Happy Late St. Patrick’s Day and a #Giveaway by Barbara Monajem

Yes, St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, but I was traveling on March 17th, so I’m celebrating it late by recommending books related to Ireland – and hoping for some recommendations in return. The giveaway? A Kindle copy of one of the books I mention below (except the first one, which isn’t available digitally, alas).

I find it both painful and fascinating to read about the history of Ireland. I do so sparingly, because it can be so emotionally fraught, but I never regret learning and understanding more.

So, in chronological order (not by publication date, but by the era in which the story takes place):

The Pirate Queen: Diana Norman wrote fabulous historical novels. This one takes place in both England and Ireland during the Elizabethan era (the pirate queen in the title being Grace O’Malley, the famous female pirate, but she’s not the central character). It’s not my favorite of her books, but it’s a gripping story, and it helped me understand some of the background to the Irish troubles. Good luck getting a copy of this one. It’s out of print and available only at crazy prices, so I can’t offer it in my giveaway. I hope there will soon be digital copies of Diana Norman’s earlier books.

Reforming Lord Ragsdale: Carla Kelly writes brilliant Regency-era romances dealing with real issues, and this is no exception. The hero is English, the heroine Irish, and both have ample reason to mistrust, even loathe, each other’s countrymen. This is a romance, so of course there’s a happy ending, and the struggle to achieve it is perfect. I loved this book! (As a side note, this story inspired me to learn more about the Irish rebellions of the late 18th/ early 19th century, which led me to write The Rake’s Irish Lady.)

The Ghosts of Belfast: I don’t have my copy with me so can’t refer to it, but as far as I remember, this novel by Stuart Neville takes place around the end of the 20th century. It’s about a former IRA hit man haunted by the ghosts of innocent people he killed. The ghosts won’t let him be until he kills the people who ordered the murders in the first place. I don’t usually read books that are full of graphic violence, but I couldn’t put this one down. Again, I learned a lot about Ireland through reading this.

Buried in a Bog: This is the first in Sheila Connolly’s mysteries that take place in present-day County Cork, in the south of Ireland. I’m a big fan of mysteries, and these are charming cozies about an American girl of Irish descent who inherits a pub in a tiny Irish village. Her new life in Ireland is much different from in Boston, where she grew up, and while adjusting to Irish ways, she also has to solve the mysteries that keep coming along. Again, I’m learning a lot while enjoying this series. I’m reading the fourth one, A Turn for the Bad, right now.

So… I would love some recommendations of books relating to Ireland! And if you can’t think of any, just recommend something else.

As for the giveaway, the winner gets to choose a Kindle copy of one of the following: Reforming Lord Ragsdale, The Ghosts of Belfast, or Buried in a Bog.





Follow Barbara Monajem:

Barbara Monajem started writing at eight years old. She has wandered from children’s fantasy through mystery to paranormal and historical romance. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

23 Responses

  1. Karen

    What a delightful choice of books! Happy belated St Pat’s day.

  2. barbarabettis1

    Loved your suggestions, Barbara. I can see a few I need to get! Thanks for the recommendations.

  3. Sheila Connolly

    Thanks for the mention (BTW, it’s my great-grandfather’s bog). I love Stuart Neville’s books (so I forgive him from coming from the North). Niamh O’Connor writes a strong contemporary procedural series (Her day job is crime journalist). I will say that a lot of American crime writers are very popular in Ireland.

  4. tfmoran2014

    I loved the books by Stuart Neville and Shelia Connolly. I just bought a stack of books about Ireland and written by Irish writers for my grandkids in preparation for a family trip to Ireland this summer. they are not quite up to Sheila and Stuart. I also love Ken Bruen and Adrian McKinty. Thanks for a terrific post.

    • Sheila Connolly

      Ooh, where will you be going? I’m aiming for July. I don’t know Adrian McKinty, but I’ll have to look for him. It’s great that your grandkids like to read.

      • tfmoran2014

        July as well. However we won’t be near Cork this trip.

  5. Teresa Broderick

    Barbara a book I think you would love is Dreams of Other Days by Marita Conlon McKenna. It’s set in the years of the Famine in Ireland and one of my favorite books. But be warned!!! You’ll need a box of tissues beside you when reading it. Also another fav of mine is Lost In The Mist of Time by Karen Michelle Nutt. It’s time travel and goes from the present to Ireland in the time when the Irish Chieftains were answerable to England. It’s a fabulous story! Unputdownable!!! I do hope you get to read one of them. I’m always promoting these two books and living in Ireland I’m proud of the way they portray our Emerald Isle!!

  6. Barbara Monajem (@BarbaraMonajem)

    Hi, Teresa. Time travel to Ireland sounds great. 🙂 I suddenly remembered two more books I should have mentioned, which take place in Ireland in the 2nd Century A.D. — Shadow of Gulls and The Crow Goddess by Patricia Finney. I whizzed through them–couldn’t put them down. Looks like I’m already gathering books for another post about Ireland. 🙂

  7. dholcomb1

    Happy St. Paddy’s Day! I have a favorite contemporary series set in Ireland, and it’s on my kindle, but I can’t for the life of me think of the author.


  8. Susan

    Buried in the Bog sounds like
    My kind of read. I am pitching my Ireland novel this weekend at California Dreaming Conference. kate’s Hero is a contemporary romance with a touch of magic.

  9. drkatecollier

    Three mystery authors who incorporate romance and who use Ireland as the setting:

    Carla Neggers (Donovan and Sharpe series, romantic suspense)
    Carlene O’Connor (Murder at an Irish Wedding, Murder in an Irish Village)
    Alexia Gordon (Murder in G Major) She’s a wonderful newcomer!!

    Enjoy . . .

  10. Barbara Monajem

    And the winner is…Karen! I will email you about how to claim your prize. Thanks for all the recommendations, everyone. Looks like I’ll have lots more to recommend by next St. Patrick’s Day, if not much, much sooner. 🙂