Book Review: A Hope Undaunted

A great plan for the future that seems to be right on track, but then the unthinkable happens. What do you have when what you most want is taken away? Much like life, Julie Lessman addresses this question repeatedly throughout A Hope Undaunted as God presses forward with His plan in the character’s lives.

She shivered. Ghosts from her past that she needed to face and move on. She opened her eyes, and her lips quirked to the right. ‘God help me,’ she thought, ‘I’ve never been fond of ghosts’

About the Book

A Hope Undaunted front coverThe 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O’Connor is the epitome of the new woman–smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband–good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face-to-face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

What I Thought

The book starts with a family in turmoil. The eldest son saw pieces of World War 1 that left a tremendous impression he doesn’t talk about. Although a solid rock in the family, he maintains a safe distance from other relationships. The three sisters that follow him in age are married, settled and learning how to be good wives. It’s the two children remaining at home that provide the challenge.

The focus of most of this book is Katie, a young lady newly graduated from high school and on her way to a life she’s planned out. Strong and determined, she leans towards the modern thinking of a woman doing it all on her own without the oppressive oversight of Dad or Husband. Her growth in this area throughout the book is significant, and it changes her life forever.

The family is extensive with three sons-in-law, six grandchildren, and several other significant characters to keep up with. At first, it took a little effort for me to keep everyone straight (and I probably mixed up a sister or two at times), but the storyline was worth it. Ms. Lessman infused plenty of real-life family laughter, tears and frustration into the book yet continuously challenged each person to seek God first.

Some reviewers of the book had great frustration with some of the actions of the male characters. As I considered what they said, I think an important point was lost: the story takes place in the 1920s. In modern times, their actions may seem ludicrous, yet the mentality a hundred years ago was very different. I believe Ms. Lessman stayed true to that.

NOTE: For those who like to preview books for their teen daughters, I should mention this book has some very adult themes including the 1920s flapper mentality, an abusive boyfriend, premarital sex, and rape. It also touches on life for kids who grew up on the streets without the love and protection of family.

The Bottom Line – 5 stars

JULIE_TURQUOISE IN CHAIRThis book feels like it’s about a real family. Julie successfully adds great moments  that constantly drew me back into it when I had to put it down. For those struggling with questions like, “Is God in control?” or “Does God have a plan?”, this book might offer you encouragement to ask the One who provides the answers.

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DISCLOSURE: I purchased this book at a bookstore and was not asked by the author or publisher for a review. The opinions expressed 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.”