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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.7 out of 5
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  • Captivating Historical Romance

    I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review and rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars. A captivating historical romance, To Ride a White Horse by Pamela Ford combines the best of both genres. Filled with facts and descriptions that transport you to both a small town in Ireland and Boston, Massachusetts, Ms. Ford’s novel grabbed my attention from the first page and never let go. Reminding us of the best and worst of humanity, Ms. Ford covers heavy subjects such as ethnic prejudice, freedom, and indentured servitude, grace and forgiveness without weighing her story down. Filled with plenty of emotional angst, twists and turns and the redemptive power of love, this is a story romance lovers will definitely enjoy. Forced to leave her Irish homeland behind due to another potato crop failure and devastating country wide famine, Kathleen Deacey boards a ship headed to Newfoundland, Canada with the intention of finding her fiancée and sending money home to help support her family. Only nothing goes as planned and Kathleen, who is washed overboard during a storm, finds herself on an American whaling ship headed in the wrong direction. Forced to accept help from Jack Montgomery, the ships English captain, Kathleen relies on the hope that when the ship lands in Boston, she’ll be able to find lodging, find employment and eventually find her fiancée and help her family financially. She never thought she’d fall in love with an Englishman or find herself having to choose between her country and her heart. Ms. Ford does an excellent job developing Kathleen’s character; I understood her despair when her fiancée didn’t come home as promised, her anger over how her country and its people were being treated by the English government and its people, and her fear as she is forced to leave her home and travel someplace new by herself. A strong, yet occasionally superstitious woman, Kathleen Is grounded in the love she grew up in and is generous when she has the opportunity. Raised a Roman Catholic, Kathleen Is also a firm believer in God, in the power of prayer and has a strong moral code she’ll need to rely on when she is tempted with several choices. I really liked her and enjoyed watching as she develops even more as the story progresses. An Englishman who himself fled England due to lack of financial opportunity, Jack Montgomery has been making a good living as a whale ship captain and looks forward to an even brighter future when he returns to port in Boston with a ship full of oil. He never planned on rescuing a woman in the middle of the ocean with a ship full of men who hadn’t seen a woman in six months, or on finding himself attracted to her. Bringing her to America as quickly as possible is the only thing he can do. Ms. Ford also does a good job developing Jack’s character and I found him to be an excellent romance hero. Attractive, intelligent and generally decent overall, Jack has no intentions of taking advantage of Kathleen or on letting anyone else take advantage of her either. When they finally make it to Boston, he refuses to let her leave the ship without his escort and even takes her to his home, where he lives with his cantankerous grandfather, so that he can make sure she is safe. When it’s clear that even in Boston the Irish have problems finding jobs and decent lodging, Jack insists on hiring her and giving her lodging in his home. Something that doesn’t exactly make his grandfather a happy camper. The secondary characters are well developed and make important contributions to the story. I really enjoyed getting to know Jack’s grandfather, even though he was a crotchety and at times mouthy older man. I also enjoyed getting to know Sean, Kathleen’s brother, her mother and her father and even the Montgomery’s cook. Ms. Ford does an excellent job setting up the historical aspects of her story and while I knew a little bit about the potato blight, and famine that occurred afterwards, I didn’t realize the extent of the damage, horror and the hostility it lead to between the Irish and the English. Ms. Ford also gives us a realistic sense of what life on a ship in the 1840s was like and reminded me about the evils of whale hunting – something I’m vehemently opposed to and have never understood the need for. The author does an excellent job setting up what Boston would have been like at the time and how even in this new country, founded on the principal of open arms toward newcomers, ethnic issues had crossed the ocean. Will Kathleen find her “missing” fiancée? Will she realize her future lies in America and maybe with Jack instead? Will Kathleen’s family somehow survive the horror of what’s taking place in Ireland? You’ll have to read To Ride a White Horse to find out. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Ms. Ford’s work.

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  • Nice name for the book.

    I realy enjoyed the story based on the famine of Ireland, and the people in it.

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  • Historical romance rich in Irish lore

    A few years back I read Pamela Ford's contemporary rom-com series called the Continental Breakfast Club and enjoyed them. They were fun and light-hearted. I was eager to read her Out of Ireland historical fiction series. To Ride a White Horse is the first book in the series and I enjoyed it immensely! I am so impressed by how this author can write two different genres (one light-hearted and the other more serious) so well. The story begins in Ireland, with the poverty stricken Deacey family discovering another crop of potatoes devastated by the blight. Kathleen makes the difficult decision to leave Ireland and head to Canada where her fiancé Danny is working, but whom she has not heard from. The trip is arduous and dangerous. Eventually, and almost by a miracle, she ends up on another ship captained by Jack Montgomery, an Englishman now living in America. Their lives intertwine as Kathleen makes it to America and must decide if she should follow her heart and betray all that she holds dear. The setting makes this story an emotional one and I keenly felt the despair of the Irish as they slowly starved and were downtrodden by the English during the Great Famine. Several scenes brought me to tears. Ford adds a few scenes on the ship that brought some comical relief, balancing out the readers' feelings even as she kept the story realistic. The romance is strong, with two characters who must overcome their personal dilemmas and social status views. Ford brings the era to life both in Ireland, on the whaling ship as we witness the brutal hunt and the slaughter work of gathering whale oil, and in Boston's high society. Clearly, a well-researched novel with a bibliography that the author shares at the end of the book. To Ride a White Horse is a well-written historical fiction novel rich in Irish lore and satisfying in its romantic plot. I enjoyed the characters, the setting and the story very much and I am eager to dig into the second book in the series A Rush of White Wings.

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  • To Ride a White Horse

    To Ride a White Horse begins the Out of Ireland series by Pamela Ford. I had already read the second book, A Rush of White Wings, previously. So, I had the pleasure of learning about some of the characters that were part of this story. I enjoyed that one and I was not at all disappointed with this one. Readers are introduced to Kathleen Deacey in 1846. She and her family are living in devastated Ireland. She is seeking for a new life and find a way to support her family. She, also, wants to get far away from the English as much as possible. They have caused her so much heartache and pain. However, when she is on a ship to cross the ocean to North America, she meets an English captain, Jack Montgomery. The two have undeniable chemistry. I loved Kathleen’s courage to do what is right for herself and was hoping for the best for her. It is a beautiful story that I could not put down. To Ride a White Horse is getting a very well deserved five plus stars from me. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy historical fiction. I am hoping that there will be a third book from the Out of Ireland series releasing in the near future. I am not ready to say good bye to wonderful these characters. I received To Ride a White Horse from the publisher. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.

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