Another wonderful read to start off a new series by Julie Lessman
November 10, 2014
Well, here we go again! Another wonderful read to start off a new series by Julie Lessman. As in her other works, Julie presents such an enjoyable story with very compelling characters that touch your heart. Glad there are 2 more books in this series and I have them lined up on my kindle to read next.
When Cassidy McClare heads off to her cousins' in San Francisco, the Texas girl has sworn off men, especially the pretty ones that toy with a woman's affections and then break her heart. Unfortunately, a couple of her cousin's best friends are like family, and one in particular - the insufferably handsome Jamie McKenna - seems bent on pursuing her against all her protestations. Jamie needs a rich wife, and if nothing else, Cassie is quite the fun, feisty woman with whom he could easily fall in love. However, she has one stipulation - that he must pursue a relationship with God before she will consider courting him. He's more than willing to fake it, but when he learns her father's oil wells - and consequently money - have run dry, will he continue to pursue her?
Lessman includes lots of period detail. As I have worked in costuming, I enjoyed catching descriptions of the different styles of corsets, the Gibson Girl look, the bathing outfits, and other fashions of the time. In addition to clothing, there is plenty of detail on the city itself. While I realize San Francisco is a big city with no doubt plenty of vices, I did not know about the horrors of the Barbary Coast, with its prostitution, saloons, gambling dens, and more.
I could appreciate Jamie's love of family and how the desire to protect them drives him forward, but I didn't like how he treats Cassie. He doesn't listen to her when she says no, and he uses physical persuasion far too much for my tastes. Granted, he isn't following God, so it's little wonder he acts the way he does, but still . . . Though I did pity him on occasion - he really messes up royally where Cassie is concerned.
I really appreciated how God was the deal breaker for Cassie - as tempted and attracted as she is to Jamie, she is trying to keep God first. Some days with better success than others, of course, but we all have struggles. The author doesn't shy away from our need for God, and makes it clear in the lives of Cassie, Jamie, Aunt Cait, and even wayward Uncle Logan.
The goofy Texas-isms were on the heavy side at first, but they lessen further in the novel. My prudish Scandinavian blood can't handle so much passionate kissing, so I tended to skip over those paragraphs, but I now know why some refer to the author as the Queen of Passion. The strong focus on God was quite a redeeming factor, though, and I ended up enjoying the story more than I expected.
When I started Love at Any Cost I wasn't sure how much I would like it. I had fallen in love with the O'Connors from her other books and didn't know if I would be able to connect with a new family. I am happy to say that I love the McClares! I can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Cassie McClare has been burned before and wants nothing to do with another "pretty boy" as she calls them, so imagine her surprise when one literally sweeps her off her feet when she gets to San Francisco! I loved Cassie's character! She was so sweet, but sassy too. I enjoyed the sparring that went on between Jamie and her, and watching her stand up for herself. She was so determined to keep Jamie at a distance, but he was equally determined to change her mind. My favorite part was when she came to the realization that she didn't need a man to make her feel loved, because God already loves her.
Jamie McKenna was also a favorite! He was so dogged in his pursuit of Cassie, not taking "no" for an answer (which was slightly annoying at times). Everyone thinks of him as a rogue, but as I got to know him, I found he wasnâ€˜t that much of one. He was just so sure that he alone had to provide for him family, that he was willing to do anything to make that happen. I loved how sweet he was, especially with Jess, his sister. I quickly fell in love with him too! Jamie had to learn that he does, in fact, need God. I enjoyed seeing him go through a transformation during the story, as this truth finally began to sink in. He's one of those characters that you just want to cheer for, when they finally get it!
I also fell in love with all the other characters - Cait, Logan, Allison, Bram, Blake, Maggie, Meg, Rose, Hadley, and Jess! They were all so real and very well rounded, even those that didn't get much page time. I very much enjoyed the secondary story between Cait and Logan, and I can't wait to see where that goes in the following books!
As always, Julie's books are well researched and written and this one is no exception! The descriptions were so vivid, bringing the early 1900s and San Francisco to life! I enjoyed the differing points of view, which I feel really brought the story to life. I can't wait to read Allison's book, Dare to Love Again, which in next in my TBR pile! I'm not sure how it could top this one, though Julie always manages to surpass my every expectation!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a wonderful romance with characters that jump off the pages and into your heart!
In May 1902, Cassidy McClare - cowgirl, and Texas oil heiress (whose father's oil wells had run dry) - visits her wealthy cousins in San Francisco in hopes of forgetting her heartache over a jilted relationship with a fortune hunter. Although not wanting a relationship with another charming "pretty boy" - she falls in love with family friend, Jamie MacKenna, not realizing he's another fortune hunter, hoping to provide a better life for his mother and sister and the surgery needed by his sister - to heal from an accident for which Jamie feels responsible. Unbeknownst to Jamie, Cassie has even less money than he.
Cassie is a "spit-fire" who had me laughing one minute and crying along with her - the next!! Jamie's family situation tugged at my "heart strings", and even more so when a "bombshell" was dropped - late in the novel. The love/hate romantic relationship between Cassie's Aunt Cait and Cait's deceased husband's brother, Logan - adds "spice" to the story, along with the humor of a talking parrot, a butler with hearing problems, a "crotchedy" cook, and numerous delightful cousins.
"Love at Any Cost" is the first novel in the Heart of San Francisco trilogy by award-winning author, Julie Lessman. It is a departure from Julie's Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change trilogies - a lighter, shorter, less complicated novel, with less romantic and spiritual passion (the trademark for which her novels are known). However - there is more than enough passion to satisfy, the characters are realistic and endearing, the central theme of releasing one's life into God's hands, and trusting Him for the best solutions to life's trials and tribulations - is present, as in all of Julie's novels, and there is the, as always, happy ending. "Love at Any Cost" is a wonderful story of faith, regret, redemption, forgiveness, love, and hope.
I found myself regretful at finishing the reading of "Love at Any Cost", and eagerly anticipating the next novel in the series, "Dare to Love Again"!! Julie's novels always stir my emotions, inspire my faith, speak to my heart with her touching, warm, family settings and realistic characters, and leave me wanting more - she never disappoints!!