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Book & Cover Review of "a Love Surrendered" by Julie Lessman

Book Cover for 'a Love Surrendered' by Julie Lessman

Book Review

A Love Surrendered is Book three in a series started in 2010 by Julie Lessman. It had been so long since I had read book one that I had forgotten I had read it until I was well into the book. (Though once I did figure that out I realized that the cover was designed similarly, and I had recognized the author’s name when asked to review it by the publisher.) The book tackles some very tough topics for a Christian novel to handle, the biggest being sensuality. I don’t consider myself a prude, but even I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of sensuality in this novel. Beyond the attraction felt and resisted by the unmarried hero and heroine, there are several married couples – most of whom are the parents or brothers and sisters of the hero and have been featured in the earlier two books – and all seem to be trying to get pregnant or use their sensuality to manipulate their spouse in some fashion at some point in the book. I get that sensuality was a major theme being tackled in the book, but with so many couples it was a little much even for me. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as suitable reading for teenagers.

However, the book is very well written and the characters are enjoyable. Additional insight is given to being a single person during the prohibition era.  I do feel you would want to read books one and two to get the best amount of enjoyment from the series. The number of characters was a little hard to keep track of since I hadn’t read book two and book one was read too long ago. If I’d read them back to back I feel it would have been easier to keep track of the many characters.

I would only recommend this book  to readers who aren’t overly sensitive to reading sensual situations. It will likely appeal more to female readers, though the issue is tackled from the male perspective in a few cases during the book.

Book Cover Review

They’ve done a great job at keeping the covers similar, but I will say the first book I read had a model on the cover with a bright blue dress on rather than this muted rose tone on the current cover. The blue color help to add some vibrancy to the cover and make it stand out on the shelf. The rose dress just it isn’t as eye-catching. I also have the same complaint about this cover as I had about the first one. Without reading the copy I have no idea that this is a historical novel. The textured brown backdrop, the clothing and the hair style really don’t give away what time period this novel is set in.

I didn’t mention it previously, but I also dislike that the title area is left of center and runs slightly off the page. This was done consistently on all three books, but I feel it would have been more balanced to center it on this particular design. I’m not sure the covers for this series are doing as good a job as they could have to draw in new readers for this author.

* Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Fiction

Book & Cover Review: "Though Waters Roar" by Lynn Austin

Book Review

“As I said before, Grandma Bebe never did tell a story in a straight line like the chapters in a book. Following the thread of her sagas was like chasing a startled rabbit through the woods –– you never knew when it was going to turn and head in a new direction.”

This novel’s main character, Harriet, spends the majority of the story reflecting from a jail cell on meandering, rabbit-trail conversations she’s had throughout her life with her mother and grandmother (the latter of whom she feels will be particularly disappointed by her reasons for being incarcerated).  As she states later in the book, Harriet comes from a long line of heroines that have fought for various causes.  She harbors the desire to be a heroine herself, but feels like all the battles have been won by the generations before her.

Covering the topics of slavery, the underground railroad, the civil war, alcoholism, depression, prohibition, women’s suffrage … and more, this book spans four generations of women and the struggles they faced in their society and in their marriages. Masterfully woven into their lives is the analogy of water.  The beauty of a waterfall reflects the “swept away” feeling of a young couple from two very different lives caught up in love.  Unfortunately, the destructive force of water breaking apart a dam – long beaten against by too much rain … seems to greatly match the turmoil within the civil war veteran husband.  Beautifully done!

Along the way, the three generations of women before her have found peace with their circumstances by trusting God to lead them in the right way to help others, and to face their own fears whenever bucking the system became necessary.  Harriet has the desire to follow in their footsteps, but does she have the right motivation? And will Tommy O’Reilly help to change her mind about men?  (I won’t spoil the fun of finding out on your own.)

This is a wonderfully written book, and one I would highly recommend to others!

Cover Review

I love the photo chosen for the cover.  The young lady has a natural beauty, but is not dressed in fine clothes.  There is a hint of a smile, but the look could also be disguising struggle or deep pain – a little mystery.  The only thing I might possibly change would be to somehow carry the dark blue tones from the waterfall scene below or the blue spine into the sepia tone photo.  This would help to make the photo and water scene slightly more unified, and assist in carrying the water theme into the lives of these women.  I would do the same with the sepia water scene on the back.  Just a little of the dark blue tone in the shadows to tie things together, but overall the photo chosen is appropriate and her mysteriously guarded look draws you in.  Well done.

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Additionally, the back cover copy has done it’s job.  It’s a great teaser – leading you into speculation regarding the main characters reasons for being in prison – as well as opening the floor to her reflection of the lives of the women before her.  Intriguing, yet doesn’t overly give the whole storyline away.  Makes you want to crack it open and read!