Review (plus a Giveaway!): Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman

Posted November 6, 2015 by meezcarrie in Christian, contemporary, Julie Lessman, romance / 61 Comments

isle of hope header

about the book


She stole his heart.
He stole her peace.
Can hope steal their pain?

At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack Carmichael, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all?

-Available to Purchase-


about the author

julie cute

Julie Lessman, award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. Julie has garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her latest novel, Surprised by Love, appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s list of Top Ten Novels of 2014. Her indie book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.

You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at, or through FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus, or Pinterest, as well as sign up for her newsletter. Check out Julie’s group blog, The SeekersWriters Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 “Best 101 Websites for Writers,” and Julie’s own personal blog, Journal Jots, voted blog of the month in the Readers’ Choice poll of Book Fun Magazine.

Connect with Julie online:

her website





book snippet

Click this link to read an excerpt from Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman.

author interview julie lessman

“Speaking of tingles on one’s tongue…” How do YOU think I finished that sentence? lol

Read my interview with the kissing queen, Julie Lessman, to find out!


I’m actually still sitting here processing this book – it’s that good and that touching and that … well, that “everything” we search for in compelling fiction.  We don’t find it all that often, though; at least, not all the pieces coming together at once to create a story so moving that you know you are no longer the same for having read it.  I can count on one hand, in fact, the number of books that I have not merely enjoyed but ingested and absorbed into my soul.  Isle of Hope will now forever (and ever, amen) be included in this list.

The O’Bryens and the Carmichaels are two families separated by more than a privet hedge, padlocked gates, and block-out-the-world window blinds.  They’ve been ripped apart by an ocean of bad decisions piling on top of bad decisions piling on top of betrayal and bitterness and heartbreak.  With the impeccable talent synonymous with her name, Julie Lessman takes an honest, few-holds-barred look at the price of sin and the cost of forgiveness.  Isle of Hope will tear out your heart and put it back together, a little sore for the process but sweetly soothed all the same.  It’s emotional and raw and convicting … but healing.

The characters… lol. They just move on in to your heart and take up residence, even without an invitation.  Some of them sneaked in despite my best intentions! Tess – perky, persistent, heart-on-her-sleeve, not afraid of awkward conversations Tess.  I think she’s my favorite.  Her story is hers to tell so I’ll let her tell it but oh please make sure you read Isle of Hope and meet her.  I don’t think her story is finished quite yet either so I’m already looking ahead with great anticipation to future books in the series. Jack and Lacey made me weep and laugh and swoon and curl my toes and forget to breathe  – sometimes all of those reactions at once. Like Tess (and Ben and Adam and Cat and Shannon and everybody else in Isle of Hope), their story is not mine to spoil but it has certainly inked a tattoo in my spirit that won’t fade any time soon.

About this time in the review, you might be asking… “That all sounds well and good, Carrie, but what about the KISSING??” Never fear, my faithful romantics!! There are kisses and sparks and HEAT aplenty!!!!! Ooooh boy- are there ever! Make sure you have a fan handy when you sit down to read Isle of Hope – and perhaps additional oxygen? A fainting couch would not be amiss.

Bottom Line: Isle of Hope may in fact be not only Julie’s best novel so far but also her most important.  Long time fans will embrace this contemporary series as they have her historicals, I have no doubt. If I could pick a word (besides WOW) that summarizes the theme of this book, I could certainly choose from many – forgiveness, healing, love, redemption.  But I think the best choice would be “hope”. The word “hope” in the title represents many things throughout the story – and different things to the different characters. To define it for you here would be to spoil several plot points so I will refrain except to say that, just like its holiest meaning, Hope does not disappoint.

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)


giveaway SLBT

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Or click here)

In addition to the awesome Rafflecopter giveaway linked above, Julie Lessman is doing a giveaway to celebrate the end of this great blog tour.  Here’s what she said:

SOOOO … GET A CHARACTER NAMED AFTER YOU IN THE ISLE OF HOPE PAPERBACK (yes, I said Isle of Hope because I’m still editing the paperback) & THE REVISED EBOOK PLUS A COPY by reading the review and interview on Reading Is My SuperPower and commenting on that post. NOTE: Randomizer will draw a random winner from comments left on the blog-tour posts at the links listed below ONLY, not on my FB page.
PLUS … extra entry points for commenting on any of the other FABULOUS reviews in the Singing Librarian Books blog tour listed below. NOTE: Anyone who has already commented is automatically entered in this random-draw contest with one point. CONTEST ENDS SUNDAY, 11/8 AT MIDNIGHT & WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED HERE ON MY Julie Lessman‘s) FB PAGE, SO GOOD LUCK!!”

Comment below to be entered, or comment on my interview with Julie from earlier today.

You can also enter by commenting on any of the tour posts from the schedule below.

ABANNER_Denise Quote

tour schedule SLBT

November 1–Singing Librarian Books
November 2–Just Commonly
November 3–Between the Pages | Anna Weaver Hurtt, Author
November 4–Faith, Fiction, and Fun
November 5–Buzzing About Books
November 6–Reading is My Super Power | Smiling Book Reviews
​November 7–Wishful Endings

If you are interested in becoming a Singing Librarian Books tour participant, apply HERE.

singing librarian book tours//

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61 responses to “Review (plus a Giveaway!): Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman

  1. I always love your beautiful reviews, Carrie – thank you for reviewing a book that is near and dear to my heart, as is it’s author. I read the unrevised draft of ‘Isle of Hope’ several months ago – God’s anointing on it was so strong, it touched me so deeply that I still become emotional talking/writing about it, even after reading it a second time. Add to that the fact it reflects some issues from my own past, you will even better understand why it had that effect on me – since you’ve also read it.

    I’m thrilled beyond words that readers are loving ‘Isle of Hope’, and feel God will use it to draw many of them closer to Him, while healing their other relationships. When I recently reviewed ‘Isle of Hope’, mentioning I felt it was Julie’s best work (novel) so far- I was met with some skepticism (how could she top her historical novels??). Judging from the reviews coming in, other readers are undoubtedly feeling the same – and yes, I agree that ‘Isle of Hope’ is Julie’s most important novel. I know it holds a special significance to her – wrought through some personal experiences from her past, and a writing sabbatical to commune with Him. Two of the reasons it is so powerful!!

    • Oh Bonnie, yes! Such a powerful & anointed book – I can tell that she spent time with her Father before and during writing it. It shows!! I’m STILL thinking about this book this evening. And probably will for several days. Sweet Bonnie, thankful for your tender heart toward Jesus & Julie 🙂

      • julielessman

        Carrie, I have to admit, one of the nicest things about this fabulous blog tour that Sydney put together is getting to know YOU!! We obviously share the same taste in romance (smile), so if you are ever in Osage Beach, Missour, PLEASE let me know so I can buy you a coffee and pastry, okay?

        Hugs and more hugs,

        P.S. You’re going on my blog-tour list for book 2 in the Isle of Hope series, whether you want to or not, okay? 😉 It’s called Everlasting Love, and it’s Shannon’s story, due out in 6-8 months, I hope (and pray!). 🙂

        • Ummmm YES PLEASE!! To all of the above 🙂 Now I need to go look up how close Osage Beach is to the route we take to my inlaws in KS haha! Cannot wait to read Shannon’s story and hey – if you’re ever anywhere near Lexington, KY, I wanna buy YOU a coffee and pastry 🙂 Hugs to infinity!! ~Carrie

  2. Trixi

    Hello Carrie and Julie!! Enjoyed the review and the blog tour… you said Julie, I do get around 🙂 I follow several blogs and sometimes discover new blogs through them. I enjoy reading other people’s reviews on different books, it helps me to get to know both the writer and the writing better. You already know I want to read this 😀 Thanks for another chance….blessings you two!!!

    • julielessman

      LOL, Trixi, and I’m glad you do like to “get around,” my friend, because then authors like me get to know YOU too, which is awesome!! Anxious to see what you think of IOH, Trixi, so hurry up and win, already, okay? 😉

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK!

  3. Hi Carrie. Your reviews are always on point and I just love how you describe the many different themes boiling down to hope. Yes, with hope, all things are possible. O, and I would love to meet up one day and talk nothing but books with you! 🙂

    • julielessman

      Hey, Annie, someone asked me in a blog interview that if I could have a luncheon, who would I invite? And I told her I would invite all my favorite blogger friends that I’ve gotten close to so we can chat and eat nonstop!! And I actually did that in Atlanta once. I have about 6 or 7 good blogger friends who live down there, and since the friend I was staying with LOVES to cook, she and I threw a luncheon for those blogger friends and had a blast!! Wish we could do that too … 🙂


      • Julie! That sounds like a lot of fun! We need to do that here in MD or maybe in KY with Carrie! There’s also Missouri, never been. Always a good reason to travel! If only we can get a group together! =)

  4. Hi Carrie:

    You wrote:

    “‘Isle of Hope’ may in fact be not only Julie’s best novel so far but also her most important.”

    Now while I have not read “Isle of Hope” yet, I’ve read Julie’s other books. I think the seven books that make up the “O’Connor Boston” series are so well written and so timeless in passion, that they will be read with equal enjoyment hundreds of years from now. Now that’s what I call important work.

    It is possible that “Isle of Hope” really is the best of all Julie’s work. However, what is even more possible is that your review may well be the best of all Julie’s reviews — for all her books. I’ve often read books that I’ve wished I had written, however, this is the first review I’ve read that I wish I had written.



    • Vince, wow! thank you so much!!! I so appreciate your encouragement. And I completely agree with you about Julie’s other books – but oh my goodness Isle of Hope is just in a class by itself!

    • julielessman

      WOW, Vince, I am BEYOND honored for you to show up on one of my blog giveaways, my friend, and ESPECIALLY for your kind words. I totally agree that Carrie’s review absolutely BLEW me out of the water, which is why I kicked off this Weekend Contest to hopefully draw some people her way. I’ll tell you one thing, Carrie is not a permanent name on my blog-tour list whether she wants to be or not, and incidentally, Vince, you were too! I sent out 3 or 4 emails to you about my blog tour, but didn’t hear back, so I’m guessing I have your wrong address?

      Anyway, we’ll rectify that on the blog tour for book 2, I promise.

      Hugs and more hugs!

  5. Kathryn Voss

    I have loved all of Julie’s books, and I’m itching to get into this new one. Her writing uplifts and challenges me. It’s never a waste of time to read her work!

    • julielessman

      Aw, Kate, I hope you still think that AFTER you finish Isle of Hope, which PRAISE GOD, we finally got on your Kindle today — YAY!! Can’t wait to see what you think, my friend!


      P.S. If you win this contest, you can have your choice of one of my other books if you like, okay?

  6. Tiffany

    I love everything Julie writes, and she is one of those “Automatic Buys” for me! I can’t wait to get my greedy little paws on this one! Its going to be sooooo good! Thanks for all your good reviews!

    • julielessman

      LOL, TIFFANY … those are two words that are music to my ears — “Auto-Buy”!! 😉

      And I can’t wait for you to get your “greedy little paws” on it either because I’m “greedy” to know what you think, so GOOD LUCK!!


  7. Virginia

    Isle of Hope..takes us on a whole new journey…about love, family, friends, and forgiveness. reading this book right now, seeing how words, can hurt, harm and heal…it’s all in the way they are used. Julie book is as much as devotional as a novel.

    • julielessman

      Okay, VIRGINIA, you just made me tear up, girlfriend — what a BEAUTIFUL thing to say, that “Julie’s book is as much as devotional as a novel”!!! Thank you SOOOO much, that means more than I can say because it was a very spiritual experience for me — both when I was going through my restoration with my dad at the age of 23 AND writing about it in IOH. I am beyond blessed by your words, my sweet friend!

      Hugs and more hugs,

  8. Lisa Daus

    Great review. I totally agree with you that Wow is a great way to describe this book. It really does take time to sit there and process it all. I absolutely fell in love with all of the characters and this book!!!!

    • julielessman

      LISA!!! You are SUCH a doll, my friend — THANK YOU for posting such a great review on Amazon, my friend, and I am entering you in my newsletter contest for doing so, so GOOD LUCK!! AND I encourage you to enter the IOH contest on the CONTEST page of my website since posting a review accrues extra points, okay? Thanks for coming by and here’s hoping it nets you a win. 🙂


  9. Dorina Russu

    I absolutely LOVE Julie’s books and could not wait for IOH to come out!
    I love how IOH made me go through so many different emotions: I laughed, cried, was angry and my heart even fluttered during some parts! However, I am amazed that at the same time this book inspires me to pursue God and have a greater relationship with Him everyday, because it showed how beautiful life can turn around and be when we walk life with Him leading us!
    Thank you Julie for once again hitting home, straight to the heart!

    • julielessman

      Oh, WOW, DORINA, what a beautiful comment, my friend, THANK YOU!! I am so blessed that IOH blessed you, and I’m sorry I made you cry … NOT!! 😉 Seriously, I can’t thank you enough for reading my books, and if you post a review on Amazon for it, PLEASE let me know so I can enter you in my newsletter contest, okay? Plus, like I told Lisa about, I also encourage you to enter the IOH contest on the CONTEST page of my website since posting a review accrues extra points, okay? GOOD LUCK!!
      Hugs and more hugs,

  10. Lientjie Human

    This book has such an important message I can’t wait to read it for myself. Thank you for doing this awesome review.

    • julielessman

      Aw, thanks, LIENTJIE — appreciate your support and your interest, and can’t wait to see what you think of IOH now that you already won it on Kav’s Best Reads blog, so DO let me know, okay?


  11. Lientjie Human

    This book has a very important message, I can’t wait to read it for myself. Thank you for your awesome review.

    • julielessman

      Oh, LIENTJIE, I also forgot to tell you that you are still in the draw for my WEEKEND CONTEST that ends tonight, so GOOD LUCK!!


  12. Salyna

    Lol! I completely agree with everything, you said it way better than I ever could! This book was amazing, bone chilling, and heart stopping. Can the next one come out like, tomorrow? Just kidding.

    • julielessman

      LOL, SALYNA … Oh, how I wish I could put the next one out tomorrow, but I am hoping to get it out in 6-8 months, God willing, and it’s gonna be a good one, I think, or at least I’m excited about it. It’s Shannon’s story, and here’s the blurb for Love Everlasting: A shy romance writer wounded by a man who used her befriends a handsome player who seeks her advice on love—and eventually her heart.

      And, Salyna — “bone chilling, and heart stopping”??? I don’t know, I think you said that pretty darn good, girlfriend!! 😉

      Hugs and more hugs and GOOD LUCK!

  13. Karissa Belfils

    Oh my goodness!!! I absolutely love Julie Lessman’s books!!!! So I was especially excited about her newest one coming out! And I have to say to AMAZING!!!

    • julielessman

      Aw, KARISSA, thank you SO much for your sweet comment, my friend, and thank you again for posting a review — I have you entered in my newsletter contest (and this Weekend Contest, too), girl, so GOOD LUCK!! 🙂


  14. Marissa

    Seriously can’t wait to read this book, Julie. I know it will be inspiring and utterly wonderful as all your books are!! Congrats on your new release 🙂

    • julielessman

      Hey, MARISSA, I have a question for you — did you ever leave a comment for me when I was on Rachel Van Dyken’s FB page?? If so, will you contact me, sweetie, through my website? Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest, you sweet thing!!


  15. What a terrific review of Julie Lessman’s new book, Isle of Hope. The review alone makes me want to read it, but I love Julie Lessman’s writing and am so looking forward to reading her contemporary story. I can’t wait to be carried away!

    • julielessman

      BARBARA, I totally agree about the review being “terrific” — BEYOND terrific, in my opinion, and I am SO grateful to Carrie for writing it AND grateful for your kind words as well, my friend. I promise you this — I will do my level best to “carry you away,” so I hope you enjoy IOH when you read it, which hopefully may be through a win here today!

      Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!

    • julielessman

      SAMANTHA, WOW … you are a very decisive person, my friend, although MOST of the credit goes to Carrie, who can write a review like nobody’s business!! Thanks for your interest, and if you do buy it and like enough to post a review, PLEASE let me know so I can enter you in my contest to have a character named after you in my next book, okay?

      Hugs and HAPPY READING!!

  16. Nancy M

    I’m a little behind this week! Is been a long week! But loved the review Carrie! I’m reading Isle of Hope right now! It’s so good! The raving reviews are so correct! And it’s a Julie Lessman book! Love her! I’ll make sure my fainting couch is near by! ? That was great!

    • julielessman

      Aw, thanks SO much, COURTNEY — MUCH appreciated, my friend!! And hopefully IOH will be among them, too, so GOOD LUCK in the contest!


    • julielessman

      Hey, CALLIE, soooo nice to “see” you again, my friend, and you’re not too late for my Weekend Giveaway, so check my FB page tomorrow for the winner, okay?


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