About the book (from the publisher):
Irish Meadows (Bethany House, July 2015)
Faced with an uncertain future, sometimes all you have left is the courage to dream.
Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he’s put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.
Brianna, a quiet girl with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry—as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards of the ideal groom. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant relative Rylan Montgomery visits Long Island during his seminary training, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans.
As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, James O’Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father’s machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?
If you’re looking for a fast, romantic-y read with a hint of Irish history, this would be a book you could enjoy.
The author picks an interesting time period (1911) with a family whose patriarch built up their social/economic standing from poor immigrant to highly-sought after horse trainers, and includes a mix of rural horse farm setting along with city setting. I loved the short glimpses we read in the barn and around the horses, and honestly wished more of the action and character development occurred there.
I also appreciated the author’s efforts to include “uncommon” dreams (for the time period) of education for women and women’s choice in marriage (over societal choice). The reader is doused with backstory right away in the first couple of chapters, which provides a bit of a slow start to the book. I also feel some of the conflicts and conversions (Colleen’s, in particular) are resolved at times too quickly and the ending wraps up a little too perfectly to be realistic. Another major relational conflict has almost too much back-and-forth miscommunication that it becomes a bit tiring, and somewhat unlike the characters were in the first two-thirds of the book. That said, the book covers a solid smattering of themes, including trust, courage to stand up for values, protecting others (and the balance between overprotecting), various definitions and types of family connections, and awareness of when we’re relying on ourselves for solutions or turning to God for His guidance. The author incorporates a range of emotions many readers will be able to relate to while reflecting on the “what ifs” posed.
Litfuse and the author are hosting a Kindle Fire giveaway! Click the image below to learn more.
What do you like to see in pacing and conflicts in romance-focused Christian fiction?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group as a part of their blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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