Today I’m reviewing Longing for Home, a historical romance by Sarah Eden.
“Though she was only a child during the darkest days of Ireland’s Great Famine, Katie Macauley feels responsible for the loss of her family’s land and the death of her sister. Now a woman grown, Katie has left Ireland for America and the promise of earning money enough to return home again and plead for her family’s forgiveness.
“She arrives in Hope Springs, Wyoming Territory, a town sharply divided between the Americans who have settled there, with their deep hatred of the Irish, and the Irish immigrants who have come searching for a place to call home. Her arrival tips the precarious balance, and the feud erupts anew.
“Even in the midst of hatred and violence, however, Katie finds reason to hope. Two men, as different as they are intriguing, vie for her heart, turning her thoughts for the first time toward a future away from Ireland. Katie must now make the hardest decision of her life: stay and give her heart a chance at love, or return home and give her soul the possibility of peace.”
I loved reading this book. It captured me from the very beginning. I sneaked away during the day to squeeze in another chapter or two; I stayed up a little (OK, a lot) too late at night to devour just a little bit more.
Eden is a very talented author who has a way of bringing her characters to life. Katie has that endearing combination of vulnerability and strength. She carries a sadness that gives her grace. She is a heroine that you root for. You want her to find love, be successful and heal from her past.
Both of her love interests, Irish rogue Tavish O’Connor and the widower Joseph Archer, are intriguing and engaging, each in their own way. I was torn between which of the two I wanted her to choose. Eden developed her supporting characters in an equally masterful way, giving them distinct and entertaining personalities which gave the story depth and color.
I enjoyed the way Eden explored Irish culture and history. She shined the light on the challenges and prejudices that were rife during the days of the wild west, which allowed you to feel some sympathy for the antagonists in the story. There are moments of increasing tension as the town builds towards an eruption that you know is inevitable.
The one critique that I have for the book – and it’s a biggie – is that Eden allowed herself to fall into that trap that so many authors of series fall into: she forgot the ending of the story! In the opening pages, Tavish tells Katie that her arrival would start a war. Eden followed through with that promise up to a point. There are growing tensions between the American settlers and the Irish, some acts of vandalism and a brawl. However, there is no climax, no final battle between the two groups and no resolution. Even Katie’s choice of love interest does not feel final. Yes, they declare their love, but there’s no wedding, just a promise of courtship. I definitely felt that their courtship will probably be challenged in the follow-up novel.
Is it a fatal flaw? I don’t think so. The writing is superb, the characters are engaging, the history is intriguing, and Katie is endearing. Just be prepared to be annoyed for several months until the next book is available.
You can purchase Longing for Home by Sarah Eden at Amazon.com. E-book is on sale through the month of August, 2013, for only $7.99!
Enter my contest here for a chance to win a free copy of Sarah Eden’s Longing for home.