Before the six O'Connor children experienced their trials of heartache on the way to love, their parents went through it first. Marceline Murphy is determined to fall in love with a man as in love with God as she is. But when she is hired as the director of the church's Christmas fund-raising play, she finds herself pursued by two men, neither of which meet that qualification. She can't help the stirrings for her childhood crush, Sam O'Rourke, who has become a womanizing rogue since falling in with the wild Patrick O'Connor, but even Patrick manages to become a friend - someone whose spiritual welfare she cares about. However, the boys' rivalry over her drives a wedge between the two close friends. Can a rogue ever change his ways? And if he does, which will she choose?
For whatever reason, I was under the impression that this was a novella. Well, for once my wish came true: the novella turned out to be a full-length novel after all! Maybe it's not as long as the author's other novels, but it is quite a respectable length all the same.
Having read most of the O'Connor saga, I knew how the story had to end, but this was a case of the journey being greater than the destination. I could definitely understand the pull of Sam and his family, but I couldn't help but feel for Patrick. I recognized aspects of Marcy's daughters in both her personality and appearance, though some more than others.
I really liked the premise of the play, or rather, the old Irish custom the play is based on: placing a candle in the window on Christmas Eve to welcome the Holy Family. Many people see the light in the window, but only a few accept the welcome and enter; just as many see the Holy Spirit shining in the believers, but few accept the Spirit's invitation. It would be a beautiful play for anyone to put on for Christmas!
As I am coming to recognize in Lessman's novels, there is a strong thread of passion in her writing - passion for both romance and God, hope and redemption. I'm really glad she went back to write Marcy's story!
O'Connor Family Saga:
A Light in the Window
Daughters of Boston
1. A Passion Most Pure
2. A Passion Redeemed
3. A Passion Denied
Winds of Change
1. A Hope Undaunted
2. A Heart Revealed
3. A Love Surrendered