Posted in Historical

Julie Lessman’s Dare to Love Again


Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman, resorting to a mammoth hat pin for protection on her way to and from the school where she teaches. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast she quickly discovers she is no match for rum-soaked brute strength.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite jiu-jitsu, but it seems he has little choice in the matter. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But when Nick suddenly leaves town, Allison realizes he’s a fraud just like all the rest of the men she’s cared for. Does she dare love again?

The lushness of the glorious Gilded Age beautifully showcases Lessman’s passion as a writer in this engaging love story written with humor and heart. From the glamour of San Francisco’s Nob Hill to the seedy gambling dens of the Barbary Coast, Dare to Love Again is a journey to find a love that never fails. Fans will love revisiting the world of the cousins McClare, and new readers will seek more of Julie’s passion-filled novel


Having read the first novel in this series, I knew I had to read the second. Here are some things I noticed about this novel:

Logan. He’s my favorite character in the whole series so far. I like the way he thinks, I like the way that he reacts, I like his expectations. You can sense that he is an extremely powerful man and yet weak for his family. He creates problems for Nick, but I like that too because it makes him seem more real. I especially love that he loves Caitlyn. I personally find that their own story has a tendency to overshadow the “main romance” (though I will say there is a moment where I think Caitlyn is unfair to Logan). Let’s not forget that Logan also has something he has to reveal to his family and I was so upset when the book ended right when he was about to make the big reveal (book three you are on my radar!)

Allie and Nick. I will say, that it took me a minute to get invested in this relationship. I was lost for a second in their intense dislike for each other and amidst all the name-calling that went on. But then there was a switch. It probably has to do with the fact that their relationship didn’t follow the “typical” deception story. Nick is a very straightforward kind of guy (though if you read this book….well…that’s all I’m going to say) and I so liked that about him. And Allie is equally straightforward. No shy heroines here. Allie’s reason to learn jiu-jitsu, however, well I was with Nick. This girl had no real sense of the world. I think you don’t prove anything to anybody by being able to walk around in bad neighborhoods at dark. That said, when Allie finally gets a chance to use her jiu-jitsu is a great moment.

Spiritually, there is this great theme of forgiveness and how we have to learn to trust God particularly when things don’t go our way. In this world we are going to have tribulation and Jesus already promised that we would overcome it. With his help, we won’t become bitter about our circumstances. It really is a great point that is really shown beautifully in this novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I wasn’t ready for it to end!

Romantic Scale: 9

**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

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