Monday, April 15, 2013

Review of "Love at Any Cost" by Julie Lessman

Rating: 3.5 Stars
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Review: Fans of Christian romance will likely find much to love within the pages of Julie Lessman's newest release, "Love at Any Cost."  Lessman is a gifted author, who portrays her characters and settings in vivid detail. Based on the reviews I have read of Lessman's other novels, I expected a focus on love, family, faith, and history.  As the first novel in the "Heart of San Francisco" series, "Love at Any Cost" introduces readers to the McClare family and sets the scene for upcoming books.  The family dynamic is well-established, and at the end of the first novel, readers will feel closely connected to the entire family, including the household staff. 

Overall, I have mixed feelings about "Love at Any Cost." I struggled to get interested in the book at the beginning, with the emphasis on physical looks and attraction.  The focus continued throughout the novel, and  the importance of outward appearance was ultimately a put-off for me.  By the end of the novel, I was tired of hearing about roguish "pretty-boys". Perhaps readers are meant to find Jamie McKenna's charms irresistible, but his attitude and view of women left something to be desired. He begins as a cocky fortune-hunter, determined to force his charms on Cassie.  He is quite persistent with his affections, constantly flirting and  stealing kisses. If only he tried to win Cassie's heart through his character rather than his vanity, I may have been more smitten.  I always find a deeper love more rewarding than one that forms its base on physical desires. Thankfully, Jamie undergoes a transformation to balance the two sides of his personality- rogue versus devoted son and brother. 

Lessman touches on the poor living conditions on San Francisco's Barbary Coast. I hoped "Love at Any Cost" would delve into a topic that has so much potential for extra depth. Instead, the plot centered around romance between the characters.  I suspect upcoming novels will reveal more about the Barbary Coast and the McClares' work to improve the area.   

While "Love at Any Cost" left something to be desired for me, I have no doubt that many readers will lose themselves within its pages. Anyone who enjoys simmering, but clean romance will find an abundance of potentially swoon-worthy moments in Julie Lessman's latest novel. 

“Available April 15, 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Revell.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Summary from Revell: The Gilded Age is brought to life in the new Heart of San Francisco Series.  Fans of bestselling author, Julie Lessman, will join her on a journey to the West Coast for romance, passion, and surprising revelations found in Love at Any Cost.

Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache, Cassidy travels west. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. When Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than he is, Cassidy finds herself cheated by love a second time. Will Jamie discover that money can't buy love after all? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?

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