A Passion Most Pure is a mixed up book that missed the mark so many times. While I expect a degree of Christian morality in a book that is written for the Christian market, this book was overly preachy from the word go, with moralising writ large on a regular basis.
There was little consistent character development. Collin McGuire is a rogue who develops a conscience, until he gets tired of it, then develops a conscience, then goes to war and loses it again, then develops a conscience, etc. His conversion is rapid and ‘told’ more than ‘shown’, which made it difficult for me to find it convincing. His mother seems bitter and horrible for the few scenes she’s in, until she’s introduced again briefly at the end, and suddenly she’s become nice. Apparently a man in her life made all the difference, and while I know it can be that way, it just seemed too quick and convenient, as if the author was in a hurry to tie up a character when she wasn’t sure what else to do with her.
Faith, who seemed so steadfast and sure, apart from her love of Collin, suddenly, when moved to a different country, falls for another man just as roguish as Collin, although apparently he had a ‘spiritual side’, even though his introductory scene strongly hints that he’s a womaniser. As the novel progresses, it’s clear the author wants the reader to know that Mitch has more of a relationship with God than Collin did, but this is only mentioned as a sideline a couple of times, whereas his introduction seems to speak against it. It was not dealt with convincingly enough for me to believe. In fact, his character seemed so similar to Collin’s I found it difficult to swallow. His role as Faith’s new love makes Faith seem as flighty as her younger sister, rather than a pure girl who originally fell in love with someone who she believed was good underneath it all. Also, her discovery of Mitch with Charity was such a shock to her, but at no point does she realise, nor does anyone remind her, that she did exactly the same thing to Charity with Collin. I thought that it would have been good for her to be reminded of this to point out her hypocrisy in being so angry with her sister and her fiance.
Charity was, of course, the ‘villain’ from the start, although even she has brief moments of morals and seems to come good in the end, although it isn’t really covered. Mother Marcy is reserved about who her daughters see until she accepts Mitch. Bridget, her mother, starts off encouraging the girls to date men, then suddenly becomes the negative one when Faith and Charity start dating them. Also, the war seems far from Ireland, which still seems full of men and food and doesn’t seem to be suffering from any deprivation at all.
And just when some depth was introduced and the severity of war was brought to bear with a tragic loss, it all turns out to be a mistake. This was probably the most unrealistic part for me. I found it difficult to take the book seriously when the war seemed to have no lasting effect at all, even on the returned family members who fought in it.
I also thought the book could have done with a more stringent edit. It was too long and there was some repetition.