Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: Dare to Love Again

Dare to Love Again (Heart of San Francisco - Book 2) by Julie Lessman

Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Imprint: Revell Books
Genre: Christian/Inspirational Historical Romance
Pages: 416
ISBN-10: 0800721667
ISBN-13: 978-0800721664

(Received for an honest review from Revell Books)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, ChristianBook, Indiebound

Julie Lessman on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Love at Any Cost (2013), Dare to Love Again (2014)

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from, Dare to Love Again, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman, resorting to a mammoth hat pin for protection on her way to and from the school where she teaches. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast she quickly discovers she is no match for rum-soaked brute strength. 

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite jiu-jitsu, but it seems he has little choice in the matter. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But when Nick suddenly leaves town, Allison realizes he's a fraud just like all the rest of the men she's cared for. Does she dare love again?

The lushness of the glorious Gilded Age beautifully showcases Lessman's passion as a writer in this engaging love story written with humor and heart. From the glamour of San Francisco's Nob Hill to the seedy gambling dens of the Barbary Coast, Dare to Love Again is a journey to find a love that never fails. Fans will love revisiting the world of the cousins McClare, and new readers will seek more of Julie's passion-filled novels.


Julie Lessman brings readers the second book in her Heart of San Francisco series, Dare to Love Again. Set in 1903, this novel follows the life and antics of a socialite from Knob Hill who is starting a school for the impoverished in the heart of the Barbary Coast section of San Francisco. With a spectacular setting and characters that will grab the hearts of readers, this is book Christian/Inspiration fans will not want to miss. The underlying themes of trust and not making assumptions was delivered in such a way that readers will find themselves considering how trust affects their own lives. A great example of good inspirational writing!

What I liked:

Julie Lessman has a real knack for dialogue in all of her books. She is able to convey so much to the reader just from allowing her characters to speak to each other. There is humor and temper and romance and all of the emotions are expressed simply and easily in the banter between characters in this book. Dare to Love Again is a novel that will make the reader appreciate just what can be said in few words or in many. I just loved how they talked to each other.

The theme of trust is so important in this novel. Allie has learned to distrust men, because of a previous relationship that went sour. Nick has learned to distrust socialites for the same reason. The past has made of these characters leery of each other. And Lessman does a fantastic job of showing that. The way these two interact is nothing short of real. He is gruff, she gets mad. She is careless, he can hardly contain his care for her. It was a delicate balance and Lessman pulls it off with style, garnering the hearts of readers as they are drawn in and become enamored with the characters.

I also loved the fact that Lessman doesn't keep her characters in the best parts of the city. In fact they are in the most impoverished and destitute part of San Francisco. The Barbary Coast is anything but safe and I enjoyed the fact that Lessman decides that Allie needs to be able to protect herself. With Nick as her teacher and the fine art of Jujitsu at his commend, Allie soon learns a lot about taking care of herself. But she teaches Nick a thing or two in the process about trust in others and in God. It was very well done.

I liked the mystery surrounding Nick and the continuing mysterious relationship between Caitlyn and Logan. It was a captivating part of the story that propelled the story forward and kept the reader guessing. It is always nice to have that secondary thing that keeps the plot moving and the mysterious aspect of the story certainly did that. 

What I didn't like:

There was a bit of an issue with the pacing in the middle of the book. There is plenty of action at the beginning and at the end, but there is a bit of a lull in the center. Just keep that in mind and you'll love the ending.

Bottom Line:

This is a great addition to the Heart of San Francisco series. The setting is amazing and Lessman knows how to write about this time period. I loved the romance between Allie and Nick and the mysteriousness that is underlying the story. The theme of trust runs throughout the novel and Lessman gets her point across without brow beating the reader. An all around enjoyable read!

Available January 2014 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston series and the Winds of Change series The recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards, as well as many other accolades, Lessman was chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers' Choice Awards. She resides in Missouri with her family. You can contact Julie through her website at

Giveaway Details:

On January 24th Julie Lessman will be at A Christian Writers World and they will be giving away a book of your choice by Julie Lessman, including Dare to Love Again, so make sure you remember to check that out. It is a couple of days away so don't forget!


Julie Lessman said...

DEBBIE, WOW!! Thank you SO much for the great review -- it put a great, big grin on my face, so BLESS YOU!!