Thursday, July 30, 2015
Irish Meadows - Susan Anne Mason
Set on a horse farm in Long Island, New York, in 1911, Irish Meadows is a story of family loyalty and where those boundaries fall when loyalty's limits are pushed over the line. Colleen and Brianna O'Leary have always bowed to their father's wishes, but what will they do when he wishes them to marry for profit and alliances rather than love? Gilbert Whelan was taken in by the O'Leary family and raised as a son when he had nowhere else to go. What kind of loyalty is owed for that kind of debt?
Something about the tone, or perhaps the cover itself, gave the impression that this book was to be mainly about Gilbert and Brianna. Gilbert, returning home from college, to express his gratitude to the O'Leary family, but then hoping to strike out on his own, but finds himself being enslaved by the bonds of that gratitude debt. And, Brianna - no longer a child, but a young woman, pinning her hopes, and perhaps her heart, on her childhood friend returning with the education she longs for. And yet, their storyline was not what drew me into this book; instead, it was the sister Colleen, the older sister seen as the flighty flirt, looking for fun wherever she can find it, all the while being the apple of her daddy's eye, it was her character who exhibited the most depth and heartfelt emotional change.
There were other moments and characters that did keep me interested in this book; the aunt, long estranged from her brother, but to whom Brianna ran when she needed space and time; the secrets that everyone was holding onto that, only by their revealing, led to healing and forgiveness. These things were worth reading the book for. Brianna's and Gilbert's characters, however, frustrated me. When things did manage to come together for them, it felt more like an accident than that they'd actually changed or worked through the things they needed to come to terms with.
Either way, I did enjoy the book, and I give it 3 stars.
This was the first in a series, so perhaps we'll see how the O'Leary family continues to cope with the issues in their midst.
You can find Irish Meadows HERE.
You can find the author's website HERE.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House, in exchange for my honest review.