Saturday, January 25, 2014
Dare to Love Again - A Review
Publisher - Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, available January 2014
Author - Julie Lessman
Series - Heart of San Francisco #2
Format - ebook, paper
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Allison McClare is busy teaching at the school for young girls that her mother has opened near San Francisco's Barbay Coast. She has also sworn off men after her heart was broken one too many times. Detective Nick Barone (long e) is determined to keep the streets safe. When he meets the beautiful young teacher, sparks fly, along with verbal barbs. Alli longs for her family to allow her some independence while they want to shelter and protect her. When Nick is offered the chance to teach Alli how to defend herself on the streets, he reluctantly agrees. Yet the more time he spends with the sassy young teacher, the more he finds that the streets aren't the only thing that he needs to keep safe - his heart is in danger as well. For her part, Alli is bound and determined not to let another man have the opportunity to break her heart. But is she willing to Dare to Love Again when she finds herself falling for the handsome detective?
I think that I can safely say that I've "left my heart in San Francisco" with Julie Lessman's new series. I was delighted to return to world of the McClare family and read Alli's story. True, this family is not the O'Connor family of Julie's previous books, but, you know what? That's ok. To see a writer create a new series with memorable characters when so many fans are love her other characters and are reluctant to say goodbye to them takes talent. And I love that.
I truly loved this book. I think my favorite character in it is a little girl named Lottie. The way that she gets Nick and Alli to both realize that maybe God has something in store for them. I also loved being reunited with Cassie and Jamie from the first book of the series. I found Nick's struggle to separate the rich socialite who hurt him in his past from Alli to be very real. He truly didn't want to like - let alone love - Alli at all. But underneath everything, I found him to be a bit a teddy bear. Especially when he was around Lottie, the other girls from the orphanage, Miss Penny, and eventually Alli. Alli for her part is very hurt and wounded. She has walls built around her heart to protect her from being hurt again. And once Cassie talks some sense into her and reminds her of Who actually holds her future, Alli comes across as less spoiled brat and more gentle, compassionate woman. So while I didn't like her too much at the beginning, by the end I loved how her character changed and grew.
Julie refers to herself as the Certified Drama Queen, and that title is very aptly earned in the pages of her writing. There is drama from the first page to the last page. And the way the drama is woven into the entire story doesn't make it seem like one big climax after another. No, it's subtle at times, yet it kept my attention through the entire story. Also there are two romance lines in the book. The romance between Nick and Alli and the continuing romance between Logan and Caitlyn. While this book could be read as a stand alone title, I recommend reading the first in the series before picking up this one.
I received this book for free from Revell Book for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
Recommended to fans of family drama, romance, Julie Lessman, Nora Roberts, Gone with the Wind, Jody Hedlund.
Rating - 5 stars