I have been anticipating A Hope Undaunted for well over a year now, and before I even cracked the spine, I knew I would be in for a rollercoaster ride of passion and drama. In that respect, A Hope Undaunted did not disappoint one bit. But I have to confess that while Julie Lessman is on my favorite authors list right under Francine Rivers, I just did not love this book. I know I'm probably one of the few in that category, but I have to be honest. I liked it, but I didn't love it...there really is a difference.
Having gotten to know young Katie O'Connor in the Daughters of Boston series, I knew her personality wouldn't have changed much from childhood to an older teenager. She was a spoiled brat in the first series, and she was a spoiled brat through about the first half of this book. I couldn't seem to get past her selfish nature that popped up all over the place. And the other half of the time, she couldn't seem to make up her mind which I chalked up to immaturity and wanting to be free from her father's strict rules. Another thing that bothered me in regards to Katie was that she was eighteen years old, and in between two guys with lots of emotions flying all over the place. In spite of her father's summer plans to keep her away from bad boy Jack, she still managed to get into, what I thought were, compromising situations with Luke at the Boston Children's Aid Society. Now, her parents really liked Luke over Jack, as did I, but I think if they knew what was happening between Katie and Luke in the workplace, that whole situation would've been nipped in the bud quicker than a blink. All that aside, how Katie responded to all of her emotions was completely normal for someone her age. She wanted so badly to exercise her freedom that she sometimes made unwise decisions regarding her feelings, not to mention that both Luke and Jack were on the receiving end of her emotional decisions.
Julie is known for writing edgy, romantic, Christian fiction, and every bit of that was present in this book. But compared to her 3 previous novels, the edginess was actually toned down in this book. There was more focus on the relationships between the characters, especially Faith and Collin and Marcy and Patrick. Even though I wasn't a fan of Katie as a whole, the romance, and especially the kissing scenes, between her and Luke were explosive! I don't think Julie will ever lose her touch in that department! Between the edginess and the romance, you'd think there'd barely be enough space for anything else, but the Christian elements in this book were simply perfect. And if you're not careful, Julie may just step on your toes a bit with more Biblical truths than your Sunday morning preacher.
Even though A Hope Undaunted was my least favorite book featuring the O'Connor clan, I will never grow tired of getting my O'Connor fix just like Karen Kingsbury fans have to get their Baxter family fix. I hope the wait won't be long between A Hope Undaunted and her next book, A Heart Revealed, which will tell the story of Sean and Emma. I have loved Emma's quiet nature from the moment she was first introduced in the Daughters of Boston series. There's no doubt in my mind that their story will be a good one. :o)
The boy she loved to hate becomes the man she hates to love..." Whew! If that one line doesn't get you, I don't know what will! In her fourth book, Julie continues the story of the O'Connor family with the story of feisty Katie. The youngest of the O'Connor clan, readers of the Daughter's of Boston series will remember her as a spunky, sassy little girl too big for her britches. And no one can forget cocky Cluny McGee, the bane of her 10 year-old existence! You can only imagine the sparks that fly when these two get within 3 feet of each other. Once again, Julie weaves love, devotion, and of course passion into a story you wont want to end! Another swoon-worthy read from Julie Lessman!