Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Book Review ~ Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason

James O’Leary is a tyrannical, wealthy, Irish immigrant who owns a horse farm in Long Island New York in 1911. His two oldest daughters Brianna and Colleen are beautiful, and he is certain he can find them rich husbands who will protect their struggling business, as well as keep their family in the right circles of “society”.  Both the girls have other ideas, Brianna wants more than anything to go to college and Colleen, being a shallow and selfish girl just wants to have fun flirting and going to parties. Their father thinks a woman going to college is a waste of time and money, why after all do they need an education to be a wife and mother? Years earlier the O’Leary family had taken an orphaned stable hand Gilbert, and welcomed him into their family as a son. Gilbert returns to the farm after college to assist James through a financial rough patch. Sparks fly between Brianna and her old friend, Gilbert, and things get complicated from there. James attempts to use his daughters and Gilbert as pawns in his attempt to save himself from financial ruin by trying to control their lives. Meanwhile, a distant relative, Rylan comes to stay at the farm to continue his seminary training and begins a friendship with Colleen that changes her life.
This was a light, entertaining read with lots of family intrigue and engaging characters that kept me interested. I enjoyed that is was written from the main characters perspectives, I like having insight into the thought process of all the characters. I did find that the character of Colleen who started out as bratty, selfish, vindictive and extremely shallow had a complete turnaround that changed her overnight into a completely different person, it was totally unrealistic and far fetched.  I find it disappointing with Christian novels where the main characters are physically, perfectly beautiful. There is not one physical flaw on any of them. Beautiful hair, large stunning eyes, the women have perfect figures and the men all have broad shoulders, tall, gorgeous hair, strong jaw lines and all of them have a cleft in their chin?
I find those characters, even though they may have an interesting story, unrealistic.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group

Book Review - Hope Harbour by Irene Hannon

Hope Harbour is set in a small town of the same name on the northwest coast of the states. There we find three characters who are needing some hope in their lives as they deal with grief and regret. Michael, a widowed businessman from Chicago comes to Hope Harbour to get away, grieve, as well as assuage his guilt from mistakes made in his marriage to his late wife. Tracy, a 3rd generation cranberry farm owner who is trying to keep her family farm afloat as well as trying to deal with the death of her husband and some secrets surrounding the tragedy.  Tracy and Michael literally run into each other but neither of them have romance on their mind. Anna is an grumpy, elderly lady who has closed herself off from the community she has spent most of her life in and she is dealing with more regret and hurt of her own. All three have closed themselves off to God but find themselves and their lives being intertwined and end up finding healing, forgiveness and restoration in their broken lives, and well….lets not forget romance.
The story was a nice light read, but even though they dealt with some darker issues, I found it to still be a bit shallow. I liked of course that they all ended up turning to God and all of their lives torn pieces all came together at the end…..not how God always works, but nice I guess.
Again, like most romance novels, Michael and Tracy were both physically beautiful, “slender’
“big, piercing jade eyes” “ long golden hair” and his “strong jaw line” “well built”, “broad shoulders”. I don’t know, maybe people wouldn’t read books about people who needed to lose 15 lbs or with receding hairlines that aren’t over 6 ft tall and well built. It could be part of the escape of reading, to lose yourself in another’s life that you wish could be you? Personally I think I would like to read about more complex, real characters and give the perfect body,hair and eyes storyline a break.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group