Thursday, July 4, 2013

Longing For Home (A Proper Romance) -- Sarah M. Eden

Twenty-six-year-old Katie Macauley needs to convince the influential Joseph Archer to hold true to his word and keep her on his payroll as his housekeeper—despite her Irish roots. When Joseph agrees to keep Katie as his housekeeper, the feud between the Irish immigrants and frontiersmen in the 1870 Wyoming Territory erupts anew, and Katie becomes the reluctant figurehead of hope for the Irish townsfolk. As the violence escalates throughout the town, Katie must choose between the two men who have been vying for her love—though only one might be able to restore hope to her own heart. (From NetGalley)

I loved this book. I hated this book—a good sign!

I was absolutely in love with the characters, and hated the fact that eventually Katie Macauley would be forced to choose between two men she found equally attractive—as did I, her reader. I found myself constantly torn between the two, wondering how Ms. Eden would work it all out in the end. Although from opposite sides of the track, or the red and green roads in this case, both Tavish O’Connor and Joseph Archer had the capability to win the heart of a young woman, who had always before thought of nothing but returning home to Ireland to make right the perceived errors of her childhood, a childhood thrust upon her by the famine and choices no child of her tender age should ever be forced to make.

The attractiveness of both Tavish and Joseph were far above just physical. Each man saw the importance of land just like Katie did, and each strove to maintain a balance of peace and harmony among neighbors, even when the masses favored only the rise to power of a single side of the argument—theirs! But best of all, they both fell in love with her, as she did with them, one experience at a time. The building of their relationships was well paced and believable. It’s no wonder Katie took so long to decide. I’m still not convinced I could have done the same, or that her decision will eventually be final at the series end.

One of the tropes of romance is the triangle in which the main character has two equally attractive options. Of course by the end a choice must be made. I love that the door to friendship and support was not also abandoned in this episode of Katie’s life and that enough story questions were answered to satisfy me as a reader, yet others left open for the sequel the author has planned. (Preview chapter inside the book.)

I've read books or seen movies galore about the plight of the Irish during this time in both their homeland and on the streets of New York, but other than the movie Far and Away, and its look at the Oklahoma land rush, I'd not thought about the difficulty the Irish had in facing discrimination in the rest if the country. Eden's choice of bringing a whole community to Hope Spring, Wyoming, was refreshing in and of itself. The addition of the shift in balance Katie causes made for a conflict worth addressing outside of the romance.

I also loved the fact that Eden chose to have Katie be a 26-year-old woman. So many times a character I envision as being older turns out to be in her late teens, especially in romance despite the fact the men she will chose from are obviously going to be older since they are established landowners and well respected among the town’s residents. Not that this couldn’t be, but more unlikely than giving them all realistic ages in the first place would be.  

My review is based in an eArc downloaded from NetGalley. It is a rough idea of what the final product will look like. (See this to understand why). Therefore the book had some problems in layout design and flaws such as word or information repetition and an instance of timeline confusion, but overall these did not detract from the text itself, and knowing the meticulous nature of the author I can rest assured these were corrected before the final version was sent to typesetting.

A side benefit for me was an introduction to the beautiful strains of Irish music. I wanted to hear the soundtrack of Katie's playing, so I turned to YouTube. There I discovered jigs and reels and lullabies, haunting melodies, some familiar for which I never knew a name, and others that were brand new to me. As a music lover this was time well spent. As a reader the experience added depth to the novel so it's an activity I would recommend to other readers as well..

Overall, I’d give the book an A+ and Highly Recommend to readers who love history, as well as a great romance. 


No comments:

Post a Comment