Novelist tells of love in times of Prohibition

Inspirational romance author Julie Lessman continues the love stories of the O'Connor family in Boston during Prohibition with her novel "A Love Surrendered," the third installment of the "Winds of Change" series. Lessman has a passion for the characters she's created, which started with her first series, "The Daughters of Boston."

In "A Love Surrendered," readers will find all their favorite characters introduced in earlier books, such as Charity and Faith O'Connor, married and in love, having babies and adopting children. Lessman has a talent for handling a large cast of characters and keeping her fans and readers happy. Those familiar with the books will feel like they are stopping in to visit old friends. If you are new to the series, it's possible to pick up this latest book and fit right in. You might also look for the other novels online or at the library to discover how everyone fell in love.

Lessman's latest in the series focuses on Stephen O'Connor, a young Boston cop with a broken heart who is trying to forget love by focusing on his job. He's the brother of the heroines in the former stories, and he's finally starting to feel like he could fall in love again. He's had a problem with drinking in the past, and he attributes that to his failed relationship with Maggie, the love of his life.

Enter Annie, an almost-18 beautiful, innocent girl who has come to Boston to live with her aunt after her parents died. It also happens that Annie is Maggie's sister, although when Stephen and Annie first meet, and sparks fly, they don't realize the connection.

Annie figures out who Stephen is first; but by this time, she's kissed him and she admires him. He's attracted to her, too, so she keeps the secret that could ruin any chance they have at falling in love.

While this storyline is playing out in "A Love Surrendered," the O'Connor family is celebrating news of pregnancies, and the matriarch, Marcy, is trying to convince her husband, Patrick, to adopt Gabe, a young, troublesome girl who has been living with them.

Lessman also does a fantastic job of bringing in historical details of the Prohibition era, speakeasies and the Boston mob. If you enjoy historical fiction as well as inspirational romance, then this is a good series for you. Books in the first series start with World War I, and the second O'Connor series continues with the Roaring '20s.

On her website, Lessman states that she is "an inspirational romance author with a passion for God and a passion for romance. Since the age of 12, I've been in love with the idea of being 'in love.'" She says her books are 3-D love stories, featuring the hero, heroine and God bringing the two together.

She has a blog, Journal Jots, which she updates every weekend at http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/. At this same site, you also can read about the other books in the "Winds of Change" and "The Daughters of Boston" series if you find the O'Connor family interesting.

Everyone knows the way a romance novel ends: The hero and heroine somehow get past their differences to fall in love. So it's not the end that makes readers love a romance novel, it's the journey to that end. Lessman is an expert at the journey. You'll find yourself caring about her characters — all of the O'Connors and their friends — and keep reading to the happy ending to find out what's going to happen next.

Margo L. Dill is the author of "Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg," a middle grade historical fiction novel. She often reviews books as a columnist for "WOW! Women On Writing" e-zine and her blog, "Margo Dill's Read These Books and Use Them" (http://margodill.com/blog/). She lives in St. Louis with her family.

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