Love at Any Cost, by Julie Lessman and published by Revell (2013) is a read that will keep you smiling. Cassidy McClare will win your heart with her spunky, endearing expressions. A cowgirl at heart,  as a little girl she snuggled with a lariat at night instead of a blanket or bear. She preferred tying knots and doing rope tricks to baby dolls and tea parties. Now at age twenty-two, she is on her way to San Francisco from her hometown of Humble, Texas, to visit her aunt and cousins after being jilted by a fortune-hunting cowboy named Mark. She is hoping to forget him and all men, focusing her attention instead on fun, work, cousin-bonding and personal growth.

Right away she encounters Jamie McKenna, a handsome young man seeking to marry well. He accidentally bumps into her, sending her hat and possessions flying. After his gracious apology, she dismisses him, hoping never to see him again. When she arrives at her Aunt Cait’s and cousin Alli’s house, she soon finds out, that not only is Jamie their family friend, but he has been invited for dinner.  When she sees him again at the dinner table, the ever present desire to hogtie all men for their foolishness enters her mind.

Jamie is determined to marry a rich woman. He lives in the poor section of San Francisco with his mother and his sister. His sister is disabled and he hopes by marrying to pay for his sister to have a surgery that could greatly improve her quality of life. He is attracted immediately to Cassidy. Throughout the first part of the story, she insists that she just wants to be friends.

Cassidy realizes why Jamie has an interest in marrying someone with money. She sees how concerned he his for improving his family’s quality of life and getting the medical care his sister needs. Jamie pursues Cassidy, not for money, but because he finds he is falling in love with her. She decides to give him a chance. She tries to center their relationship on the Lord and suggests they attend church together and engage in daily Bible Study. This works for awhile.

Then the plot turns. Patricia Hamilton, a previous girlfriend of Jamie’s, is jealous of Cassidy. She reveals that Cassidy’s parents are in financial trouble. Jamie feels God has let him down and he thinks that he can’t keep seeking God when he has lost faith in Him. He begins to pursue Patricia again. She makes a bargain with him. If he will continue his relationship with her, she will ask her father, who is a senator, to use his influence to help Jamie secure an operation for his sister.

There are more plot twists and turns, but it does end happily. Through the course of his friendship with Cassidy, Jamie grows up and is influenced by her relationship with the Lord and her determination to follow Him.

Perhaps the most essential element in this book is the way Cassidy learns to put the Lord first in all her relationships, refusing to enter into a serious relationship with someone who does not yet know the Lord. This is underscored by her Aunt Cait, a widow who seeks the Lord’s will in her own life.

Love at Any Cost is definitely a delight that will also teach young women many valuable lessons about life and relationships.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”