I was thrilled that Julie Lessman came out with a new book series. It was hard to say goodbye to the O'Connor's of Boston and to move on to the McClare family of San Francisco, but I enjoyed meeting these new characters as well. Julie is a masterful story teller, and what really draws me to her books at the passionate and tasteful way she writes about love and romance and especially the passion she shows for God in the books she writes. I like the strong female characters in the stories she tells. I highly recommend reading these books in the Heart of San Francisco Series in the order written to get the flow of the stories. I own all of Julie Lessman's as she is one of my very favorite authors.
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 wasnÃ¢â¬Ët 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!