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?
Two sisters struggle under their father’s demands. Do they dare to dream? With conflict at every turn, is there any hope for the future?
Irish Meadows is two love stories in one. Each sister (and each of the heroes) goes through a time of growing, which is good. However, the changes in their lives and hearts seem very sudden, and I wonder if giving each sister her own story would have allowed more opportunity to show those changes taking place.
Life in New York a century ago looked much different than it does today. Despite that, many of the problems young people faced then are still common today: parental expectations, miscommunication, and insecurity (just to name a few). The story could almost have been set in the present day. There were minor differences due to the time period, but for the most part, a young person today could likely relate to the characters and their experiences in many ways.
Irish Meadows elicited a variety of emotions as I read. There were characters I disliked at the beginning to came to like by the end, and others I liked at the beginning but became frustrated with as the story progressed. There were parts that were sweet, others that were shocking, and times when I wanted to talk sense into the characters!
Overall, I enjoyed Irish Meadows. It is the first book in the Courage to Dream series, and I am curious to learn more about Adam and his story in the next book.
(I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts expressed here are entirely my own.)
Join Susan in celebrating the release of Irish Meadows by entering to win her Kindle Fire giveaway and RSVPing to her September 1st author chat party!
One grand prize winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire HD 6
- One copy of Irish Meadows
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 9/1. The winner will be announced at the Irish Meadows Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Susan and other readers, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!