Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: A Passion Denied

Summary: Has she fallen in love with a man who cannot love her back?

Elizabeth O'Connor has been like the little sister John Brady always wanted, sharing his love of literature and his thirst for God. But in the throes of the reckless Roaring Twenties, Lizzie has grown up. Suddenly she wants more from the man who has been her friend since she was a child. When this shy little bookworm blossoms into a beautiful young woman bent on loving John, she discovers that his past won't let him return that love. But Lizzie refuses to give up--until his shocking secrets push her away.

Can true love survive the betrayal and deceitful of a painful past . . . or will it be shattered like the fairy-tale dreams of a girl in love?

Brimming with romance, longing, and redemption,
A Passion Denied, will quicken your pulse and gladden your heart with a riveting story of the true power of love. -- Baker

Julie Lessman has done it again! A PASSION DENIED is the third book in The Daughters of Boston series, and it doesn't disappoint. I think that this novel definitely lives up to the first two books in the series -- A PASSION MOST PURE (my review) and A PASSION REDEEMED (my review). And while it wasn't my absolute favorite one (that honor goes to A PASSION REDEEMED), it still was a fantastic book that featured the characters I've grown to love.

I am so not a romance reader, but when Amy from My Friend Amy recommended these books; I thought I'd give the first one a try. I was shocked how much I enjoyed it, and I was immediately caught up in the characters' lives. I honestly couldn't put the book down (as was eventually the case with all three books.) After finishing the third book, my initial feelings are still true -- I just love the messages that these books deliver.

In A PASSION DENIED, the story focused on the third daughter in the O'Connor family, Lizzie, who is very much in love with John Brady. It's obvious to everyone that he has the same feelings; but for some mysterious reason, he won't act on his feelings. I have to admit that I was so curious about what had happened in his past that made him repress all his feelings toward the opposite sex. The author gave a few hints along the way, but the entire story didn't unfold until the end of the book. I thought Ms. Lessman did a fantastic job of drawing me into Lizzie and Brady's story, and I could hardly wait to learn what was so awful about Brady's past. Like all of the books in this series, there were lots of ups and downs and misunderstandings between the characters that caused a whole lot of tension.

Besides the main story of Lizzie, there were lots of side stories about the O'Connor family. Charity, the daughter featured in A PASSION REDEEMED, is pregnant and feeling that her husband no longer desires her. Faith, the daughter featured in A PASSION MOST PURE, isn't sure that's she ready to get pregnant and give up her job while her husband desperately wants her to start having babies. And, the girls' father realizes that his wife wasn't entirely honest when she married him; and the O'Connor marriage has major issues that might be irreparable. What I loved about these side stories is the universal theme that they all touched on -- love and marriage. So often people in today's society look at marriage as an end to happy and carefree times -- they think that when they get married that all the fun is over. I liked that this novel showed that marriage is full of ups and downs and no marriage is perfect. What I liked even more, though, was that the married couples in this book were passionately in love and still knew how to have fun with each other. I found this to be such a refreshing message!

I think one of the reasons that I enjoy The Daughters of Boston series so much is that I really appreciate Ms. Lessman's writing style. I don't know how she does it, but she writes inspirational books with great messages without being the slightest bit preachy. She also creates characters that I just love (sometimes, I think I'm weird because I feel like I know them.) Last year, I was fortunate enough to have Ms. Lessman write a guest post for Booking Mama that I found very moving. Not only is she a wonderful writer, but she also seems like a genuinely beautiful person.

Recently, I've been hearing more and more about book clubs that read Christian fiction. I think it's a great idea because there are obviously a ton of inspirational books out there that deserve to be read and discussed. Since I enjoyed A PASSION DENIED so much, I was so happy to see that there is already a reading guide available for this novel (and there is also one for A PASSION MOST PURE.) I'm hoping that more book clubs will select good, clean books with healthy messages about love and marriage.

A big thanks to Revell/Baker Publishing Group for sending me a copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

You've got me very curious about Brady's past now!

Julie Lessman said...

JULIE!!!! HOLY COW, what a review!! Thank you SOOO much for your kind words and taking the time to read this series, ESPECIALLY as someone not prone to reading romance! :)

And you know what? I'm with you -- A Passion Redeemed is my favorite, too, although since A Passion Denied has been out and I reread it, it's pretty neck in neck right now, I have to admit. But I just LOVE Charity and Mitch's story, I guess because I was SO much like Charity before I came to Christ that it's nice to be reminded just how much redemption Jesus Christ has brought into my own life. :)


Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Great review! I loved this series too.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I'm with Kathy. I need to be all up in John Brady's business now. lol

Amy said...

A Passion Redeemed is my favorite, too! :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed it and thanks for taking a chance on a book based on my recommendation! Feel so bad you don't like The Host, though!

Alli said...

Oh my goodness!!! I love this book!! And coming from someone who has literally just finished reading this book - it is AMAZING!!! There are so many twists and turns in this book - 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!!!

Shanna Riley said...

I just finished this week's excerpts of "A Passion Denied" via the Dear Reader book club and I, too, am dying to know Brady's past! I didn't realize this was a series and now am truly excited to read all of the books - I want to start at the beginning, though, so I'm heading on over to Amazon right now to grab all three! Thanks for a great review.