From the back cover…
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?
Irish Meadows is the first book in Susan Anne Mason’s Courage to Dream series. The title of the book is also the title of an estate situated in the picturesque countryside of Long Island, New York. Once very successful, the farm and it’s owner Mr. O’Leary are beginning to feel the financial ramifications of recent legislation which forbids horse racing. At the risk of losing Irish Meadows, this proud patriarch is willing to gamble with the lives of others.
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
I don’t usually begin a book review with a bible verse, however in the case of Irish Meadows I thought this verse was fitting. Mr. O’Leary was quite an unsavory character who I found to be domineering and manipulative. The favoritism he demonstrates for one of his daughters, and his “adopted” son over his biological son stirs up bitterness and resentment amongst them. No one seems to be able to escape his influence, and the prideful arrogance of these characters opens the door for a reoccurring theme of repentance and forgiveness.
To her credit, the author breaks from the usual prescription for romance. However, for me the lack of trust between Bree and Gill created a tedious on-again off-again dynamic. In addition, I’m not sure readers of the Catholic faith or from a Catholic background will appreciate the portrayal of Rylan Montgomery– who is tempted to break his vows during his pastoral training.
The story itself was well organized and the dialogue was good, yet this book failed to resonate with me.
I received this book free as a member of the Litfuse blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”