‘Irish Meadows’ by Susan Anne Mason

im samSTORY: 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?

REVIEW: Long Island, New York – 1911

Gilbert (Gil) Whelan’s mother had been the housekeeper at the O’Leary family mansion, Irish Meadows. The O’Leary family loved Gil so much and thought of him as a son so when his mother passed away, he continued to live with them until he went away to college.  After graduation, he returned to the mansion to continue working with the racehorses that he loved and trained.

Brianna O’Leary has just graduated from high school and has matured into a beautiful young woman. She loves the horses but yearns to continue her education and go to college.  She and Gil have always been close and the spark is still there when he returns to Irish Meadows.

Older sister, Colleen, is a beautiful young woman with no real ambition.  She is jealous of the attraction between her sister and Gil as she wants him for herself.  She tends to be a mean spirited young woman constantly causing friction.

Rylan Montgomery is a distant cousin to Mrs. O’Leary and has just arrived from Ireland to study to be a priest at St. Rita’s church.  One of the things he busies himself with is helping out at the local orphanage.

When Colleen angered her father yet again, she was ordered to help at the orphanage with Rylan.  She soon found that she loved the work and the children too.  Her togetherness with Rylan helps her to find her true self and they both find something else as well.

Brianna and Gil love each other but he wants to establish himself before asking her to marry him.  He wants to prove to Mr. O’Leary that he worthy of his daughter and wants to save enough money to buy land and start his own horse farm.  Yet, Brianna still wants to attend college.  How can they resolve their differences and still stay together?

We see how the stress of achieving certain goals for each of the characters upsets their feelings for the ones they love.

This is a really good story that shows the growth and maturity of the characters as they find out what is truly important in life.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and know that others will as well.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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