Recently I went to Ireland for a visit. I enjoyed myself to the hilt. One of my favorite places was Trinity College with its great library which houses the Book of Kells and Brian Boru's alleged harp, among other priceless artifacts. We also drove and walked over several of Dublin's famous bridges crossing the Liffey--the harp bridge, the Ha'penny bridge and many more. I personally tossed a penny off the metal footbridge.
These items all played a part in Heidi Ashworth's book, O'ER THE RIVER LIFFEY. I couldn't put the book down and indeed missed chaperoning a dance--something I LOVE doing--because I had to know if Caroline and Niall got safely together again.
Caroline Fulton is new money and has come to visit at Oak View with her father and best friend in order to catch a title. However, the English ladies in attendance have taken offense at everything about the girls, doing their best to slight them as Irish bumpkins. Caroline finds she is underwhelmed by the Baron, who is inattentive, snooty, pushy, and unkind to his brothers.
No, from the first time she claps eyes upon Niall Doherty, the tutor, she is lost to him, falling for his dark good looks, his kindness, his way with children, his caring, his intelligence, and his gift of storytelling, among other qualities.
But it seems the two are doomed to eternal separateness. Caroline's father will not accept a lowly untitled tutor as her husband, while Niall is forced to make his way as a teacher due to his father's failed game of chance. Against their wills they are drawn inexorably closer by something resembling fate.
The book is peppered with several Irish tales, which some might say slow the story down. I disagree. I enjoyed the extra tales, reminding me of those I read when I was younger. They felt homey to me, like adding in the banger part of bangers and mash. The stories added spice and tasted delicious.
I also loved the language and rich usage of Irish names. Yes, some of them are a little difficult to pronounce at first, but Heidi has included a perfectly good pronunciation guide. Those names, like the stories, make it an Irish book and not merely an English book dressed in green leprechaun pants.
I really loved this book, partly because I love the Irish and think they have been greatly slighted in favor of Britain's Regency era books. Thank you, Heidi, for helping to allay that shortfall. And thank you for teaching me about jaunting cars. I never heard of a jaunting car that wasn't motor-driven, although now that I think of it, those must have been jaunting cars we drove in on the way to Muckross House.
For a lovely taste of Regency Era Irish romance, you can get O'ER THE RIVER LIFFEY here.