School teacher by day, ghostwriter by night, sweet and shy Shannon O’Bryen doesn’t mind writing romance on the sly, but to live it? No, thank you, not since the man she loved turned out to be a player who broke both her heart and her spirit. Now focused more on her faith and her fiction, she vows the next time she falls in love, it will be safely—through the pages of a book.
Dr. Sam Cunningham is a charismatic player who breaks hearts as regularly as he washes his pearl-white Corvette. Abandoned as a baby, Sam was an orphan shuffled through the foster-care system, bitterly driven to prove he is worthy of love—the kind that lasts forever. Once he learns Shannon is a romance writer, he enlists her help in winning back his ex-girlfriend. She teaches him about faith and the true definition of love, and he soon discovers he’s been seeking it in the wrong place all along—and with the wrong girl. But can he convince a woman who’s been burned by love to open her eyes—and her heart—to a love everlasting?
SERIES: Isle of Hope #2
GENRE: Contemporary Romance, Christian Fiction
RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2016
“We serve the very God Who created hope for moments like this.”
First of all… I can’t even begin to talk about Love Everlasting until I talk about the dedication. I always read the dedications in books. I’m kind-of a sucker for them. But this one is especially special to me.
To Bonnie Roof – One of the dearest friends I’ve ever known and a true gift from God. Our friendship – like God’s love – will last forever.
See, like she is for Julie Lessman, Bonnie Roof is a true gift from God in my life as well. Bonnie’s friendship is one that I wasn’t expecting. When I first met her at Laura Frantz’s book signing a little over a year ago, I had no idea that she would quickly become one of the dearest people in my life. Needless to say, Julie’s dedication perfectly spoke my heart over Bonnie as well, and their mutual tendency toward tears must have rubbed off on me while we were in Nashville because I have to admit that I was already weepy before I’d made it PAST THE DEDICATION. hahaha! Oh goobers.
Anyway … on to the book.
Julie Lessman is one of the uncontested queens of romantic chemistry in fiction, and Love Everlasting proves why. In fact, just go ahead right now and grab a fan or ten, buy that fainting couch you’ve had your eye on, and keep a clear path to the freezer. Because you’ll need all of these supplies and possibly alternate sources of oxygen by the time you’re finished reading this book. I mean, anytime a book starts out with the line “Okay, smile pretty – hot guys at three o’clock” you can at least hope there’s plenty of swooning on the horizon. With Julie Lessman at the helm, it’s virtually a guarantee.
And considering that Sam and Shannon are forming a friendship through the first half of the book – in order to help Sam win back Jasmine – most of the sizzle and spark is courtesy of the relationship between Tess and Ben, a story arc carried over from book one, Isle of Hope. This is not to say that theirs are the only sizzle and sparks to be had. Not at all. Sam does not have the nickname “Dr. Love” for nothing… he can pretty much just be there on the page, grinning, and you’ll hear the crackle of electricity.
But what I love most about Love Everlasting goes beyond the moments that had me reaching for my trusty fan. It’s Sam at his most vulnerable, despite that he has a “masters in roguery”. It’s looking past the Dr. Love persona to the little boy inside, still in desperate need of everlasting love. It’s a tender friendship I didn’t see coming. And then another one. And then one more.
And oh goodness, could I relate to Shannon!
“That same truth that shattered my world was also what finally set me free.”
That statement that Shannon makes to Sam could easily be my own life’s theme. Shannon and I both worked hard to keep up our “good girl” images for so long that they self-combusted in mutiny and nearly took us out along with them. We both had to learn (the hard way – but the lasting way) that “no matter who, no matter what, no matter why – your peace, your joy, your hope rests only in Him.”
Bottom Line: Julie Lessman may be the queen of romance but she’s also bravely serving up some stories lately that dig deep into the marrow of your soul. Important themes – the toughest wounds to forgive, the hardest betrayals to overcome – share the page with healing and hope and THE ultimate love everlasting, the love of Jesus for you and for me. Lest you think this is a sermon wrapped up in a pretty cover, never fear! Plenty of Julie’s trademark humor and spirit and spice are all over this book, too. You will fall in love with the O’Bryen family; their love for Jesus and for each other is warmly infectious and impossible to ignore. I’m already eagerly waiting on book 3!
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 4 stars / LOVE it!
KissingBook Level: 5 / FREEZER ALERT
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.”
Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series—A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her “Winds of Change” series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010.
Other Books in this Series
What about you? Do you relate more to “Dr. Love” or “the good girl”?