Monday, March 5, 2012

New Review: Rosemary Jordan’s LOVE’S LEGACY – A Sweeping Saga of Irish Immigrants in America and a Keeper!

This is a moving saga of Irish immigrants in America and within that the women of one particular family. It’s a bit different than most romances. To be sure, there are love stories woven in…many “romances”…and the heroine is there throughout, but there is no one couple who meet in the beginning and end up together at the end.

Jordan weaves an absorbing tale, but I must warn you it’s a real tearjerker (I was in tears seven pages in and that was only the prologue!) Wretched things happen to folks in this family that will keep you reeling. There are two themes: an exquisite hand-made wedding dress Megan brings with her from Ireland that ties the women of the extended clan together; and the oppression by society (and certain men) of the women who triumph notwithstanding. While there are some wonderful men and real heroes here (Abe Goldstein being one of them), the early women in the family suffer under the weight of a culture that often left them little choice and meager lives.

The novel is divided into 5 “books”: Megan (the heroine, who is featured throughout), Mary Kathleen (Megan’s daughter), Nora (Mary Kathleen’s daughter), Meredith (Nora’s daughter and Jenna (Meredith’s daughter). Though no date is given at the outset, the book covers 1889 to 1980, a very long time (the matriarch is 107 in the prologue as she looks back and 16 in the beginning when she and her mother make the wedding dress).

The first part of the story takes place in Ireland. Megan O’Brian is the beautiful redheaded daughter of a poor Irish farmer who, since she was a young child, always knew she’d marry handsome Patrick Gallagher. When she is 17, Patrick becomes involved in Irish rebels’ theft of British weapons (not his idea) and, as a result, had to flee Ireland to avoid arrest. With her family’s blessing, Megan weds Patrick and they leave to begin a new life in America. Though Patrick is educated, he loses an office job when his vision becomes blurry, and Megan, though a wonderful seamstress, soon becomes pregnant. He is discouraged and she is constantly tired from trying to meet the demands of her husband and baby while still sewing. None of their dreams are being realized as they struggle to survive in New York.

The love scenes are understated but blend well with the story. The dialog is excellent and believable and the emotions very real. If a good story is your main goal, one that draws you in and won’t let you go, this novel will please you.

Much of this story resonated with my own life as it might with yours: My ancestors included Irish immigrants and strong women who worked hard to make a better life in America. In both World War I and II, young women in my family lost their young husbands or fiancés, leaving them alone to raise their children. It’s the story of America, and in this case the Irish Catholics, who brought so much to this land and the Irish women who overcame great obstacles. A worthy tale…and, if you don’t mind an often times sad story, I heartily recommend it.


  1. What a delightful surprise to discover such a beautiful review of our book, which I wrote some time ago from the five major characters that my former partner envisioned. "Love’s Legacy" was the only book we published together, but I’ve continued writing since that time. These days, I concentrate primarily on nonfiction and published an essay collection, "The World I Imagine: A creative manual for ending poverty and building peace." I also published a novel, "Lion’s Pride," an historical murder mystery set in 1911 Arizona, the year before my new home became a state. While many of the main characters/suspects in that book are renegade Mormon polygamists, I actually wrote the story long before most people knew anything about Warren Jeffs and the FLDS.

    Again, thank you for your very kind words!

    Debbie Jordan (the writing half of Rosemary Jordan)

    1. Debbie,
      How wonderful to be in contact with you! Please let me know if you write another historical romance (hopefully one that is not so sad!).