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4.5 out of 5
(11)
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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    Filled with masterfully written characters.

    This book is filled with a complete cast of incredibly well developed characters. I connected so completely with a number of the young adults from very early on. So much that I need to get my feelings for the father, James O’Leary out here at the beginning. Many times during this story I wanted to shake the man and tell him, “These are people, your own daughters, with feelings and dreams of their own.” The young adults struggle with a number of conflicting emotions throughout the book. They are trying to figure out their feelings as well as God’s plans for their lives. Most of the older people share a lot of sensible advice with them. A lot of it is encouraging them to seek God for direction. At times some of the younger adults also have incredible words of wisdom to impart to each other. The story captured my interest from very early on. At no time did I lost interest in it or want to even take a break from this novel. It is a wonderfully well written story. I am definitely looking forward to Susan Anne Mason’s next book. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    A lovely Christian romance novel!

    Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason is the first book in Courage to Dream series. Gilbert Whelan has just finished college and is returning home to Irish Meadows. He originally came to Irish Meadows with his widowed mother who was a housekeeper to the O’Leary family. When she died, the family took in Gil and raised him. James O’Leary is the head of the family. He raises and trains thoroughbred horses. With the new anti-gambling legislation, he is worried about the future of Irish Meadows. Gil has avoided coming home because of his feelings for Brianna O’Leary. They were the best of friends growing up, but then they developed feelings for each other. Gil was hoping that time away would alter his as well as Brianna’s feelings (she cares for him as well). James is happy to have Gil home and puts him to work on the bookkeeping. Gil does not have plans to stay at Irish Meadows. He wants to have his own farm one day and make a name for himself. Colleen is the O’Leary’s eldest daughter. She is very self-centered and a big flirt. She is seeing a gentleman (and gets engaged to him), but has her sights set on getting a kiss from Gil (just to irritate her sister). Unfortunately for Colleen, things go awry. Colleen ends up sentenced to work at orphan asylum with a cousin of their mother’s, Rylan Montgomery. Rylan is in the seminary and doing an internship at St. Rita’s (their local Catholic Church). As Rylan and Collen spend time together, they get to know each other. Rylan gets to see the real Colleen and starts to fall in love. Will Rylan pick love or the priesthood? Gil and Brianna’s feelings have not changed for one another and one night they kiss. The next day James has Gil accept a job with Arthur Hastings (the banker). James wants his children to marry someone with money or social status (which means Gil is not good enough for his daughter). James also wants Gil to court Aurora Hastings (banker’s daughter). James is about to apply for a loan and he believes Gil can help him. Gil does not want to court Aurora but he owes James so much (for taking him in and paying for his education). How far will James push Gil to get what he wants? Will James be disappointed? Will Gil and Brianna ever get their chance? I give Irish Meadows 4 out of 5 stars (which means I like it). It was a good, light novel and I did enjoy reading it. It had good characters and a beautiful setting. I found it to be easy to read because of the author’s nice conversational writing style. It is not too preachy (just the right amount). I have just given you a little sneak peek at what happens in this novel. You will have to read Irish Meadows for the full story! I received a complimentary copy of Irish Meadows from NetGalley and from Bethany House through The Book Club Network Inc. in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    •°o•:*:•.EDGY & SECRETIVE.•:*:• o°•

    Edgy and secretive is how I would describe this historical Christian romance. This book was extremely detailed with several characters. I describe this book as edgy because it goes further than I am used to seeing other Christian authors go with danger and steamy scenes, but does not cross any lines. I was quite happy with the results. I definitely don’t consider this a “light” read. It took me the better part of a week, for all of the details, and I do recommend it. The story is told from various characters perspective, which I also enjoyed. There are two strong storylines developing in 1911 Long Island NY, which I really liked. One focuses on Brianna O’Leary and Gilbert Whelan who grew up together under the same roof after the O’Learys took in Gilbert following the death of his mother. They were always the best of friends, but along the way Brianna developed a crush on Gilbert. After returning from college to the country home and horse farm of the O’Learys, Gilbert hopes Brianna’s crush has diminished with time, and he can repay the kindness of the O’Learys until he saves up enough to realize his secret dream of buying his own horse farm. Brianna, however has secret dreams of her own; going off to college and furthering her education. In 1911, most women are expected to learn proper housewife duties and be perfectly happy with that. In particular, her father requires it and has every intention of marrying his daughters off to wealthy young men. Colleen O’Leary is Brianna’s older sister, and a flirtatious brat who dreams only of marrying the wealthiest man she can find and living in the lap of luxury with servants to do her bidding for the rest of her life. She harbors a deep, painful secret that has caused her tainted view of the world. Rylan Montgomery is a distant cousin to the family, and arrives from Ireland to further his goal of becoming a priest. Rylan is my absolute favorite. He is kind, and outspoken, patient and understanding. He gives Colleen a run for her money and sees beyond the shallow exterior that most men see. He is also quite funny. Pg#52 “You didn’t say how Colleen found you at the station this afternoon. I trust everything went smoothly.” “Smooth as mud, Mrs. O’Leary.” (in context, that had me laughing out loud!). 5 STARS I am looking forward to Book #2, A Worthy Heart, available in 2016 (see the gorgeous cover at the author’s website, Susan Anne Mason dot com I received an advance copy of the book as part of the Influencer Team for this author. My opinion is my own, and given freely. Read: 06/19/15-6/24/15, Reviewed: 06/26/15 SERIES: Courage to Dream Irish Meadows - Book#1 – 06/30/2015 A Worthy Heart – Book #2 – 01/2016 Love’s Faithful Promise – Book #3 – 2016
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Irish Meadows

    Loved the story which covers so many human emotions written in a way that made it compulsive reading.
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