTS of chances for you to win. And you know what? I always reread my books, too, when a new one comes out! Crazy, I know, but when you get to my age, the ole memory needs a little extra joggin' ... :)

DEBBIESWORLD ... YES, you definitely need to "check these books out" or I will sic Amy on you!! Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the contest.

ROSE!! Thanks SO much for being a newsletter subscriber already and for reading the first two books. I hope you like Denied the best of all!

EDWINA ... I would love to critique your work, but I am hoping you have read mine. Wouldn't it be awful if you hated my style but won the critique??? :)

DONNAALICE ... I can't wait for you to read them either, girl, so good luck in the contest!


Darlene said...

I've not read any of Julie's books before but it looks like I should have. This sounds like such a wonderful story. I'll have to start at the beginning though-I'm so picky about that. lol.

I always say you know you've found a good book when 500 pages can fly by without you even realizing it. I'm glad you love these books so much Amy.

Julie Lessman said...

EDWINA, I just thought of something! If you want to win the critique but haven't read my writing yet, you can read an excerpt (the first love scene from A Passion Denied) on another blog interview I have listed on my website calendar. Just go to www.julielessman.com and click on "Julie's calendar," and it will give you the link.

DAR, oh good, another series bully like me!! I absolutely HAVE to start at the beginning of a series, and NEVER is that truer than in this series for The Daughters of Boston. Most series you can read out of order and it's not too much of a problem, but this series builds, and if you don't read A Passion Most Pure first, you ruin several HUGE surprises that help to make the book that much more fun. So thanks for your interest, and I know I can trust you to read these puppies in order.


Anonymous said...

BETTY ANNE from Illinois says: Great review. I've read Julie's first book, but not the rest. I'm looking forward to winning free books, I can tell you that. And being from Boston, I kinda like the setting she chose.

Ashley E said...

Honestly, this series is just so refreshing in it's blunt look at... marital relations. *grins* And it's a Christian book! Just the thought is exciting! It is possible to be tasteful about such things, as Julie proves so nicely.

Nise' said...

I have plans to read this book over the weekend! Can't wait.

Julie Lessman said...

BETTY ANNE!!! Your book is next up on my TBR list as a matter of fact, so I can't wait to dive in. But I only get to read a little at night and during powder-room breaks, so don't worry if you don't hear from me for a while, okay?

LEY ... grin "refreshing in its blunt look at ... marital relations." Uh, yeah, "blunt" would certainly fit, but I know a couple of reviewers who would argue with you on the "refreshing" part, I'm afraid. :)

NISE!!! Oh, that always makes me a little nervous when someone tells me they're getting ready to read one of my books (gosh, I guess I shouldn't have told Betty two comments up that hers is next on my TBR list!!), but I hope you enjoy it!


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

OOooo...chunksters! A new word! And a chunkster that flies, what glowing praise, indeed! Can't wait to read it!

Amee said...

I can't wait to read this series. I just keep hearing such great things about it. I kind of wish you'd mentioned more about the romance. Is it not very prominent in the novel? The synopsis suggests it is, but your review makes it seem otherwise. I'm just curious because it sounds like such a sweet romance. :)

ibeeeg said...

Great review. I have not known of these books before...I now want to read them.

Hope I win one... (#WC)

Carole said...

All I can say is that now we don't have to look to the secular market for fantastic romance. Thank you, Julie, and also to your publisher.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Elizabeth said...

Okay, you've convinced me - I'm putting this series on my TBR list. =)

Julie Lessman said...

AMY, one of my favorite readers contacted me to say she keeps trying to post on this blog page and can't get it to work, so I told her I would post for her.

Her name is Amber, and I call her "Borders Girl" because she commented once on one of my blogs that she really wanted to win one of my books because she was currently reading A Passion Most Pure at Borders and loving it! She even sent me a picture of her reading the book at Borders, and I got such a kick out of that, that we have become good friends. Anyway, she actually won A Passion Redeemed on another blog giveaway of mine, so now she wants to go for the writer's critique.

So give her a big #WC.


Julie Lessman said...

SHERRINDA, Oh I LOVE "chunksters" too! Some of my favorites are Gone With the Wind (about 1,000 pages) and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (some of those books are 1,500 to 2,000 pages each!!). Besides "chunkster" reminds me of a great, big chocolate chip cookie, so that helps too ... :)

Grin. Uh, AMEE, trust me -- romance IS VERY prominent in this book, but I think Amy was focusing on all of the other relationships in the book (of which there are many) in addition to the romances, especially a remarkable friendship between Brady (the hero) and his good friend and partner, Collin (the hero from book 1). It actually is a favorite part of the book for both Amy and me. And "sweet romance"??? Uh, I don't think my book qualifies as a "sweet romance" ... at least NOT in the CBA!! :)

IBEEG ... soooo glad we have convinced you to read them! Good luck in the contest.

Bless you, CAROLE, for that sweet comment. That makes me smile. :)

ELIZABETH ... YEAH, sooo glad we've convinced you, too! Hope you enjoy them.


CherylS22 said...

I tend to shy away from Christian literature that becomes a bit preachy. But, this series doesn't seem to do this. It would be so nice to read a book with characters that are spiritual in nature yet just as ordinary as you or I - with the same problems & roadblocks in life that we all encounter.


Alli said...

Oh my goodness!!! I love this book!! It is AMAZING!!! There are so many twists and turns - and so much romance and passion - and the HUMOR!! - OH MY GOODNESS!!! You will laugh, cry (or bawl in my case), grieve, love, and just basically LIVE LIFE with these characters!!! Julie Lessman is my new all-time favorite author, and all 3 of her books in the Daughters of Boston series are MUST HAVE'S for any Christian fiction lover's shelf!! I will definitely be reading them over and over!!! Trust me!!! You will not be disappointed!!! And a side note – I am also BLOWN AWAY by Julie herself!! She not only an author who takes the time to actually READ her fan emails – but she actually RESPONDS to them…usually right away (like in the same day – sometimes the same hour!!) She GENUINELY CARES and LOVES her readers!!!! She is truly a cut above the rest!!!!! 

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