Surprised by Love: Not a Surprise for Julie Lessman Fans!

(c.) 2014 - Revell Publishing
 Don't forget to stop by during Thanksgiving week for an interview with Julie Lessman and your chance to win one of her novels!

Title: Surprised by Love
Author: Julie Lessman
Published: 2014 by Revell 

Surprised by Love is Julie Lessman's finale to The Heart of San Francisco trilogy.  However, fans of Julie Lessman won't be "surprised" to find lots of romantic tension and the strong spiritual thread she's known for weaving throughout her books. 

In this novel, Megan McClare returns home from France with a stunning new look and new dreams of helping less fortunate women through medicine or law.  When her internship at the district attorney's office has her working alongside Devin Caldwell, her high school crush, she finds herself turning to her best friend, Bram Hughes, for advice.  Previously ignored by Devin, she's surprised to find him interested in her.  Bram has always treated Meg like a younger sister, but can their friendship survive if she wants to be more than friends?  Or should she take a chance with Devin?

One of the things I've always loved about Julie Lessman's work is that, yes there a bit more romance than typically seen in the genre, but it's matched with some of the best spiritually-filling messages I've seen in Christian romance.  For me, the main theme of the novel was about the importance of trust --both in relationships and with God.  Megan needs to build trust with Devin, forgiving his hurtful teasing in their youth, in order to see the man he's become.  In contrast, she deeply trusts and confides in Bram, who's looked out for her since she was a girl.  Meanwhile, Logan and Caitlyn's relationship struggles because of a history of broken trust between the two.

"You see, I've learned the hard way that when it comes to the most precious things in my life, the safest place to keep them is in God's hands.  To trust Him to do for them and me the very best thing ... No matter what that is." (pp. 308).  Bram calls this deep trust in God "The Abraham factor" (referring to Genesis 22).  As a single twenty-something, I'm beginning to get into that point in life when it seems a lot of my friends are starting to get into romantic relationships, engagements, marriages, and starting families of their own.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't starting to wish for the same, but at times it seems like a hopeless, "never-going-to-happen-for-you" thing, so this reminder came at the perfect time for me.  Do I trust God with these desires of my heart?

In The Heart of San Francisco series, Lessman's writing has gotten tighter, focusing the plot around the main characters of the book.  Unlike The Daughters of Boston or Winds of Change series, you won't really see subplots following the couples and characters from previous books, though characters such as Jamie MacKenna or Alison McClare do appear in the story.  I kind of wish she was able include more subplots, because I felt like I only remembered a couple of characters from the two previous novels.  However, this might be because I haven't yet read book two, Dare to Love Again and it's been over a year since I read Love at Any Cost (book one).  But even though it would be best to read the first two books of the trilogy, I think a first time reader could jump into Surprised by Love without too many problems. 

Though it's sad to say good-bye to the McClares for now, it's no "surprise" I'm eagerly looking forward to Julie Lessman's next novel.  Are you often "surprised" by what you learn from reading fiction?  What are things you've applied to your life that you've discovered from reading fiction?

*Apologies for the puns attempting to connect with the book title. I like to think myself clever at times ... Also, page 124!*  :-P

About the Book (Back Cover):
"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 returned to California and accepts an internship at the district attorney's office, she's thrilled that her life is taking shape.  But the excited 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?"
About the Author (Back Cover):
"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 awards, 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"
*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through their Revell Reads program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.*


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