My Thoughts: Annie Kennedy may have gotten herself in over her head now she has moved to Boston from the small-town Iowa lifestyle she knows. Hoping to lose herself in adventure and become a woman world wise – like her elder sister Maggie once did, Annie is looking for her first love. Living with the aunt who never married, disallows her from showing affection and the recent loss of her father has left Annie longing for something to fill the void. Things become complicated when Annie falls under the spell of Steven O’ Connor. Ever since he nearly lost his father, Steven has cleaned up his act. He’s an FBI agent and he no longer dates “good girls” because he can no longer stop himself from falling hard for anyone who appears innocent after his tumultuous relationship with Maggie. Then he meets the sweet Annie – another girl who reminds him of his first love. What he doesn’t know is that loving Annie is only setting him up for more heartbreak – or is it?
I don’t think I usually credit Lessman enough prior to delving into one of her books. Usually, her name splayed across a cover means I recognize that this is a story I am going to enjoy but I never seem to realize just how much that enjoyment will extend. In this, the sixth and final novel in the O’ Connor’s saga, we are again given a story that is a delight to read and leaves us with a happy sigh by the time we have reached the final page. Steven is an interesting hero but he is also one I found myself constantly doubting his sincerity and I didn’t much care for it. Discovering he was a law man made me ridiculously happy (for some reason!); it seemed to suit his character well but I couldn’t help but be disgusted with him. So much of his personality was a contradiction. We are led to believe he is a gentleman – and desperately want to believe that, but then his POV and counter-actions lead us to think the worst of him. It’s a challenge I wasn’t all that fond of and wished that Julie had taken a bit more care in crafting for us an imperfect but more gallant, heroic leading man. Then there is Annie – another story, altogether.
Interestingly enough, from my limited book knowledge, the roaring twenties was the turning point in society as a very “loose, promiscuous” era. It would seem appropriate than that the thirties, which this story takes place in would follow suit. Annie is an eighteen-year-old novice who is desperately trying to shed her naivety and doesn’t realize how precious that quality is. The scenario is a perfect example of what hanging out with the wrong crowd can do to an otherwise, intelligent, “nice” girl. Her choices as the heroine also transition into one of the book’s other plot lines which are the character’s tendencies to lie to their husbands and loved ones. Reading more about Steven’s siblings’, including, Faith, Charity, Lizzie and the rest of the O’ Connor gang was lovely as they had their stories told early on but I grew a bit weary with the secrets the girl’s kept and in the overture of “teasing” the suggestion that their husband’s could grow weary of the wives they married if they didn’t, um, shall we say, properly cajole them into a better mood. For me, it degraded certain characters that I loved but that doesn’t stop me from recommending this passionate story of surrendering one’s past and trusting in a better future – and believe me, if only one word could be used to sum up this series, it’s ‘passion.’ It translates fine onto the pages though its “soft” PG13 rating is sometimes not always used to the best of the character’s advantage and that was unfortunate.
In Summary: Full of passion, mistaken impressions and family, ‘Surrendered’ is a story that confronts the past’s of those who are desperately seeking forgiveness and is in all, a beautiful end to the saga that was the O’ Connor family. First class reading.
Synopsis: Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt. She longs for romance to fill the void left by her parents’ death. But when she falls hard for Steven O’Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart too when he discovers who she really is? With heart-pounding romance, intense family drama, and emotional twists and turns, A Love Surrendered is everything Julie Lessman’s many fans have been waiting for. – from the publisher
Many thanks to the publisher for providing this review copy for the purpose of writing this review
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.