Is it possible to find unconditional love in a world of expectations?
Professor Joseph Barnes is attractive, intelligent, and successful–beloved by both his students and fellow university faculty. Despite her professional reservations, Alexis, the dean of Joe’s college, finds herself drawn to him and recognizes his interest in her.
But when Joe’s career begins to crumble, Alexis has to decide whether or not to rescue Joe from his circumstances. If she does save him, how can she be sure he loves her for herself–and not for what she can do for him? Can she fight the ghosts of the past that haunt them both?
Three well-intentioned friends and an ambitious department secretary complicate the delicate situation between Alexis and Joe in this modern retelling of the biblical story of Job. Thoughtful and clever, Blameless asks, what does it mean to love without expectations? And in the midst of losing it all, is it possible to find everything you’ve been looking for?
Lemmons's latest intermingles a contemporary tale about injustice with references to Nathaniel Hawthorne's life and writing, and sprinkles the story with symbolic references to Job. Dr. Alexis Hartnett is a tough, divorced college dean who becomes enamored of the cynical, divorced professor Joe Barnes. Joe has a mysterious past, evinced by a 12-year gap in his teaching experience, and Hartnett's assistant Lucille "Lucy" Conn, who dislikes Joe, is on the warpath to discover his secrets. Snippets from Joe's manuscript on Hawthorne that speak to his tenuous situation at the school are woven throughout, and predictable pearls of wisdom are offered from Alexis's minister's sermons Lemmons (Jabez; Daughters of Faith series) never builds a convincing case for why Lucy is so determined to investigate Joe's past, which should be a pivotal plot element. The author's descriptions can become awkward; loneliness "plumed out of his pores like cheap perfume," and windshield wipers screech across the icy windshield "like twin metronomes from hell." However, Lemmons does well painting the camaraderie between academics, and depicting their trials and tribulations. Some faith fiction readers will appreciate his look at God and the problem of unjust suffering.