Saturday, December 20, 2014

Trilogy Review: The Heart of San Francisco (By: Julie Lessman)

The Heart of San Francisco Trilogy
By Julie Lessman

This exciting trilogy is made up of the following three books: Love At Any Cost, Dare To Love Again, and Surprised By Love. It reads as a good cross between historical and modern day fiction.

The entire series revolves around the McClare family: wealthy, Nob Hill residents in early 20th century San Francisco, who are grieving the early death of their patriarch, Liam. Left behind are his widow, Caitlin McClare, his brother Logan McClare, and his children Blake, Alli, Megan and Maddy. Also mixed in with this family are Blake's best friends, Bram Hughes and Jamie McKenna. At the very start, plenty of family history is revealed, the most prevalent storyline being that Logan and Caitlin were once engaged. Logan broke Cait's heart, which threw her into the arms of his brother to whom she was happily married for 26 years. Logan became the perfect, gentlemanly brother-in-law during that time, his formal betrayal forgiven by Cait. But now, 26 years later and with Liam passed away, Logan and Cait fight the chemistry that is threatening to rise to the surface after a long, long deep burial.

In the first book, Love At Any Cost, cousin Cassidy McClare arrives to spend the summer with the family. She is recovering from a broken heart, brought about by a fortune hunter who withdrew his love when her family's oil fields - and thus, wealth - dried up. Friend of the family Jamie begins to fall for her, but has a problem: It has been his steadfast mission to marry into wealth. This book is full of real faith, exciting chemistry, and stunning plot twists - including one near the end that nearly made our hearts stop beating. The first book in this series actually made it onto our Golden List!

The second book, Dare To Love Again, centers on feisty oldest daughter Alli, as she fights for her heart's greatest desire: independence. She fiercely loves her family, but desires to be free to do things as she pleases. She has a strong relationship with the Lord, mainly resulting from having her heart broken several times, and has decided that He and her calling to teach are enough for her. She meets Nick, the cop who patrols the school's neighborhood, and who wants to keep her safe, and the sparks begin to fly - but not the good kind. Between both of their tempers and pride, they fight from day one but reluctantly begin to work together. This book also includes a wonderful plot twist and ending that left us wanting more!

In the final book of this trilogy, Surprised By Love, we finally get to see Megan's story blossom. Meg has long been the wallflower of the family; the insecure, homely girl that was noticed only to be teased. Her family has been her constant source of unconditional love, especially family friend Bram Hughes, who has acted as a big brother to her. But as Meg grows up and blossoms into a stunning beauty, Bram is suddenly conflicted by his new attraction to her and the course he was planning for his life. Again (as Julie Lessman is sooo good at!!), faith issues and squeal factor play large roles in this book!. We are also given satisfying conclusions to several other storylines that were picked up earlier in the trilogy.

So onto our criteria:

Storyline - Julie Lessman is one of the best. Her writing is intelligent, descriptive and flows nicely together. Her storylines are fairly original and she excellently works out plot twists to satisfying conclusions. She keeps us on our toes!

Depth - The depth in these books is tied very closely with faith. Each character deals with real life issues, and then must wrestle with these issues and God. Author Julie isn't afraid to let her characters experience hard realities about life, and she doesn't tie them up neatly with a bow for some quick solutions. But she reminds readers that alongside these painful moments in life is the beauty of family and that there is always something to be thankful for.

Faith - All three books delve into deep spiritual issues that everyone must wrestle with during their lives. Jesus is a very real, personal Savior in her books, desiring to be involved in every aspect of the characters' lives. Of particular note in this trilogy is a theme of the heroines' high respect for themselves and for purity. As a result, the men in their lives are held to a high standard and forced to examine their own hearts as they line up with God. The ladies absolutely do not accept a man's simple word that he "believes in God" - they want to see it. And when they don't, they don't settle.

Squeal Factor - As if these books weren't already good enough, author Julie adds the cherry on top by giving us plenty of heart-racing tenderness and touching moments between the various couples. 

Overall - this series is a must read!


  1. OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!

    Michelle and Melissa, not only does this review TOTALLY bless the socks off of me, but it is absolutely one of THE BEST reviews I have EVER read!! Beautifully written and planned out, it is an excellent example of all a review should be, and I am truly honored, so THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

    Hugs and more hugs,

  2. Julie - Thank you for reading our review! We thoroughly enjoyed this entire series and look forward to anything else you bring us in the future. God Bless You!