Thursday, February 25, 2016
1911, Long Island, New York
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?
When this book first released I was interested in it but when I wasn't able to get a copy for review it kind of slipped my mind. So when I had the opportunity to receive the second book in this series I went out and purchased this one, and I am quite glad that I did! I absolutely adore family sagas and after Julie Lessman's books Irish families have a special place in my heart, so it was pretty obvious from the get go that this was a book I would love. I did find it interesting that the author chose to feature two couples in one book instead of giving them each their own but she made it work and I never felt that either story was lacking.
The O'Learys weren't the typical close-knit family you find in family sagas, with a domineering father, a angry absent son, and sisters who rarely if ever get along. As the book progressed the characters did change and become much closer, and it was cool to see how God worked in their lives.
It was clear from the very first page that Gil and Brianna were meant to be together but between their and James O'Leary's hardheadedness it took quite awhile for everything to work out. There were many tender moments between the two and then many times when I wanted to smack them for doing the stupid things they did. All in all it worked out though and it came to a very satisfying conclusion.
Where Gil and Bree made sense from the beginning Coleen and Rylan were a much less obvious couple. At first Coleen was barely even likable, she liked to manipulate people to get her way and had no use for God, and Rylan was training to be a priest and was often sacrificing to help those around him. But as the book progressed God worked through circumstances to change Coleen's heart and in the end she truly was a different woman. Though the biggest obstacle to this relationship wasn't Coleen but rather the fact that Rylan was on his way to becoming a priest, and priests aren't allowed to marry. I won't spoil anything by saying more but I really liked the way they handled things.
So in conclusion, I loved this book and I absolutely can't wait to read Adam's story. There really was no explanation offered (or maybe I just missed it) as to why he was so angry and ended up leaving, and I can't wait to have the mystery solved!
Meet the Author
Susan Anne Mason's debut historical novel, Irish Meadows, won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. A member of ACFW, as well, she lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children. She can be found online at www.susanannemason.com.