There’s something about Ireland…and a #giveaway, by Barbara Monajem

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There’s something about Ireland—and particularly Ireland’s history—that really gets to me. I can’t explain why. I can get all riled up about any historical (or present day) violence, prejudice, injustice, etc. – but for some reason, just mention Ireland’s past and there’s a knot in my solar plexus. Always.

Do I have Irish ancestry? Yes, I’m pretty sure I do, so that could explain it, as they say some things are in the blood. But I also have Scots and English ancestors and maybe other nationalities a while back.

So why do I react so strongly to Ireland in particular, I wonder? Was one of my ancestors involved in an Irish uprising 200 years ago? Or was he perhaps an English soldier ruthlessly crushing it, who could never forget what he’d done? Or a desperate woman who betrayed her neighbor?

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Regardless of the reason, for a while now I’ve wanted to write a story that deals in some way with Ireland. Since I’m in the middle of writing the Scandalous Kisses series involving a noble family in the north of England, I decided to pair one of my English rakes with an Irish lady – half-Irish, that is, with conflicting loyalties that he’ll never understand.

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Writing it didn’t loosen that knot in my solar plexus, but I’m glad I wrote it anyway. I loved Bridget, my part-Irish heroine; and Colin, my English hero, surprised me twice in the writing process. The Rake’s Irish Lady is up for pre-order now and will be out December 30th. I’ll give an ebook of either To Kiss a Rake (Book 1) or The Rake’s Irish Lady (Book 2) to one lucky commenter (winner’s choice).

Tell me, have any of you had a similar experience re your ancestry? Or is there a particular kind of prejudice that upsets you more than any other? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

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ONE WILD NIGHT . . .

Widowed and lonely, Bridget O’Shaughnessy Black indulges herself in a night of pleasure.

After all, she’s in disguise. And the baby girl? An unexpected blessing…until an old flame claims the child as his own to force Bridget to marry him.

ONE DETERMINED LADY. . .

Many women pursued Colin Warren, but only one climbed in his bedchamber window. When Bridget does it for the second time, she doesn’t have fun in mind. Colin is unfit to be a parent, and yet he has no choice but to acknowledge the little girl.

RISKING EVERYTHING FOR LOVE

Circumstances force Bridget and Colin together, yet grave differences divide them. Can love bridge the chasm that keeps them apart?

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(The above photos were taken in Ulster by Barbara Monajem)

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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.

30 Responses

  1. judyalter

    Barbara, Scotland and its history have the same effect on me. It was a thrill to walk on my clan’s ancestral lands.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Judy! Although Scotland doesn’t have quite the same effect on me, I loved it there and long to return.

  2. My family is not Irish, but my adopted daughter from Korea is attending university in Northern Ireland and loves it! My husband and i travel to Ireland often to visit her. It’s a beautiful country–just remember to bring an umbrella!

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Josie. Lucky girl to go to university in such a wonderful environment. The pics accompanying this blog were all taken in Northern Ireland.

  3. New story sounds wonderful and I love the Irish pics and inspiration. Many of my ancestors were Scots-Irish. I totally get ‘the heart-tug.’

  4. Barbara, yes Ireland affects me as well. I have family there, yet we are not Irish. When I visit I can feel the rich history of the land, hear the whispers of those before, feel the holiness on my bare feet as I wade through the tall grasses. The music, the water, the castles and abbeys, even the stone walls that stretch for miles. They all vibrate, hum and speak beneath my hand. Prowling cities and cemeteries, I can only wonder at what has happened there. It is a country that has, for the most part, refused to step fully into the current era. I was wholly disappointed when they admitted McDonalds in and I see people carrying cell phones and such all about.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Summersrye. Yes, Ireland is an amazing place, full of history and a special magic. I’ve only visited once but hope to go back and spend a good while there.

  5. I’m Asian & one prejudice that is prevalent even now is where sons are favoured over daughters. Luckily my parents are more open minded.

    I’d love to have the chance to visit Ireland. I imagine the country must be full of culture, & of mystical beauty.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Linda. I guess that prejudice in favor of sons seemed sensible when families needed warriors and laborers — but on the other hand, without girls, who would give birth to the next generation?? It makes more sense to have a mixture, but many cultures historically favor boys.

  6. I sympathize with your feelings, Barbara. Ireland has always had a lure for me. My SIL and her daughter toured there, just the two of them, a few years ago, and I love going over and over their photos and hearing their stories. (I have English, Scots, and Irish from one side of my family, too. Maybe that does account for it.)

    • Barbara Monajem

      Barb, I hope you will have the chance to go to Ireland, too. 🙂

  7. beppie2014

    Ireland has the same tug for me, but my Irish genealogy, such as it is, is Scots-Irish, who were the people the English planted (that’s the word they used–it was called “plantation”) on the fertile land of northeastern land, having cleared out the Catholics after the last major battles between James II and William II (of William and Mary) which established the Protestant forces as triumphant. When the earls who had supported James II left for France–it’s still known as The Flight of the Earls–originally with the idea of returning with the support of the French, their land was taken, their Catholic tenants tossed out to fend for themselves, and the Scots, not all of them willingly, and some English, but all of them Protestant, took over. The Catholics fled west to the harsh and infertile land of Donegal, which was unattractive to the Scots and English, who had the option of returning east. The Catholics did not, and they are still there. My husband is an Englishman, and we lived in London during a substantial part of the recent Troubles (a very Irish way of naming 40 years of armed struggle). I suppose it was then that I started to love Ireland, only I thought it was exasperation, that both parties, the Catholics and the Protestants, were equally unattractive and they should consider sinking the island.

    I went to Ireland later, and fell in love. The land is so beautiful and the people so open and unabashed about saying whatever they think–and what they think is so often expressed so magnificently! I particularly have come to love Donegal, which is magnificent in its bleakness. The mountains and hills and valleys with peat bogs, none of it adapted for agriculture, are magnificent, and if you stand out on the Slieve League, towering cliff faces that drop off into the Atlantic, you can even see the Northern Lights! My last two books are placed in Donegal. Whether or not my ancestors ever loved this place, I certainly do!

    • Barbara Monajem

      Wow, Beppie. I haven’t been to Donegal (so far, I’ve been to Dublin and then by bus up to the Derry area) but it sounds awesome.

  8. Geraldine Pierson

    I love Scottish, Irish & English Romance stories. I have French, English, Irish, Scottish, Dutch and Cherokee Indian on my side. Your new book sounds awesome. I enjoyed the pictures. I have always wanted to go to Scotland or Ireland but at my age and health I think my traveling days are done. So reading about them is closest I can get to being there.

  9. Barbara Monajem

    Hi, Geraldine. Fortunately, there are lots and lots of stories about Scotland and Ireland nowadays! 🙂

  10. I wanna go there!!!!

  11. When I stayed at the Gritti Palace in Venice I had a deja vu experience. I couldn’t sleep, I dreamed (but not in in present time), I shuddered when I entered the room, my blood pressure rose, my heart beat quickened, it was a surreal feeling of time displacement. I knew I had been there before. I have never felt anything like it since. I’m a history buff, so I certainly could have conjured up these same kinds of feelings in England, Ireland, France, or any number of other places, but it was Venice that took my breath away. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, BelleAmi. Wow, that’s a spooky experience. I loved Venice — a fascinating place — but didn’t have time to visit any palaces, alas.

  12. Liz Evans

    I’m part Welsh, & the oppression of them & the death of the last Welsh Prince Llewellyn, always gets me. But I’m also profoundly affected my the life & death of Richard lll…my daughters says I must have been a close retainer or someone close to him…this book sounds amazing. Have a wonderful Christmas

  13. Barbara Monajem

    Hi, Liz. I should learn more about the history of Wales. I’ll have to look for some books that take place there.

    I understand re Richard III — after I read The Daughter of Time I became fascinated by his life story.

  14. Liette Bougie

    Hi Barbara,
    Ireland’s history has always held a pull on me for as far as I can remember – that and many other countries, including Scotland, England, France, China, Mongolia, Russia, Italy (among others). I have Irish, French, Native Indian (Attikamek – Quebec, Canada) blood on my Mom’s side and English, French, German and Native Indian (Iroquois – Quebec, Canada) on my Dad’s side.
    I’m looking forward to read your books (I have a couple of my TBR List).

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Liette — What a lovely mixture of nationalities! Thanks — I hope you will enjoy my books.

  15. German ancestry has the biggest hold on me, though I do have Scots-Irish, too.

    Denise

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Denise — I have visited Germany many times. I walked through a forest there that reminded my very much of fairy tales such as Hansel and Gretel. I could almost glimpse the witch’s house through the trees. (I have a vivid imagination, LOL.) It was a beautiful forest, with the sun slanting down, lighting up some areas while others remained in spooky gloom. 🙂

  16. I’m mostly German and Swedish but have a big mix of other nationalities (including a relative who came over on the Mayflower but most likely as a crew member). My husband is a blend of Irish, English, and Russian on one side and Italian, Danish and German on the other. So my kids are true products of the melting pot.

    • Barbara Monajem

      What a great combination of nationalities, Glenda. 🙂

  17. Barbara Monajem

    And the winner is….Geraldine! I have emailed you about how to collect your prize. Thanks, everyone, for all the comments — much appreciated! 🙂