15 November 2014

Julie Lessman - Surprised by Love Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Surprised by Love, by Julie Lessman
Revell, (October, 2014)

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels
~5 stars~*****




Romance Galore!!!
Megan McClare has returned from France a literally changed young woman. She's not the sweet little best friend buddy that attorney Bram Hughes had known--instead Meg has blossomed into an alluring young woman. And her nemesis,  Devin Caldwell, doesn't even recognize her. But once he does--he seeks to make up for lost time and sweep Meg off her feet. Except that her heart already rests in the hands of Bram. But not quite. Because Bram is promised to marry someone else and Devin and Meg's relationship continues.

Meanwhile Meg's mother, Cait, and her Uncle Logan, need to finish off their ongoing and tempestuous relationship if Caitlyn is going to find any peace in her life. She's accepted a marriage proposal from Logan's rival. But in the midst of his despair, God moves his heart and mind to a new place, and he finally grasps the spiritual gifts God is offering him. 

Bibliotherapy elements: Forgiveness - strong in both romances, self esteem for Megan and poor eyesight (which she's had corrected by "brand new" contact lenses which I didn't know were even being attempted at that point in time), rivalries in both romances, and following God's will (all of the main characters).

I loved this book--it had some unique elements that made it fresh and Julie put a twist at the end that was brilliant! She had me guessing all the way through, which is difficult for a writer to do as I often know what is happening in a story. In fact in two other reviews I just did, for two authors whose work I really have enjoyed, I had to write that the stories were predictable. Not this one! 

Julie creates some lovable and quirky characters. She saves her heroine from being ridiculously naive by throwing in enough explanation to make her actions believable. Lovely voice, great tension, a real page turner! 

Highly recommend!!!


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Thanks to Revell for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. 

This book may be purchased through AmazonCBDBarnes & Noble, and your local bookstore. 

GIVEAWAY: Giveaway of a gently used copy of Julie's book to a commenter on this review (USA only).



52 comments:

  1. Good to see you were thrown with those unpredictable surprises like the rest of the us Carrie, lol! Awesome review Carrie, thanks!!

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    1. TY Noela! I've already ordered your winner's copy and she's so excited! Loved your review!

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  2. I agree with the both of you! The unpredictability of this novel really was exceptional, and Julie totally nailed this one! Thx for the great review, Carrie! Always love your bibliotherapy elements, and this book was loaded with them!

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    1. About to draw your winner, Diana! Yes, I'm so disappointed that two other novels I just read were completely predictable and I was so disappointed. TY!

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  3. OH. MY. GOODNESS!! Carrie, this review BLOWS ME AWAY, mainly because I am absolutely SHOCKED that I was able to surprise you with the twist at the end because I thought of all my books, THIS was the one that was the most obvious ending that everybody would guess. I mean, you know I have to get Cait and Meg away from Andrew and Devin SOMEHOW, and I just figured everybody would guess it midway. I even told my husband that I was a little sad because this book (and DTLA) didn't have the shock twist at the end and was rather ho-hum.

    So needless to say, your review completely blows me away with a great BIG grin!!

    You guys are truly THE BEST at writing reviews, and I am just SO grateful that you like me books so I can be one of the authors that benefit from those great reviews!! Nobody does them better, trust me!!

    Love you guys and thank God for you in my life!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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    1. You are welcome. Loved the book, Julie. You are such a blessing to all of us! I agree that the OWG angels do the best job out there and I trust their judgement! Love and hugs and blessings!

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  4. lovable and quirky characters - sounds like a great book, dkstevensne@ outlook DOTCOM

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    1. You'd really enjoy this, Deanna! I sure did!!!

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  5. Carrie, fantastic review! I totally agree with Julie, you ladies have some of the BEST reviews around and I trust the opinions of the OWG ladies. I am just SO excited about reading this book and you've just added more fuel to THAT fire. ;) Can't wait to read it! Thank you for the opportunity to enter the drawing! Hugs!

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    1. TY Angi, I love your reviews, too! Loved this book! Hugs back!!!

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  6. I like that it's not predictable but I hope in a good way? I didn't know contact lenses have been around for that long. Thanks for your review :)
    garfsgirl AT hotmail DOT com

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    1. Yes, you get jerked around in a good way in this novel. I don't like feeling like I am on a train and it is definitely going to only one stop and I know where that is. TY!

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  7. What a fantastic review, Carrie! I love unpredictable stories with twists and surprises and am eager to read Surprised by Love!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. I think it is funny that Julie felt readers would definitely know how this would end. Thanks for your kind words. I love the reviews on your blog, too.

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  8. Wow, another chance to read Julie's book.......you ladies have posted great reviews this week.....makes me more anxious (if that is possible!) to read the book! Thanks for the giveaway!!!!.
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

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    1. You have to read this novel, Jackie. It is wonderful! You are welcome!

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  9. Loved the review, Carrie! Thank you for the giveaway!

    writer_weaverATyahooDOTcom

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    1. TY, Anna, and you are welcome! Revell gifted us all with a copy this time--what a nice blessing as Julie added us to her influencer copy group, for which we are really grateful! Sharing the love!

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  10. I love Julie's books! Thanks for your review & a chance to win Carrie!
    RW620(at)aol(dot)com

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  11. I loved this book as well! Great review. I agree that Julie's books are not predictable! :)
    mjbrown629@gmail.com

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    1. TY Marissa! I love her spunky voice, too! Julie's personality just shines through in her novels!

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  12. Thanks for this review and the chance to win Julie's book. I love all her books. I'm looking forward to reading Surprised by Love but it will be kind of sad to finish another series. Her contemporary series sounds like it will be good too so I hope it won't be too long before we can read it.

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    1. I feel the same way!!! Sad to see the series end!!! I am SO glad she is going to keep writing historical romance after all and not going completely over to "the dark side" AKA contemporary!

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  13. Great review. Would like to have this book to read. I'm looking forward to it.

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  14. You think you're on one track and then Julie throws in a new loop de do! I'm anxious to see what she does with this book....

    missionwife@hotmail.com

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  15. Thanks for the review Carrie! I'm looking forward to reading books two and three in this series!

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I think you will love them, Patty! I sure did! Blessings!

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  16. Thank you for that awesome review, Carrie!! As with Diana - I always love your comments re: the bibliotherapy elements in each of the books.

    Wasn't "Surprised by Love" a wonderful finish to the San Fran series?? I'm thrilled that Julie has chosen to write some novellas about both members of the O'Connor and McClare family members - small "fixes" for us readers who are having withdrawal pains after loving the O'Connor family through 7 books and the McClare's through 3!!

    Loved your train analogy and the comments about "the dark side" AKA contemporary fiction!! However, I have to agree with you as I love, and much prefer, historical fiction - Julie is one of the few authors I feel comfortable in saying I know I will love her contemporary fiction also!! I feel the "Isle of Hope" series is going to be an absolutely magnificent series that will draw a new/different set of readers - while maintaining the aspects that the historical fiction readers love - and will set new records and open new opportunities for Julie. However, I hope and pray she ALWAYS remains true to her first love, historical fiction, also!!

    And yes, her personality always shines through in her books - one of the many reasons I love them so, I'm sure - as I fell in love with Julie, the godly woman, before I ever read one of her books !!

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    1. P.S. I see my brain is still having problems keeping up with my fingers, this week - it will get better, I promise (LOL)!!

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    2. Great chatting with you tonight, Bonnie! I am wondering how I will manage to go without a Julie Lessman historical romance until her next series. Luckily she has that Seekerville novella based on her Boston series with "The Rake" in it that will come out in the spring!

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  17. YEA! I get another chance, can't beat that. Thank you much!

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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  18. This looks like a good book. I'll have to add it to my mile long list of books to read! Would be nice to win :)

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    1. This is a great read and I wouldn't put it off! Blessings!

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  19. Yes, Carrie - can't wait for the next Seekerville novella Julie does!! "A Whisper of Hope" is such a sweet story and there's always humor also, when Charity is one of the characters!!

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  20. This book sounds wonderful, as are all Julie's books! Would love to win a copy.
    Blessings, Tina

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    1. Hey Tina! You would love this one! It's got a two-for romance! Hugs!

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  21. Love Julie's books! Would love to win!

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    1. We were really blessed to get this copy from Revell! Am going to draw tonight.

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  22. I can't wait to read Meg's story! I'm so excited about this book and look forward to getting it in my hands. I loved the first two books! I especially love the history I learn in these books, especially about China town, that was quite interesting. Would love to win this book to see what adventures Meg goes on. :)

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    1. Interesting to see Meg "all grown up" in this book. I think you'll love it, Bianca!

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  23. I LOVE Julie's books...love her passion and that her characters are so "real"! Thank you for this awesome review...now this is a MUST read! Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win!
    Blessings!
    Kelly Y
    kelly *at* dkcountryarts *dot* com

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    1. She's such a passionate person and it shows in her amazing writing, Kelly! You are welcome! Glad to share the happiness!

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  24. I, too, LOVE Julie's books! Love your review as well! As long as Cait and Logan work things out and Meg doesn't fall for Devin's lines, I'll be a happy camper!

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    1. Computer issues cut off the rest of my comment... I was just going to add that the way that all gets resolved is vintage Julie! Hehe. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    2. Ummmmm, wellll.... I was trying not to do spoilers so I'm not saying but read Julie's comment above and see what u think, Cyndi! :)

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  25. GREAT REVIEW! CAN NOT WAIT TO READ IT

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    1. TY Nicole! Love your last name. Actually your whole name would make a great heroine name! Blessings!

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  26. Ohhh. This looks like such a great story! I love Julie's books!

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