By Patti Lacy with a little commentary at the end from Gina Welborn because if anyone's gonna give a little commentary, well, Gina will do it. After all, she does have a pillow tastefully embroidered, "If I wanted to hear your opinion, I'd have quit talking by now."
A Passion Most Pure?
“You’ve got to read this book,” friends kept telling me.
“Why?” I asked, stubborn as usual.
A Christian book?
“It’ll keep you guessing.”
When about the twentieth person recommended Lessman’s book, I ordered it and found myself checking the mail, impatient to get in my hands the novel that kept the ACFW on-line book group buzzing for at least two weeks.
I started A Passion Most Pure Thursday, traveled Friday and Saturday, and still managed to finish the book tonight. Somehow I wedged in a Mother's Day celebration and put in a good day’s work.
This exciting new novel flows like an easy read but has twists and turns and multiple multiple points of view. So many traditional plots are combined that I lost count. Good girl loves bad boy. Bad boy goes good. Good girl goes bad. Father dies in war. Good girl reads Bible to nearly blind widow. Father—I don’t want to ruin the ending for you, so I’ll stop here.
In the backdrop of 1916 Boston, tensions escalate in a family as the father and older son prepare to go to war. But another conflict threatens to blow up the tranquil O’Connor home when the two beautiful eldest sisters, Faith and Charity, fall in love with the same handsome Irish rogue, Collin McGuire.
The brash Collin wheedles his way into the affections of all of the loveable O’Connors as he prepares to wed one sister, then confesses his love for the other. A tenuous impasse is reached as Collin, Mr. O’Connor, and the eldest O’Connor brother enlist in the army while the rest of the O’Connors return to Ireland to nurse their ailing grandmother. Even on beautiful Eire—especially on beautiful Eire—romance pursues Faith and Charity, and more entanglements result.
Engagements, advances, rebuffs, and avengement kept me glued to this page-turner, yet solid writing invited me to savor the description, the emotion, yes, the passion that oozed from the pages.
Now for my take on the physical nature of A Passion Most Pure. It was refreshing to grapple with the subject of sexual urgings within the pages of a Christian book. Lessman presented real characters that she allowed to sometimes go “too far” in their physical relations. Then she pulled them asunder, showing God’s take on the resulting tangle of emotions and commitments.
Biblical admonitions are sprinkled liberally and at apropos places in the text. This is a novel which can be used for teaching, for discussion on the proper role of sex in both marital and premarital relationships. Great job, Julie! Can’t wait for the next book in your “Daughters of Boston” series!
When I first heard about Julie's book, I almost immediately got off the computer, ran...umm, drove to Lifeway, and bought A PASSION MOST PURE and Camy's ONLY UNI because for weeks I'd been meaning to buy the latter. My hands were slightly shaking, my heart slightly racing when I gave the book to the cashier. Why? After hanging out for several months at the Seekerville blog and exchanging a few quips with Julie and having e-met Camy a good six months or so earlier, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was buying books from some ladies I knew. My friendly acquaintances. Writer almost-friends. Gals who knew my name, listened to my occasional absurd ramblings, and liked me still.
In honor of our living green theme, I thought reposting my review of A PASSION MOST PURE would be fitting. After all, Julie's characters are wonderful examples of living in the green valleys and compost heaps of Christian faith. Sadly, I can't find my blog post. Drat. However I did find where I wrote this:
"I pray that this book will tear up the best-seller lists so publishers will see that inspirational readers can handle realistic sexual tension in their romances as well as imperfect characters."
A PASSION MOST PURE has been awarded ACFW Debut Book of the Year, Holt Medallion Award of Merit Long Inspirational, and Holt Medallion Award of Merit Best First Book.
Impressive. Well deserved.
I think I can speak for Patti when I say, if you haven't read any of Julie Lessman's books, do so. One or all three would make a wonderful and uplifting Christmas gift for a girlfriend, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, or Inkie who likes to read books but not write book reviews. Julie's Daughters of Boston series is one of the best examples of Christian romances that has ever been published.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil. 4:8
Julie's books can be purchased at Amazon, Lifeway, Mardel,Christian Book Distributors, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Target, and Walmart.
For more info on Julie, visit her website (http://www.julielessman.com/) or swim on over to Seekerville (http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/).
Well. No one warned me about Julie's book! I picked it up because it had a great cover and I love historicals and I'd seen Julie's posts online.ReplyDelete
I'd just gotten feedback on my WIP telling me what was NOT acceptable in Christian fiction.
Then I read A Passion Most Pure and kept saying aloud, Wait a minute!
I think it was freeing for those of us writing or reading Inspirational romance to find characters with more depth and reality than we'd been seeing.
If you haven't read this series, don't be concerned about being insulted by the 'real' feelings of the characters. Unless you have desperately low hormones and have never found yourself attracted to someone in your lifetime. God gave us those desires because He knew that we'd never put up with the opposite sex otherwise!
Oh, that's too funny Deb. Too bad it's also true. :DReplyDelete
I was the same way. I won a copy of A Passion Most Pure at one of Lena Nelson Dooley's book giveaways in Jun 08. Because I was heading down to Minn in Sept for the ACFW conf, I told Julie to send it to my US postal address in ND. So it sat in the post office for a couple months. When I picked it up, I was surprised at the size because I'm used to reading the Steeple Hill Love Inspired size at 60K words. And this was like double that. When I met Julie that year she asked if I rec'd it and I told her what I thought. She urged me to forget the size and go ahead and read it. So I did.
Here's how the book review I posted on my site that Oct starts:
This book is 2008 Top 10 material. I loved it. With vivid descriptions, heart hammering emotion and the most passion I've ever read in an inspirational book to date, Julie Lessman has written a book that mirrors real people with all the faults God bestowed on us.
I wished it was even longer and then went out and bought the 2nd book in the series. Now with 3 Daughters of Boston books I'm eagerly awaiting the fourth. Come on, Julie!
Gina, love the green repost idea.
Okay, today's blog seals it. Patti, Gina, Deb and Anita ... send me your addresses NOW so I can put your checks in the mail or at least send you a realllly nice box of truffles for Christmas!ReplyDelete
Seriously, your post today blesses my socks off, and I cannot thank you enough for the shameless plug of A Passion Most Pure.
And, Deb ... I, too, was told what was "not acceptable" in Christian fiction (as was Ms. Lacy, a fellow "edgy" writer), and my agent Natasha Kern (and now Patti's too -- YEAH!!) even said it would be "slim to nil" to get published in the CBA. BUT she did it and shocked even me. Which means -- thank you, God! -- the CBA market is slowly changing to include edgier romance that will deal with moral issues facing young women today. Dear Lord, it's about time!!
I can't believe I still haven't read these books. Ugh! I blame my mile high TBR list. Maybe I'll buy them for my daughter for Christmas then "borrow" them :)ReplyDelete
Let me also say, though, since so many of you already have read them--by the sounds of it, fans of these books will love Roseanna White's A Stray Droop of Blood as well. Hers is small press, so she didn't have to worry about all those "CBA" rules. It's very passionate and similar in that she let's the passion go too far then shows the aftermath. I'll be posting a review when she comes to visit next month, but you can see my short review on Amazon.
I didn't mention in my recycled review (yeah, we stick with our themes all the way, folks) that Julie slips literary elements into her work in marvelous ways.ReplyDelete
Every time I'm asked to write an article on metaphors and imagery, my hands keep falling on Julie's book, along with those of Samson and Kingsolver and Atwood.
Yeah, she's good. If you're a writer or a wannabe writer, read her books both for enjoyment and edification but also EDUCATION.
I always appreciate book reviews and suggestions for good reads because I don't always have time to seek them out on my own and often when I do I end up disappointed. thanks for this suggestion!ReplyDelete
DINA!!! Oh my goodness, I absolutely LOVED Roseanna White's A Stray Drop of Blood!! Hooked me in a BIG way and I said this in the review I posted on Amazon several years ago (before the new reissue):ReplyDelete
Haunting and powerful are two words that come to mind at the close of reading Roseanna M. White's debut novel, A Stray Drop of Blood. Not since Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion trilogy has a book and its characters captured me so completely. From its rich, historical prose that depicts the era of Christ with startling reality, to a compelling love story that will both jolt and seize your heart, this is one of those rare novels that haunts you centuries beyond the last page.
You can read the rest of the review on Amazon, but DO read this novel. And edgy??? Oh my, YES!! Which, of course, is only ONE of the many reasons I loved it.
And, Patti, again THANK YOU for your kind words. You are the best!
Ha, ha, Julie. I totally forgot your stellar endorsement is right on the new version of Roseanna's book. I knew we had similar taste.ReplyDelete
I cannot wait to read Julie's book "A Passion Most Pure." I will start it this weekend...and savor every page, I'm sure. (Thank you, Julie...hugs right back at you).ReplyDelete
And I will keep my eyes open for "A Stray Drop of Blood." If you ladies recommend it...I'm sure it is an excellent novel...you all have great taste :)
Hello, Ladies! Human spirituality is both blessed and cursed by the complexities of the heart. Even more challenging, and lets face it, intriguing, are the desires of the flesh and the need to touch and be touched. No one explores these aspects of human nature and issues of faith more beautifully than Julie Lessman.ReplyDelete
gcwhiskas at aol dot com
Thank you Patti for reviewing this wonderful book.ReplyDelete
As I shared with Julie when we met in Denver, I had the priviledge of juding A Passion Most Pure in the Golden Heart and was completely blow away.
I loved, loved, loved it then and was so excited to see it published.
I've just finished the third book in the trilogy, A Passion Denied. Julie did a fantastic job of exploring the issues of shame and sexuality, a topic the church still doesnt really address well.
Thank you Julie for your rich, involving, and true-to-life stories. These are books I want my daughter to read before she goes away to college!
Hey, Dina ... yeah, it does appear that our tastes may be similar, which I'm hoping will translate into you liking the Daughters of Boston series, God willing! :)ReplyDelete
Karen!!! So good to see you visiting the Inkies! Thanks for your incredible support, sweetie. And you will LOVE A Stray Drop of Blood.
Virginia!!! Bless your heart, girl! Thank you for your kind comment and as always, your wonderful support.
And, Wenda!!! I don't know if I ever properly thanked you for helping me to final in the GH, so THANK YOU! That contest helped me to snag my agent (and Patti's!), Natasha Kern, which was the best career blessing of my life. And, goodness, thank you SO much for your encouraging comment about Denied as well, especially the fact that you want your daughter to read my books. WOW, no higher compliment can be paid an author than to hear a mother say that. THANK YOU!!
I'd say that today, the Inkies have pretty much made my weekend. :)
Thanks Gina. Deb Marvin you are a riot! :) And Julie, even though I'm one of those very slow readers and my TBR pile is more like two piles, I do remember you telling me to read them in order! It may take me awhile, but I'm looking forward to it. Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete