Irish Meadows / by Susan Anne Mason. (Courage to Dream, 1) 6.12.2017

Bethany House Publishers ISBN 9780764217241

Adult Rating: 4

In Irish Meadows, Gil Whelan has finished business school and can’t wait to return home to Irish Meadows–where he was raised by the O’Learys–even if it’s only temporary. Since the O’Learys financed his education, he feels it’s only right to come home and try to help with the family business, a horse farm in Long Island, New York. His return is eagerly awaited by Brianna O’Leary, who was raised with Gil and is like a sister to him, but who can’t help the attraction now that they are grown. However, Mr. O’Leary has plans for Brianna and her sister, Colleen. He wants them to marry into rich, influential families and not have to struggle as his poor Irish immigrant father did. Colleen also has other plans, especially when a handsome distant cousin comes to visit.

Mr. O’Leary wants what’s best for his daughters and knows the hardships of financial struggle. He just seems to go about it the wrong way–preferring to bully his children into doing what he wants. Brianna knows that her father wouldn’t accept a marriage to Gil or the idea of her going to college, but she continues to pray that things will work out in her favor. Colleen also wishes to believe that she’ll get to choose her future for herself, even if it’s with whom she least expected. Will Gil be able to save Irish Meadows from financial ruin? Will the girls be able to follow their hearts?

Author Susan Anne Mason deftly portrays early 20th-century life in Long Island. Her characters are well-drawn and grow throughout the progress of the story. Each of the main characters is determined and strong-willed in their own fashion, but their faith and prayers help them get through each day and look forward to a brighter future.

Recommended for public and school libraries.

Trina Chase, CLJ