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Dare to Love Again

Julie Lessman
Dare to Love Again
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Award-winning author Julie Lessman brings the glamor of Gilded Age San Francisco to vibrant life in, Dare to Love Again, the second book in The Heart of San Francisco series. What do you get when you mix a witty socialite, skeptical of love and a jaded cop, mistrustful o... Read More


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Award-winning author Julie Lessman brings the glamor of Gilded Age San Francisco to vibrant life in, Dare to Love Again, the second book in The Heart of San Francisco series.

What do you get when you mix a witty socialite, skeptical of love and a jaded cop, mistrustful of the upper class?

Allison McClare is determined to be a bold, independent woman. As confident as she may be, Allison is quick to find out that she is no match for the merciless, dark alleys of Barbary Coast.

Detective Nick Barone has better things to do than teach Allison self-defense. Even so, he doesn't seem to have a choice. But as the tension builds and sparks fly, the two draw can't help but fall for each other. Will love be a possibility? Or is the pain of the past too much to bear?

Product Details:
Page Count: 416
Released: 12/2013

Additional Information

  • Product type: Book
  • Format: Softcover
  • Release Date: Dec 4, 2013
  • UPC: 9780800721664
  • Height: 0
  • Width: 0
  • Length: 0
  • Volumes/Discs: 1
  • Pages: 410
  • Publish Date: Jan 7, 2014
  • Language: English
  • Audience Age Maximum: 0
  • Audience Age Minimum: 0
  • BISAC: "FIC042030"
  • ISBN: 0800721667

Customer Reviews

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"ANOTHER WINNER FOR JULIE LESSMAN"!! by Bonnie Roof on 3/29/14

"Dare to Love Again" is the second novel in The Heart of San Francisco trilogy of the McClare family, from award-winning author, Julie Lessman. Socialite Allison McClare's goal to be an independent woman is met with opposition from Detective Nick Barone (long e), whose beat is the streets of the wild Barbary Coast, in which the Hand of Hope School for girls - where Allison is the new teacher of English and drama - is located. Nick's secrets from the past have left him with a grudge against the upper class - Allison's belief that all men are liars, frauds, or fortune hunters, stems from the pain caused by a broken relationship. The humorous barbs between the two start on the first page and don't let up until the last page of this delightful novel. Nick and Allison are equally surprised when romantic sparks start to fly between the two.

From Julie Lessman's description of a "lighter, shorter, less complicated series - with less romantic and spiritual passion" (as compared to her Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change trilogies), I wasn't sure what to expect with this series. What I DID expect was to be thoroughly entertained and inspired - as Julie is a masterful writer - and I wasn't disappointed!!

Julie's heart-warming characters are in abundance, as usual. The girls and staff of Mercy House Orphanage are a touching addition to the story - watch out for little Lottie, she'll "steal your heart"! The "on-again, off-again" romantic relationship between Allison's mother, Caitlyn, and Allison's deceased father's brother, Logan, will have you cheering for, and sympathizing with, each of them before the story ends.

"Dare to Love Again" is chock-full of humor, suspense, passion, drama, secrets, romance, realistic characters, redemption, forgiveness, warm family settings, hope, regret, love, faith, and the ever-wonderful happy ending - it's a treat for ALL readers!! The McClare family is a delight - just as the O'Connor family was in Julie's two previous series!! I've loved each and every novel she's written, and I await - however impatiently - the October 2014 release of the final novel in the series, "Surprised By Love"!!

HEAT WAVE!!! by Amanda Dunseith on 2/17/14

Julie again creates enough heat to melt my chocolate candy bar right out of my hand!! A true master story teller with a true master talent bringing with her all the elements that has come to make her the "kissing queen" of romantic writing. The romantics at heart will NOT be disappointed with this heated story filled with sizzling passion, dramatic family dynamics, and enough tension to turn your insides. Another win by this talented author!!! 10 out of 5 stars!!

Dare to Love Again a Delight! by Angi on 2/11/14

Reading Dare to Love Again was such a delight! It made me laugh, it brought tears to my eyes, and made me fall in love with Julie Lessman’s characters all over again. Dare to Love Again is the second in The Heart of San Francisco series and is the story of Allison McClare and Nick Barone. Julie is known for creating sparks that fly and lots of romantic tension. And the tension between Alli and Nick, romantic or otherwise, rivals the tension of a coiled spring. And as always, Julie threads her story with yet another story—how a loving and powerful God can change the hearts of the children He loves. Dare to Love Again is definitely a new favorite for this Julie Lessman fan!

Get Ready to Leave Your Heart in San Francisco by Andie on 1/26/14

When you pick up a Julie Lessman novel you are guaranteed:
and Romance! Oh, the romance!
Alli McClure has been bit by the romance bug three times and lost, will the fourth time be the charm?
Nick Barone (long e) dislike's the upper crust with a passion. When he and Alli meet sparks fly, or rather her pointer does.
Alli has joined her mother in teaching disadvantaged girls on the Barbary Coast of San Francisco. Nick Barone (long e) is a detective and he is determined to keep the girls and those that work at The Hands of Hope school for girls safe. Alli wants independence and she is going to get it no matter what it takes.
Barone (long e) or as the girls that live at Miss Penny's home call him Mr. Cranky Pants, Alli calls him Mr. Grunt and Garaon.
When Nick is offered the opportunity to teach Alli self defense he reluctantly agrees.The more time he spends with this snarky little teacher, a deep friendship begins to develop, and Nick realizes his heart needs some protecting too.
Along with Alli, and Nick there are returning characters from Love At Any Cost. Cassie, Cait, Uncle Logan, Jamie, Rosie, Mr. Bigley, Hadley, Maddie, and new ones that will melt your heart, like little Lottie who will just steal your heart. When she grabs Nick's face with her little six year old hands and tells him "We're family" you want to just hug her.
True to Julie she weaves a story not only rich in sass and romance, but one rich in godly principals. Seeing Uncle Logan come face to face with what was keeping him from a relationship with Cait McClure was pure God, because no one can change someone's heart but God.

Dare to Love Again is a book that will stay with you long after you close the last page, and then you will want to start the book all over again, because you will have left your heart in San Francisco.

Romance at its BEST! by Wanda Barefoot on 1/22/14

It is such a pleasure to review this book and an even BIGGER pleasure to read. I can't think of even ONE thing I didn't like so I will start by telling you the things I LOVED.

With each book I read there is always at least ONE character I completely adore. Right now I am finding it hard to pick only ONE. If I have to choose, it would be Allison McClare. She was such a little spitfire with Irish blood coursing through her veins. And I mean LITTLE, literally. She was tiny without her high heels but she could whip a full-grown, grouch of a man into submission in a single heartbeat (I admired the way she wielded her pointer). Especially, Nick Barone, who she dubbed as Mr. Ba-lon-ee, Mr, Ga-roan and Mr. Cranky Pants to name a few. She had been heartbroken on three previous occasions by men that only wanted her money and that left her leery of men in general and angry at them to boot. She had an independent spirit which led her to learn jiu jitsu for protection. But she also had a heart of gold, reaching out to others by teaching orphans and kids less fortunate in her mother's Hand of Hope school for girls. She was a woman of substance with a quick and charming wit that brought tears to my eyes more than once, by laughter and heartbreak. In short, Alli was completely adorable, from the top of her straw hat all the way down to the bottom of her three inch high-heeled shoes.

Nick Barone is a beloved character too. He's so angry and harsh with a real hate for rich people and with good reason given what happened in his past. He's constantly wearing a scowl and is often trying to put Alli in her place but to no avail. He soon learns there's no taming the independent Allison McClare. He reverts to calling her Miss McHigh-and-Mighty, Miss La-di-da and Allison "Whack 'em Till They Weep" McClare. Nick is a hard-nosed, grouchy policemen that trudges the streets of the Barbary Coast trying to rid it of lowlifes and lower the crime rate. Since no one can seem to get his name right, he is constantly informing them "It's Ba-ron-ee, long e". He has a pension for animal crackers (they soothe his ulcer) and always smells of Bay Rum. But let me tell you what endeared Nick to me. Nick rented a room at Mercy House Orphanage which was run by Mrs. Peel, included the cook, Mrs. Lemp, and housed several orphans, including Lottie, a six year-old little girl with copper curls. When Nick was with them he was a completely different man. Playing with the kids, reading them stories and tucking them in. And he loved Mrs. Peel like a grandmother, protecting her and the kids fiercely. Nick is an all around GREAT guy!

Another thing I love about this book and Miss Julie's style of writing is--she KNOWS how to write a love scene. She draws you into the scene until you almost feel like you're a PART of it. And, oh, do they SIZZLE! She knows how to write a love scene with just the right amount of heat without going beyond the barriers. They are PERFECT in every way.

I also love the humor aspect. I laughed through practically the whole first chapter. It didn't stop there either. Several times throughout the book I found myself laughing out loud, literally! The phrases she uses could make the guards at Buckingham Palace crack a smile. But it's not all fun and games. There are some very serious scenes that had me crying in my hankie. Trust me, you WILL need tissues.

The most important thing is the way she weaved God throughout the story. There was a lot of forgiveness taking place, a lot of prayer and a lot of recognition to the fact that, YES, God is taking care of us in EVERY way. I loved when Logan finally realized that what was holding him back from a full relationship with God was the fact that he KNEW God answered prayer but he just didn't believe God answered HIS prayers. Talk about a revelation!

I enjoyed this book so thoroughly and I can't wait for the next one because I definitely smell a romance brewing between two prominent characters and THAT'S one I DON'T want to miss! I think I can definitely relate to the next EXPECTED heroine. Although, I do have to say I am in love with ALL of the characters. Miss Penny brought back memories of my grandmother who I love dearly. Lottie or "La-di-da" just made me want to tuck her in my arms and squeeze the stuffing out of her. I loved when she took Nick's face in her tiny little hands and told him he was part of God's family. Caitlyn and Cassie are just to sweet and endearing for words. And, Jamie, Blake and Bram? Hilarious with their constant jabs at each other. This is just one reader's opinion, but I haven't enjoyed such a complete reading experience in a LONG time. If you like a book that completely satisfies a reader's cravings you've found it! I fell in love with the people of Nob Hill (and the Barbary Coast) and so will you. I SO HIGHLY recommend this book!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone and the thoughts of only ONE reader. If I recommend a book you can believe it's because I enjoyed it. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Read Additional Customer Reviews Below

Additional Customer Reviews

Another Romantic Masterpiece by the Queen of Romance! by Teresa on 1/21/14

In this book two of The Heart of San Francisco series Julie Lessman takes us on an exciting topsy-turvy adventure that mirrors the ups and downs of a cable car ride on those infamous San Fran hills.

Allison McClare, the beautiful and feisty oldest daughter of Caitlyn McClare is ready to put her broken heart behind her and spread her wings in this new chapter of her life. She is determined to be the best teacher possible to the dear underprivileged girls that attend the new school her mother is opening on the Barbary Coast. Even though she was born into a life of riches, Allison has a servant's heart and wants to see these girls have a better life than the debauchery most have been exposed to. Her plan is going well until a handsome, ornery Detective shows up in her classroom, smelling of Bay Rum and animal crackers!!

Nick Barone, is a hardworking, ill- tempered Detective that hides a big heart underneath that gruff exterior. Nick has had his fill of spoiled little rich girls so he knows to keep his distance from Allison McClare. But all it takes is just one look into Allison McClare's eyes to know she is going to be hard to run from.
Allison will not be duped by a man again; Nick will not lose his heart to a Snob-Hill rich girl; but what happens between these two people that are carrying around hidden hurts will have you on the brink of tears one moment and laughing out loud the next. And in true Julie fashion she will you have mumbling under your breath wanting to shake some sense into at least one or two of the characters! Oh Wait...maybe that only happens to me!! :)

Julie Lessman is truly the Queen of Romance! She knows how to insert just the right amount of tension into a scene so that you are pulled in so far you will find yourself falling in love right along with the heroine. What rapture! What ecstasy! This story has it all! Julie has certainly left her mark on my heart with this story, and it wasn't just Allison and Nick's story either, it seems Caitlyn now has TWO men that want to catch her attention. Thanks Julie for giving me another sweet family to fall in love with!!

Return Vist to The McClure Family by Maureen on 1/21/14

Ahh...a wonderful return visit with the McClure family. Reunited with the folks I have come to love and enjoy.
We walk through the city of San Francisco in the beginning of the early 1900's. A far cry from today, and in many way a good thing. Such a dangerous place to live, the Barbary Coast, and then China Town. We learn of such hardship there, can you imagine fencing off a part of a city...no supplies allowed in? That is what happen to China Town with the plague.
This is also about a young woman, Ali, and her choice in men, and how she has had her heart broken, way to many times.
We are also exposed to the mob...yes the Irish mob of Chicago. Oh what long hands crime has. Also people who are not who they propose to be, in the person of Nick Barone...that is with a long "e".
There is also a lot of banter in this story that is so cute, quite funny. You will have a hard time putting this book down, and if you have not read the first book, don't dispair, their is enough information give, that you will not be lost. Do yourself a favor, the first is as good as the second, and you will equally enjoy it!

I received this book from the publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.

Another stellar novel from Julie Lessman!! by gatorade635 on 1/20/14

After loving the McClare's in Love At Any Cost I was extremely excited to dive into this next book of the story! And it was just as amazing as the first-not that I had any doubts!
Allison was fantastic in book one so I knew she would be even more amazing as she took center stage and I was right! I loved her so much! He fierce streak of independence, her kind heart, her care for all those in her life, and her temper that seemed to only flare up when a certain gentleman was in the room all served to make her one awesome heroine! I loved how she stood up to Nick and gave what he dished out back to him! I also loved how she didn't let having her heart broken several times change her from being the sweet person she was, sure she was wary of men but that is to be expected!
Nick was pretty great too! His grumpiness was actually kind of funny especially with how all the women in his life teased him about it and it was cool to watch Alli soften him, both towards people and towards God. The constant stating of the pronunciation of his name got slightly annoying, but I did like that we were actually told how to pronounce it since often we are left to just guess, and there were times when it was funny!
I thought it was really cool how jiu-jitsu was incorporated into the story with Nick teaching it to Alli and I really loved watching her put it into practice, especially when she tried her new moves on Jamie!
Nick's past was such a mystery throughout the book and I honestly had no clue as to what it was going to be, but it was well executed and perfectly played out!
Again I loved all of the other characters from the previous book, the McClares, their staff, Bram, Jamie, and the new ones like Miss Penny, Nick's landlady and mother figure, and Lottie, the sweet little girl who had Nick wrapped around her finger! It was also cool to get more of Cait and Logan's story which I'm very interested to see play out! All in all it was another Julie Lessman hit that I adored!
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Learning to trust again is a major theme of this book. Romance built on a mutual trust in God is a valuable lesson. by Claudia on 1/19/14

Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman – A Book Review
When I read a book I usually form an impression of characters, and the opinions typically hold true until possibly a surprise is revealed near the book’s end. That was not the case in Dare to Love Again. Having read the first book in The Heart of San Francisco series, I had met the lead character in this book, Allison McClare, and remembered her as a compassionate, high spirited young lady of great faith. In this, the second book of the series, Allison is multi-faceted. One moment she is emotionally wounded and defensive, provoking sympathy from the reader; the next she is a spoiled, temper tantruming brat that the reader would like to take by the shoulders and shake! There are times when she is a bright young educator, totally devoted to her job and her students, a young women yearning for independence and self-reliance. Yet she is also capable of being manipulative, self-serving, and at times even cruel (although she eventually becomes remorseful and apologetic). Her male counterpart possesses equally diverse character traits: handsome, harsh, humorous, easily perturbed, petulant, aggressive, honest, shady, compassionate, loving, angry, … I stayed engaged with the story in order to find out these two characters’ true character.
One thing that I love about Julie Lessman’s books is the degree of research that goes into their historical accuracy. Lessman is a master of weaving in interesting historical information that helps place her readers in the story’s setting. Allison’s excitement over the sites as she takes her first cable car ride causes her to take on the role of tour guide for the handsome policeman recently arrived in the city, allowing us a lens for viewing 1903 San Francisco. The horrors of life on the Barbary Coast are made evident as Allison, her mother, and her cousin work to improve the lives of the young girls who make their homes there. By contrast Lessman paints a clear vision of the much different life among the residents of Nob Hill, the home of San Francisco’s elite. Even the fine points of the dress and hairstyles of the day have been carefully researched and described. The demands of morality during this time in the city’s history are clearly viewed in the lives of the McClare family, some who find them more easily met than others. The depths of debauchery, not so much different from today, are also evident in the circumstances found on the Barbary Coast, from which some in the McClare family may be profiting.
Trust is one of the major themes in this series of books. The McClare women seem to be destined to having their hearts broken before finding true romance. In the midst of these trials and heartaches, they learn the importance of trusting in God’s love, mercy and sovereignty. They also learn the importance of trusting their hearts to men who also trust God. I was reminded of the blessing of a husband who embraces the role of spiritual head of the household, a blessing I enjoy daily.
Julie Lessman is known for her ability to create sexual tension between characters while maintaining a storyline that does not compromise and using vocabulary that does not embarrass. She has demonstrated that ability in Dare to Love Again. While reading this book I also learned of a non-fiction book that Lessman has written in which she shares her secrests, and hopes to teach others as well. Those reading this review who are interested in writing as well may want to check out [Romance-ology 101] Writing Romantic Tension for the Inspirational and Sweet Markets.
In my review of Love at Any Cost I had expressed an interest in the continuing story of Caitlynn (Allison’s widowed mother) and Logan. I was not disappointed in the way Lessman continued to develop their love story. One of the nice things about this series is that the love story of each book’s main character is a stand-alone read with closure at the book’s end, but the story of Cait and Logan is a continuing thread throughout the series.
Thank you to Revell, the publisher, for sending me a copy of Dare to Love Again for my honest opinion of the book.

More From Julie Lessman

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