This book by: Susan Anne Mason is the first in her Courage to Dream series. It takes place on Long Island, New York in the early 1900s. The O’Leary family owns but is close to loosing a horse farm due to financial circumstances. James O’Leary needs his daughters, Colleen and Brianna, to marry into influential families so that the farm avoids financial ruin. Colleen is content to marry the right man as long as he meets her high standards but realizes that her carefree and flirtatious attitude toward men has inadvertantly tarnished her reputation. Brianna, on the other hand, has desires of going to college before settling down into being a wife and mother. Gilbert Whelan returns to the O’Leary home where he grew up and quickly realizes James has plans to use him to save the farm. While his feelings grow for his childhood friend, Brianna, James requires that Gilbert marries the daughter of a banker in town. Rylan Montgomery, a seminary student, also stays with the family as he does his mission work at the local orphanage. Colleen starts to fall for Rylan even though he is not necessarily fit into her expectations of marriage material.
I really enjoyed this book. I would say that it is more romantic based than historical but the historical aspects are definitely interesting. The author changes perspectives of the characters so that the reader can understand multiple points of view. The romances in the book are definitely complicated as well as the interactions with James who contributed to a lot of the conflicts. I do feel like the conflicts resolved in the end but I would have liked to see more of the positive outcome after the conflict resolution. Maybe that will come in book 2 in the series!?! I am definitely interested in reading more from this author. Another surprise side story in this book relates to adoption of a child. Which right now is near to my heart as my husband and I prepare to start the adoption training courses.
In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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#1: Irish Meadows
By Susan Anne Mason / Bethany House
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