A Sparkling Vintage Life

inspirational fiction

Sparkling Vintage Book Review: Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

surprised by love coverBe honest now–who among us did not, at one time or another, dream of being Cinderella? I know I did–to suddenly be transformed from an awkward adolescent with quirky hair, bad skin, and a full metal jacket of braces, not to mention oddball interests like classical music and old books, into a smooth-haired beauty who was kind and gracious to boot, seemed like the ultimate transformation. All without any particular effort on my part, of course.

In Julie Lessman’s new novel, Surprised by Love (#3 in the Heart of San Francisco series), set in early-20th-century San Francisco, Megan McClare has always been a shy, awkward child, mocked by classmates, until she returns home from a year spent in Paris. Who is this beautiful butterfly who has shed her ugly cocoon? With her sights set on a professional career, Megan begins working at the  district attorney’s office with none other than Devin Caldwell, the meanest of the mean boys from her past–and the secret object of her affections. (*Sigh*–isn’t that always the way?) How is she supposed to work alongside him every day with all these conflicting feelings tumbling around within her?

As she’s done her whole life, Megan tries to lean on her dear friend Bram Hughes–but what’s this? Bram is no longer the good buddy he’s always been–now he’d like to be her beau. But–but–Oh, dear, what a pickle!

I have only a couple small quibbles with this book. One is the stereotypical emphasis on fixing physical flaws–I know that’s a central element of the plot, but some of the things Megan had “fixed”–her freckles for example–are not universal signs of ugliness. I, for one, find freckles absolutely charming. And how much better to be able to see, with the help of thick lenses, than to do without? Also, once in a while, the believability factor is stretched to its limit. A lot can happen in a year–but a complete transformation in which close friends and family claim to not recognize you? Seems a bit of a leap.

Nonetheless, fans of Julie Lessman’s highly entertaining brand of romantic inspirational fiction, as well as ugly-duckling transformation stories, will fall in love with Surprised by Love.It might help to read the first two books in the series (Love at Any Cost and Dare to Love Again) to get the lay of the land before reading this third book.

Disclosure: I’ve been given a review copy of this book by the publisher. This generosity, while appreciated, has not biased my review. I also post some of my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Sparkling Vintage Fiction: In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

in perfect time coverProlific author Sarah Sundin has earned a well-deserved reputation for writing compelling inspirational stories set during World War II. Her latest book, In Perfect Time, is no exception.

In Perfect Time , the third book in the Wings of the Nightingale series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores), captures all the flavor and energy of World War II. Details of this compelling historical period are so vivid, you can almost hear Tommy Dorsey’s band warming up in the background.

Pretty, flirtatious flight nurse Kay Jobson has one goal in mind: to become an Army Air Force Chief Nurse, which would require additional training. The trouble is, Kay’s supervisors think she’s not serious about her career, due to the fact that she’s out on the town practically every night with a different fellow. Little do they know that her carefree, devil-may-care exterior masks a deeply wounded heart. But whatever you do, don’t talk to Kay about religion–she doesn’t want to hear it.

Only one man can see past Kay’s glamorous appearance to glimpse the hurting child inside. Lieutenant Roger Cooper experienced a rather colorful past of his own, and he recognizes Kay’s pain for what it is. Seemingly inoculated to the feminine charms that other men fall for, Roger understands that while “religion” in the wrong hands can cause great harm, “religion” has little to do with genuine faith. Will he be able to make Kay see it, too?

And, hey, flyboy…are you really so steel-hearted against Kay’s allure as you have led everyone to believe? Hmm. Read In Perfect Time and find out!

UPDATE: Visit Sarah’s Facebook page to enter to win a Kindle HDX (contest runs until 8/24)!

Also, Sarah’s giving away a free copy of In Perfect Time on the “Inspired by Life and Fiction” blog. Only those in the U.S. are eligible to win. To enter, visit the blog “Inspired by Life and Fiction” and leave a comment on Sarah’s post.  Check back on that post next Saturday (8/23) to see if you won!

Disclosure: I’ve been given a review copy of this book by the publisher. This generosity, while appreciated, has not biased my review. I also post some of my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.