Monday, March 6, 2017

Review: 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.

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