Title: Irish Meadows
Author: Susan Anne Mason
Series: Courage to Dream #1
~ MY REVIEW ~
Hmm. For some reason or another, Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason just wasn't so much my style. At first, I was enjoying it; however, the story failed to engage me, and by the end, I was skimming a little. The writing style/story arc strongly reminded me of Julie Lessman's books (though with much less sexual content). Both books have characters with a Catholic faith (but there was not as much depth to the faith as Julie Lessman's novels), and both families are Irish I believe; and both stories include lots of drama, tension, and petty misunderstandings in the romantic relationships. (Not to bash Julie Lessman ... her stories have historical depth and some amazing faith themes. But I stopped reading her books because some of the content was just a little too much; and to be honest, I'm just not a fan of so much drama in the romantic relationships.)
Irish Meadows tells the tale of two, Irish sisters, Brianna and Colleen, and their love interests. Unknown to them, their father is on the verge of loosing the family horses and plantation, and is willing to manipulate a lot of people, including his family, in order to save what's his. This may cause problems for Brianna, who's in love with a man her father is determined to keep away from her. Meanwhile, Colleen has her own troubles with a priest-to-be.
First off, you can hardly tell this family is Irish, besides their names and a few mentions of their heritage. Not much for Irish history or culture that I could see. That was a little disappointing.
Second, the faith. I believe they were Catholics, and there were a few things that rubbed me wrong - such as the need for a priest at a deathbed, to attend to spiritual needs. And they couldn't have someone who was training to be a priest ... he must be an actual priest. It just seems to much like they're putting emphasis on the wrong things. Also, while praying was done and God spoken of a lot, they never mentioned Jesus. Not even when a young woman was asking for forgiveness for sins. They said something like: You haven't done anything that God can't forgive. But they didn't mention why it is that nothing is beyond forgiveness ... because Jesus paid the price for our sin. So yes. Things like that. I just wasn't sure what to think. Some of it felt a little off, to me personally.
The romance. I wasn't so much a fan of that aspect either. As I mentioned above, too much drama! And she's sooo beautiful, and they catch each other's gaze, and they want to kiss. I'm like, Umm ... They hardly know each other well at all yet. Maybe too much emphasis on the physical aspect for my taste. Also, there's a passionate kiss exchanged and lots of thoughts about it ... like it's the turning point of the relationship. Besides that, there's the getting together, breaking up, getting together, breaking up again kind of feel because of petty issues. Brianna can be a bit selfish and immature and a tad bit "feminist" when it comes to marriage and all that. She gets angry at a guy for thinking she'll give up college to marry him ... but acts in a way that suggests she'd expect him to give up things in order to marry her and allow her to go to college.
I don't know. There are certain Christian Historical Romance books that go something like: Women fighting for their "rights" (maybe women aspire for something other than marriage!!), romance with lots of tension and tempers and physical attraction and going back and forth; though the woman clearly has faults, the man seems to think she's perfect and flawless, for the most part; characters "forced" into doing absurd things because of rather unbelievable reasons; not a lot of faith. Not a lot of real-life feeling scenarios and issues and themes. To me anyway.
So yes. There are my thoughts. I'm still going to give the second book in this series a try, as I'm receiving it as a review book. If you prefer what I described above, perhaps you'll really like this book! If you're a fan of Julie Lessman's, you may like this book too.