Monday, March 20, 2023

Meagan McKinney’s THE GROUND SHE WALKS UPON - An Irish Love Story with lots of Angst!


McKinney can certainly write well. And with this Irish historical romance, she serves up a very clever tale set against the background of the Irish potato famine and the lingering hostilities between the Irish and the English in Ireland. As with many Irish romances, there’s a bit of magic and mysticism involved. While there is no doubt McKinney can tell a good story, at times the heroine acted the wet noodle. Still, it held my interest and I can recommend it.


The story begins in 1828, as Lord Niall Trevallyan, a member of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, is about to turn 20, and four elders tell him about the geis, the price the Trevallyans paid for the land they took from the Irish hundreds of years ago. Each male Trevallyan, if not wed by his 20th birthday, must wed a commoner from County Lir, chosen by an ancient Celtic cross (acting like a compass). Importantly, the Trevallyan male must win the woman’s love.


Niall doesn’t believe the mythology, or that a curse will result if he doesn’t follow the instructions, but all the same, he follows the four men to a cottage the cross has led them to, where they find a baby girl named Ravenna. Niall refuses to accept the babe could be his future bride, and he vows to wed the first girl he falls in love with. He does and it ends in disaster.


When Ravenna is 13, she and Niall have an encounter that leaves her hating him. It is much the same for her when they meet again when he is 40 and she is 19. He thinks her beneath him and she wants love and respect, two things he will never give her. Each spurns the geis and then disaster begins to fall upon County Lir.


McKinney tells a good tale, but takes a risk when she makes the heroine weak and vulnerable in the face of the hero’s dishonorable schemes. Niall certainly appeared the cad. He looked down upon her bastardy and her common birth and only considered her when the geis began to take a toll. In the end, he comes to love her but it took quite a lot before I could believe it.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Best Irish Historical Romances


I first developed this list for a friend of Irish descent who loves Irish historical romances. Since then, I have updated this list each year as I have come to love stories that feature Ireland and/or Irish heroes and heroines. The books on this list cover all time periods. Some transcend typical historical romance as they bring to life heartrending tales of the Irish fight for freedom from English tyranny and/or the wonderful Irish people who survived much hardship to help make great their adoptive countries.


If you’re looking for stories of the Emerald Isle or handsome Irish hunks, or worthy Irish heroines, you will find them here. All these have been rated 4 or 5 stars by me:


·      A Love by Any Measure by Killian McRae

·      Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry by Amanda Hughes

·      Black Falcon’s Lady by Kimberly Cates (originally released as Nightwylde by Kimberleigh Caitlin)

·      Black Sword by Kathryn Le Veque

·      Briar’s Rose by Kimberly Cates

·      Bride of the Baja by Jane Toombs (original author name Jocelyn Wilde)

·      Broken Vows by Shirl Henke

·      Brotherly Love by Lorna Peel

·      Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare

·      Countess of Scandal, Duchess Of Sin and Lady of Seduction, the Daughters of Erin trilogy by Laurel McKee

·      Crown Of Mist by Kimberly Cates

·      Dark of the Moon by Karen Robards

·      Dark Torment by Karen Robards

·      Dream Lover by Virginia Henley

·      Embrace and Conquer by Jennifer Blake

·      Emerald Ecstasy by Emma Merritt

·      Emerald Prince by Brit Darby

·      Enticed by Virginia Henley (first published as The Irish Gypsy)

·      Eyes of the Seer by Ashley York

·      Forbidden Love by Karen Robards

·      Forbidden Passion by Theresa Scott

·      Golden Surrender, The Viking’s Woman and Lord of the Wolves, the Viking/Irish trilogy by Heather Graham

·      Gracelin O’Malley by Ann Moore

·      Heart of Stone and Heart of Lies by Jill Marie Landis

·      Her Warrior Slave and Her Warrior King, from the MacEgan Brothers Series by Michelle Willingham

·      In From the Cold by Nora Roberts

·      Lady of Conquest by Teresa Medeiros

·      Lily Fair by Kimberly Cates

·      Lions and Lace by Meagan McKinney

·      Lord of Hawkfell Island by Catherine Coulter

·      Maid of Killarney by Ana Seymour

·      Moonlit by Emma Jensen (3rd in her Regency spy series; the only one set in Ireland)

·      Maidensong by Diana Groe

·      Master of My Dreams by Danelle Harmon

·      No Gentle Love by Rebecca Brandewyne

·      Odin’s Shadow by Erin Riley

·      O’er The River Liffey by Heidi Ashworth

·      Old Glory by Christopher Nicole

·      Only Forever by Kimberly Cates

·      Passion’s Joy and the sequel Virgin’s Star by Jennifer Horsman

·      Raeliksen and Mac Liam (from the Emerald Isle trilogy) by Renee Vincent

·      Rose in the Mist and Irish Gypsy (from the Riordan trilogy) by Ana Seymour

·      Rose of the Mists, A Rose in Splendor and A Secret Rose, trilogy by Laura Parker

·      Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With the Wind by Alexandra Ripley

·      Scattered Seeds by Julie Doherty

·      Sea Raven by Patricia McAllister

·      Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small

·      Stealing Heaven by Kimberly Cates

·      Stormfire by Christine Monson

·      Storm Maiden by Mary Gillgannon

·      Surrender the Stars by Cynthia Wright

·      Tears of Gold by Laurie McBain

·      The Black Angel by Cordia Byers

·      The Divided Heart by Beppie Harrison

·      The Game by Brenda Joyce

·      The Ground She Walks Upon by Meagan McKinney

·      The Hawk and the Dove by Virginia Henley

·      The Heart and the Holly by Nancy Richards-Akers

·      The Highwayman by Anne Kelleher

·      The Irishman by Jennifer Roberson (first published as Royal Captive)

·      The Irish Devil by Donna Fletcher

·      The Irish Duke by Virginia Henley

·      The Irish Princess, The Irish Enchantress and The Irish Knight by Amy Fetzer

·      The Irish Princess by Elizabeth Chadwick

·      The Irish Rogue by Emma Jensen

·      The Irish Rogue by Judith E. French

·      The Irish Sisters Trilogy by Debra Holland

·      The Legend of the Green Man by Sara Hely

·      The Linnet by Elizabeth English

·      The Passions Of Emma by Penelope Williamson

·      The Prize by Brenda Joyce

·      The Rebel by Christine Dorsey

·      The Seventh Son by Ashley York

·      The Sword of the Banshee by Amanda Hughes

·      The Wayward One by Danelle Harmon

·      To Ride a White Horse by Pamela Ford

·      Touch of Lace by Elizabeth DeLancey

·      Tread Softly On My Dreams by Gretta Curran Browne

·      Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale

·      Whispers of Heaven by Candice Proctor

·      Wild Angel by Miriam Minger

·      Windsong by Judith E. French

·      Wolf’s Embrace by Gail Link


And I hope you’ll read my Regency novella, The Shamrock & The Rose with an Irish hero!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Emma Jensen’s MOONLIT: Wonderful Finish to the Regency spy trilogy… An Irish Romance to Remember!

This book involves former spies for England during the wars with France. There were 10 spies to begin with (“the Ten”). Some were nobility. The first book in the trilogy, Entwined, written in 1997, was set in England in 1810, and tells the story of Nathan, Viscount Oriel and his Scottish love, Isobel. It was excellent. The second, Fallen, written in 2001, is set in Scotland in 1812, and is the story of Gabriel Loudon, Earl of Rievaulx (also one of the Ten), and Maggie, Isobel’s beautiful sister. It was superb.

Moonlit is the 3rd in the Regency spy trilogy and an amazing finish. It’s the story of Viscount Trevor St. Wulfstan (another member of the Ten) and Nell Nolan.

Once, when she was a young girl in Ireland, Nell wished on the moon and looked into a mirror hoping to see a picture of the man who would one day be her lover. And she saw him. As a young man, his father beat Trevor so badly he remains scarred, both inside and out. Years later, both have grown up. Trevor is an impoverished Irish lord, who lives by his gambling and his work for the Crown. A member of the Ten (former spies for England during the wars with France), Trevor gets the assignments the others don’t want, the assassinations, for example. Now, someone is trying to kill him.

Nell, now a widow named Mrs. Nolan, is staying in London only long enough to tie up a loose end: a British lord cheated her out of her husband’s pay owed him when he was killed in the war years ago. Because she cared for a duke who was sick during his last years, everyone in the Ton assumes Nell was his mistress and she a courtesan. She won’t correct the impression, though false, because it serves her purpose. The duke left her a wealthy woman but she wants her husband’s money for the principle, for his honor. Knowing nothing of this, Trevor decides he must have the notorious Mrs. Nolan. Neither shares the pain they carry nor the story of their past.

Jensen weaves a beautiful story with very real passions and hurts, in this case, children hurt by the sins of others. Her writing is wonderfully descriptive with no overly long introspection passages as some writers of romance engage in. It’s a well-told story. Her dialog is not mere banter, either, but meaningful conversations that bring you into the heart of the characters’ longings and fears. The love scenes are well placed and fit perfectly. Highly recommended.

My only regret is that she stopped at three stories. The tales are so good, one could have hoped for a dozen. They are all related so read them in order—and don’t miss them!