A lifestyle of the heart (A Love Surrendered review and giveaway)

Renee Ann Smith —  October 17, 2012 — 37 Comments

UPDATE: The winner of Julie’s book is Kim! If you see this before I email you, Kim, please contact me. Congrats!

From A Love Surrendered by Julie Lessman:

“If there’s a check in your spirit, we can pray about it. When that happens to me, I just pray for wisdom, close my eyes, and think about each option. Now, you have to be really seeking to follow God’s leading rather than your own, mind you, but if you are, one of the options will usually give you more peace than the other. And that’s the one I generally choose.”

. . . With a giggle of relief, Annie gave Faith a hug. “Perfect! Thank you so much.” She smiled, eyes warm with admiration. “How’d you get so smart anyway?”

A chuckle rumbled from Faith’s lips. “Well, actually, God’s the smart one because His Word tells us how to live in order to reap blessing, and I was lucky enough to learn that early. So when I applied His precepts to my life—things like praying for people who hurt me or staying pure in my relationship with Collin before we married—well, blessings overtook me. Before long, it became a lifestyle of the heart, giving me a wisdom about life I never had before.”

Annie sighed, hope springing in her chest. “Oh, Faith, I want that more than anything.”

Faith grinned. “Then I have the perfect prayer for you—a prayer I’ve prayed daily for years. But a word of warning, Annie,” she said with a hint of mischief. “Don’t pray it unless you’re prepared for God to answer, because He will.”

“What is it?” Annie breathed, adrenaline surging.

“Psalm 139:23&24. ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.'” She squeezed Annie’s hand. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

I wasn’t surprised to find these words of spiritual wisdom in the middle of Julie Lessman’s romantic historical novel. Why? Because the first time I met her, she created a small circle of calm amidst a chaotic writer’s conference when she prayed for me. So I know firsthand that Julie Lessman believes in prayer.

She also believes in sharing the lifestyle of her heart—a vibrant love of God and family—through each wonderful installment of the O’Connor Family Saga. Though this novel features Steven O’Connor and Annie Kennedy, the O’Connors show up full-force to support and mentor the two young people. There’s still a heart-pounding love story—the presence of family just makes that love story all the more special.

You Can't Take It with You directed by Frank Capra

Julie’s O’Connor novels remind me of Frank Capra movies—the kind of moving pictures that focus on large, dramatic, happy families, where every secondary character counts as an integral part of the story. The original feel-good movies. But whether as books or movies, wouldn’t it be great to have an O’Connor Thanksgiving? Or an O’Connor Christmas? . . .

Oh, wait, there is an O’Connor Christmas novel! It’s a prequel that tells the love story of Marcy and Patrick, which is where the O’Connor saga really begins. A Light in the Window: An Christmas Love Story is an e-book available for preorder at this link!

I usually have trouble hanging onto Julie Lessman novels. I bought the Daughter of Boston series twice. The first set is “gone with the wind.” (That’s Julie’s favorite movie!) And the second set is in the hands of a former student, now a mom and mentor, who lends books to her youth group girls. I think I’m not meant to keep Julie’s books to myself.

GIVEAWAY: So I’m giving away this copy of A Love Surrendered. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to be entered in the drawing. (USA only) I’ll let the contest run until Wednesday, October 24th. Feel free to complete any of the bonus entries.

Bonus Entries:

Or if you don’t want to take your chances with a giveaway, purchase A Love Surrendered here.

Want to get to know sweet author Julie Lessman? Connect with her at her website julielessman.com, her Facebook page, or on Twitter.

***And remember, next week our blog hop returns!

This week I’m linking up with Beautiful Thursday, Hearts 4 Home Thursday, and Faith-filled Friday.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

37 responses to A lifestyle of the heart (A Love Surrendered review and giveaway)

  1. Renee I’m jealous that you got to meet Julie Lessman in person!! From reading her books and visiting with her on facebook I can tell she’s a pretty neat lady πŸ™‚ A Love Surrendered was my favorite of The Winds of Change books and A Light in the Window is my favorite of all of the O’Connor books! I love Marcy and Patrick’s relationship! You don’t need to enter me in the give away for A Love Surrendered, I just wanted to leave a comment πŸ™‚
    Julie@ My Favorite Pastime

    • You’ve read A Light in the Window, Julie?! I’m envious–and so glad to know it’s good! . . . Yes, Julie L. is a very neat lady. Actually, I was feeling vain tonight and didn’t like how the pic of when we met came out or I would’ve posted it πŸ™‚ . . . And whether you need to be in the giveaway or not, I’m always glad to see you here! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  2. renee & julie…a great combo. thanks for the chance to read julie’s masterpiece…she is the best πŸ™‚

    ps: i signed up for your newsletter, too.

  3. RENEE!!! I just saw this and was SO touched by the fact that you quoted one of the spiritual scenes from my book, that I teared up … admittedly, not an uncommon thing for me to do, but even so, it blessed the socks off of me!! So THANK YOU for the totally unique and wonderful review and especially for your very kind words — you are a true blessing!!

    I don’t know if you are prone to posting your reviews or not, but if so, I would LOVE to see this one on Amazon, and if you do, please let me know so I can give you points in my review contest, okay? Here’s the link for more information: href=”http://www.julielessman.com/contest/”>JULIE’S CONTEST. But if posting reviews is not your thing, no worries, okay?

    Thank you again, my friend, for not only taking the time to read my books, but for writing such a uniquely WONDERFUL review!!


    • Thanks for your kind words, Julie! I appreciate your true friendliness to all of us who cross your path. God has used you to encourage many–including me! (I posted my reviews!) Blessings!

  4. JULIE … you never fail to bless me, either, you sweet thing!! Thank you SO much for your amazing support and friendship.

    KAREN … you, too, you sweet thing, always blessing the socks off of me with your incredible support and friendship as well. I am BLESSED!!


  5. I’m always envious (in a good way) of Renee’s reviews, Julie! She is as excellent at writing them as you are at writing stories πŸ™‚

    I want in on the giveaway! I’m a follower on FB and I get the blog emails.

    Have a great day, y’all!

  6. I’ve just discovered this series and can’t wait to get to know these characters!
    brendon8 [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  7. Hi Renee and Julie! Thank you so much for this post. I’ve heard SO many great things about this book, as well as, others by Julie.
    I follow by:
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  8. I’m a Julie fan I’m reading Light in the Window now. I could really use her A Love Surrendered to complete the series. I have the other two books thanks for chance to win

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  9. twitter follower
    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  10. email subscriber

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  11. Loved your review and the info about the book. :O)

    I follow you on twitter.

  12. I have read A Hope Undaunted and A Heart Revealed and can’t wait to read the other books about the O’Connor family which I have on my wish list. I have her Daughters of Boston series on my wish list also. I love Julie’s books and would recommend them to everyone who wants to read a great book.

    I am old email suscriber and follower
    Follow on twitter (misskallie2000)
    Liked on FB (Brenda B. Hill)

  13. Renee,
    Great review and I love the scene that you posted. Julie’s not just a fantastic romance writer, she does such a wonderful job at writing these kinds of scenes, as well. I believe someone said recently, it’s like having a Bible study inside of a novel. Makes me cry every time. πŸ™‚ You don’t need to enter me in the drawing as I am reading “A Love Surrendered” right now (and loving it). I just wanted to drop by to say hello and to support my dear friend, Julie.

  14. I am a big fan of Julie’s!! LOVED these stories (still have two … one from each set to read). She does a great job of writing the WHOLE package… the love between God and man (woman) and the love between man and woman. I love that she includes the spiritual aspect all throughout her books… and she does it in such a smooth manner so it’s not stilted or forced. I love that!

    I also love your reviews! One day, I hope to do reviews so well. πŸ™‚

    thanks for the review and the giveaway!


    oh, and I follow via FB, Twitter and email.

  15. I would love to win this book, Enter me!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!
    Sarah Richmond
    sarahrichmond.12 [at] gmail [dot] com

  16. Sounds like a good read. I follow you on facebook and the newsletter.

  17. Would love to read this!

  18. Hey there, following on all three. Enjoy reading your reviews and posts.

    Thanks for the chance to read this book. Have not been able to get it yet, so maybe I can win it.


  19. Hi! I found out about you on Goodreads.com. πŸ˜€

    Thanks for the giveaway and btw, I love your blog πŸ™‚

    – Mallen

  20. I loved your review on this book. I am pondering on the thoughts of “Lifestyle of The Heart”. The book sounds intriguing. I always love a good romantic historical novel.
    I am going to look into this one.
    Thanks Renee for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I always love your book reviews. You are a very gifted writer.
    Blessings to you!

  21. I’ve just finished reading A Love Surrendered – I’m not nearly patient enough to have waited for this giveaway, lol But like you, I like to give them to my friends – they make great gifts! – so I’m entering anyway πŸ™‚
    I’ve followed you on FB, Twitter, and signed up for the newsletter.

  22. Hi Renee,

    I so enjoyed your post. I don’t usually read Christian fiction, but this has really got me intrigued. My bookshelves tend to me lined with Christian non-fiction. Will see if I can get hold of a copy, thank you πŸ™‚

  23. Sounds really good!! Thanks for the chance to win!

  24. Hi, Everyone! Thanks so much for coming by and for your kind words for me or for Julie! Hope you have a great weekend. Blessings!

  25. Sheila McLendon October 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Renee, Great review! Loved the passage you quoted! That’s what makes Julie’s books go good. Thanks for the give away opportunities.

  26. I have never read any of Julie’s books. Over the last four years, the only books I’ve read, besides the bible, were books for completing my degrees. Now, I’m like a kid in the candy store because I’m filled with so much excitement about reading books other than educational books. I read everything (within Christian content) I can get my hands on. I know it sounds odd, but it’s like a new adventure for me. I would love to be the winner of Julie’s books.

  27. I love Julie’s books cause she makes those characters JUMP right out of the book!

  28. I love to read anything that Julie writes, and the same goes for anything that Renee writes – especially reviews like this. πŸ™‚ The thought of the O’Connor books being like a Capra movie? Right on the button!

    FB and newsletter follower πŸ™‚

  29. Loved the excerpt!

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