Title: Dare To Love Again
Series: The Heart Of San Francisco
Author: Julie Lessman
Published: January 7, 2014
Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless independent woman, but when she decides to explore the wild Barbary Coast at dusk, she quickly realizes that she’s no match or the unsavory characters that haunt the dark streets. However, she’s determined to be independent and do what she wants without fear, so her uncle does a little arranging and sets her up with someone who might be able to teach her how to defend herself, the only problem, they can’t stand each other.
Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything then teach this petite socialite self-defense, but it seems he has very little choice. So he gets to work to help Allison but it’s not easy to do with sparks flying every time they’re near each other, so they come to a grudging agreement to be friends, but when that starts to become more Nick knows he has to make a choice.
With a past that he can’t outrun and a contract he can’t break, everything in him is telling him to run away far and fast from Allison, but his heart tells him to stay, even if he swore he’s never get involved. Allison must also make a choice give her heart away and risk deceit and heartbreak for the third time or miss out on something that could be beautiful. They both have everything on the line but something won’t let them pull away and maybe that’s a good thing.
Can Nick gain peace with his past or will he constantly be bitter and anger over his life? Can Allison risk heartbreak again or will she hide her heart away and possibly miss out on true love? Is love worth giving up everything or will the risks be too great? Is Nick another liar or is he genuine? Can two enemies reconcile and become a couple or is it too much to overcome?
Having read every single Julie Lessman book on the market to date, I can tell you that even though the O’Connors will forever hold a special place in my heart, this series is the product of Julie finding her happy medium. So far this series is very well crafted and thought out and, as much as I hate to admit it, better formed than her previous two series. I’m very impressed with how far Julie has come and so glad that I’ve been able to be along for the ride thus far.
That said, this book as a novel is actually very good. It gave me my romantic gestures, like kissing, and gave me my emotional development to make it seem more realistic. Though, at the end it seemed to resolve a bit too easily, it was still very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book. I absolutely can’t wait to see what other magnificent story I get next, I hope it’s about Bram, and what drama could be stirred up in this next one.
The concept of this story is pretty good and I loved watching the romance go from swatting to teasing to kissing in about half a book, and yes ladies and gentlemen there is some swatting involved. The conflicts seem a bit far fetched at times but are well done enough that I believed it all hook, line, and sinker. It’s hard to tell about the the last half of the book because it’s spoiler alert after spoiler alert, but let’s just say that the drama kicks in and it’s definitely worth the wait.
My favorite character in this story has to be Allison. She’s not your average heroine from romance novels. She’s awesome and independent and doesn’t want to rely on any man for stuff she’s perfectly capable of doing herself. Most of this attitude comes from being deceived twice but it comes across as strength not bitterness or fear so I greatly loved the change of pace. The other characters all have their quirks and are all lovable in their own ways so I can’t help but look forward to every new Julie Lessman book that comes out.
Julie Lessman has been a favorite since her first book and I’ve had the pleasure of being able to watch, book by book, her grow into the wonderful author that she is. This book is definitely one of her great ones and I completely look forward to falling in love with this new family just like I did her last. I highly recommend this book and any of this author’s others, as long as you read them in order.
Overall, it had some unrealistic moments but in general I loved it. This book is perfect for fans of the author or fans of early-1900s fiction. This book is bed left in the hands of the adults only. I give this book a four and a half out of five.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*