Genre: Fiction, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction
Pub Date: January 2008, Baker Publishing Group
Format: Trade Paperback, 477 pages
Source/FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received and my opinions are my own.
Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. But when Collin tries to win her sister Charity's hand, Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. To further complicate matters, Faith finds herself the object of Collin's affections, even as he is courting her sister. The Great War is raging overseas, and a smaller war is brewing in the O'Connor household. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page.
Again, I must thank Julie Lessman for sending me this book (and thank you to Amy from My Friend Amy, as without her recommendation, I never would have added the book to my wish list). This may also end up being the most personal review you see here, so bear with me. I don't wish to offend anyone (and hope that I don't!), but I feel the need for people to understand where I'm coming from.
Let me start with saying that I stayed up until after 3:00AM to finish this book last night/this morning. I simply devoured it. Some of you might recall I recently said in another review that I was not sure that I cared for Christian fiction, as it often feels formulaic and cliched. The story in A Passion Most Pure is certainly neither of those. In this book, Lessman was able to accomplish what I was starting to feel wasn't possible in Christian fiction: write about characters who seemed real, had greater depth, and subsequently take them through a captivating story. For Christian fiction, I was surprised at the number of turns the plot took and the high level of romance, not to mention how attached I became to many of the characters. The sibling rivalry between Faith and Charity was unbelievable; Charity becomes a character you love to hate, or at least, strongly dislike. :-) I will be very interested to see how she is redeemed in the second book!
To clarify the comment I had made regarding cliches and formulas, I think that what I have the hardest time dealing with when it comes to Christian fiction is the strong theme of characters feeling the need to "save" other people, telling them that they are praying for them, etc. In some ways, it bothered me that Faith obviously loved Collin so much, yet couldn't bring herself to marry him because of his views of God and the fact that he wasn't a believer. What if God was bringing them together so that ultimately Collin would learn (from Faith) to love God and live for Him? Yet, at the same time, I do think that it's important for God to be at the center of a marriage, so I can also understand to some extent Faith's initial unwillingness to marry Collin. Personally, I don't feel like people should just pray for others without being asked to--I suppose that comes from my own viewpoint and upbringing. I sometimes feel like it can almost come across as a little offensive. I most definitely believe in the power of prayer, but more in that it means understanding the good from God that is already there and we all express as His children, made in His image; not simply praying for a specific outcome--for example, that someone will convert to a specific Christian faith and be saved.
What did I like the most about this book? It made me think--really think about the importance of God in a marriage. I have not yet been married a year (our anniversary is 3 weeks from today!), so I feel like this book came to me at a timely point in my life and marriage, and for that I am truly grateful. So while my personal feelings on how Christianity should be represented may not always be in line with Christian fiction (and certainly we all have our own viewpoints and understanding), there was definitely much about A Passion Most Pure that I appreciated. I always love a book that makes me think!
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