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.