I don't tend to pick long books, and Julie Lessman's A Passion Most Pure definitely qualifies as long to me at 480 pages. But occasionally a story will so fill my mind that the length doesn't matter. It also helped that I bought this as an eBook, so I didn't know how long it was until I realized how slowly I was making progress through it.
While I loved the book, I realize that this is not a good fit for every Christian fiction book lover. I will start by saying the story was well written, and time was invested in several characters to really give them great substance. Several secondary issues were not finalized because this is the first book in a series, but the main story was tied up with an exciting bow.
One of the things I love about Julie Lessman is that her characters are so very real, and in a book of this length, she took great effort in letting us know their personal struggles--the discussion of which isn't always popular among Christian fiction readers.
Within this particular storyline, a devout Catholic family has several children, and, as is realistic, they are varied on the spectrum of spiritual maturity. Faith, the oldest daughter, strives to be all God wants her to be, but struggles with the passions evoked by a man she's known most of her life. Charity, the second oldest girl, is beautiful and manipulative. She is spiritually shallow, willing instead to sacrifice God in order to get what she wants. Charity is consumed by jealousy, thinking Faith gets to have everything her way, and sets out on multiple occasions to terrorize her. In one revealing scene, Charity admits that she's used her beauty and wit for so long, she didn't know if she could change--but I'm confident that's one of the main issues handled in the second book.
This book, consistent with other books by Julie Lessman, contains quite a bit of passion and multiple kisses. The author never crossed a line that made me uncomfortable, however I would not recommend these books to girls who are not yet ready to face these emotions. Additionally, one of the main characters repeatedly gets drunk, some characters seek sex as a replacement for love or comfort, and multiple characters chafe at Faith's convictions. The author handled all of these situations well, never crossing a line for me, but these are not necessarily topics everyone wants to read about.
The Bottom Line - 5 stars
If you enjoy historical romance, love realistic characters with tough family situations, and don't mind the situations I describe above, I highly recommend giving this book a try.
Let me begin by saying that I am a huge lover of Christian historical romance! Julie paints a beautiful story of faith, passion and family values. I was moved by the realistic emotions of her characters and her vivid descriptions of their surroundings. Its obvious she spends a great deal of time researching her novels as well.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was that the story came from many points of view - not only our central characters - Faith and Colin, but of her jealous sister and her loving parents. The portrayal of this crazy, loving Irish family drew me in! The beautiful and loving marriage of Faith's parents rivaled my interest in the main characters as I realized how rare that is in romance fiction - its all about the 20-somethings! Well Julie hit it out of the park with Marcy and Patrick! How encouraging to all of us who are way past 20-something but have been married for 20-something years!
I'd also like to touch on the passion in A Passion Most Pure. I'm sure their will be some who find it too passionate but Julie's character's are real. I don't think Christians need to be afraid to read a brief scene that gets our pulse racing! She draws us in so we realize what's at stake, but falls far short of graphic descriptions, so we can relate! Her characters face real struggles and overcame through their deep abiding faith and the very real grace of God!
Thank you, Julie, for a truly encouraging and entertaining read! You blessed my heart!
I am a voracious Christian Romance novel reader, and last month when I picked this up, I thought it would just be another : boy meets girl, boy falls in love, girl doesn't like him, something awful happens and they end up together etc. (All at the young age of 17...)
Well this wasn't.
From the opening page, Mrs. Lessman had my complete and utter attention riveted on every single descriptive word she used. The feelings, the emotions, the agony of never being together, and especially the jealousy between Faith and Charity was SO REAL. Every chapter held something new - a bit of information I had overlooked that suddenly became crucial to the story (WWI). Or handsome, old(ish) newspaper editor *whew*. I was practically screaming at Faith to go to France and FIND COLLIN.
Collin's conversion really got me too. Many transformations in CF books can seem artificial and sappy, but this one just struck me as real. Maybe it was the heart-wrenching emotions of the loss of his father (and what he believes are his dreams), or maybe it was how he became a good person, but was still flawed. It was probably the flawed - that really sticks with me.
Overall, this book seemed to emulate real life more than any other CF novel I've read. The long time period over which the book took place didn't seem too long or rambley, but described the events like recalling a memory. The passion, too was also something that made the book seem real. There are many CF novels about good, upstanding moral people staying close to God in relationships, but are there any about flawed men and women? Especially books with a female lead who really, really, really likes a guy - but she can't do anything..
But then he kisses her.
And she realizes that the welfare of his soul is more important than his kisses.
That's the message I got from A Passion Most Pure.
And believe me - that message, so wonderfully delivered, is rare in the CF world of 'perfect romance'. Try a flawed CF romance, and you won't ever look at CF the same way again.
Thanks Mrs. Lessman, for a wonderful, joyous, and *passionate* read!
Reviewed by a teenage girl - so this is awesome for the older teens (15+) I found it really good in the fact that it had temptation, but Faith made the right choice in those times (about 2) and helped lead those who didn't have God in their lives out of temptation and up to a Personal Savior.
I thoroughly enjoyed A Passion Most Pure! Julie is an excellent storyteller and writer! Be prepared, though; if you read the first book, you will be hooked and will have to read all the others as well!
The Daughters of Boston series follows the O'Connor family through just before WWI to the early 1920s. Their story is also continued in the Winds of Change series. It's obvious how much research Julie puts into all of her books. All of the details make it seem as though you are actually there, watching everything play out.
I enjoyed how it came from several different points of view, so you know what everyone was thinking and what was going on in each character's life. It wasn't confusing at all, which was rather surprising to me. I thought the changing views would make the book seem jumbled, but it didn't. I loved that this wasn't just Faith's book. Julie brings a whole family to life within this book.
Everyone seemed very real, which was great! Julie didn't make them like the characters in a traditional romance novel. They were realistic, without being over done. Each person had their own struggles and while I occasionally wanted to slap them and tell them to get it together, they eventually found their way. I loved Faith and her stand. She would not compromise her morals, no matter how tempted. She continually fought to live for God. Even in conflict, when that would have been the easy way out, she finds her way.
I also enjoyed seeing Collin grow and change. His friend Brady was great and I loved how he gently pointed Collin in the right direction. My favorite part may have been when he finally accepted God and learned what living by faith and loving God wholeheartedly is all about.
I love how grounded in God Julie's books are. Many times, the story was more about a "romance" with God, rather than between 2 people. The book really challenged me to learn more about Him, to become more passionate about knowing and loving Him, and to stand with Him no matter the trials I may face.
I fell in love with the O'Connors and will be sad to see their story end.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Christian romance.
Faith has been infatuated with Colin since she was young, but it is Charity, her sister and constant rival, that catches his eye. When they become engaged Faith faints. What lies just ahead, though, is WW I which will change their lives forever. Faith finds happiness, and Charity, true to her character, ruins it.
I don't want to give spoilers so will leave it at that. I grew up in a large family, and our friends came from large families- up to 12. Never did I see such rivalry in real life between siblings. It was downright hatred and over the top. I never liked Colin...even at the end there isn't anything to endear him to me as a reader. The ending was expected, but I must admit I was disappointed with it. More "true love" and less lust would have been nice, too.
I did like the peak into WWI. Most books I've read that deal with world wars follow the second one. It was a quick enjoyable read that I would recommend to friends my age. I would not however recommend it for the YA crowd. It falls short in really telling of a pure passion.