I know I’m supposed to post reviews on Mondays … but I’m a little behind in my schedule with several reviews and an interview schedules, so I’m going to be posting this one today.
Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason
Courage to Dream, Book 1
Irish immigrant James O’Leary has spent his life building Irish Meadows into a thriving horse farm and is not about to let hard economic times threaten its success. He intends for his daughters to marry prosperous men–ones who will secure the family’s rightful place in society, and at the same time, guarantee the future of Irish Meadows. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.
Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their father expects them to marry well. Yet despite his wishes, Brianna, the quieter sister, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry–as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards. When stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from college and distant family member Rylan Montgomery stops in on his way to the seminary in Boston, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?
Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason was an interesting book. I loved the setting – a Long Island horse farm – and the time period – 1911. The Christian content was interesting and well-written. I loved the transformations of the characters. It wasn’t too much, either. Not too preachy, though I don’t mind that in books anyway.
The romance was a bit overdone at times, it seemed to me, and it annoyed me how the characters bent to Mr. O’Leary’s will. Gilbert especially … he came out wimpy. No man should bend that easily … especially when Mr. O’Leary was asking him to do somewhat questionable things.
What does he hold over their heads? Nothing. So why are they pampering his every wish? No reason! I didn’t think he was that intimidating, and he’s not rich or anything!
Brianna’s distrust of Gilbert also annoyed me. They went back and forth too long. It seemed like their story was prolonged far more than it should have been.
SOME MINOR SPOILERS!!!
At the beginning of the book, Brianna seems to think she doesn’t love Gil at all, even though it’s plain as the nose on her face that she does (and that he feels the same way). “Why do I feel so jealous when the other girls are hanging around Gil?” she wonders. Le duh! You’re in love with him! And you don’t even know it (which is sort of a pet peeve with me)!
Later on (and not very much later on), she realizes she loves him. “I’m in love with Gil! Anguish, anguish, anguish!!!”
Please forgive a little sarcasm. 🙂 It was an amusing book over all, and I did enjoy reading it, though the Gilbert/Brianna story wasn’t my favorite.
END OF SPOILERS!!!
I definitely preferred Colleen and Rylan’s romance! It was wonderful. Rylan was an awesome character, and I liked Colleen a lot, even when she was supposed to be unlikable and messed up, because she amused me. Flirtatious vixens always do. 😉
I wish there had been a lot more about Colleen and Rylan and a lot less about Bree and Gil.
SOME MINOR SPOILERS!!!
When Rylan meets Colleen on the road when her wagon got stuck, I was instantly caught up their romance! Knowing the Rylan was going to be a priest, and therefore couldn’t marry Colleen, was heartbreaking! Things like this always are interesting, where one person can’t marry another person for some reason. And this one well-written and interesting!
The drama of the situation was fascinating. A must-read for any lovers of happy-ending drama. 😀
It didn’t take Colleen, who was originally prejudiced against the young priest, a ridiculously long time to realize Rylan’s true merit, thank goodness. I’m tired of heroines who don’t realize how awesome the hero apparently is! 😀
END OF SPOILERS!!!
It had a satisfying beginning and ending, and there were some parts in the middle that I appreciated, though at times it did go on .. and on … and on. 😄
3/5 stars. 🙂
Based on this book will I look up the sequel? Probably. It looks like it’s going to be interesting.