Passion with a Purpose: Daughters of Boston Trilogy Book Reviews
by Jocelyn Green
Usually the first line of every book review I do for this blog thanks the publisher or author for sending me free copies to review. Not this time. I paid for every book in the Daughters of Boston trilogy by Julie Lessman because I was in the mood for good Christian fiction. If I didn’t like these books, I just wouldn’t tell you about them (unless I thought there was something theologically inaccurate).
But I loved this series. In fact, I had planned on writing a review for each book, but I just couldn’t stop reading long enough until I finished the last one! If you are looking for a few gripping stories with both romance and faith-based inspiration, you’ll love them to!
First, let me give you the synopsis for each book (taken from the publisher’s Web site), then I’ll tell you what I liked about them.
A Passion Most Pure
She’s found the love of her life.
Unfortunately, he loves her sister.
As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections shift, it threatens to tear her proper Boston family apart.
Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure will carry your heart from the sophisticated streets of Boston to the green hills of Ireland as men go off to war and women long for their return. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, it will captivate you from the first page.
Here’s what I love:
- This is a book you can really sink your teeth into. It’s long enough to allow for great character development for several characters, rather than just one or two main ones surrounded by a cast of cardboard cut-out extras.
- The protagonist, Faith, is someone you will really care about. I can’t stress how important this is. All of the books I didn’t really get into can be traced back to one fatal flaw: I didn’t care about the main character. If you don’t care about her (or him), you don’t care what happens, and there’s no reason to turn the page. Faith O’Connor will keep you turning the pages til the very end.
- Even the antagonists are likeable, or at least understandable, creating a rich, complex tale.
- Faith is an integral part of Faith O’Connor, and therefore, of the entire book. It’s woven in beautifully, unlike some Christian fiction books which just insert a few statements to qualify for the category.
- Historical details are vivid and interesting. You’ll get to know Boston of the early 1900s, as well as Dublin, Ireland.
- You really cannot predict the ending. I didn’t even know which man I was rooting for by the time I was two-thirds of the way into the book.
- It’s a satisfying ending, but with enough unresolved for Faith’s sister Charity that you’ll be eager to read the next book in the series. . .
A Passion Redeemed
Graced with physical beauty, though shallow of heart, Charity O’Connor is a woman who knows what she wants. She sets her sights on the cantankerous Mitch Dennehy, editor at the Irish Times, who has unwittingly stolen her heart. And although the sparks are there, Mitch refuses to fan the coals of a potential relationship with his ex-fiancee’s sister. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat and she always gets what she wants–one way or another. Is revenge so sweet after all? Or will Charity get burned?
Full of intense passion, betrayal, and forgiveness, A Passion Redeemed will delight Lessman’s fans and draw new ones.
Read a free excerpt here.
Charity O’Connor, in the first book, was a character I loved to hate. Faith’s younger sister, she was deceitful, seductive, selfish, and not interested in God at all. In A Passion Redeemed, we find out why, and it all makes sense. This story is riveting, and a little steamy (if you read A Passion Most Pure, this will come as no surprise from a character like Charity). Here’s what stood out to me:
- The author did such a great job making Charity the villain in the first book, she had her work cut out for her in now making her fit the heroine role. But she did it. By the end of the first few chapters, you go from thinking Charity is rotten to thinking she really isn’t so bad. Misguided, perhaps, but good at heart.
- As the novel develops, readers get a window into the past for both Charity and Mitch, rounding out their characters even more.
- A new villain is introduced and oh my, he is evil. But it’s still believable. I like that he’s in the book because it raises the stakes and the threat of danger to Charity is credible.
- In the beginning of the book, it seems like Charity will never place her faith in God. She’s full of anger and resentment and bitterness. But spiritual transformation takes place, and that’s all I’ll say about that. Suffice it to say the title of the book, A Passion Redeemed, is well-chosen.
- There are so many twists and turns, passion and betrayal, it feels like a roller coaster ride!
- This is definitely a romance novel (as are the other two books in the series), so if you like romance, you’ll love this book. If you normally don’t read romance novels, I bet you’ll still be turning the pages until the end, but you may be taken surprise by the passion in this Christian fiction novel.
A Passion Denied
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.
Download discussion questions here.
Now that Faith and Charity are successfully married off, this novel focuses the story on Lizzie, their younger sister. Here’s what I love about it:
- Set back in Boston, we get glimpses of Faith and Collin, Faith and Charity, and the girls’ parents, Marcy and Patrick. By now, all of these characters are old friends, and we know a lot about their histories. I love that we see the ups and downs of married life in this novel, through the subplots of these three other couples. It’s a great reminder that life is not always happily ever after once the wedding is over- love takes a little work! But it’s still worth it, and there is still passion.
- Ironically, the protagonist, Lizzie, is accused of imagining that real love should look like the love she has read about in romance novels. But usually, it’s far more complicated than what we read about, and requires ample doses of forgiveness, patience, and understanding. An interesting truth for a romance novel to proclaim!
- If you’re feeling breathless after A Passion Redeemed, you’ll find this story a little tamer, but still enjoyable, intriguing, and suspenseful.
- I was amused to see Lizzie getting love life advice from Charity and Faith, two sisters whose approach to love couldn’t be more opposite.
- There are enough secrets and twists to keep you guessing until the end. You might think you know how the last page will read, but there’s no way you could imagine the winding road that gets you there.
- We meet new characters here, including a scrawny orphan who ends up being one of the main characters in a later book Lessman writes, A Hope Undaunted. I loved getting to know this guy as a child in this book!
- As with the other two books in the series, faith is an integral part to how these characters make their decisions. They struggle with their pasts, their own choices and consequences, and each one finds himself/herself at a crossroads where they can choose life or death.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Daughters of Boston series, and finished it from the first page to the last in just a couple of weeks. They are completely engrossing, so if you are looking for some healthy escapism, put these on your Christmas list!
Author Julie Lessman’s tag line is “Passion with a Purpose: Inspirational Romance for the Heart and Soul.” Visit her Web site and get to know her better. Thanks Julie for these amazing stories!!
Jocelyn Green is an award-winning author, freelance writer and editor. A former military wife, she authored, along with contributing writers, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (Moody 2008) and Faith Deployed . . . Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (Moody 2011). Jocelyn is also co-author of Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan (AMG Publishers 2009), which won the Gold Medal from Military Writers Society of America in 2010. She is the editor of www.WivesinBloom.com, the online magazine of Christian Military Wives, and maintains her own award-winning Web site for military wives at www.faithdeployed.com.