Friday, July 31, 2015

Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason

23477297Overview1911, 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?

ISBN-13: 9780764217241 | Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication date: 07/07/2015 | Series: Courage to Dream Series, #1
Buy It: B&N | Amazon | CBD

My Review: This book tugged at my heart strings and had my pulling my hair out in frustration throughout most of the book (in a good way). The ending was totally and completely worth the emotional roller coaster this author put me through! I loved the setting of the story, the characters, and the plot. From page one, I was pulled into life at Irish Meadows and I didn't want to leave! The character depth surprised me because at one point in the book we're viewing the story through four different view points. In my opinion, it's very hard to get a good feel for characters when a story is told through more than two view points, but Susan Anne Mason did an excellent job of describing their thoughts, feelings, and actions in extensive detail without bogging the story down or making it cumbersome with characterization. 

I loved Brianna's character. She seems to me to be a sweet, shy, and spunky girl who longs to be loved and accepted. Gilbert's position in the family, though he doesn't see it, is immediately clear to me. They love him as if he were blood. Their romance frustrated me to no end! For the plot's sake, I'm glad it wasn't an easy romance, but for my emotions sake, I wanted to shake some sense into both of them! Then there's Colleen. In the beginning of the story, I'll admit, I didn't like her one bit. But as the story progressed and Rylan entered the picture, I began to see her in a different light. Once her past was revealed, I could understand her actions and loved that Rylan could be the guiding light in her life.

The message of the story is about placing your trust in God for your future, then letting Him keep it. Each character struggles with this at some point throughout the story. It made for a heart-wrenching story, and made the ending all the more enjoyable. Overall, I really enjoyed the first installment of the Courage to Dream series and look forward to more from this amazing author.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Bethany House Blogging program in exchange for my honest review.*

About the Author: I have always loved to write. As a teen, I wrote my first novel, only to be politely rejected by my publisher of choice.
Life got in the way - university, marriage and children became the priority. Then once I had time to start reading again, the writing bug bit once more.

I enjoy writing both contemporary and historical Inspirational romances. "Romance sprinkled with faith" describes my writing style. I love themes of forgiveness and redemption!

I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Romance Writers of America. My association with such amazing groups of people has been the biggest asset toward learning my craft.

Home for me is Brampton, Ontario, Canada (near Toronto), where I live with my husband, our two children and two cats. My day job is a part-time secretary at a local church. In my spare time, I like to read and research our family history on-line. Learn more: 

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