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Posted June 6, 2008
Grace O¿Malley is proud to be the great-granddaughter of the famous pirate, Grace O¿Malley. Her quick mind, beauty and bearing lead the locals to call her The Barefoot Queen. The story opens with the hanging of her father for the crime of deer poaching. Never mind the people of the village are starving, and the deer could have eased their hunger, Lord Rushmount is master, and the law will be obeyed. Grace cannot stand that her father is left hanging from the tree, and needs to find someone brave enough to help her cut him down and bury him. She decides to ask Owen O¿Donnell, a man she¿s loved since girlhood. She also hopes to make him see that his withered leg, result of a childhood accident, means nothing to her, that it¿s his mind and soul she loves. Owen does love Grace but refuses to allow his feeling to show. He knows she could marry a whole man, not a cripple like him. Nor does he have land to support a wife and family, being the village blacksmith. Yet they do come together for a brief time, until Owen is questioned about recent deer poaching. After being laughed at because of his leg, and the fact it would be impossible for him to kill a deer much less slaughter it and carry away the meat, he hardens his heart against Grace. He loves her too much to marry her. *** Grace sees the hunger in the village, the children suffering, and decides to carry on her father¿s deeds. He taught her how to shoot bow and arrow, and she has her own set, hidden in a tree. The deer she brings down is shared among the many, but brings the wrath of Lord Rushmount. *** Lord Rushmount is intrigued by Grace O¿Malley. He knows he¿ll have her, one way or another, willing or fighting. The questions begin: Will Grace be discovered? Will Owen and Grace ever get together? Will Rushmount take Grace before she can wed? Will the evil Rushmount be defeated? *** I liked how the author developed the characters, especially Grace. She¿s young, uneducated, but intelligent. She wants to learn how to read English so she can read the laws of the people who oppress her people. Her reactions and thought to the luxury seen in Lord Rushmount¿s home rang true. I also liked the priest, not too sweet, not too sour, but a man who happens to be a priest. Lord Rushmount¿s character was interesting, and I enjoyed his POV. The time, 1665, had much to do with his beliefs. *** The author does bring all the ends together, and I shed tears near the end. This is an engaging story, one that will have you smiling, crying and smiling again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 10, 2008
When her father suffers at the hands of an English Lord, Grace O'Mallery knows she can't sit and watch idly while the people of Ballybanree starve. The legend of her great-grandmother, a pirate who openly defied the English, ignites Grace's passion for justice. Lord Rushmount will not accept any challenge to his authority ---- not from his animals, his family or the tenants of Ballybanree. He knows only one way to answer defiance --- with brutality and blood-payments. Owen O'Donnell, the sexy and muscular blacksmith, knows that he must protect Grace and his people from the wrath of Lord Rushmont. Will the threat of losing everything cause Owen to put his heart above his past wounds and seek a new life? Will Lord Rushmont discover the identity of the deer stalker and take his vengeance? Jean Harrington's 17th century historical romance THE BAREFOOT QUEEN details the hard realities of life in Ballybanree when the authority of an English lord knows no restraint and justice is unattainable. Jean Harrington places the hero and heroine within the context of the whole town, allowing the reader to know the residents and their connections to one another. Grace is a strong woman, defiant and willing to take a stand against injustice. Owen, defiant yet gentle of heart, circumspect yet ingenious and innovative, will the sufferings of his people and a threat to Grace force him to take action? Just how far is he willing to go to protect Grace and their love? THE BAREFOOT QUEEN creates a historical background that makes Ireland and history come alive for readers. The introduction of Shakespeare and RICHARD III was very well done --- not just placing the romance within literary history but providing a window into Lord Rushmont's character and a reflection on the written word. The Bible also comes into play, not just the creation of the King James bible but also the importance of the Bible and reading in a time when reading instruction was rare outside of the upper classes. In the background of the current historical time, the reader sees the past actions of Oliver Cromwell and the Church of England and its effect on the attitudes and fears of the characters. Jean Harrington gives the reader more than just historical references. She gives us the emotional, spiritual and economic conflicts as experienced in the lives of her characters. Despite Charles II's reign and the relaxation against Catholicism, we see the difficulties for Father Joyce as gestures do little to feed empty bellies. Father Joyce was a most interesting character. Conscious of church laws, he still finds a way of obeying his religious orders and also of being a man of God and a spiritual voice to his flock, when the two conflicted. Owen was great hero --- disabled by an accident yet strong and sexy, a wounded soul yet defiant and smart. In Grace's character, like others, Jean Harrington fills in the shades of grey, not presenting the reader with a black and white character but a fallible heroine. Lord Rushmount is a villain ---- a man easy to hate for his brutality. The author did a great job at showing how evil and self-centered the passions are that inflame his heart. If you want a light romance, this is not the one to read. There are sad and devastating events here, and yet, Jean Harrington provides a magnificent catharsis, one that reaches across time, place and perhaps even generations. THE BAREFOOT QUEEN has an exquisite spiritual and historical happily ever after ending, a romance of daring hearts and a beautiful ending born out of the pain and hardship but one full of future hope.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 28, 2011
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