Rachel Thompson's Reviews > A Hope Undaunted

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
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Nov 24, 11

bookshelves: historical, romance
Read in November, 2011

I downloaded this book for free at one point from Sony's ebook store, so this is the first I've read from this author. It was difficult for me to choose between 3 and 4 stars because overall I enjoyed this book. At times, I had trouble putting it down.

Katie is determined to get her own way and thinks she has it all figured out. She's set her sights on Jack, a man who dotes on her and gives her everything she could ever want. Her plans include law school and fighting for women's rights after growing up under the oppressive rules of her father. She's willful and headstrong and constantly butting heads with her father (who I just saw as trying to be a good parent -- he didn't expect anything too extreme). This book took place in the latter part of the 1920s, so even though Katie is eighteen, she still has a curfew and her father expects her to behave with decency, but finally he's had enough. For the summer before Katie is set to begin law school, he puts her under house confinement. No more seeing Jack, and she has to work for a non-profit organization five days a week, helping orphaned children. Unfortunately for Katie, Cluny McGee, her childhood nemesis, also works there, although he's grown into a handsome man who goes by Luke now. (A personal pet peeve of mine: so many romance novels have heroes named Luke. It's starting to drive me crazy.)

The slow change between hatred and love is entertaining, but the author felt the need to throw Katie's whole family in there. As a reader who's never enjoyed any other books based on these characters, I was a bit overwhelmed at first, trying to keep all the names straight. It was a struggle to remember who was married to who and how everyone was related to one another. This book also went off on tangents that didn't add to the overall story. Instead of focusing on the main characters, Katie and Luke, we also got subplots mostly concerning Katie's sister, Faith, as well as Katie's parents. This slowed the whole pace of the book down and made it a lot longer than it really needed to be.

The characters could also get annoying from time to time. Everyone seemed to have the same hairstyle (adding to character confusion), Katie often refused to listen to reason, insisting that her ideas were always right, plus the way she constantly lifts her chin in the air makes her seem conceited and selfish, which are unlikable traits. Luke is stubborn to a fault, which just made me want to whack him upside the head at times. (view spoiler)

Another huge complaint I had was with the character's chosen favorite phrases, which honestly generally didn't make much sense. Examples: the way a character slacked a hip, butted the door, hiked a brow, or hiked her chin. There are more, but these are the ones off the top of my head.

Finally, I found this book a bit on the preachy side. I don't generally have a hard time reading Christian romance books, but this one was way over the top as everyone around Katie is a firm believer, and it almost seemed like everyone wanted to convert her, sometimes beating her over the head with the word of God.
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