A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

Back of the Book: What happens when the boy she loved to hate …

becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O’Connor is the epitome of the new woman — smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband — good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?


My review: A Hope Undaunted is the first book in the The Winds of Change series by Julie Lessman.  Eighteen-year-old Katie O’Connor is enjoying a carefree life in 1929 Boston when she unexpectedly meets an old acquaintance – Cluny McGee, who now goes by the name Luke McGee.  They were sworn enemies as children and it looks like they could be the same as adults. They have to put that aside when, after defying her curfew, Katie’s father signs her up to be a summer volunteer in Luke’s office at the Boston Children’s Aid Society.

Katie’s co-workers also become her friends – a good thing since she’s grounded when she’s not at work.  They are also Luke’s closest friends.  Katie and Luke begin to view each other in a new light which soon leads to mutual respect. Then the unexpected happens to one of Luke’s friends.  He steps up to help and by doing so changes Katie’s world and his.

I liked how Lessman used humor and drama throughout the novel.  The characters came alive for me.  The dialogue reminded me of the black & white movies from the 1930s:  snappy, heart-felt, and believable.  A theme that runs through the course of the story is: Trust the power of prayer.  It is key to the story. There are some minor story lines involving Luke’s friends and Katie’s large family that I suspect will be revisited in other books of the series.

I enjoyed reading A Hope Undaunted.  Family sagas are among my favorites so I look forward to getting to know the rest of the O’Connor family in the subsequent books. I recommend this novel to fans of Inspirational Historical Fiction.

Review copy from Revell Books via Winsome Media Communications

24 thoughts on “A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

  1. Ooh, this one sounds good – I too love family saga stories. Of course, the Boston setting is appealing to me too. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    Have a great week, Mary!


  2. Love a good story on family and this one should fill it for me too.

    Noting it.. oh excuse me… coming here is dangerous… my book ban is going nowhere soon… I keep adding books I need to discover when I finish reading the reviews….

    my husband is not going to like this 🙂


  3. I also enjoyed A Hope Undaunted and am a big fan of Julie Lessman.

    I found the characters to be fairly three dimensional and enjoyed the interaction between the two main characters, Katie and Luke – although at times I was surprised by Katie’s sudden abrupt turns. The O’Connor family is true to form in their larger-than-life sort of Irish personalities and entertaining as always.

    I posted a more in-depth review of my own at



  4. Oops!

    When I said a “more in-depth review” I meant more in-depth compared to the short comment I had made.

    Sorry if that was unclear.



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