Friday, August 21, 2015

Irish Meadows {Review + Giveaway}

Irish Meadows (Courage to Dream #1)
Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason
Courage to Dream #1
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Bethany House
Publishing Date: July 7, 2015
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?
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy today! 

My Thoughts:
This cover in one word: captivating. How could you turn this cover down?? And wait until you see book two. But the cover is slightly misleading. This isn't a book about one female character, but two. And then throw in two male main characters. Oh, and don't forget the secondary characters. In summary, my review could be boiled down to: SO MANY CHARACTERS!!

You read that right, this book features four main characters, meaning also four separate perspectives. Sisters Brianna and Colleen and their love interests Gil and Rylan. This is simply too many jammed into too short a space. Author Mason did well considering what she gave herself to work with, but the only possible result is the reader remaining separate from the characters. We just never quite get enough from anyone of them.

Colleen had the biggest character change of the four. As we begin the book, Colleen is selfish, vain and her father's favorite. She flirts wildly with any rich, eligible bachelor and will use anyone to get her way. After a particularly drastic plan of Colleen's gets her caught by her father, she is forced to work at the orphanage. Here she finally learns to care for someone other than herself. Working closely with the nuns and Rylan, who aims to become ordained, causes a whole heart change.

Gil was probably my least favorite of the four. He simply took forEVER to get a backbone, never capable of standing up to his 'adopted' father Mr. O'Leary. Gil couldn't say no even after Brianna stood up to her father, and even after it crushed Brianna's heart. Following along with Mr. O'Leary's plans led Gil to do some things that hurt people. I just couldn't see him as a 'good guy' after that.

Again, because of the many characters, it probably goes without saying that this book is focused on the romances. And although the characters may not be considered 'complex', neither are they completely flat. Each character is their own, with their own quirks and faults. The plot isn't bare. Each couple has to overcome large obstacles to be with each other with a few twists and loops along the way. I can't claim 'Irish Meadows' as the best of the year, but neither should you overlook it. Especially if you enjoy romances as this read can almost be described as two novellas twinned together. 3 stars and I will be picking up book two so I can learn more about this mysterious brother Adam.
Will Brianna and Colleen have the courage to stand up to their father's schemes to save their horse farm and instead pursue true love? Don't miss Irish Meadows, the newest book by Susan Anne Mason!

Join Susan in celebrating the release of Irish Meadows by entering to win her Kindle Fire giveaway and RSVPing to her September 1st author chat party!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • One copy of Irish Meadows
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 9/1. The winner will be announced at the Irish Meadows Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Susan and other readers, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—Hope to see you on the 1st!

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