Irish Meadows is a beautiful Long Island horse farm James O’Leary has spent his lifetime building. But now racing and betting are to be banned leaving the farm in dire financial straits. Not to worry, James thinks—after all, he has two beautiful daughters he can marry off into wealthy families. However, James has figured on his daughters’ having other ideas!
Brianna, the second daughter, has always pined for her father’s approval, but never seems to make him proud. She is jealous of her sister, Colleen, who seems to be the apple of her father’s eye. Brianna has always loved Gilbert Whelan and is joyfully anticipating his return to Irish Meadows.
Gil is amazed when he sees Brianna—she has grown up into a beautiful young woman while he’s been away at college. Gil knows, though, that even though he may care for Brianna, James will never allow her to marry a poor man. Raised in the O’Leary household since his mother died, Gil feels a huge burden of debt to James O’Leary. Will he sacrifice all he hold dear to pay that debt?
Colleen, the older sister, has always pined for her mother’s approval, but never seems to make her proud. She is jealous of her sister, Brianna, who seems to be her mother’s favorite. Colleen, stunningly beautiful, has the reputation of being a flirt and dresses to suit the bill. She decides to set her cap for Gil—mainly to upset her sister. Selfish and spoiled, she is horrified at the punishment her father gives her when one of her many schemes runs awry.
Susan Anne Mason has written a wonderfully complex story in Irish Meadows. She brings to life each of the characters and makes us care for them. You can almost see Irish Meadows: the beautiful home, the efficient stables. As Irish Meadows draws closer to financial ruin, the two girls will need all their strength to withstand their father’s wishes and follow their dreams. You’ll love Brianna from the beginning along with the handsome Gil. The other characters take more time to draw you in, but drawn in you will be. I truly didn’t want the story to end, but I hear rumors there may be a sequel! Five stars. Irish Meadows (Courage to Dream Book #1).
Irish Meadows is Susan’s first historical novel and won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Authors chapter of the Romance Writers of America. She calls her writing style, “romance sprinkled with faith.” Susan, her husband, two children, and two cats live outside Toronto, Ontario, Canada. To learn more about Susan, check out her website: www.SusanAnneMason.com.
Bethany House via the Litfuse Publicity Group gave me a copy of Irish Meadows in exchange for my candid review.