Monday, August 31, 2015

Blog Tour Book Review: Irish Meadows

Irish Meadows (Courage to Dream #1)Author: Susan Anne Mason
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Courage to Dream # 1

Irish immigrant James O’Leary has spent his life building Irish Meadows into a thriving horse farm and is not about to let hard economic times threaten its success. He intends for his daughters to marry prosperous men–ones who will secure the family’s rightful place in society, and at the same time, guarantee the future of Irish Meadows. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their father expects them to marry well. Yet despite his wishes, Brianna, the quieter sister, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry–as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards. When stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from college and distant family member Rylan Montgomery stops in on his way to the seminary in Boston, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?

“What's important is that God knows the motivation in your heart.”

“Sometimes love catches you off guard.”

“Love would triumph in the end. She's make sure of it.”

“At last, some of the burden seemed to lift from his shoulders. Now that he'd involved God in his decisions, as he should have all along, a certain clarity cleared the fog of guilt from his mind.”

This new series by Susan Anne Mason promises to offer excitement, inspiration, and some very riveting characters. I was pleased with the first book and was immediately sold because of the 1911 setting. I love early twentieth century books, and I love meeting the O’Leary family in this one. The story follows the lives of the O’Leary family, but predominantly focuses on the two older sisters, Brianna and Colleen. The story also shows a lot of interesting family dynamics, especially those between Mr. O’Leary and his daughters. Mr. O’Leary tries his best to do what is right for his family but sometimes that means neglecting the ones he loves most: his two daughters. Brianna has several goals and dreams set for herself but must push those aside in order to follow what her father feels is best for her. When James O’Leary shares his plan for his daughters to make prestigious marriages in order to save the farm, the girls have a different idea of what their future should look like in mind. Both girls must make a choice and make it fast: while they follow their father’s desires? Or will they choose to find love of their own accord?

Both Colleen and Brianna touch my heart in various ways. They are POWERFUL and beautiful characters with the power to win over any reader, no matter the age or gender. You will find yourself rooting for the happiness of both of the O’Leary sisters as you quickly turn the pages to find out what happens next. I liked the fact that both of their stories were combined in one narrative. So many times you will find books that tell the story of one sister, saving the other for a later installment. Here you get to see how both sisters feed off of each other and how their sisterly relationship tends to blossom and grow. I love the power of family that I felt while reading this book, even if I did not care so much for James O’Leary. This is a world that I could revisit over and over again.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Bethany House and Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review***

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