Rosie’s #Bookreview of Irish Family Tale SEASON OF SECOND CHANCES by @aimeealexbooks #TuesdayBookBlog

Season of Second ChancesSeason of Second Chances by Aimee Alexander

5 stars

Season Of Second Chances is contemporary Irish fiction which deals with the sensitive issue of domestic abuse.

Grace has left her husband and has returned to her home town on the west coast of Ireland with her two children. Here she hopes that they will embrace this quiet life compared to their city one in Dublin.  However, Grace finds this to be something of a ‘big ask’ as far as her teenagers are concerned, especially as it involves moving them mid-way through the school year.

She will also start afresh as a community doctor, replacing her father after his retirement due to the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. In this small-town environment, Grace tries hard to avoid the gossips and to keep her past life a secret, but, having been away for many years, she discovers that she is treated with caution; an outsider. Each day that she and her family stay is another positive step towards healing from the abuse they suffered.

An easy five star read for me, this had all the makings of a one of my top books for the year. There’s something about a well-written tale set in rural Ireland that gets me every time. From the setting to the characters, it was so easy to lose myself in this story. The themes of domestic abuse and Parkinson’s disease were written with a realistic but sensitive hand and brought me to tears a couple of times. Des, Grace’s father, was one of my favourite characters, with his determination to protect his family and his wily ways of connecting with people. I definitely recommend this the those who enjoy endearing characters in a charming location.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

When leaving is just the beginning… A novel of family, love, and learning to be kind to yourself by award-winning, bestselling Irish author, Aimee Alexander.

Grace Sullivan flees Dublin with her two teenage children, Jack and Holly, returning to the sleepy West Cork village where she grew up. No one in Killrowan knows what Grace is running from – or that she’s even running. She’d like to keep it that way.

Taking over from her father, Des, as the village doctor offers a real chance for Grace to begin again. But will she and the family adapt to life in a small rural community? Will the villagers accept an outsider as their GP? Will Grace live up to the doctor that her father was? And will she find the inner strength to face the past when it comes calling?

Season of Second Chances is a heart-warming story of friendship, love and finding the inner strength to face a future that may bring back the past.

Perfect for fans of Call The Midwives, The Durrells, Doc Martin and All Creatures Great and Small. The villagers of Killrowan will steal into your heart and make you want to stay with them forever.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of The Cousins O’Dwyer #Paranormal Romance Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy Book 1) by [Nora Roberts]Dark Witch is book one of the Cousins O’Dwyer paranormal romance trilogy. These stories are set in Ireland and are a mix of legend, culture and magic. Iona Sheehan has come to Ireland in search of her family relatives and in hopes of finding a place that she can call home. Her skills as a horsewoman and the dormant magic she has, directly link her to Sorcha, a witch who lived more than 800 years ago; an evil which has followed Sorcha’s descendants through time. Iona must join with her cousins in an attempt to defeat an evil man-wolf one final time.

 

Shadow Spell (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy Book 2) by [Nora Roberts]Shadow Spell is book two of the series and focuses on Conner and Meara. Their long-term friendship turns more romantic after both have brushes with the evil Cabhan. Family and friends joins for a second attempt to finish the man-wolf, but it doesn’t end here.

 

Blood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy Book 3) by [Nora Roberts]Blood Magick is the final book in this series and brings Branna and Fin back together. Once teenage sweethearts their lives were pulled apart when Fin developed a demon mark. However, to finally defeat the evil Cabhan, they must put their past behind them and find a way to deal with the demon who is trying to take their powers.

There is a lot going on in this trilogy, with plenty of magic, time slips, battles with evil and animal interactions. There is plenty of romance too which I looked forward to and the Irish setting was delightful. However, at times I felt it dragged a little and I was always conscious that nothing would be totally solved until the end of book three. So although generally I like this author’s writing, this particular trilogy isn’t one that I would rush to re-read.

The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy (3 Book Series) by Nora Roberts

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Irish Family Drama SEASON OF SECOND CHANCES by @aimeealexbooks @denisedeegan

Today’s team review is from Sandra, she blogs here https://www.firthproof.co.uk/index.php/book-reviews

#RBRT Review Team

Sandra has been reading Season Of Second Chances by Aimee Alexander

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Season of Second Chances opens as Grace, with her children Jack and Holly, drives away from her life in Dublin towards a new start in West Cork where she grew up. Grace will take over from her recently retired father, Des, as a local GP; she will be ‘Young Doctor Sullivan’ to the locals.

At this point we have no idea what Grace is running away from, only that it must be serious to justify such extreme action. Initially, her father has no idea why they have come to Killrowan, but is happy to have them there. Since he retired, and found out he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, he has been feeling a bit pointless. Having his daughter and grandchildren there seems to give him a new lease of life.

The story is told from multiple points of view; we see the past, and the present, through the eyes of Grace, Des, Jack and Holly. This gives us a much more rounded picture of why they had to leave, and how they are getting on now. It also makes us realise that Simon, Grace’s husband, is not going to leave them alone. A sense of imminent menace pervades the narrative.

Aimee Alexander depicts small town life perfectly; the claustrophobic feeling of everyone knowing everyone else’s business, and putting their own interpretation on it. At first, the patients don’t want to see Grace as they are suspicious of her big city ways, but slowly, by persevering and doing a good job, she wins them round.

The ending is satisfying, but leaves just enough loose ends for a sequel which I understand the author is currently writing; I look forward to visiting Killrowan again very soon. I will also be looking out for other books by Aimee Alexander as this was the first one I read, but it won’t be the last.

Season of Second Chances is well written with believable characters, a great location, and humour to offset the seriousness of the underlying threat. As the full extent of the abuse is revealed, Grace finds the strength and courage for a new beginning. I loved the way she realised that she could do whatever she wanted, now free of her husband’s controlling influence – simple things like what she wore, how she styled her hair and being able to spend time with friends both old and new.

Book description

When leaving is just the beginning… A novel of family, love, and learning to be kind to yourself by award-winning, bestselling Irish author, Aimee Alexander.

Grace Sullivan flees Dublin with her two teenage children, Jack and Holly, returning to the sleepy West Cork village where she grew up. No one in Killrowan knows what Grace is running from – or that she’s even running. She’d like to keep it that way.

Taking over from her father, Des, as the village doctor offers a real chance for Grace to begin again. But will she and the family adapt to life in a small rural community? Will the villagers accept an outsider as their GP? Will Grace live up to the doctor that her father was? And will she find the inner strength to face the past when it comes calling?

Season of Second Chances is a heart-warming story of friendship, love and finding the inner strength to face a future that may bring back the past.

Perfect for fans of Call The Midwives, The Durrells, Doc Martin and All Creatures Great and Small. The villagers of Killrowan will steal into your heart and make you want to stay with them forever.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Contemporary Rural Drama SEASON OF SECOND CHANCES by @aimeealexbooks @denisedeegan #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Season Of Second Chances by Aimee Alexander

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This is a novel which captivates you from the first page. Grace and her two teenage children, Jack and Holly, have left Dublin to live in the quiet village on the coast of Cork where she grew up. Escaping an impossible life, she is taking over as a GP from her father, Des. She soon discovers her neighbours to be judgemental about “Young Doctor Sullivan” so she won’t be revealing the secret she has left in Dublin.  Prickly Jack knows they had to leave, but he doesn’t relish life in the middle of nowhere, while Holly has always lacked confidence. But things gradually improve. Grace impresses the locals with her skill as a doctor and her children begin to make friends.

This is both a heart-warming story and an edge of the seat drama as you wait for their past to catch up with them.  Adding a touch of romance in the form of an American author with a sad past and some amusing incidents with some of the local community make this a perfect lockdown escape. And I forgot to mention Benji the dog. I was so pleased to discover that there will be a sequel.

Book description

When leaving is just the beginning… A novel of family, love, and learning to be kind to yourself by award-winning, bestselling Irish author, Aimee Alexander.

Grace Sullivan flees Dublin with her two teenage children, Jack and Holly, returning to the sleepy West Cork village where she grew up. No one in Killrowan knows what Grace is running from – or that she’s even running. She’d like to keep it that way.

Taking over from her father, Des, as the village doctor offers a real chance for Grace to begin again. But will she and the family adapt to life in a small rural community? Will the villagers accept an outsider as their GP? Will Grace live up to the doctor that her father was? And will she find the inner strength to face the past when it comes calling?

Season of Second Chances is a heart-warming story of friendship, love and finding the inner strength to face a future that may bring back the past.

Perfect for fans of Call The Midwives, The Durrells, Doc Martin and All Creatures Great and Small. The villagers of Killrowan will steal into your heart and make you want to stay with them forever.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery set in #Ireland A Bittersweet Garden by Caren J Werlinger

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading A Bittersweet Garden by Caren J Werlinger.

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A Bittersweet Garden is a mystery story set in Ireland, which also describes a romance between American Librarian, Nora McNeil and Briana Devlin, a groom and horse trainer in the village of Cong in County Mayo.  After a failed relationship and the death of her long-loved cat, Nora has come to see the home village of her grandparents. Intending to stay for several weeks she has rented Sióg cottage, a run-down property in the woods, reputed to be haunted.  After a disastrous first meeting with Briana, Nora begins to come closer to this reserved young woman and she enjoys helping her cousin, Sheila in her garden nursery.  She is even able to start writing a novel, but the subject matter is dark. Frequent dreams of a tragic family, who once lived in the cottage, begin to obsess her and she sleep walks into the woods in search of Rowan, a young girl who disappeared mysteriously in the 1840s.

Nora needs to value her own worth and a relationship with Briana might give her happiness, but she must return to Virginia.  The sad story of Móirin and Donell, who once lived in the cottage, needs resolution but this may endanger Nora’s life. The warm community in this picturesque Irish village rally round but only Nora and Brianna can solve the past in order to give themselves a future.

Caren J Werlinger has created two complex characters with whom the reader can identify and I was intrigued to discover what had happened to the little girl in the yellow dress over 170 years earlier.

Book description

Nora McNeill has always dreamed of exploring her Irish roots. When she finally gets the opportunity to spend a summer in the village where her grandparents grew up, the experience promises to live up to her very high expectations. Except for the ghost that is haunting her rented cottage and is soon invading her dreams.

Briana Devlin has arranged her life the way she likes it: a good dog, good mates, and work with horses. There’s no room in her life for a relationship. Especially with an annoyingly clumsy—and attractive—American who is only going to be around for a few months.

The weeks fly by, and Nora’s ghost becomes more demanding, seeking her help in solving the mystery surrounding her death. Briana watches as Nora becomes more wrapped up in the past, seeming to fade away before her eyes.

Past and present are on a collision course, leaving Nora and Briana caught in a ghostly intrigue that could cost them not only their chance of a future together, but their very lives.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Dual timeline #Histfic The Story Collector by @evgaughan

Today’s team review is from Alison, she blogs here https://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Alison has been reading The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan

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This novel tells the stories of Sarah, a young woman who, on impulse, flies to Ireland after leaving her marriage, and Anna, who, one hundred years previously, helped a young American academic to collect local stories about fairies.

This dual storyline is seamless, the two stories separate and yet connected, through the diary that Sarah finds. Anna’s account is fascinating, and the events that she is caught up in bring an edge to the tale – and a reminder that fairies and folklore aren’t always benign.

The novel is beautifully written, the settings drawn clearly and evocatively and the author’s love of her subject matter is clear. The two female protagonists are relatable, strong, brave but not unrealistic – they’re not perfect, by any means, and Anna, in particular, has to live within the confines of society. Many novels have their heroines, particularly their historical heroines, behave in unrealistic ways. Anna is a girl of her time – and she has to learn to live with what that entails. Unrealistic behaviour from women in historical fiction is a real bugbear of mine, so it was refreshing to have Anna behave as a girl of her age and time would behave.

I would have liked a little more information about Sarah and what had happened to her. I didn’t feel she was a s fully realised as Anna, which was a shame. But this is the only criticism I have of this lovely book. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Four out of five stars.

Book description

A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris. Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English. But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life….. Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve. The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of Cultural Fiction and Irish Folklore, The Story Collector by @evgaughan

The Story CollectorThe Story Collector by Evie Gaughan

4 Stars

The Story Collector is a dual-time cultural fiction. The settings are Ireland in 1910 and 2010.

The story opens in 2010 with Sarah, who is running away from a broken marriage. On a whim she boards an aeroplane to Western Ireland. She arrives in a tiny village to nurse her wounds.  Then she discovers a lost diary.

In 1910, farmer’s daughter Anna Butler met an American scholar. Harold Griffin-Krauss was collecting Celtic folklore stories and needed an introduction to the local people. Anna became his guide as they listened to tales of fairies and spirits in a land steeped in mysticism.

I enjoyed the myths and legends; of the two time-lines Anna’s tale was my favourite with its detail of the day-to-day lives of the people. Ideal for those who enjoy stories set in Ireland and who believe in the magic of the Emerald Isle’s traditional stories.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English. But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life….. Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve. The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

#Romance in #Ireland My #Bookreview of Irish Shadows by @PaulaRomances @Tirgearr

Irish Shadows (Mist na Mara Series, #5)Irish Shadows by Paula Martin

3.5 stars

What I liked about the book: I loved the Irish setting in Clifden, County Galway. I’ve previously read Irish Inheritance, book #1 of the series, which I enjoyed; I often seek out books set in Ireland. The novel was easy to read and had a sweet and satisfying denouement.

What I didn’t like so much: The book was in danger of being overwhelmed by the quantity of day to day trivia within the pages. I felt just a sprinkling would have worked better. At times, chunks of dialogue were slowed when filled with Irish historical details, and I felt this reduced opportunities for deeper character building and missed making the characters sound and act in interesting modern ways. I also wasn’t a fan of repeated Irish colloquialisms in the dialogue.  In fiction there is a danger that overuse can become like a parody of itself.

I thought there was lots of potential to make the book feel colourful and passionate, both with the Emerald Isle and the romance. But, for me, the book was watered down by the mundane, and lost the chance to make a voice for itself. It certainly covers the highs and lows of the everyday life, but I wasn’t convinced that it brought anything new to this highly competitive genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

After a heart-breaking experience, Rose Finlay has vowed never to give another man a chance to hurt her – until Liam McKenna arrives at Mist Na Mara Arts Centre to organise an anniversary celebration event. Liam has his own reasons for not wanting to embark on a new relationship. But both fight the mutual magnetic attraction.

Shocks await them when Liam meets the boy his sister gave up for adoption twenty years earlier, and Rose’s ‘ex’ makes contact with her thirteen-year-old son.

Rose then discovers a betrayal which has divided her family since the Irish Civil War in the 1920s.

Will Liam and Rose be able to resolve all the shadows from the past in order to find a future together?

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Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT #Romance That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by @adrienneauthor

Today’s team review is from Georgia, she blogs here http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan

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The romance in this novel is not only in the plotline or between the characters but for me it was in the fabulous setting. A crumbling estate on the dramatic coast of Ireland, what’s not to love.

Mia is a dresser on film sets (I thoroughly enjoyed the attention given to the detail of her work) and is the favourite of an aging film star, Archie Fitz, who has been great friends with Mia’s mother, Fenella, another film star, for many years. Sadly, Archie is dying and as friends and family gather around him at Galty House, once known as The Seahorse Hotel, the dynamics in the relationships come to light along with the truth as secrets from the past are at long last revealed.

Adrienne Vaughan’s characterisations are very good. Mia was terrific and I particularly liked Archie, I’d loved to have known him he was such fun. I was curiously drawn to the green-eyed cat that arrived towards the end of the book too but shall say no more on that.

There was a lot that happened in the storyline, which I won’t go over, and Mia faced betrayal along with her grief at losing Archie. I was pleased the estate went where it should have done and with the plans eventually made for it. As for the romance, well that was nicely done. Realistic and not slushy, just the way I like it!

Book description

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.

Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.

So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

About the author

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. It was no surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a pop star – some of that came true – and in common with so many, still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’! She now runs a busy PR practice and writes poems, short stories and ideas for books, in her spare time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of the indie publishing group The New Romantics4. Adrienne lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco.

Adrienne Vaughan

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Rosie’s Review Team #RBRT Irish #Romance That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by @adrienneauthor

Today’ team review is from Chris, she blogs here http://cphilippou123.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Chris has been reading That Summer AT The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan

Intrigue, mystery, tension, and some romance all woven together in this tale of love, betrayal, and, errr more betrayal…

Mia is the daughter of a famous actress but has never known who her father is. So when her mother’s old friend Archie decides to leave Mia his estate, the mystery might finally be solved. But Mia has no idea what is coming her way emotionally, both bad and good, in her journey to discover the identity of her father and to heal wounds…

The plot was more twisty (in a good way) than anticipated, the writing tight, and the characters believable, although some of the secondary ones weren’t as well-rounded as could have been. But the pace fluctuated in a way that kept my attention, and the suspense and intrigue was peppered throughout the novel. Recommended.

Book description

Mia Flanagan has never been told who her father is and aged ten, stopped asking.

Haunted by this, she remains a dutiful daughter who would never do anything to bring scandal or shame on her beautiful and famously single mother.

So when Archie Fitzgerald, one of Hollywood’s favourite actors, decides to leave Mia his Irish estate, she asks herself – is he her father after all?

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a tale of passion, jealousy and betrayal – and the ghost of a secret love that binds this colourful cast yet still threatens, after all these years, to tear each of them apart.

About the author

Adrienne Vaughan has been making up stories since she could speak; primarily to entertain her sister Reta, who from a very early age never allowed a plot or character to be repeated – tough audience. As soon as she could pick up a pen, she started writing them down. It was no surprise she wanted to be a journalist; ideally the editor of a glossy music and fashion magazine, so she could meet and marry a pop star – some of that came true – and in common with so many, still holds the burning ambition to be a ‘Bond Girl’! She now runs a busy PR practice and writes poems, short stories and ideas for books, in her spare time. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a founder member of the indie publishing group The New Romantics4. Adrienne lives in Leicestershire with her husband, two cocker spaniels and a retired dressage horse called Marco.

Adrienne Vaughan

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter