Isle of Hope
By Julie Lessman
Published by Amazon
469 Pages

Back Cover: She stole his heart.
He stole her peace.
Can hope steal their pain?

At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack O'Bryen, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all? 

REVIEW: Julie Lessman hits it out of the park with the first installment in the Unfailing Love series. This author has a gift of making the reader feel like they are part of the family, including them in their fun, joking and games. I found myself smiling from ear to ear while I read and laughed out loud so much my family asked me what was so funny. I was hooked from the first line, “When it comes to burning bridges, I am the Queen of Kerosene.”

After being away for eight years; Lacey Carmichael is back to her old stomping grounds in Isle of Hope. She’s back to help her best friend with her wedding. She expected to run into her ex-Jack O’Bryen eventually (a man she almost married 10 years ago), but now? “Her first two minutes in town? Really?”

My heart went out to Lacey Carmichael as she is forging ahead in her new walk of faith and trying to heal old wounds. Jack asks her why she’s back. She tells him about her friend Nicki’s wedding. Lacey then says she's home to make amends with the people she’s hurt.

He replies, “Well that should keep you busy!... “Just with my family alone.”

I like how this author weaves a faith message in the middle of everyday life for her characters. I also liked how this author showed Christians putting their faith into action in a loving way/ This author is not afraid to talk about touch issues and messy situations with love and grace. What does the grace of God look like? Characters encourage one another to do the right thing and they love each other through hardships and go the extra mile when they feel the call. It’s not easy. The author masterfully mixes her well timed humor in the story as shes hows the struggle in our spirit and with our emotions in forgiving others and ourselves. This story shows how God redeems and restores our mistakes if we’ll let him. We don’t have to punish ourselves for past mistakes.We can be healed! 

Here’s a peek into this novel; Lacey has a talk with her Mamaw about doing the right thing and making amends with her father. Lacey says she’s not ready. Mamaw replies, “That may be, darling, but it’s been this old women’s experience that when God changes our heart of stone to a heart of flesh, it’s a wee bit like laying a new foundation….Unfortunately, the longer we wait to heed His call, darling, the more we run the risk of our new heart calcifying just like concrete….And you can’t risk that Lacey, because if we want the blessing of God in our lives, we have to make sure we have a clean heart.”

“Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.”

Lacey heard that still small voice in her spirit. …”Mamaw’s words piercing her with the painful truth. And if there was anybody who knew about clean it was Mamaw. In fact, Lacey was pretty sure she was a distant relative of Mr. Clean…”
This story is fun, a great escape, helps you walk in a few people’s shoes and learn a thing or two. There are a few surprises too! It’s a wonderful book for your group to read and discuss at book club. If you haven’t tried this author yet you should. She’ll be your new favorite.This is an Inspirational story of hope, healing and forgiveness. This book’s a keeper!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog

Book Fun Magazine


  1. Thank you for your beautiful review of Julie Lessman's "Isle of Hope", Nora. Having every published work of hers in every format, I've loved Julie's writing from the first few words I read. Her writing offers something for all readers - passion, humor, drama, unexpected "twists and turns", angst, faith, and realistic characters to which the reader feels a kinship.

    Yes, Julie "hit it out of the park", for sure - with "Isle of Hope", a definite "keeper" that touched me on such a deep level, I find it hard to find adequate words. I have no doubt God will use it to inspire, give hope, forgive, and heal relationships.

    I couldn't agree more with your comment new readers of Julie's work will find a new favorite author. I'm a enthusiastic lover of Christian Fiction who also feels a commitment to making as many readers aware of it's gifted authors and their work - as possible. Julie is one author whose writing has brought me immeasurable enjoyment and inspiration. Pulling the strings of each of my emotions in everything she writes - laughter, shock, anger, tears, inspiration. And often - all within one chapter!!

  2. P.S. Shared post on Facebook.

  3. NORA!!! I have been scarce online this week due to spending time with my daughter and son-in-law, so PLEASE forgive my delay in response. But let me just say ...

    WOW, WOW, WOW, girlfriend, WHAT A REVIEW!!! I am BEYOND blessed that you enjoyed it because you always have been and always will be one of my favorite reviewers (and dear friends!), so THANK YOU for taking the time to read and review IOH -- I am SO very grateful!!

    And God bless sweet Bonnie for being SUCH an incredible support to me throughout writing this book and after!

    Both of you are SUCH blessings in my life, and I thank God for each of you.

    Hugs and more hugs!!