Historical author Julie Lessman has taken on a new challenge: writing contemporary fiction. Did she succeed?
Oh, yes, she did!
Isle of Hope (visit Amazon.com for a plot synopsis) is deeply emotional, full of character twists and plot turns, and every word echoes the theme of the novel’s original title – UNFAILING LOVE.
Lessman’s latest novel is starkly different from her usual inspirational, almost-edgy Christian historical fiction, yet her voice rings true throughout this contemporary story of two families’ lives and the events that almost rip them apart irreparably. And in the story of the faith and unyielding Love that fixes the brokenness in each character, Lessman’s voice is stronger yet.
Isle of Hope is filled with elements of Lessman’s own faith journey and experiences, and may be her most autobiographical work yet. Each of her novels contains pieces of herself, as she readily admits, and you’ll get to know Lessman as you read her books. I’ve never read another author whose novels so clearly show the reader their author’s heart, and it’s quite endeared Julie Lessman to me.
Note: This novel features complex faith, relationship, and family elements as part of the protagonists’ journey throughout the book. Characters struggle with parents’ actions and attitudes, relationship trouble, and some emotional difficulty. However, there is a redeeming ending – and no little mending of relationships by the conclusion. Just don’t expect your grandmother’s Christian fiction!
**A Glimmer of Hope, a prequel novella to Isle of Hope, is available for preorder now at Amazon.com for only $0.99. It releases March 1!**
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Recommended for: mature readers of Christian fiction who don’t mind an edgier voice in inspirational fiction (Lessman is known for writing more passionate content in her books, though nothing inappropriate or clearly ‘not-Christian’); mature readers who can accept the rough journey of the protagonists from adolescence to adulthood; readers who appreciate a fictional story based on a romance and a prominent faith journey; fans of Lessman’s historical fiction who’d like to try her contemporary voice.