Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Book Review & Giveaway: A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman

A Wing and a Prayer tour banner

About the Book

A Wing and a Prayer

Title: A Wing and a Prayer
Series: The Cousins O'Connor
Genre: Adult, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Phase Publishing
Publication date: April 1, 2020

She’s dead-set on giving everything to the war overseas …
Even if it means losing everything in a war of the heart.

A street orphan abused and abandoned by an alcoholic father at age five, Gabriella (Gabe) O’Connor has never let a man stand in her way yet. So when a handsome flight officer thwarts her plans to become a WASP -- Women Air Force Service Pilot -- she’s determined to join the war effort anyway she can. Her chance comes when she “borrows” foreign correspondent credentials from the Boston Herald—where her father is the editor—to stow away on a medical ship to the front.

Lieutenant Alex Kincaid pegs Gabe O’Connor as trouble the moment she steps foot on Avenger Field as a WASP cadet. As the eldest brother of a boy whose jaw Gabe broke in grade school, Alex is familiar with her reputation as both a charismatic ringleader and a headstrong hooligan who’s challenged every male and nun from grade school to college. As her WASP flight instructor, Alex eventually expels Gabe when she pulls a dangerous stunt. But when he is an evacuation pilot in France eight months later, their lives intertwine once again, exposing them to a danger as perilous as the German tanks roaming the Reichswald Forest: a love that neither expects.

About the Author


Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.

Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, Isle of Hope, and Silver Lining Ranch series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered over 18 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie’s novels also made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and “Essential Christian Romance Authors” 2017, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction. Her independent novel A Light in the Window was an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.

Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. Contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at http://www.julielessman.com.


Here's a continuing clip from two chapters where Alex brings Gabe home from the annual Bar-J Ranch Barbecue and Square Dance for the town of Sweetwater. On crutches due to a severe sprained ankle, Gabe railroads Alex into assisting her all day at the BBQ until he finally takes her back to her barracks.


It was still early for a Friday night, so everything was silent and still except for the faint hoot of a faraway owl and the rasp of Gabe’s uneven breathing. “Alex, I … can’t thank you enough,” she whispered, pulse chaotic as he reached around her to open the screen door.

“My pleasure. It was fun,” he said as he gently tugged her out of the way to pull it wide. He propped the screen with his hip while he reached behind her to jiggle the temperamental knob of the old wooden door, stuttering Gabe’s heart at the close proximity of his dark-bristled jaw.

Mere inches from her lips.

And that’s when she realized it had been fun. More fun than she’d ever had in her life, and she didn’t want it to end. Ever. She wanted to thank him and she wanted to touch him all at the same time. Without a second thought, she leaned in and brushed her lips to his cheek, totally unprepared for the rush of heat hurtling through her veins. She immediately felt the jolt of his body as he gave a sharp jerk of his head, shock glazing his eyes when the motion instantly aligned his mouth with her own, a shallow breath away.

Gabe had always been one who knew what she wanted and just how to get it, and she certainly had never been a woman to dally. So in the split second that she felt the catch of his breath, she didn’t pause. She didn’t think.

She simply kissed him.

With everything in her, heart thundering over the single most earth-shattering moment of her young life.

She was in love!

Alex gasped, but the sound was swallowed up by the press of Gabe’s lips, soft, pliant and hungry, fusing to his with a need that ignited his own. It was only a catch of his breath, but it seemed like eons that he wrestled with his conscience and lost, returning Gabe’s kiss with a fire that seared his very soul. Her crutches crashed to the ground when she rose on tiptoe to slip her arms around his neck, and her mouth united with his in a mating he never wanted to end. He lifted her off her feet, molding her body to his with an intensity that shocked him. Groaning, he butted her to the wall while his mouth explored hers, his passion apparently buried so deep, he’d never even known it was there.
Well, he knew it now, and it scared him silly.

“Gabe,” he whispered, voice hoarse as he carefully set her back down. He grasped one of her crutches to gently prod it beneath the arm of her bad leg with breathing as ragged as hers. His heart ached as he cradled her face in his hands. “Please forgive me. I never should have done that."

Her eyes widened. “No, Alex, there’s nothing to forgive—”

Yes, Gabe, there is.” Struggling to regain control, he removed his hands from her face to retrieve the second crutch, slowly tucking it beneath her other arm. Inhaling sharply, he took a step back, fortifying himself against the hurt in her eyes. “I am your superior and I stepped over the line, which never should have happened.”

“But I kissed you!” There was an urgency in her voice he’d never heard before, a neediness he had no will to exploit.

He steeled his jaw, heartsick over what he had to do. “And I took it a step further, Cadet, which I deeply regret.”

“Well, don’t!” she shouted, lurching forward so fast, those blasted crutches teetered along with his heart. His palm shot out in reflex, girding her waist to keep both of them from falling.

Too late.

Sleet slithered his veins when he saw the yearning in her eyes. “Don’t you get it, Alex?” she whispered, her face contorted in pain that inflicted some of his own. “I think I’m in love with you because I can’t get you out of mind.”

His body went to stone. An unholy mix of guilt and shock depleted his air, fingers flinching from her waist as if he’d been burned. And the look of abject longing in Gabe’s face told him he had.

Burned as a PT.

Burned as a friend.

Burned as a man who knew better.


A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman is a wonderfully long book. Between the romantic tension and Gabe’s adventures, the story kept my attention engaged and I didn’t want to stop reading. I rooted for Gabe and Alex even when it seemed it wouldn’t work out. I appreciated the deeply woven theme about how trust is essential to love. Gabe, being the stubborn character that she is, takes a long time to mend her ways and work out a healthy relationship with Alex.  I loved this because it made her character growth authentic and satisfying.

I would have given this book five stars, but I think it needed another round of edits. The first third seemed a bit littered with poor word choice, choppy scenes, and repetitive thoughts/feelings. (I did receive an ebook arc, so perhaps some of those issues will be remedied before its release.) I also felt like there was a bit of patriarchy/authority overload. I suppose it was true to the social dynamics of the WWII time period, especially within a military atmosphere. However, Alex’s statements about his parents’ marriage and Patrick’s (the father-patriarch) treatment of Gabe, who is a grown woman, were just too much.

A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman starts the Cousins O’Connor series, but actually continues the O’Connor family saga that began with A Passion Most Pure. When the O’Connor family meets up, it was hard to keep all the characters straight in my mind. However, I think if I had read the prior novels about this family, it would have been easier. I look forward to reading the next book in this series!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this ebook by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


A Wing and a Prayer Giveaway

Enter the giveaway HERE. Giveaway ends April 8 at 11:59pm MT. Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Tour Schedule

Follow along with the tour over on SLB Tours.


  1. This sounds like a pretty intense interaction between Gabe and Alex. I don’t think you can go wrong with Julie Lessman.
    perrianne (DOT) askew (AT) me (DOT)com
    Perrianne Askew

    1. These lots of intensity between the two of them. :)

    2. Hey, Perrianne, thanks SO much for your sweet comment and for coming by. You keep this up, girl, and you'll be a winner!


  2. Hi Julie! Congratulations on the release of the latest O'Connor story! Your writing is as intense,touching and as spell binding as ever!

    1. Thanks, Lynne, SO MUCH, my sweet friend!

      Love you!

  3. You can't go wrong with an O'Connor sibling story=)

  4. Hey, Patty, thank you SO much, my friend, and I couldn't agree more. But I will say that although both Charity and Katie were real handfuls, Gabe makes them look like Mother Teresa, so get ready to want to slap her a few times before you actually start to like her, okay?

    Thank you again, my friend, and God bless you and your family.
    Stay safe and well.