Sunday, 16 August 2015

Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason

Long Island, New York

Faced With an Uncertain Future, Sometimes
All You Have Left Is the Courage to Dream

Back Cover: 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?

Review: I have this beautiful box in my bedroom that my mom made for me. It's covered in her favourite scripture verses and is perfect for holding my books. I've been on a reading race the last week and only have a couple of books left in my box - which is highly unusual! I was pouting over my nearly-empty book box when I found Irish Meadows on my craft table. I don't know how it got there, but I was happy to find an unread review book.

Susan Anne Mason is a relatively new author. She's written a couple of contemporary romance novels, but this appears to be her first big publication. The first thing that I noted about this book is that the author can truly write. I appreciate that. Her style is flowing, easy to read, and engaging. The dialogue and descriptions were perfectly on target as well. In short, Susan Mason has found a loyal reader in me - I will certainly be picking up her future books. I really like her characters, way with words, and the way she weaves a tale together.

Irish Meadows is about two sisters, Colleen and Brainna. These girls couldn't be more different if they tried. Colleen is artistically talented at manipulation, her father's favourite, and stunningly beautiful - but she's never been able to keep up to Brainna scholastically and she's hiding a dark secret she's never told a living soul. On the other hand, Brainna is a tom-girl who's passionate about horses and learning, thrives off the company of her best friend Gilbert Whelan, and dreams of going to college - sadly, Brainna is constantly under the judgement of her disapproving father who compares her to her much prettier, lady-like sister.

However, the two sisters have one thing in common: their father's desire to manipulate their marriages. In his eyes, the girls are assets that can be auctioned off to the most economically advantageous bidder.  Both Colleen and Brainna find themselves forced into accepting wealthy but unfavourable suitors given to them by their father. Despite their dismay, saying "no" to their father is NOT an option.

Frantic, Colleen plots up a scheme to get rid of her groping beau forever in a way that her father will not being able to control, and Brainna takes matters into their own hands in a way that threatens to tear apart the whole family.

As the once tight O'Leary family begins to spin out of control, Gilbert Whelan and  Rylan Montogomery step in to try and save the family - and the sisters - from destruction.

In short - loved this book!

Book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

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