Read Fiction to Remember the Nature of RomanceWednesday, June 22, 2016
Read Fiction to Remember the Nature of Romance
A Hope Undaunted: A Novel (Winds of Change)
Julie LessmanEverywhere there are stories of romance. Even ads capitalize on romance and especially physical attraction. I would even go so far as to suggest, most romance stories focus so much on the physical side that sometimes the idea that there is more to romance is forgotten.
But there is more to romance than the physical - right?
I know that the more I see violence and stories of the bad in humanity, I long to hear about the good in humanity. Since the news does not often balance this out, I search for it in books - stories that authors create based on the full nature of humanity, with both good and bad in each character. Stories that really show the true nature of love and romance.
While there are so many genres out there, Christian Historical Fiction & Romance often fills this need for me. To be completely honest I do not want to pick up a book that preaches at me, especially in fiction. Rather, I look for a book that shows people who are simply trying to live their lives the best way they know how, even when it is messy and they make mistakes.
And that is exactly what I was looking for in Julie Lessman's A Hope Undaunted.
Katie O'Connor is on the verge of starting her life, having just finished up school as the 1920's race to completion. She plans on going to law school with her boyfriend, Jack - who is exactly the type of man she wants to spend her life and career with. When her childhood nemesis, Cluny McGee, returns home for the summer of 1929, her life views are challenged, and she just might change her dreams.
The O'Connor family is a large, tight-knit Irish family who knows the value of hard work. They make family a priority, which is good because as the historical events of 1929 derail their careers in many ways, the support of family will hold them together.
Luke, Betty, and Parker made this story interesting. Maybe it was their distance from the O'Connor family, but they added some much-needed flavor to this story. Luke especially adds so much dynamic. While stories that follow families are often entertaining, this family needed Luke to spice it up some. Granted, he is by no means perfect, which only makes him more interesting.
I also just really enjoyed the fact that each member of the family was unique, while still being family. The marriages of Patrick & Marcy, and Collin & Faith were also very important to the flow of the story. They both could have been their own books. The example of faith as the cornerstone is evident in how healthy their marriages were.
My biggest dislike was the number of characters. This is clearly the beginning of a series of stand-alone books if I had to guess. There are so many characters and Lessman spends time on many of them, which of course means the intro takes up most of the book. Granted, the family is the foundation of this story, but still it took too long. Katie and Luke's story is so complex, especially with Betty, Gabe and well, a surprise character at the end... that the multi-layer story of Collin and Faith was a distraction.
I was also not a fan of the 3rd person narrative that bounced from character to character. Again, there were just too many characters! All of their plots were intertwined, but it was a lot to keep straight.
Another small point, that might not bother everyone, and really didn't bother me, but surprised me, was the amount of sexual discussions in this book. Granted it was all tasteful, and mostly revolved around marriage and the need to be faithful, but for a Christian Fiction, I was a little surprised.
Reading List Rating
I can only give this book a three heart rating. It was just too much. While it was well written, and for some, this might be a perfect read, for me, I was left wanting.
My Suggested Audience
I suggest an adult audience, as I am sure that was Lessman's goal while writing this. This is a serious look into what marriage, romance, and love should look like in a Christian home, and what happens when those in relationships do not focus on God, communication, and respect. While the readability is easy, the topics are heavy and deserve a mature reader. Or a reader who needs to see the consequences of stubborn people in relationships.
Wondering Questions to ConsiderWhen reading books like this, it is important to ponder what the author is trying to say about society. Are we all rushing into relationships that fit the mold of what our career dreams are? Do we take the time to really communicate with the person we claim to love, or be interested in? Can a couple respect the sacred vows of marriage, or is it just done as the next step in a relationship?
Are you a fan of the 1920's? Looking for a romantic historical fiction? You might really enjoy this! @Reading_List1
What do you look for in Historical Fiction/Romance novels? How do you feel a marriage should look like?
I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!
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**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, BethanyHouse
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