Monday, April 15, 2013

"Love at Any Cost: A Novel (The Heart of San Francisco)" by Julie Lessman

Paperback $14.99
ISBN-13: 978-0800721671
Release: April 15, 2013
About the book: Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache, Cassidy travels west. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. When Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than he is, Cassidy finds herself bucked by love a second time. Will Jamie discover that money can't buy love after all? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?

With delectable descriptions and a romantic sensibility, bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. Readers will faithfully follow Lessman to the West Coast for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations found in Love at Any Cost. (from

My thoughts:  Travel back to San Francisco of 1902 - just 110 years ago - and visit still vibrant landmarks of the city that still stand and you can still enjoy.  I've dined in the Cliff House, seen the trolleys, visited the Embarquadero, whiffed the fragrant salt air, seen the bay.  San Francisco is a beautiful and memorable place to visit or live.  That is if you have the funds to do so.  Living in San Francisco in 1902 as a pauper along the Barbary Coast was to live a condemned life itself.  The hero of our story, Jamie, was born to an unwed mother and spent his early years living along the Barbary Coast.  A determined boy, his goal was to scrabble his way out of poverty and into a life of the privileged along Nob Hill. And so he did.  As our story begins, he has completed his schooling and has a degree in law.  He is pals with two young men with connections to one of the most wealthy and influential families in San Francisco. At this point in his life he is seeking a wife amongst the wealthy with political connections.  He plans to make it to Nob Hill.

The McClare clan has cousins political connections, money, and a matriarchal head (Caitlyn) who is the widow of a McClare brother. Another McClare brother, Logan, is now the patriarchal head and an influential attorney in the City. Jamie is now a fledgling member of Logan's law firm.

Upon this scene, a McClare cousin from Texas visits.  Cassidy is a spunky, God loving, young woman who is recovering from being spurned by a young man in Texas who leaves her when he finds out that her father's oil wells have gone dry. And Cassidy is all tomboy cowgirl!

Julie Lessman has woven a delectable story of power and poverty, of people and privilege.  The characters are true to life, interesting, and captivating to the reader.  Jamie is a young man that drives for what he wants - marriage to privilege, power, and prestige.  He passionately woes Cassidy (a bit too passionately for my taste).  Cassidy keeps pushing him to distance  himself (arms distance) and just stay "friends." No "courtship" until Jamie turns his heart and life over to God and becomes a man of faith. This is primary to Cassidy in her standard for marriage. She refuses to marry a man whose heart does not belong to God so they can share their faith.

Not all goes well because assumptions prevail as to the wealth of each character.  But when the truth is out, the story takes on another twist.  However, the twist at the end is even more intriguing than I could imagine.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and enjoyed traipsing along San Francisco and environs.  I would prefer a bit less in the passion department.  For Christian fiction, I think we can have characters who don't grope, snuggle, or kiss each other so passionately.  The story was very good.  I'd love to read more in "The Heart of San Francisco" series, but I would encourage Julie Lessman to tone down the passion a bit.

A bit of information on the notorious Barbary Coast:,_San_Francisco?o=2800&qsrc=999

About the Author: 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 2011 Readers' Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Series of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #5 Novel of the Year, and #4 Historical Fiction Author of the year. She resides in Missouri with her family and is the author of The Daughters of Boston series and the Winds of Change series whose first book, A Hope Undaunted, ranked #5 on Booklist's Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010. You can contact Julie through her website at

DISCLOSURE: I was given a complimentary copy of Love at Any Cost in exchange for my honest re view by Revell a Division of Baker Publishing Group. Opinions expressed are solely my own. Book synopsis was taken from the Revell website.

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