Irish Meadows (Courage to Dream Series #1)

Irish Meadows (Courage to Dream Series #1)

by Susan Anne Mason


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1911, Long Island, New York

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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764217241
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Series: Courage to Dream Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 384,331
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Susan Anne Mason's debut historical novel, Irish Meadows, won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. A member of ACFW, as well, she lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children. She can be found online at

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Irish Meadows 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was almost to the end and the book stopped mid sentence so annoying
LizD1 More than 1 year ago
Irish Meadows ( Courage to Dream #1 ) By; Susan Anne Mason Irish Meadows is the first book in The Courage To Dream . I really enjoyed Irish Meadows , it is a beautiful clean romance story Susan Mason has penned, and she drew me in with the beautiful cover . This is the first I have read by this author, but it want be my last. Susan Mason drew me in right from the start and I was hooked. Irish Meadows is a horse farm in Long Island, owned by the O’Leary family. James O’Leary is seeing some rough times and may lose the farm. Brian and Colleen are two of his daughters. Each has their own dreams for their life. James has plans for his daughters that might save the farm. Will they go along with his plans? Gilbert Whelan, raised by the O’Leary’s has come back from college. Can and will he help save the farm? What are Gilberts plans? Rylan Montgomery a distance relative plans to stop by the O’Leary farm on his way to seminary in Boston . What are his plans? This is a wonderful story and I can’t wait to read the next book.  I was given a copy of this book by the author for my honest review, Which I have given.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
***This story was easy to read, though predictable. If you enjoy reading love stories, then you will enjoy this one. Two fighting, insecure sisters, a hard headed and demanding father, a priest and an adopted stable hand are put together for an interesting story and enjoyable story. You will enjoy this gentle story. ***esk 07/2017***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this novel. What a fantastic story. The main characters are beautifully written. They go through SO much and deal with it very realistically. The family interactions are real, the love and heartache is real. There are moments in this novel that tore my heart out and stomped on it until I was left in tears. I very much enjoyed this novel, and cannot wait to begin book 2.
WifeMommyMe More than 1 year ago
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. I was pleasantly surprised when I finished this book and discovered that book two arrives in stores in early 2016. I am looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here.
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
An intriguing family saga set in 1911 Long Island, New York! A good start to a new series featuring the O'Learys, a struggling second generation Irish-American family. From the beautiful cover to the surprising ending, this well-written family drama pulled me in and kept me guessing at the direction the daughters' lives would turn out. Emotions ran high at times--many handkerchiefs were passed--with a lot of tension between father and daughters especially, and they all seemed very conflicted. The author does a really good job conveying what the characters are feeling through their conversations and actions. Many of the main characters were not very likeable at first, with the exception of Rylan, but eventually they changed for the better, and I hoped they could all have a happy ending. Seeking their heavenly Father first, and being honest finally with their earthly father, seemed to make all the difference. The themes of forgiveness, honesty, faith, trust and family loyalty were woven into all of their complicated relationships. Loved the setting of Long Island in the early 1900's on a thoroughbred horse farm, with a lot of historical details, which are explained in the index. Expectations placed on women and opportunities for education especially have changed a lot in the past 100 years! Looking forward to the next chapter in this family's story, to be continued in the next book. Recommend for readers who enjoy Christian historical romance fiction with a redemptive theme. 4.5 stars (Thank you to The Book Club Network and the publisher for the book provided in exchange for my honest, unsolicited review.)
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
The overall feeling I got from this book was desperation. The patriarch of the O'Leary family has a financial and social agenda and expects his loved ones to do his bidding without question. He is quite the bully and creates quandaries for the members of his family who are caught between loyalty to James and following their dreams. There is plenty of angst as matters of the heart are involved and passions are repressed. I enjoyed the characters and read anxiously as each made choices that created a ripple effect throughout the story. I appreciated that the relationships were realistic- Gilbert and Brianna in particular had issues of trust, communication and expectations to work through, and the path was not smooth. The overriding theme was for each member of the family to learn to follow God's will for their life, not their father's. (Thank you to Bethany House Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
BookwormMama14 More than 1 year ago
 Romance, drama and faith can be found on every page of Irish  Meadows. Delve into the pages of this book and get lost on Long  Island, 1911.  In order to save his farm from complete ruin, James O'Leary  pressures his family to do what they have to do in order to save  their home. His daughters, Brianna and Coleen, have very  different plans for their future however. Brianna wishes to further  her education by attending college. And Coleen is content to  marry, as long as the man in questions meets her standards.  Gilbert Whelan, who has practically been adopted by the  O'Learys, returns and Brianna begins to question her outlook on  her future. While Rylan Montgomery, a distant cousin attending  seminary, sends Coleen's heart on a wild ride. Will they live the  life that James has dictated for them? Or will they have the  courage to dream?  Irish Meadows had me riding an emotional roller coaster from  beginning to end. This book is packed with dramatic events that left me frustrated, yet I kept turning the page in hopes that everything would work out for the best. I am going to need a couple of days for my emotions to settle down. While reading this book, I was reminded of how crucial it is to keep in mind the effects our actions have on others. Are we acting with other people's best interest in mind? Or are we only concerned with furthering our own ambitions and goals? And most importantly, are we keeping God at the center of our decisions? I really enjoyed Susan's first historical novel. And I am looking forward to the second book A Worthy Heart coming 2016. I received a free copy of Irish Meadows from Susan Anne Mason and Bethany House Publishers for promotional purposes. I was not required to post a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
RobinWillson 11 months ago
Fiesty! 1911 Long Island, NY. Tale of an Irish family, mostly about two of the sisters who fight their father and each other for attention and independence. Their father is a self-made man, an immigrant from Ireland who worked hard to prove himself. Both sisters become grounded by the men in their lives. It’s great reading about the paths that they choose and how much they change when they allow their faith to grow and mature. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher and NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story and characters. Can't wait for the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a clean romance with interesting, real characters. I enjoyed the personal interaction and each character's personal growth through adversity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Writer4God More than 1 year ago
tually enjoyed this book quite a bit. Lately I tend to grow bored with Christian historical fiction, as it can start to all be the same ol', same ol' and full of cliches, but this one actually wasn't so bad. I really enjoyed the fact that it followed two love stories as opposed to the usual one, which I think kept things interesting without either story dragging on too much. I don't think she focused too long on the boring details of things, so that was nice. It was pretty typical as far as historical romance goes, however I think the author is a good enough writer that she was able to keep things fresh and new. Brianna was pretty much your typical heroine, so I think I enjoyed Colleen's story a bit more. I tend to enjoy the characters who start in a "bad place" and gradually become better, as opposed to the characters who start out already "perfect". It just adds more depth and meaning to the story, in my opinion. So while it certainly wasn't a book that I absolutely loved and just couldn't put down, it was pretty good for its genre, so I give it a good 4 out of 5. I recived a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
LanguageTCH More than 1 year ago
Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason is book two in the Courage to Dream series. From page one the well-crafted story, set in the 1900’s, draws the reader in to the lives of the O’Leary’s. The two daughters of James O’Leary, an Irish immigrant father and owner of Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, well know that he expects them to marry successful men from wealthy families to ensure the stability of the farm. Yet, what he wants and what their hearts desire vastly differ. Gil Whelan, long-considered a part of the family, just returned from business school paid for by James O’Leary, and visiting distant relative, Rylan Montgomery, in training for seminary, throw a wrench into James O’Leary’s plans for arranged marriages that will save the future of Irish Meadows. The independent daughters have minds of their own and insist upon following their own dreams. As I finished this captivating story, I was glad that I had in hand book two of the series, A Worthy Heart, to continue the interesting saga of the O’Leary’s. I highly recommend this novel which I received through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
loriweller1 More than 1 year ago
Irish Meadows is the first book in the Courage to Dream Series. It is set in the early 1900's in New York on a horse farm. The story line is easy to follow and full of ups and downs. The characters are easy to relate to. Their family life is full of difficulty, anger, love, faith, heartbreaks, and forgiveness. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I received the book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
Dawn-Read_Love More than 1 year ago
Irish Meadows is Susan Anne Mason’s first historical novel and also her first work published by Bethany House. On her website, Mason describes her work as “romance sprinkled with faith.” That’s an apt description. Nestled within the framework of this early 20th century family drama are the intersecting stories of four people: Brianna O’Leary, her older sister Colleen, their family’s ward, Gilbert Whelan, and their distant cousin, Rylan Montgomery. Despite the time in which she lives, Brianna is headstrong, fiercely independent, and driven. Her dreams — going to college and marrying for love — are at odds with the desires of her father who aims to see her well-matched to a man with status. Gilbert, having just returned to Irish Meadows after three years away at college, is torn between loyalty to his surrogate father, James, and pursuing his dream of starting his own business. Especially as it seems impossible for him to follow his own heart without betraying James. Colleen initially appears to be vapid, conceited, and coquettish, but as the story progresses, we find out that underneath her seemingly confident exterior lies a delicate pearl of a woman. The scene where she meets Rylan for the first time will have you laughing out loud and watching the pair’s interactions with close interest. Rylan, immediately charming and disarming, is the perfect foil to the “stuffy” Colleen. As the relationships progress, circumstances appear increasingly insurmountable. The characters are faced with dilemmas and tough choices (and sometimes make the wrong ones) along the way. While some may chafe at perceived moral ambiguities in Mason’s characters, their flaws and missteps are what make them all the more real. These are young adults going through a transformative process of identity and maturation. Each undertakes his/her own personal journey — fraught with struggle and doubt — to realize his/her dreams, requiring not only patience, forgiveness, and humility but personal courage, bolstered by faith and love. Verdict: 4 of 5 Hearts. A Turn-of-the-Century Romance About Finding the Courage to Dream. Irish Meadows was a joy and pleasure to read. Susan Anne Mason shows that it takes perseverance and courage to dream. Witnessing Brianna, Colleen, Gil, and Rylan navigate rough waters en route to love and happiness will inspire you to brave your own storm. (And spur you on to reading the next book in the series!) *Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers for providing me a free copy of this title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It pulls your heart strings ,like watching a good show . Great read
Mama_Cat More than 1 year ago
‘Irish Meadows’ is the dramatic first novel in Susan Anne Mason’s Courage to Dream series. A historical women’s fiction drama set in a time period among the more socially elite, that I’ve have not read many of; it exceeded my expectations and has me eagerly awaiting the second in series. Brianna and Colleen O’Leary are the teenagers and first-generation Americans on Long Island, New York. Their father had come from Ireland, worked hard and eventually came to own his own horse farm and stable where horses were bred and potential racing champions made. In a time when it was all about showing financial prosperity to any and all, their father was having serious financial challenges and tried to save his farm partly through making excellent marriages for his daughters. Men of class and distinction. Men who could be helpful to his flagging property. At first I didn’t like Colleen, the 1911 version of a party girl, all that well. She seemed too spoiled, too fussy. Brianna was the quieter of the two, the one who wanted to attend college as her friend Gilbert had, and it seemed to me she had the heart and endurance of a great racehorse. She had substance, while Colleen had fluff. When their father began to look for eligible, useful men to marry them off to, lesser young women would have caved. Gilbert, taken in by the O’Leary’s as a lad, was happy to return to the horse farm for the short term, wanting to do something to put his new degree to work. As the girls protested their father’s desires for their marriage. Gilbert took a job he didn’t want so he could make a good marriage with a young woman whose father had the right business connections for the O’Leary’s. It is hard for me to imagine a world where daughters and adoptees were used as pawns to better the condition of their father – in this case, save the floundering horse farm and stables. My favorite was Brianna, then her Aunt Fiona. They both had a depth of character that I liked, even though different for that era. While I liked Gilbert, I was disappointed that it looked as though he would marry for business’ sake. My opinion of Tessa did an about face when she, too, proved to have a depth that was borne of the leading of her mother, as well as a certain young man who she thought to be a priest. Their mother, a woman of faith and a wife of her times, was also a woman of depth and strength. I’m not sure there is anyone I truly disliked, as even James O’Leary showed himself to have become a weak man to be pitied, but was not too old to learn. Except, perhaps, for the frequently missing reckless brother who could do no wrong…unless he was caught. What a story this author can weave! It was never dull; one chapter led into another as I felt compelled to continue reading. The plot twists and changes, some of which truly surprised me, continued to change the course of the outcome. The result was a satisfying story of faith, courage, and love that leaves the reader eager for more. I highly recommend ‘Irish Meadows’ to all who appreciate Christian historical novels they can share with their teenage daughters, those who enjoy romance, strong women, and drama. With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Cindy-J More than 1 year ago
Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason is about the James and Kathleen O’Leary family and their beloved horse farm named Irish Meadows in honor of their native Ireland. James has run a successful farm for many years, but due to changing legislation and outlawing of horseracing in some states, the tides of fortune have turned and he is facing the loss of his home and business. His solution is to secure the marriages of his two oldest daughters, Colleen and Brianna, to wealthy men. His “adopted” son, Gilbert Whelan, is also to be married off to the local banker’s daughter. Colleen O’Leary is a flirt, using one person after another to gain her wishes. She is unmindful and uncaring of who she hurts in the process. Gil Whelan was left in the care of James and Kathleen O’Leary when his mother, the O’Leary housekeeper, passed away. Gil is now returning from college, which was paid for by Mr. O’Leary, to work at Irish Meadows because he feels obligated. Brianna O’Leary is weeks away from graduating from high school and would like to attend college in the fall. Her father has never listened to her or paid her any attention so she hopes to enlist Gil’s help, as a recent college graduate, in persuading her father to consent to her college education. Rylan Montgomery is interning with the local priest Reverend Filmore before taking his own vows as a priest. Because his home is undergoing renovations, Reverend Filmore is staying with his sister who does not have the space to accommodate Rylan. Kathleen O’Leary is a very distant relative of Rylan’s mother who contacted Kathleen to ask if the O’Leary family could house Rylan during his internship. Although James O’Leary is not the main character in the story, he dominates simply because of the influence he has on everyone else. James is not a Christian, although Kathleen is. Kathleen did not seem to have nearly the influence on the family that James did. James forced Colleen and Brianna into relationships they were opposed to, and he used guilt to get Gil to comply. I can’t say that I really liked any of the characters except Rylan. As Gil and Brianna worked through their relationship, they seemed to cover the same territory repeatedly. An issue was “resolved”, but it wasn’t long before it was back again just in a slightly different form. After Colleen was saved, she became an “angel”. She was instantly sweet and kind. Other than these things, I can’t really put my finger on why I didn’t really care for the book. Am I sorry I read the book? Not exactly, although I probably would not have finished it if I hadn’t needed to review it. Do I plan to read book 2? No. If someone asked specifically about the book, I would probably say it was “ok”. I’m sure lots of people will love this book; I just wasn’t one of them. I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
mackenzie_carol More than 1 year ago
Irish Meadows is the first book in Susan Anne Mason’s Courage to Dream series, and is the first novel I have read by her. Although I didn’t know quite what to expect when I first picked it up, I quickly became immersed in Brianna and Colleen’s story. The tension and hard feelings that radiate between the two of them, and their father, gave for an interesting beginning to the novel, and the drama and confusion that quickly followed the arrival of Gilbert and Rylan captivated me in a heartbeat and had me hurrying to finally get to the resolution of the story. However, it was not an easy journey to the end, with tons of twists and turns I could not have anticipated, but once I got there, I knew that this was going to be a novel I would love. Brianna and Colleen are about as different as night and day, which becomes extremely obvious within the first few chapters. Brianna, quiet and modest, dreams of the day when she will be able to further her education, all the while trying to convince her father that a marriage to the prosperous husband he has picked out for her is the last thing she wants to do. Colleen, while actually longing to marry, is reluctant to settle for anything less than the man of her dreams, and therefore desires to have a little fun as she waits for her father to find such a man. Then, Gil and Rylan arrive to throw their dreams and their father’s plans into an uproar of hilarious proportions. I have to say, if I’m going to be honest with you, Colleen is my favorite of the sisters. While I understand that she made some pretty bad choices in the beginning of the novel that she later had to atone for, I also know that she experienced so much heartbreak in her past that may have helped cause her to turn out the way she was. Besides, it may be possible that she redeems herself before this book is over. And there’s just something about Brianna, while I love her dearly as well, that paints her to be a little bit of a goody-two-shoes, though she is also a passionate woman with trust issues. Her flaws help to make her lovable as well, but Colleen is just a little more lovable and interesting in my mind. As far as the men are concerned, I am terribly unhappy with James O’Leary for the majority of this novel, for various reasons all related to his hard-headedness when it comes to money and his children. Eventually, though, I came to love him as well, though I am not entirely sure if he fully redeems himself or not. With regards to Gil and Rylan, I fear it is almost too difficult for me to choose a favorite. Gil is so sweet and kind and forgiving, although a HUGE pushover, and Rylan has just the perfect amounts of wisdom and wit that make him perfectly hysterical while at the same time wonderfully intelligent. So let’s just say I love them both. All in all, this was such a sweet, captivating novel that surprised me with its plotline while pleasing me with its characters, and it easily earns all five bookshelves. Susan Anne Mason created such a touching story amid Irish Meadow’s pages, and I cannot wait to read more of the O’Learys as she continues on the series with A Worthy Heart. I highly recommend this novel if you are looking for something new to read, and know that I will always remember this as a book that I absolutely loved. (This review is from my blog,
SonnySJ More than 1 year ago
This book had me working through so many emotions. It was a great read. It brought to light what women had to deal with in this time period. It reminded me of how many women did not get a choice in furthering their education. Today, we have forgotten what it cost for us to be where we are. Brianna and Colleen O’Leary are sisters fighting the same struggle. They are trying to live in a world dominated by the whims and desires of men. Their whole existence is to benefit the financial futures of their father and the family plantation Irish Meadows. Gilbert Whelan is the adopted son of the O’Leary’s family who wants to do anything to not only please his deceased father but the father who raised him. He finds himself agreeing to things that go against everything he believes in. He struggles with doing what is right and what will make his family happy. He is also struggling with his feeling concerning Brianna. Ryland Montgomery is a man who made a deal with God that he will become a priest if his mother gets well. He is transferred from Seminary School to New York to assist with the Orphanage there. He stays with his distant relatives the O’Leary and fined that this decision will change the course of his life. You are reminded throughout this book that our choices have consequences and it not only affects you but the people around you. I could hear God’s voice saying that you need to trust in him and not to take matters into your own hands. Also we are reminded no to make promises in desperate situations. We serve a God who wants the best for us and He will use our current circumstance for his good. No one can thwart God’s plans. As we see the evolution of these characters and how God changes their lives, we are grateful that God’s will ultimately triumph. I received this book for free from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. I also posted this review on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Goodreads, Deepershopper, etc.)”
Jaquelyn More than 1 year ago
Irish Meadows is the first book I have read by Susan Anne Mason. I had a very difficult time putting the book down. Instead of doing housework, I just wanted to get lost in Irish Meadows. Dishes and Laundry aren’t nearly as important as finding out if and how these characters would get their happy ending. After finishing this story, I was delighted to see that there will be another book in the series. I was not ready to say goodbye to this family, and am happy I don’t yet have to. Brianna and her sister Colleen O’Leary aren’t in any hurry to get married. But their father James O’Leary has different plans. He doesn’t want his girls to marry a man that isn’t wealthy, and can’t bring any alliance to their family. Social standing is important to him, and losing the farm would ruin his life’s work. When Gilbert Whelan comes back from college, James sees another person he can use to help him get what he wants. Gilbert only wants to make James proud and repay him for all he’s done. Will James be too selfish to see what he is doing to his family? Can the sister’s follow their hearts with or without his blessing? This was an amazing story. Mason crafted characters that weren’t perfect, and therefore I could totally relate to them. She kept my interest the entire time. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction. It has just the right amount of suspense and romance mixed together. I can’t wait until the next book comes out, but was left totally satisfied after I finished reading this one. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This book made me laugh and cry. It is about two sisters and their family. How do they live with each other and how do they get their father to let them do what they want to do with their lives. Everyone in this story learns many valuable lessons. Love the horse farm that they live on. Each sister is so different and falls in love with very different men. I received this book from Bethany House and the author for a fair and honest opinion.
MrsTina42MR More than 1 year ago
Irish Meadows***** book 1 Courage to Dream series by Susan Anne Mason James O'Leary owns a horse farm—Irish Meadows on Long Island, New York in 1911. When the future of the horse farm becomes ever closer to ruin, James becomes even more desperate. He pushes hard for his two daughters, Brianna and Colleen, to make a prosperous match and marry as soon as possible. Even though the sisters are very different and often clash, they both have their own dreams. Brianna wants to attend college and Colleen has her own ideas of what a perfect groom is, once she does get married that is. Will they give up their dreams and give into their father's demands? Gilbert Whelan returns to Irish Meadows from business school, but he has plans for his own future...away from Irish Meadows. How long does he need to stay in order to repay James for his education? He soon finds out James has very definite ideas of what he wants Gilbert to do. But can Gilbert go against his principles and integrity to do what James demands? To complicate matters more, a distant relative, Rylan Montgomery is staying at Irish Meadows during his seminary training. Irish Meadows has strong, real-to-life characters—with flaws just like we all do, family dynamics, strong emotions, some humorous moments, anger, betrayal, sibling rivalry, heartbreaks, integrity, romantic chemistry, love—which doesn't always go smoothly. Deception, forgiveness, jealousies, strong faith and so much more all weave a captivating story. I wanted to shake James regarding his treatment of his daughters and Gilbert, as well as those affected by his actions. I enjoyed James' sister, Fiona's courage going against what was expected for females in 1911 and following her own path. There is an orphaned girl that captured my heart and I was hoping she would find a loving family to adopt her—had my own idea who that should be....I'm not telling. I did not like Colleen very much—she was not a very nice young woman or sister for that matter, but as the story develops her eyes and heart were finally opened and she was starting to become likeable. I had my suspicions about what was going to happen with Rylan, which I will not share, don't want to spoil anything. I look forward to reading A Worthy Heart, the second book in the series coming in 2016. ~I received a copy of this book from TBCN for my honest review~
KMarkovich More than 1 year ago
“Faced with an uncertain future, sometimes all you have left is the courage to dream.” Both Brianna and Colleen O’Leary have dreams for the future – Brianna wants to go to college more than anything and Colleen, the “beautiful” one does not want to marry the man her father has picked out for her. Both are affected by their father’s overbearing ways and alienated from each other because of his playing favorites. But with the family name and fortune at stake, will they sacrifice their own desires to be pawns in the marriage game? Will they be able to overcome their differences? I really loved how the author explored a time in history – 1911 in Long Island New York. Times were changing for young women – and for their fathers. Would the young women be able to decide their own futures and could their fathers release the rights to further their fortunes through the marriages of the daughters? The author skillfully wove the stories of Brianna, Colleen, Gilbert (Mr. O’Leary’s protégé) and Ryan (a catholic seminary student) as they dealt with the times, their struggles and the need for prayer – “Pray love. Pray hard. For both of us.” I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it! I loved the different perspective the two girls had of their same family, their chaste romances, the stress for integrity and the need for prayer. Fabulous book! I received this book from in return for my honest opinion.