Surprised by Love
Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney's office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school--and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a kid sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?
I've heard about Julie Lessman for the longest time, but never read any of her books. I admit I didn't know that Surprised by Love was the third book in a series; granted I did think that it was the second, so I knew I wouldn't be starting the series in order. Still, I wasn't really planning on starting at the end, either.
Aside from some expected confusion at the beginning (all of those relatives and who's-related-to-whom and who's-engaged-or-married-to-whom) I didn't find it terribly hard to follow.
What I have to say the most about this book was that it wasn't bad; it just wasn't my taste. I love historical fiction (and even a good romance at times) but this wasn't written in a way I particularly enjoy. I like more plot and development, and this story mostly consisted of emotional drama. Though I did like Meg and Bram very much, I downright disliked the storyline between Cait and Uncle Logan. Though I do understand that I didn't have all the backstory of the previous books, so much of the drama surrounding their relationship just seemed unnecessary. Cait drove me up the wall and though Logan made some bad decisions that disappointed me, I'm not surprised he lost his temper with her- I would have too. Also *SPOILER* though I didn't care for Andrew, I found his involvement with the brothels a little difficult to believe, given the way he was helping to shut them down. Again, take my view with a grain of salt because maybe his previous appearances in the other books portray him differently, but based on Surprised By Love alone, it seemed a little contrary to his character, and seemed more like a convenient excuse for Cait to break her engagement to him- one that I hoped wouldn't happen as soon as I saw it hinted at (when Meg first got the list). It just seemed like an "easy way out" for me. *END OF SPOILER*
That's not that there weren't good things about this book (Hey, I learned that contact lenses existed back then!) but the style of writing seemed a little ordinary to me. (It felt just like the typical Christian Fiction Romances that I read so often in my early teenage years ;) Still, I did like Meg and Bram's relationship for the most part, and I liked how close the McClares were as a family and how that was portrayed. I was also thankful that Meg's story, at least, was much less of a love triangle than the book description seemed to suggest!
Rating: 6 1/2
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.