April's Reviews > A Hope Undaunted

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
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Jan 29, 12

Read in December, 2011

Free Nook ebook.

I've read Julie Lessman before — it was A Passion Most Pure, which I didn't like because of the love triangles involving sisters and womanizers, because of the head hopping and the bad editing, and because of the unending preaching which only made the whole thing seem hypocritical. I try not to hold a bad book against an author, though. The writing was good, and from what I learned in other reviews, it was the author's first book. So when I came upon A Hope Undaunted among the freebies after getting my Nook set up, I downloaded it and then later read it, hoping to see that the author has grown and further developed her craft.

It was actually pretty good — a big improvement over the other book. There's a better sense of family here. The heroine's family clearly love each other, despite everyone's faults, and they only want the best for each other, however hard they may seem to each other. There isn't that unrealistic sibling rivalry that was present in the author's first book. There's no fighting over beaus or sneaking around with their sisters' fiancés.

The time period is different. It's the 1920s, on the cusp of the stock market crash, and the heroine comes out of a privileged upbringing. The hero is from an underprivileged background, but because the heroine's older brother believed in him and gave him the love and support he needed, he grew up to be an up and coming lawyer, a young man with the goal to give back in spades by working to help other children.

Now these are characters I can root for. The heroine is spoiled and naive having grown up the youngest and well provided for, but the foundation for good is there, so that you can tell she'll be a good match for the hero eventually.

What I didn't like of the book is the hero's overdeveloped sense of duty. Don't read on if you don't want to read any spoilers, but (view spoiler) this is just too much noblesse oblige for me, especially since this is after he has admitted to himself how he feels for the heroine and after she has declared her own love for him. There were other solutions available. There was no need for him to do what he did.

Another reason I do not like that turn in the story — the author and the reader must then completely rely on "God" or the author's plotting to somehow get the hero and heroine back together again ... because clearly they belong together. Presented with a choice, the hero chooses life without the heroine, though it's killing him, and we're supposed to believe things will right themselves later somehow. (view spoiler) One word for that kind of ending? Contrived.

(view spoiler) I would have preferred if that best friend angle never happened — if she had never been attacked by her ex and never presented the hero with that awful kind of choice to begin with.
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