Irish Meadows

4.16911764706
Irish Meadows

Irish Meadows (Bethany House, July 2015)

Faced with an uncertain future, sometimes all you have left is the courage to dream.

Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he’s put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, rests in their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna, a quiet girl with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry—as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards of the ideal groom. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant relative Rylan Montgomery visits Long Island during his seminary training, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans.

As the farm slips ever closer to ruin, James O’Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid being pawns in their father’s machinations and instead follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?

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Reviews

  • I was delighted to read “Irish Meadows” by Susan Anne Mason for LitFuse Publicity. This novel is set on Long Island, NY in the early 1900’s. Irish Meadows is a horse farm where race horses are boarded and bred. The main characters are Colleen and Brianna, daughters of James O’Leary. The horse racing business is in jeopardy and James is ever increasingly concerned about the survival of his farm. Gilbert Whelan is a young man who was taken in by the O’Leary family after his parents’ death. He has returned from college and is preparing to take his place in the running of the farm. I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it. I was sent a print copy of this book by Litfuse Pulicity in return for my honest review.

  • I really enjoyed this book. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I am glad I picked it up. I like both the historical aspect and the touch of romance. The characters in this story were strong. Susan Mason does a good job in getting the historical details down. She also does a good job with scene descriptions so you feel as if you can see just what she is talking about. Even though this was a quick read for me it left me satisfied. This is going to be a fun series to follow and I am looking forward to getting to know this family even more.

  • LyonsLady says:

    So, yes, Irish Meadows doesn’t really establish anything new and it’s formulaic and predictable—but I enjoyed it all the same, mainly because of Colleen’s arc. And Brianna and Gilbert, though annoying at first, do get better—and so does their relationship I really enjoyed this novel, because it gave a very good view of the era of the early 1900’s. And most importantly, are we keeping God at the center of our decisions?

    I would recommend this book to those who love historical fiction and are looking for a unique read.

  • “Irish Meadows” by Susan Anne Mason is a book about how women had to live in older days. This was a time when farms and land were everything to families and women had to marry who they were told to and it had to be what was best for the family. This was what Brianna did not want. She had dreams of her own, like attending college. She and her sister Colleen have been told that they need to marry well and save their family farm. Colleen wants to marry the man of her choosing. As time goes on their father becomes more and more adamant about what their future will be. They have to use all of their faith and strength to get through these days. Will they have enough courage to make their own futures? I really like stories of women in the past who had the guts to be able to follow their own dreams and their hearts. I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book by Litfuse Publicity Group and all opinions are my own. –

  • To her credit, the author breaks from the usual prescription for romance. However, for me the lack of trust between Bree and Gill created a tedious on-again off-again dynamic. In addition, I’m not sure readers of the Catholic faith or from a Catholic background will appreciate the portrayal of Rylan Montgomery– who is tempted to break his vows during his pastoral training.

    The story itself was well organized and the dialogue was good, yet this book failed to resonate with me.

  • Irish Meadows is book one in the Courage To Dream series. I loved this book! With this being Susan Anne Mason’s first book, I’m certain she’ll have many more good stories to come. And I can’t wait to read them all!

  • 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.

  • The book reads like a family saga. The writing flows well and kept me moving through the story. The characters were more numerous than a typical historical romance. The book is laid out so that the main story lines are completed at the end of the book, but characters are set up for the next book in the series. The message of forgiveness and faith was woven throughout the story without it being preachy. I enjoyed the story, but the characters didn’t grab me. I didn’t fall in love. I will check out more by this author, since I really enjoyed her writing style. I’m just hoping the characters grab me more in the next book.

  • Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason is a treasure to read. It follows the story of two sisters that don’t have the best relationship, and have entirely different goals in mind when it concerns their futures. From quiet Brianna who just wants to further her education and graduate from college to Colleen who is happy to marry for money (or so it seems) proves to holds a delightful read. Join me in my review of this lovely start to a fantastic series to come.

  • Awesome book!!!!…I was emotionally connected to the characters and I absolutely LOVE how Colleen and Brianna grow throughout the story as well as a few other characters!….

  • As in most any family, there are some you love a lot, some you tolerate, and some you just have a lot of trouble liking, loving, or even being around. In the O’Leary family that is true as well. Rife with character flaws, most of the O’Learys find that they must make changes if life is to be doable for them.

    This is a successful Irish family whose success has been built on hard work and intelligence of the immigrant father, Mr. O’Leary. He is an arrogant, domineering man bent on controlling all in his world. That involves making sure that at all costs his little financial empire and beloved “Irish Meadows” horse farm continues to succeed even if dependent on the marriages of his own children in loveless marriages simply for the sake of position and money…..

  • I really enjoyed Irish Meadows. The writing is beautiful, as the author describes the scenery of a early 20th century horse farm so beautifully. The contrast of the two daughters and how they handle their father’s controlling ways is very interesting and well written. I really liked Brianna’s headstrong personality that so desperately wanted to serve her family. She is a great character and I liked reading of her as she matured through the story. Colleen’s transformation through the story is also wonderful. I would recommend Irish Meadows to anyone that enjoys historical fiction.

  • Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason was a great historical fiction book to read. I have hard time believing that this was her first historical fiction book because it is amazing. I have really been enjoying historical fictions books lately and this one didn’t let me down.

  • Irish Meadows is two love stories in one. Each sister (and each of the heroes) goes through a time of growing, which is good. However, the changes in their lives and hearts seem very sudden, and I wonder if giving each sister her own story would have allowed more opportunity to show those changes taking place…

  • This is a new author to me, as it is her first book. I’m always up for reading something new and was so excited about this story! This book was a bit stop and go for me. Things would pick up and peak my interest and then I would have to slowly continue until the storyline picked up again. It was a tough book for me to get into and I’m sure part of it was my mood. I set it aside for a few days and picked it back up but it was just so predictable. I liked Gilbert the most and the setting is unique. I wish I could say better things but I know so many others will enjoy this book more than me.

    Three stars.

    “I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review.”

  • All-in-all, “Irish Meadows” was an intriguing story that held my interest. Of all the characters I think I liked Rylan the best, even if he vacillated about what he wanted for awhile also. Pick up a copy to find out for yourself how things turn out for Irish Meadows and the O’Leary family. There might be a few surprises in store.

  • I enjoyed this book so much! It is packed with interesting and fabulously flawed characters who struggle in making the right decisions. There are misunderstandings, power plays, confusion, and a whole host of things that kept me anxiously turning the pages to see what would happen.

  • I liked the characters and storyline of this book. Mason has a great writing style that will keep you reading. I hope to read the other books in this series.

  • I liked that this story is about two sisters in the early 1900’s. There is a lot going on between the two of them, since the story goes back and forth between their journeys to discovering true love. I think the historical aspect, that of women trying to marry to elevate their family’s social standing, was interesting and that the author did an excellent job of portraying the history side of the story. 
    That said, I would of liked for the story to be a bit more original. It is an interesting, nice read, but it isn’t one that will stick with me.
    I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review.

  • I believe this is the first novel that I read by Susan Anne Mason and I only agreed to review this books based on the fact that I liked the cover art. That being said, I had no clue what the plot was before I started reading the novel. While I don’t care much for books set in this time period (I prefer the 1800s), I enjoyed the book for the most part. The descriptions, characters and the main plot are all intriguing, though I thought the romance parts could have been extended lightly, making it more believable. Overall, Irish Meadow is a surprisingly entertaining read from start to finish.

  • A Rup Life says:

    This was a delightful summer read. It had just enough suspense to keep you wanting to find out what happens to our poor lovebirds Brianna and Gilbert. James O’Leary – Brianna’s Dad and Gilbert’s guardian – has plans for both of these young people. His desperation just might lead them to unhappiness and lives with unfulfilled dreams. I love how the characters worked through the tough times they faced and how they searched out emotions to get the life they wanted.

  • There are some elements in Irish Meadows that we’ve seen in other novels set in this era. There’s an orphanage, the differences in life between rich and poor, and even a horse farm. What caught my attention, however, was the church denomination involved. We didn’t have a young pastor having a crisis of faith but instead a seminary student caught between love and the church. The characters are intriguing: James O’Leary has a strange notion of who’s family and who isn’t. He might be head of the household, but his longsuffering wife doesn’t let much past her unless it’s business-related. Meanwhile, I found myself preferring Colleen over Bree. The older sister isn’t likeable at first but she grew on me and I think she had the better storyline.

  • A perfect historical romance teaching us to follow our hearts in order to find happiness. A story of love, forgiveness, understanding and compassion.

  • A tale of family and friendship, Irish Meadows is the story of two sisters, who find where they are meant to be despite expectations and the course set before them.

    I like how Brianna takes charge of her life and goes to college, following her dreams. And how working with the children at the orphanage, really helps Colleen mature and see things from a different view.

    Overall, this book follows the sisters through the ups and downs, as they grow up and find strength in their faith.

  • A beautiful and touching debut with the right amount of humor and romance, Irish Meadows settles nicely into its own place on the bookshelves of this genre’s fans. Poetic writing, compelling characters, and an emotionally-intense plot provide the backdrop to a couple of mighty fine kisses along the way. A solid first novel for the series and for the author, Irish Meadows wraps you up in the time period and instantly engages you in the story. I’m looking forward to reading Adam’s story (A Worthy Heart, due out in January 2016) and staying connected to the O’Leary family.

  • First of all, I find the cover art to be stunning. Second of all, I enjoyed this book immensely. It is a captivating story, and well crafted. Since my family has some Irish roots, I found this story particularly interesting. Besides, I thoroughly enjoy stories set in the early 1900s. Superb summer read.

  • This was a wonderful debut novel I had a hard time putting down! It was well-written with characters who seemed very real, flaws and all. I liked the different conversations about faith and God that occurred between different characters, especially Colleen and Rylan. It was pointed out that God will forgive anything and that He values us.

  • James O’Leary was a controlled father, wanting to control his daughter’s lives, as well as the young man that he raised. It was really annoying the way James was acting, and I really felt like belting Gilbert for not standing up for himself, but yet I could understand why, because of he circumstances. The story was back and forth so much between Gil and Brianna that was head was spinning so much I wanted to shake them both! But in reality, that’s what happens a lot with couples.

  • Irish Meadows is the first book in Susan Anne Mason’s Courage to Dream Series and it is amazing. This is also Susan Anne Mason’s debut book!! WOW! I am a huge fan of Historical Fiction and Debut books so this was the perfect match for me! Susan Anne Mason did an amazing job on this first book of weaving fact and fiction into this wonderful book. She writes with authority about horses, running a stables, the church rules, orphanages and the people that run them, society in 1911, and the way of life during this time. As I read this book I felt like I was right there at Irish Meadows watching the horses and the people. Susan Anne Mason’s writing transported me to this time and place, inside the lives of these characters.

  • Irish Meadows is a lovely story! Beautifully written with imagery and emotion, Susan Anne Mason swept me into her story world. Irish Meadows is a wonderful debut novel, and I can’t wait to read more from this talented author!

  • Book by Book says:

    Susan Anne Mason’s novel, Irish Meadows, tells a captivating and charming tale of family and romance and dreams, set early in the twentieth century on scenic Long Island. All-around heartwarming and inspirational, this book will certainly offer readers of historical romance a delightful end-of-summer read.

  • “Irish Meadows” is a wonderful romance and the history is perfectly accurate giving a picture of simpler, slower times. Ms. Mason is an amazing writer and she has given us a great story with believable characters on Brianna and Colleen as well as the men they fall in love with and all the supporting characters.

  • Initially, I found Brianna a much more sympathetic character. I usually prefer stories of intelligent, ambitious women, and I appreciated her desire to go to college. As the book went on, I did come to like Colleen as well. All the characters were well developed, and the dialogue (especially well written) moved the story along.

  • Irish Meadows by Susan Mason was a book that I enjoyed from the very start. I was totally intrigued by the world the characters moved in and wanted to know how their lives would turn out by the end of the book. If you are looking for a book that is intriguing, full of fun characters and important decisions to make, you will definitely want to pick up Irish Meadows. A 5 star rating for sure!

  • Moments says:

    I was excited to read Susan Anne Mason’s debut novel, “Irish Meadows” and I enjoyed the novel and am eager for novel #2 as I am curious to see which characters will play prominent roles and if the story will continue. James has expectations for his daughters’ futures; however, the girls, Brianna and Colleen, do not have quite the same ideas.

  • This has an appealing setting in the Long Island, NY, horse farm by the same name, and I’ve always been drawn to Irish characters. Characters are well developed and filled with flaws to the extent that I didn’t always like them, but that’s what makes an enjoyable read for me. That the Catholic faith was important to the O’Leary family is something I expected from this era, and I appreciated that aspect. We do see spiritual and emotional growth in the main characters, but Colleen’s story is the most redemptive and I loved everything about it. God’s orchestration of events and ability to transform is clearly seen – and even if some changes happened a little quickly, that’s okay with me because it made for great storytelling.

  • While I loved this Irish history and rich setting, my favorite element of this story was the cast of characters. Because they shared the limelight and the strong plot lines, Mason’s characters shared in the drama and kept the emotional action high. I enjoyed reading about this likeable family, except for one character, who made only rare appearances in this book. That makes the sequel that much more exciting since it will tell his story – and I can’t wait to read it.

  • Irish Meadows was a book that was beautiful in its cover and inside its pages. I loved the little spitfire we’re greeted with in the first few pages when we meet Brianna. I also enjoyed meeting Gilbert as he comes home to the O’Leary family. There was humor, hardship, romance, lots of family, friendships, and a nice inspirational element that didn’t overtake the story.

    I’d recommend Irish Meadows to those who enjoy Christian historical romance. It kept at a steady pace with parts that made me laugh, want to cry, and sigh along with the swoon-worthy moments.

  • Maybe the tale drew me into the pages as the central figures are an Irish family or maybe because it was set in the year 1911, thus a historical setting. Either way Susan Anne Mason has crafted a novel that draws on the hearts of the readers keeping them turning pages until the story ends, at least until the sequel coming in 2016!

  • This is one of those books that really grated on my nerves at times, but when it was over I realized it was actually a very good story.

    I can’t imagine living in a time when fathers had so much say in who their daughters married. Love and friendship, and all that goes with a good marriage, was usually way at the bottom of the list of traits that a man must possess to marry one’s daughter.

    Colleen and Brianne both lived under their father’s control, and he turned out to be a bully who was only out for his own gain.

  • In summary, my review could be boiled down to: SO MANY CHARACTERS!!

    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. At an orphanage 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.

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  • Susan Anne Mason’s debut for Bethany House is a nuanced historical novel that stitches together a plot of family dramas, forbidden romances, and fervent redemption. A character driven novel that follows the O’Leary patriarch and his diametrically different daughters. Susan Mason imbues her characters with flaws (particularly the volatile Colleen) that places them at odds with each other and drives them towards personal moments of reckoning. The plot is told from a multi-perspective of the four main characters and allows for their distinct individual voices to resonate on the page. In spite of the of the varying points of view, the plot and prose flow at an easy canter and enriched with Mason’s penchant for lavish description.

  • What a fun historical novel!! It was such a pleasure to read and hard to put down! Susan Anne Mason did a wonderful job with bringing her characters to life and creating an unforgettable story.

  • Irish Meadows is a historical fiction novel that kept me interested right from the very beginning. The writing was flawless, the characters were well-developed, and I think the story had just the right amount of suspense and intrigue. I rate this book as 5 stars.

  • Daddy wants both his daughters to marry well – very well – in order to save his horse farm. Brianna and Coleen have other visions of marriage.

    It has become a battle of wills. Will Brianna and Coleen stand their ground or cave in to their father’s demands?

    Thank you, Ms Mason. Your debut novel has me wanting more. I’m looking forward to the second book in your Courage to Dream series.

  • Irish Meadows belongs very strongly in the Tracie Peterson historical romance camp of books–which is definitely not a bad thing!

    Irish Meadows is a little different than most historical romances in that it involves two heroines (sisters) and two heroes, as well as an amazing setting and lots of family dynamics! For the most part, I usually enjoy books more when there are only one or two character point of views, but this book was very well-written and well-balanced for having so many.

    I really enjoyed reading Irish Meadows, getting to know the characters and seeing their relations

  • I am always a little nervous to read an author’s debut book, but I think I will be less skeptical in the future because this Susan Anne Mason book was phenomenal and if I didn’t know it was her first book, I would have NEVER known from reading it!

    Mason writes with the finesse and skill of a very published author and I was instantly drawn into the two sister’s characters and the story line! I loved watching Brianna and Colleen grow as women and learn to stand up for themselves! I was cheering for them to find love and loving when they did!

    This book was one of my favorite books of the Summer!

  • Irish Meadows is book one in the Courage to Dream series. This is the first book that I have read by Susan Anne Mason. It definitely won’t be my last by her. What an amazing historical romance!

  • I was so excited to read this new book from a new author, the name of the book alone and the cover were enough to get me hooked. I really liked the book followed both Brianna and Colleen, although Brianna standpoint was told more and she was clearly the nicer of the two sisters, but Colleen did get better as the book progressed. I liked the real and raw characters, Brianna was very endearing and I liked her a lot. I wish there was a tad less romance, it started awfully soon in the book, but it was still a very good read and I cannot wait to read Ms. Mason’s future works. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Intrigued by the summary, I was curious how the author would work out the multiple details of the plots. She does a wonderful job keeping everything on track and the characters interesting. The ending was perfect, tying up all the loose ends and preparing the way for the next book in this series. This book would be a great addition to anyone’s TO READ list and library.

  • WordSmith says:

    I relish the feeling of picking up a new book and knowing by the end of the first page that I’m going to love it. That’s how I felt about Irish Meadows. The quality of the writing immediately drew me in. In addition to the strong writing, this book had a solid plot that never sagged. I enjoyed the historical background and the unique family dynamics.

  • Every once in a while I agree to read and review a book that is REALLY not my cup of tea. I try really hard to screen the books before I agree to review them. Even so, one occasionally slips in and…WHAM…I’m stuck in a reviewer’s dilemma. Should I plow on through, finishing a book that I know I won’t be able to ever enjoy? Or should I stop at certain point, knowing I’ve given the book my best shot but that it really isn’t a book for me.

    Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason is that book for me.
    It just did not resonate with me at all.

  • 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.

  • If you’re looking for a fast, romantic-y read with a hint of Irish history, this would be a book you could enjoy.

    The author picks an interesting time period (1911) with a family whose patriarch built up their social/economic standing from poor immigrant to highly-sought after horse trainers, and includes a mix of rural horse farm setting along with city setting. I loved the short glimpses we read in the barn and around the horses, and honestly wished more of the action and character development occurred there.
    I also appreciated the author’s efforts to include “uncommon” dreams (for the time period) of education for women and women’s choice in marriage (over societal choice).

  • This was my first read by Susan Anne Mason. The cover and title are what drew me to this book — I am of Scotch/Irish descent, so anything that is Scotch/Irish attracts me.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love that Brianna is a girl that knows what she wants and wants to further her education. I empathized with her relationship with her sister Colleen. What a spoiled brat!! But that seems to be the way of it. Brianna’s relationship with her father is not a great one, but the times were different and the way parents and children communicated and related to each other was different in that time. I love to read about these differences… makes me thankful for living in these times.

  • I’ll be completely honest: I wanted to read this book simply because of the cover and the title of this book. I know that’s a completely lame reason when it comes to an avid reader choosing a book! But I can’t help it. I’m drawn to books with “Ireland” or “Irish” in the title. Now that I’ve confessed, I’ll also go ahead and state that I had never read any books by Susan Anne Mason. So I wasn’t certain whether I’d like this book or not since I had a different set of criteria in choosing this book, apparently!

    I really like the title of this new series: Courage to Dream. I think it lends itself to some very promising books in the future. In this particular book, though, the O’Leary clan are the ones who are having to dare to have courage.

  • I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the tale, on the other hand, there were quite a few things that filled me with concern.

    One of those such issues was the amount of kissing. Seriously, there was a vast amount and it really, really disappointed and rather disturbed me. It gives the impression that kisses are no big deal – everyone kisses, so why not? But this is so wrong! A kiss is so special, sacred – something to save and cherish for our husbands -or wives in guys’ case. (I also want to make note that I’m not condemning those who have already given away their first kiss. But I do encourage you to dedicate any more of your kisses for your future husband/wife. God can create something beautiful if only we let Him!)…….

    My favourite character at first was Brianna, but it slowly changed to Colleen and Rylan, and also sweet little Delia. Their stories were sweet and I really like how they came together and ended. 🙂

  • Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason is a wonderful story, one I won’t soon (or EVER!) part with! The sweet characters, mixed emotions, and unique story line mixed with suspense had me gripped from sweet beginning to disappointing end!

  • In some ways this is your typical romance novel, you know which girl is going to end up with who and the story is in the twists and turns until they get there. In other ways this is not your typical romance because the characters have some very hard lessons to learn and it didn’t turn out in the way I expected at all.

    The biggest lesson was that every action has consequences, both for yourself, and for everyone around you. It’s hard to write much more than that without giving away much of the story, but the father, James’ actions, were the most obvious. He was so desperate to save his farm that he made choices that hurt everyone around him.

    I really enjoyed this book, it’s the first in a series and I hope to read the rest when they come out. There are other siblings who’s stories are waiting to be told.

  • Historical novels are a new interest of mine but when I read that this book was based in Long Island in the early 1900, I was instantly hooked. While I like history, it’s tough for me to wade through a book filled with too many history lessons. Irish Meadows was the perfect balance of history, family and romance. The underlying struggles each character encounters makes for a interesting read, making this book a summer favorite. With the perfect combination of confusion, power plays, emotion and best laid plans, I was eagerly turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. Both relationships brought enough anxiety to the book to make it an interesting read. Often times books based on romance drag on and on and on. This was not the case with Irish Meadows.

  • From the first page, I enjoyed reading this title and recommend it to others. I also want to commend Bethany House for their choice of cover art. This cover will draw readers in and they will not be disappointed.
    I received a copy of IRISH MEADOWS from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review.

  • As I entered the fun and exciting world of Irish Meadows, I found myself intrigued. The story is written so well and the characters are realistic, that I literally read this book in two days. Between the priest who falls in love with the vivacious young woman who flirts with everyone, to the other sister who is sadly in love with someone her father views as a brother.

    About four pages in I did not want to quit the story, even though I had to go start lunch. It seriously is that well written. I cannot wait to see who the next story involves! Keep em coming Susan!!

  • In this first book of the Courage To Dream series not only do we have romance story but we also get to learn about some Irish history. We also get an idea about how difficult it had to be growing up in the early 1900’s when women didn’t have a choice in marraige and only being allowed so much education. I was so into the story that I just couldn’t wait to see how it was going to turn out. By the end of his novel I was happy to see some changes of heart thanks to God’s intercession.

  • I know, I know. “Another 1-star, Lindsey?” Sadly, yes. 🙁
    I did not enjoy the first half of this book at all. The characters annoyed me to no end. Brianna I went back-n-forth liking…most of the time I was rolling my eyes at her. Gil made me cringe many times manly because he wouldn’t stand up for his Bree! What?! I’m still not sold on that couple. Colleen I disliked immensely at first, she was rude, self-centered and mean. Then she does a 180-light-switch-change and while it was nice-ish, I felt the process of that change was too quick & lacking emotion on her part. Rylan was okay. I didn’t like nor dislike him, I just wish there would have been talks about Jesus Christ. (Talks about God but never Jesus.) I can’t say I completely was in favor of the couples in this book and wasn’t very thrilled with the conclusion. Add in all the kisses (lots and many detailed ones) and you have a 1-star book.
    Normally authors have their characters growing throughout the book (Spiritual or mentally), maybe this author did too many POV characters, but I feel she just didn’t have the characters grown at all. She focused way more on the romance than the character development.
    I feel bad giving a debut author (and a Bethany one at that) a 1-star rating, but I did not like this book at all.

  • As I started reading Irish Meadows, I was immediately taken back to 1911 on a Long Island, New York, horse farm. The writing is very descriptive and really captures the scenery and atmosphere of this time and place.

    Brianna and Gil’s relationship was one that went back-and-forth throughout the story and sometimes seemed contrived, especially at the end. The relationship between Rylan and Colleen was definitely the more interesting of the two.

    As for the spiritual aspect, I really had a hard time with how it was portrayed in this novel. God was mentioned quite a bit, but Jesus was barely discussed. One character even turns to God, but it all happens without any reference of Christ and His sacrifice for sins. I just think it’s dangerous to portray salvation without mentioning the cross.

  • I was captured by the striking cover. The cobalt riding habit. Those eyes. Unfortunately, the cover was the best part, and I should have remembered the old adage about books and covers.

    It didn’t start well. The opening scene is Gil confiding his life history to a horse. Original, yes. Good, no. I thought after that unengaging start things could only get better. It didn’t. I didn’t like any of the main characters, the plot didn’t engage me and it seemed as though some of the most interesting parts (e.g. Colleen’s character change) were all told, not shown, which didn’t make it seem realistic.

  • The historical accuracy in Irish Meadows is flawless. I learned a great deal about history surrounding 1911; especially in regards to women’s rights. At times this history was a little overwhelming and it could distract from the storyline. However, it is plain to the reader the author conducted a significant amount of research and wanted to present the history as accurately as possible.

  • With wonderfully developed characters, two romance story lines and a few other great twists and turns included, Irish Meadows is the fantastic start to the new Courage to Dream series from author, Susan Anne Mason. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and was immediately drawn in by the lovely cover and the description of the book. As I began to read, I realized this would be a book that I would not put down easily and I found myself reading late into the night on a few occasions. I liked the themes of being true to oneself and realizing that our choices will not always make everyone in our life happy but we have to do what God wants. A delightful read to be sure.
    I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up.

  • I loved the cover of this book, but I was a bit disappointed in the content.

    There were things I loved about the book and things I didn’t. I loved the setting and how it was portrayed, but wish the storyline revolved more around the horse farm and the family possibly losing it, instead of just the romance. The romance between Gilbert and Brianna never really seems natural, and I enjoyed watching the relationship between Rylan and Colleen develop more than Gil & Bree.

    I don’t believe every Christian fiction novel needs to contain the salvation message, but when it does come up it needs to be accurate, and this one wasn’t.

  • This book was so addicting! I couldn’t put it down and read it straight through. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good historical fiction read. You’re going to love it!

  • “Irish Meadows” was written about 2 young women who are living in Long Island, New York in the year 1911. Colleen and Brianna O’Leary know what they are expected to do. They are supposed to be good Irish girls and listen to their father. He is making them think that they must marry who he picks for them or they will be putting the horse farm called, Irish Meadows”, that their family owns in jeopardy. Brianna does not want to get married but wants to further her education. Colleen has different ideas. As the time slips away they are getting closer to losing the farm. Both women have to be strong enough to pick their own futures. Will they be strong enough to fight for their own futures? I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book by Litfuse Publicity. These opinions are mine.

  • Irish Meadows is the story set in Long Island, New York in 1911. The main characters are Irish immigrants who own a horse farm. However, times are tough for the horse farm and Brianna and Colleen O’Leary’s dad is insinuating that the only way for the farm to do well is for them to marry well, not for love but for money. Their father is very controlling, however, both girls are head strong and have different ideas for their futures. (cont. on blog)

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