January 22, 2014 Rissi JC 15 Comments


Back with her second novel in her newest series, Julie Lessman tackles the sassy Allison McClare’s story, heartaches and the risks she takes to fall in love again.

BOOK REVIEW | ‘The Spice King’: A Historical Novel Sure to be an Experience

STORY: Working with her mother, Caitlyn and cousin, Cassidy at their new school for girls, Allison isn’t an average society girl. This brute of a detective, Nick Barone, soon learns. Through a  series of events, Nick is hired to teach Allison self-defense and what started out as less-than-polite interactions between the two soon blossoms into friendship – even if it’s a tenuous one. While Allison craves independence and living life on the edge of what’s “safe,” Nick changes her outlook on life… he both infuriates her and with time manages to touch her heart. But no matter the time the pair spends together, will Allison be able to trust Nick…? Or is his past riddled with secrets that will again break Allison’s trust in men… and her heart?

Dare to Love Again, by Julie Lessman | Book Review

Just like we’ve come to expect from Lessman’s style of storytelling, all of her “signatures” are here. This book is full of familial ties, sparks (of the romance-y sort) and a sense of unrequited love. Staying true to her familiar elements, Julie explores blossoming (new) romance and counterbalances this against love that spans years. It’s an interesting splice though I cannot always cheer on the latter. Readers who like the love/hate romantic attraction will love Nick and Allison’s interactions and disputes. Detective Barone (pronounced with the long “e,” thank you) is a man who carefully conceals his purpose for being among residents of Nob Hill; it’s these mysterious overtures that keep us guessing what Nick is up too. Nick’s a decent fellow and though not my favorite hero, he fully captures Ally’s heart. Naturally, she’s a spit-fire looking to be taken seriously rather than be coddled by a protective family and would-be beau.

Passion is always an intense theme in these novels and with Dare to Love Again, this thread is more subtle and the prose is less about unhealthy passion between two lovers and more about learning to trust again though physical attraction doesn’t suffer in the least. Of that, I can assure potential readers, no one need worry – their attraction still brims with chemistry.

Anyone who is having a hard time letting go of the O’Conner clan needn’t fret because this family is the same sort of big, boisterous, loving clan. If you read book one in the series, you’ll enjoy catching up with favorite characters, and experience the awkward albeit endearing Meg come into her own (sending her away was an interesting move and though I suspect the author won’t, it’d be interesting to get Meg’s story from a different location perspective – especially one so grand).

Any fan of Julie Lessman will enjoy Dare to Love Again. There’s plenty of mystery (think exciting climax!), romance and spunky characters. This reader is eager to see what comes next in the McClare line!

About the Book:

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Julie Lessman
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere: AmazonGoodreads | WordPress
Shop the Book: Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Series: The Heart of San Francisco – Book 2
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5

Sincere thanks to the publisher, Revell for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Maria January 22, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    Great to hear your thoughts on this one! Sounds like a great book. :)

    • Rissi January 22, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      Thanks for reading, Maria! I hope you enjoy it if/when you read the novel. :)

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com January 22, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Sounds good. I love the cover.

    • Rissi January 22, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      The cover IS gorgeous, Juju; the shading is beautiful. :)

  • Jamie Lapeyrolerie January 22, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    I've heard a ton of good things about this second book already! Excited to read it! Off to enter the giveaway!! :)

    • Rissi January 22, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      Yay! Glad you are excited (any Lessman fan will enjoy it), Jamie… and good luck! :)

  • Rosie Wilson January 22, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    While Dare to Love Again does not bounce to the top of my favorites list, I really enjoyed it. Glad you did too!

    • Rissi January 22, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      Me, too, Rosie! I enjoyed the "cute" romantics and the mystery surrounding Nick. That climax was quite good, albeit showed Alli at her most stubborn. ;)

      Off to read your review next.

    • Rosie Wilson January 22, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      It was well written. I never expected that twist with his identity. Hehehe.


    • Rissi January 23, 2014 at 4:50 AM

      Tell me about it! That was something I didn't see coming – I kept thinking the worst of Nick (those references to "bide time," a in-the-shadows partner, etc.) instead of the best. How could I…? ;)

  • Tressa S January 24, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Fabulous review!!! I definitely need to read this now! It sounds like a book I will really enjoy. Thanks! :)

    • Rissi January 24, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      Hope you enjoy it, Tressa! Julie has a very unique voice on the Christian market and this book from her is one of the favorites. :)

      Thank YOU for reading.

  • Gwendolyn Gage January 25, 2014 at 3:04 AM

    I still have yet to start the O'Connors' story…and I have "A Passion Most Pure" on my kindle. So the hero teaches the heroine jiu-jitsu? This sounds like a fun story!

    • Rissi January 25, 2014 at 4:25 AM

      Really…? I remember enjoying the O'Conner novels though I didn't always like the choices or implications. Hope you enjoy the series, Gwendolyn!

      …and oh, yes! The hero does teach Alli jiu-jitsu though he's quite put out about it. ;)


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