Surprised by Love (The Heart of San Francisco Book #3): A Novel

Surprised by Love (The Heart of San Francisco Book #3): A Novel

4.6 32
by Julie Lessman
     
 

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Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney's office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a

Overview

Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney's office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school--and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a kid sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

Fan favorite Julie Lessman draws a romantic triangle that will have readers in a tizzy in this glittering Gilded Age tale of transforming love.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441219534
Publisher:
Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/14/2014
Series:
Heart of San Francisco , #3
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
64,786
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston series, the Winds of Change series, and The Heart of San Francisco series. The recipient of seventeen 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. Learn more at www.julielessman.com.
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 www.julielessman.com.

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Surprised by Love: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
CynthiaKay29 More than 1 year ago
The book held my attention and had several good plot twists...However I didn't like it that so much focus was put on how Meg had changed from being quote on quote "ugly" to beautiful...I felt like there was too much focus put on the outward appearance...Yes we should take care of ourselves and strive to look nice but not everyone is going to be a skinny beautiful women with a model like body...Yes it was good Meg changed and was more confident but that could have happened without all the focus being on the outward appearance...I was a little disappointed how shallow the book was in this area...This is my personal opinion...I love Julie Lessman and her books and will continue to read whatever she puts out but this book was a disappointment to me....I would have liked to see Meg not change quite so much and still get a happy ending....:)
Bookworm2Bookworm More than 1 year ago
San Francisco - 1904 Megan McClare had a difficult childhood. She was overweight, red haired, freckles, crooked teeth, and wore glasses. Her nemesis was a young man named Devin Caldwell who called her names and made her life miserable. But after spending her last year of school in Paris, she has returned a changed person. She is lovely! The weight is gone, her hair is darkened, braces fixed her teeth and contacts enable her to leave her glasses at home. In addition, the delicate use of cosmetics covers her freckles nicely. Actually, she is stunning and her family and friends are amazed at the change. As a member of the wealthy McClare family, Megan has decided she wants to join in with the family’s vocation of practicing law. To begin, she has been selected for an internship at the district attorney’s office. The job is wonderful for her. She friends the other women working there and gains the respect of the men as well. But when Devin Caldwell shows up at the office to work as an intern as well, it strains Megan to be comfortable working with him and learning to forgive him and become his friend. Bram Hughes is 10 years older than Megan but he has always been the one she can go to for comfort. He looks upon her as a little sister and has always protected her. But with her maturity comes feelings deeper than just friendship. However, Bram has agreed to an arranged marriage with another woman that will help his family’s business. A very religious young woman, Megan wants to help volunteer at a refuge for women escaping the prostitution houses that others in the city are trying hard to shut down. This is Book #3 in The Heart of San Francisco Series. Unfortunately, I have not read the first two books, however, I was able to glean the original history of the story of this family saga. I do wish to read Books #1 and #2 because this is a very good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
Like the other books in this series, the premise sounded fun but some things prevented me from fully enjoying the novel. Megan is an intelligent and dynamic character, but it bothered me that the unspoken message was that her confidence and self-worth came because of her physical transformation, and the reactions of the other characters reinforced the notion that a person must fit society's ideal of beauty to be able make a difference in the world. She is compassionate and forgiving, but also naively trusts in a relationships with red flags all over it. Bram's personal history was interesting to learn, but the way it prevented him from accepting his attraction for Megan was frustrating since he seemed smarter than that. There is also finally a conclusion to the three-book long angst-fest between Megan's mother and Uncle Logan, thank goodness. (Thank you to Revell Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading the love story of Megan McClure who was just a young girl in the first book of the San Francisco series. I really enjoyed the inter-play between Clare and Logan and think she made the right decision at the end of the book! I only hope for more of the McClare family in future books! Thanks, Julie, for another great read. CAG
VelvaB More than 1 year ago
Megan McClare was always noticed for her intelligence.  After a year in Paris, she is stunning her family, friends, and past enemies with her outside beauty.  Bram Hugh’s doesn’t know what to do with this transformation of his little “Bug.”  Surprised by Love is a great story about love, honesty, and sacrifice.  Julie Lessman does a wonderful job with continuing past characters through her book series.   I loved this story!  
BonnieRoof More than 1 year ago
A STORY TO LOVE, TREASURE AND REREAD - OVER AND OVER!!!! Award-winning author JULIE LESSMAN has not only come up with the perfect ending to The Heart of San Francisco novel series with SURPRISED BY LOVE but also one of her very best novels. Shy, wallflower Megan McClare leaves her home in San Francisco for a year's study in Paris and returns in 1904 with a new-found confidence and beauty that takes her family and friends by surprise. None are most surprised than best friend Bram Hughes and Devin Caldwell (who teased and mocked her in school). Sparks fly when Meg accepts an internship at the district attorney's office and discovers she will be working alongside Devin. A romantic triangle ensues for Meg when Bram becomes more than a best friend and Devin also becomes enamored with her charms. Readers of the previous two novels in the series will be thrilled by the advances made in the love/hate relationship between Meg's mother, Caitlyn, and Meg's uncle - Logan. Once again, Julie Lessman has given readers a novel with a beautiful story line - full of passion, angst and romance - that will entertain and inspire, provoke emotions from laughter to anger to tears, endear them to it's realistic characters, surprise with unexpected "twists and turns", and leave them wanting yet more of the heart-warming McClare family - after they turn the final page with it's happy ending. SURPRISED BY LOVE - a novel you will love, treasure and reread again and again !!!!
SavannaKaiser More than 1 year ago
I love reviewing books. I especially love reviewing Julie Lessman's books. Beautifully written, with heartfelt drama and witty storytelling, Surprised by Love is bound to win over many hearts, as it did mine. It's the kind of story that makes reading fun. It was entertaining from the start and downright charming from first to last page. While the characters are haunted by past hurts, they're also torn between their heart's desires and fears, and along the way they learn some valuable lessons. I wanted to hug each and every member of the McClare family. Or at the very least join them at that amusing dinner table of theirs. What lively conversations they always have. ;) And those love triangles had me turning the pages faster than I could read! The last half of the book was especially captivating. Yes, I'm baiting you. Go read it! :) My only regret is not having read the first in the series yet. Having been given the chance to review the second and third books in The Heart of San Francisco series, I couldn't resist jumping ahead. While each one holds its own nicely, I would recommend you starting from the beginning if you have the chance. I have a feeling you'll be that much more enthralled with the McClare family and friends. Another thing I like and appreciate about this writer's style is that I never quite know how it's going to end. How "we" will get to the "Happy Ending" - the characters and I - is still a mystery up to the last page. The ending never comes prematurely, but continues on in perfect rhythm and delivers in due time, rewarding its readers wonderfully by book's end. What can I say? I love watching (and reading) when best friends fall in love. It's a beautiful thing. I married my own best friend two years ago and I have a small plaque hanging in our home that always makes me smile. "True love is friendship set on fire." I love that. And it fits perfectly for this story too. Love is a fire, alright. And Julie Lessman knows how to write it very well. ;) This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publisher for my copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JCMorrows More than 1 year ago
Oddly enough, the synopsis for this book brings one of my absolute favorite movies to mind. Young girl, shy and introverted – goes to Paris and returns all grown up. Of course my favorite version is the 1995 remake with Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear and Harrison Ford… not the original with Audrey Hepburn, William Holden and Humphrey Bogart – which is ultimately sadder and holds a much darker theme. Surprised by Love is a wonderful Historical adventure - full of forgiveness, romance and of course.. surprise. I was thoroughly intrigued by the wonderful story - and was surprised to discover that this is the third book in a series. It does not read that way. You should have no trouble at all with feeling lost in the midst of a series. Megan is not at all what I pictured from reading the back cover copy. She is a bit of a spitfire – which makes perfect sense when you consider that she has taken an internship in the District Attorney’s office. I am not about to spoil the outcome for you – you will HAVE to read it for yourself but I will tell you that it surprised me! This is not a book to miss! And of course now… I have to go hunt down more books. LOL! I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.
tmurrell2 More than 1 year ago
Megan is returning from Paris a completely different woman. She's lost some weight and gain some confidence. But she's hoping that her friendship with her best friend Bram hasn't changed a bit. Bram is shocked when he sees the beautiful woman that Megan has become. His feelings for her are very non-best friend like. But he's made some commitments that might prevent him from following through on his new feelings. I really enjoyed the double romance in this story. The author painted a beautiful visual as she told the story. There were times that I felt a little lost since I was coming into the story without having read the first two books. But instead of frustrating me, it made me want to check out the other books. The story was sweet, had a bit of drama, and had great secondary characters as well. I'll definitely be adding this author to my wishlist. I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.
Wanda_Barefoot More than 1 year ago
"I miss my little buddy, Meg, I won't lie, but you've grown into a beautiful woman over the last year, a perfect match for the beautiful person inside." Megan McClare has always been a beauty to those that love her. But her greatest beauty was within while outwardly she was a plump young girl with loads of freckles and braces on her teeth. Constantly ridiculed by other kids, she always turned to her brother's best friend to dry her eyes and make her feel better. But when Meg returns from college "Megan McTubby" is gone and a raven beauty has taken her place. With a new look and a new outlook on life, Meg hopes to turn the head of the very man who had assuaged her hurts and healed her pain since she was just seven-years-old. But will the very man that ridiculed her in school work his way into Meg's affections? Will Bram risk their friendship and take a shot at love? Bram Hughes has been an honorary member of the McClare family for years. Caitlyn McClare took him under her wings as a teenager and led him back to the God he had become separated from. Bram has always held a special place for Meg in his heart and takes great pains to ease her hurts when her heart is breaking. When Meg returns from Paris, Bram doesn't recognize her. All he knows is he is attracted to the beautiful young lady before him. Because of a mistake from his past, Bram feels obligated to accept an arranged marriage from his father. But how can he remain only friends with the girl who has stolen his heart? And, if he doesn't move soon, will Devin Caldwell steal the only girl he ever loved? There's so much I can say about this book. If there has ever been a character I can relate to on such a personal level, it's Meg McClare. I feel many readers will relate to her character and glean a little bit of self-worth through her transformation from mousy to magnificent. Meg is the definition of "development of character " and I couldn't wait to read her story. I wasn't disappointed. It was so touching to see the beautiful friendship between Meg and Bram develop into a relationship built on love and faith. I love Bram's character, too. Nicknamed "Padre Hughes" by his best friends Jamie and Blake, Bram has a gentle, easygoing personally that I found hard not to love. He fought every battle with God as his co-pilot. He was the one everyone went to when they needed spiritual advice, hence the moniker "Padre Hughes". What's not to love? I love Julie Lessman's style of writing and Surprised by Love is my favorite book to date. This entire series is spot on when it comes to historical romance and, with this final book, she closes it with a bang! The quote above is from my favorite scene in the book. It brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart like is seldom done. But, not only does Julie tug at your emotions, in her usual fashion, the kissing scenes sizzle without being inappropriate. She knows how to evoke passion in a scene while maintaining spiritual propriety which is a lot harder than it seems and not always done well. The storyline is unique and very engaging, once I started reading it I hated to put it down. The one thing Julie Lessman tries to do in her books is glorify God. She does it in a way that teaches spiritual lessons but doesn't make the reader feel choked by the very knowledge imparted. Once again, she did it beautifully with a strong lesson on forgiveness that anyone can benefit from. When Bram told Logan that in order to fully forgive he needed to pray for God's blessings on the very one that had wronged him, I knew this story would affect many that were struggling with this issue. I found it difficult to say goodbye to the characters I have grown to love but, in the end, I was a very satisfied reader. Julie Lessman writes stories as beautiful as the woman herself and I am looking forward to whatever is next on her agenda. Surprised by Love is a book to be treasured by any historical romance fan and, if you haven't read it yet, I strongly recommend it! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review and no monetary compensation was received.
Pitkinchick More than 1 year ago
In the book "Surprised by Love" by Julie Lessman you will definitely not want to put this book down.  I hated having to go to work the next day because I wanted to finish reading this book.  It was such a passionate and inspirational story.  This is the story or Meg and Bram and Caitlyn and Logan.  You must read their stories and become wrapped up in the passion of their stories.  It will envelope you and carry you totally away.  Julie Lessman has done it again.  Thanks to Revell for giving me this book for an honest review.  I loved it and I shared it with my mother and she loved it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Surprised By Love  by Julie Lessman – A Book Review      This is the third book in Lessman’s The Heart of San Francisco series.  The first book found true love for Cassie McClare, the second for her cousin Allie.  This third book focuses on Meg, Allie’s sister, who underwent an amazing transformation while spending her senior year in Paris both in her physical appearance and in her self-confidence while also discovering God’s call to serve women living in poverty doing whatever it took to survive.  Matron of this clan, Caitlyn McClare, also comes to grips with her ability to trust or not to trust her deceased husband’s brother, Logan. A quandary whose storyline spans this trilogy.       The theme of this book is forgiveness, forgiving those who have wronged us as well as forgiving oneself.  Bram, loving known as Padre by his closest friends, is wise beyond his years;  explaining the importance of forgiveness, “‘ People don’t realize just how much energy it takes to hate and hurt someone who’s wounded them, nor how destructive that hate can be….It’s like a gun aimed at them selves instead of the offending party….It can destroy them and those they love.’”  He also explains how, through prayer, to rely on God’s power to be able to forgive; something that isn’t always possible under our own power.  The theme is well developed, and Biblically grounded.        I was excited to see this third book of the series on the list of books available for review. I’d enjoyed the first two books, and was anxious to read the third.  What I found when I started reading the book was that I was tired of the characters, tired of reading about Cassie’s smelly lasso and Allie’s stick both of which they supposedly used to keep the man in their life in line. I was tired of reading about Blake being a rake and family game nights. There seemed to be a lot of redundancy of events and in dialogue. On the other hand, wondering which man Meg would be interested in, even though it was fairly obvious which one she’d end up with, kept my  interest in the story, as did pondering how Caitlyn and Logan would work out their differences.       The heavy emphasis on the importance or impact of physical beauty was a concern while reading this book.  There were a few instances like when Meg reflected on the lesson that, “although the naked eye admires outward appearance, it’s in the mind’s eye where true beauty and confidence begins,” and when Devin states that, “For once I’ve met a girl whose beauty on the inside is so powerful and deep, the surface beauty is almost secondary,” when the author acknowledges the greater importance on\f inner beauty.   For the most part, the reader encounters evidence that the transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan was what inspired  men’s ardor and admiration for Meg.             I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Surprised By Love for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.      
sherrijinga More than 1 year ago
I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't required to write a positive review and the opinions expressed in the above review are my own.
Sprinkle23 More than 1 year ago
Megan McClare's time in Paris changed her from the inside out. Upon her return to San Francisco, her best friend, Bram Hughes, withdraws from her, fighting a new and unwelcome attraction to her. Struggling to make sense of the new status of their relationship, they both strive to keep it platonic. Bram is promised to another and Megan is interning to find her life direction. When Megan's childhood crush, Devin Caldwell, becomes a co-worker, she turns to Bram for advice and support.  As Megan deliberately puts the past behind her and strives to forgive Devin for crushing her heart, they begin to grow closer. Outwardly, Megan and Bram are committed other people, but inwardly, attraction and romance simmers. Will Megan and Bram choose kinship without romantic attachments or will love eventually find a way to blossom? Read more in Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman. Surprised by Love is the third novel in The Heart of San Francisco series by Julie Lessman. The author gave enough background information for things to make sense, but still left me wanting to read the other books to get the full story. Surprised by Love combines romance, humor and depth to create memorable story. The witty and refreshing banter during the character's dinners added a touch of lightheartedness that I enjoyed. The story successfully kept me wondering how things would work out. From the back cover, I could guess who Megan would end up with, but there were times when it seemed it would surely be someone else. I liked that the ending wasn't obviously apparent from the beginning and I didn't see certain plot twists coming.  Surprised by Love is an excellent read for historical fiction fans. It's definitely a keeper for me as I plan to read the prior two books in the series and then re-read this one.   Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have 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.
TheArtistLibrarian More than 1 year ago
Fans of Julie Lessman won't be "surprised" to find lots of romantic tension and the strong spiritual thread she's known for weaving throughout her books. In Surprised by Love, Megan McClare returns home from France with a stunning new look and new dreams of helping less fortunate women through medicine or law. When her internship at the district attorney's office has her working alongside Devin Caldwell, her high school crush, she finds herself turning to her best friend, Bram Hughes, for advice. Previously ignored by Devin, she's surprised to find him interested in her. Bram has always treated Meg like a younger sister, but can their friendship survive if she wants to be more than friends? Or should she take a chance with Devin? One of the things I've always loved about Julie Lessman's work is that, yes there a bit more romance than typically seen in the genre, but it's matched with some of the best spiritually-filling messages I've seen in Christian romance. For me, the main theme of the novel was about the importance of trust --both in relationships and with God. Megan needs to build trust with Devin, forgiving his hurtful teasing in their youth, in order to see the man he's become. In contrast, she deeply trusts and confides in Bram, who's looked out for her since she was a girl. Meanwhile, Logan and Caitlyn's relationship struggles because of a history of broken trust between the two. "You see, I've learned the hard way that when it comes to the most precious things in my life, the safest place to keep them is in God's hands. To trust Him to do for them and me the very best thing ... No matter what that is." (pp. 308). Bram calls this deep trust in God "The Abraham factor" (referring to Genesis 22). This reminder came at the perfect moment for where I am in life right now. Do I trust God with the desires of my heart? In The Heart of San Francisco series, Lessman's writing has gotten tighter, focusing the plot around the main characters of the book. Unlike The Daughters of Boston or Winds of Change series, you won't really see subplots following the couples and characters from previous books, though characters such as Jamie MacKenna or Alison McClare do appear in the story. I kind of wish she was able include more subplots, because I felt like I only remembered a couple of characters from the two previous novels. However, this might be because I haven't yet read book two, Dare to Love Again and it's been over a year since I read Love at Any Cost (book one). But even though it would be best to read the first two books of the trilogy, I think a first time reader could jump into Surprised by Love without too many problems. Though it's sad to say good-bye to the McClares for now, it's no "surprise" I'm eagerly looking forward to Julie Lessman's next novel!
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful story about Megan and Bram and Megan's mother and their uncle Logan.  Both stories are well intertwined.  At times I wanted to slap mom because she liked Andrew but it all becomes good in the end.  Keep bringing good books like these .  I received this from Revell reads for a fair and honest opinion.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
Surprised by Love is the third book in The Heart of San Francisco series. I have really enjoyed each book in the series and have grown to love the characters. It is always hard to say goodbye to the people in a book series who have touched my heart, but with Surprised by Love, I was torn about wanting it to end. On the one hand, I have been absolutely on tenterhooks waiting to see how the author was going to resolve the relationship struggles of Caitlyn and Logan. I have enjoyed every couple featured in each book, but by far my favorite thread running through each story was the decades-long tension and heartbreak that these two have gone through. So, I wanted to see what would happen. But, on the other hand, I knew that once resolved, I would be saying “goodbye” to a favorite couple! Well, Julie Lessman did a fabulous job with Cait and Logan’s romance. Sometimes I wanted to slap a little sense into Cait, but part of the fun of this author’s books is the up and down emotional journey she is always able to send me on. So, I just held on and knew she would resolve their issues and all would be wonderful once more! :-) Of all of the three main romances in the books of this series, Meg and Bram’s romance, which takes place in Surprised by Love, is my favorite. It is a transition from a deep friendship to love. I have liked Bram from the very beginning. We learn his back story in this book and it is so interesting and heartbreaking. I admit that I wanted to slap him a little, too, in this book! But he is such an admirable character, as is Meg, and seeing them work through their emotions in the midst of trying circumstances was a treat. Bram was also such a steadfast man in this series and served as a spiritual encourager for Logan. What was extra-special about the spiritual advice he gives to Logan is that Bram also practices what he preaches. Even though it is tearing him up inside, he follows where he thinks God is leading him and actually does have some peace about the situation. But, he still has much growing to do in this story and his journey is just as interesting to read about as Logan’s journey is. I loved the book from start to finish and know that it is one I will be re-reading again and again in the future. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
BookReviewerNicole More than 1 year ago
 *Book Description*                                    Megan McClare was always a shy, overweight girl as a child. Now, returning from a year in Paris, she's turned into such a beauty even her family doesn't recognize her. Even though she is excited for her change and her future as a lawyer, she's also overly worried about the reactions of two men. One is the boy responsible for many of her tears in her school years and the other is the boy Bram Hughes who was always there as the big brother to dry and hug them away. When the reactions of both men surprise both them and her, will it finally be what she's hoped for? Or will she be disappointed...again. With mixed emotions of her own and a love for a man she's sure will never share the feeling she can't help but wonder about her life... Abraham 'Bram' Hughes doesn't know what to think of the jaw dropping young woman he's always thought of as a kid sister. Their friendship has always been special, ever since she was seven and he seventeen, but now he is unsure about everything. Engaged to a woman to fulfill his duty to his father, he can't afford to be distracted. Will his heart change his mind about 'Bug'? Or is it just that his eyes and heart are "out of sync"? Logan McClare has a bit of a problem. He's in love with his sister in law. She says she loves him back but continues to draw further and further away. And now it appears he has some competition... Will he grace her right or left hand with his ring...his love... Caitlyn 'Cait' McClare is in love with Logan but she just can't trust the man who betrayed her all those years ago. Her head knows he's changed but her heart just won't follow along... Even if she can never be his wife, can she still be his very best friend? Or will her new beau tear them apart...forever?                                                                      *What I liked* Wow, wow, wow!! If I had to choose my top 5 favorite books this book is definitely there! While this book doesn't say suspense...it definitely will leave you on the edge of your seat and maybe even biting your nails! Julie has created such a love triangle...and yikes, more than one! A fantastic cover...oh and the humor! Meg, Bram, and their friends kept me chuckling for sure!!                                                                                     *What I didn't like* This book is so good that I actually went to Amazon the moment I finished it to find the first two books of the series!! You should too, although this book works fabulously as a stand alone as well...                                                                                                       *My Rating*            I give Surprised By love... 5 stars!                               *Why my rating is what it is* My rating is five stars because this book is an incredible mix of friendship, forgiveness, humor,  love, and a whole lot of twists that leave you reading the ending three times *shame face*. You'll love it! *I received this book from Revell publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts were my own and I was not compensated in any other way.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Julie Lessman is one of my favorite authors. When I pick up one of her books, I know that my heart will be wrung out and stepped on in agony and sympathy with her characters. This is a story with not one, but two love stories and I enjoyed and hoped for a happy ever ending for both of them. Our first couple is Meg and Bram (Abraham). Meg has been away in France for a year and comes back not as the chubby, insecure girl she was, but a woman with confidence in herself and the freedom to make her own decisions. Bram, who has been like a big brother to her since she was seven, realizes his feelings may have changed for Meg now that she is back home again. Let’s not forget Devin, the boy who bullied Megan for years who sees her in a different light now and of Amelia the one whom Bram’s parents’ hope for a joining of their two families. My favorite love story was that of Andrew, Logan and Cait, Meg’s widowed mother, which seems to have been going on throughout the series. I was on pins and needles for their love triangle to reach a satisfying conclusion. All of her heroes seem worthy to root for at first, but don’t be fooled there are still a few hidden scoundrels and rakes that need to be redeemed. I hope she writes about those next. Anyway, I think I may have cheated myself a bit by reading this third book in the series before the first two. I missed seeing the growth of the family dynamics and relationships and, of course, the first two couples’ love stories. However, that being said, I enjoyed this newest release by Julie and I enjoy how passionate her characters are about those they love and their God. I received this book from Revell, and the opinions are my own.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
We are back in the early 1900’s San Francisco, and with the beloved McClare family. With anticipation the family is waiting the arrival of Ms Megan as she returns from Paris, France. What they aren’t expecting is the, not unkindly statement, ugly duckling that has become a swan. This is Megan Maureen McClare’s story, but we are reunited with the whole family, and enjoying our time with them. So good to be back and get updates on everyone. We are still having the love, not hate, but hold at an arm’s length relationship between Cait and Blake, and to the family chagrin we are heading for more of the same between these two. Can’t you just picture the surprise from people who have known Meg her whole life? Even those who have made fun of her, four eyes, etc., what a rude awakening they are in for. One of them who tormented her terribly is now quite smitten with her. Can anything come from that relationship, and our darling Meg will be able to let go of all the hurts put upon her by this individual. Would love to have seen the look on his face the first time he sees her. Then we have Blake and have always loved how he has been there for Meg, but as a child, not as a blossomed woman. Being older than her, he tries to put his feeling out of his mind, and after all he owes everything to his parents, for his youthful wrong doings. Walk along with these dear people as the struggle to walk on the path that God is leading them, rather than their own stubborn choices. Something we all struggle with, and sure hope that forgiveness can happen for all. I would love more to this story, but most everything is wrapped up by the end of this book, which of course, you could do a read alone, it is that good, but you would be giving up a lot by not reading the previous two books. Enjoy!! I received this book through Revell’s Book Blogger’s Program, and was not required to give a positive review.
Nutz2read More than 1 year ago
I didn’t want it to end! Surprised by Love is the third book in Julie Lessman’s The Heart of San Francisco series. I loved the first two in this series, so I was extremely excited to read this one. I was positive that Ms. Lessman couldn’t possibly top Dare to Love Again, which is the second book in this series, but she did! I have no idea how, but her books just keep getting better! The descriptions and details were wonderful, as always. I loved the little known historical facts she threw in here and there, which were very interesting, without detracting from the flow of the story. I was engrossed from page one and didn’t want to put it down. The characters were fascinating and Julie’s writing was fabulous, as expected. Honestly, she could probably write a textbook on some very boring-to-me topic and I’d think it was great. There were several times when it was almost poetic and touched my heart very deeply. Julie has yet to disappoint me and I doubt she will, until she quits writing. Megan McClare is the “middle” McClare child. We’ve met her in past books and she was always very shy and rather awkward. She had glasses and braces, and was not the thinnest person ever. When she returns home from spending her senior year of school in Paris, no one recognizes her. She grew and changed in many ways. Aside from outward appearance, her aspirations have also undergone a change. I had adored Meg from the first moment we met her, but I truly fell in love with her in this book. She is so sweet and caring, careful of the feelings of others, and always looking out for everyone. She still struggles with self-esteem issues and being confident in who she has become, even though she is no longer the awkward young lady she was before. I loved this quote that is used a couple times throughout the story. “True confidence blooms in the soil of a relationship with God, in following His path rather than one’s own, pursuing His truth rather than the world’s.” - Mrs. Rousseau, page 369 I enjoyed watching Megan grow throughout the story and discover the truth behind this quote. Abraham “Bram” Hughes is the hero in this story. We know him rather well from Love At Any Cost, the first book in the series. He is the most serious on of the “Three Musketeers,” as the guys call themselves. He is the one most of them turn to for Godly advice and counsel. He is also Meg’s best friend. He is steadfast, strong, committed, kind, loving, handsome, and many other things. I particularly loved his kindness and compassion toward Meg. He is her anchor and has been for most of her life. But, he’s always seen her as a little sister, so when she returns and he suddenly doesn’t see her that way anymore, it confuses things. He struggles with how to still treat her the same and what to do with his unwanted feelings. I loved how realistic he is, especially in his struggles, not just with attraction, but also with his past mistakes. He is weighed down by guilt, but feels he deserves it, so he makes no effort to escape. I enjoyed his journey, as he found love and freedom, in rather unexpected places.When I first found out this was to be Meg and Bram’s book, I couldn’t figure out how on earth that was going to work out. I was afraid it might be awkward or weird, but it actually made perfect sense the further I read. Who better to fall in love with, than your best friend? I found their romance very sweet and loved following their relationship as they fought to find their footing and adjust to all of the changes in their friendship. Then there was also the on-going relationship between Caitlyn and Logan. I was very excited to see where that would go and also get to know them better. I actually enjoyed the fact that Julie stretched it out through all three books, as it is somewhat secondary and I believe she needed all three to bring it to a comfortable conclusion. Their romance has been on-again-off-again as they struggle through years of history between them, lies, and fears. I’ve loved the progression throughout each story and the anticipation of wondering where they would go from here. I did almost pitch the book somewhere at one point, because I was just so mad at them. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because the ending was so sigh-worthy. As much as I adore the characters, the relationships, and everything else about Julie’s books, I have to say that my favorite part is always the spiritual journey the characters go on. I love reading Julie’s books because I know I will always be challenged and encouraged in my faith. I love how the theme isn’t the same throughout the story, but rather it changes and progresses as the characters grow. A couple of the main themes that kind of carry on are forgiveness, and giving your plans and dreams to the Lord. I have already mentioned that Bram struggles with guilt, so forgiveness is a big deal for him. He believes he is redeemed and accepted by God, but still feels he must make restitution. This quote just struck me, “. . . he knew in God’s eyes in no one else’s, he was a man redeemed by a humble carpenter from Nazareth who had given His all. A man who had lain His life down so Bram could be free.” - Bram Hughes, page 351 Julie is very talented at taking something that often seems so simple and giving it new meaning. As for the other part, Meg, Logan, and Caitlyn all must learn to trust the Lord’s plans and to give their desires to Him. I really appreciated how she handles this subject and the others. She portrays them with honesty. They are extremely difficult and she shows them as such. The characters struggle with them, they fall down, they get upset, but they also get back up again. We are always left with the hope that even when they fail, they can be redeemed. As a general rule I hate reading the last book in a series and this one is no exception. Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful, which is part of the problem. I dreaded the end of this book, because I knew it meant saying “goodbye.” I’ve had three books to fall in love with the McClares and letting them go in the space of just a few pages didn’t seem like enough. One thing is for sure, I will be “visiting” the characters and these books again and again. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a compelling story with realistic characters that will challenge and encourage you. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in anyway. All opinions expressed are my own. *Please note, all quotations used with permission from the author. No infringement intended.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
If you haven’t read a book by Julie Lessman you don’t know what you’re missing. Her stories and characters are so rich and real. I love how she layers subplots into the story and they are just as interesting as the main plot. Meg is a wonderful, sweet character. She has recently undergone a major transformation. What Julie did, that I so appreciated, was she made clear that Meg knew it didn’t really matter what her outside looked like, her heart is what really mattered and she hadn’t changed at all. She was still sweet and still loved Jesus and wanted to help others. Bram is a torn hero. He is so used to Meg being more like a little sister but what happens when he lays eyes on this beautiful woman. The strain in the relationship is hard on them both. Julie writes romances that will stir your heart and have you aching for the characters. You will feel what they feel and long for the things they long for. This is the third book in a series but I think you can easily read this without having read the first two and not be lost. Julie makes you feel like you have always been a part of the family. Historical romance lovers will devour this book :) A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.