Monday, August 12, 2013

Longing for Home Review

“An engaging and heart-warming story.” —Julianne Donaldson, bestselling author of Edenbrooke
  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.

 

 M's Review:

Four out of five stars

I enjoyed Sarah's latest clean historical romance. Katie is a spunky, determined young woman whose past continues to torture her despite all the good things she's done. A job with wealthy landowner, Joseph Archer, takes her to Hope Springs in the Wyoming Territory. This wild, but beautiful land soon captures her heart despite the dangers of a brewing feud between the Irish and the rest of the town, and the dangers to her own long striven for goal to return home. 

 

Katie's arrival sparks unrest for both sides of town. Her employer, on learning she is Irish, tries to turn her away. But our feisty heroine stands her ground and keeps at least part of what is hers. Though, the reduced pay she receives makes her dreams of getting home seem farther away than ever, she is determined to persevere. But she is unprepared for the charming and far too handsome Tavish O'Connor who befriends her, and makes her hope for more. Between him and her young employer who offers her surprising respect and courtesy, Katie tries to determine the meaning of the kind of love she barely remembers from her childhood. But her soul is still burdened with the mistakes of her past, and her heart is not hers to give until she can be free of the debts she feels she owes her family. I found Katie's current and past struggles drawing out my sympathy. She has fought for so long to make amends to a family that barely acknowledges her, and her hopes for peace continue to be threatened by those around her. The feud between the Irish and the townsfolk perfectly captured the persecutions and hatred that happened during this difficult time in both Irish and American history. Sarah has a knack for tugging at the reader's mind and heart.

 

What I didn't like. Katie's self-pity became a bit grating at times. I wanted her to quit lamenting how horrible she was as a child, and focus more on the present at some moments. The second pet peeve is a completely personal dislike, but I hate love triangles. They drive me absolutely bonkers. People always disagree on which one the girl should have chosen, and the heroine hardly ever seems to really make a choice, but appears to pick one guy by default, or at random. You always feel bad for the one who doesn't get her. That said, Sarah did a great job of minimizing many of these annoying traits. The love triangle between Joseph, Katie, and Tavish was fairly low key. The primary story was about Katie learning to forgive herself and love others, and her struggle to find a place to call home. However, once again I am not convinced by the end of the book that she chose the man she did because he truly is the right man for her. The other one had never expressed his feelings, so she assumed they didn't exist. It would be a bit more satisfactory in the end if she really chose because she loves the man fully and completely, but that is just my preference. The ending itself felt a bit rushed, and didn't really fit her struggles for the entire book. Many questions were left in my mind at the conclusion. A bit more resolution of some of the issues would have been nice.

N: I liked Longing For Home except the love angle. It was a good story line and had me on my toes every once in a while. I wanted Katie to have one guy but didn't want the other guy to be left alone. I think the ending was rushed as well. All of a sudden she is telling all her secrets and then she gets a guy and it ends. I like how she is trying to find herself and home again. Even though she finds that her old home isn't her new home. She comes to a peaceful balance with herself and finds love through it all. She doesn't just find love with a guy however. She learns to love the entire town and they all love and support her.  


About the Author

Sarah M. Eden read her first Jane Austen novel in elementary school and has been an Austen addict ever since. Fascinated by the English Regency era, Eden became a regular in that section of the reference department at her local library, where she painstakingly researched this extraordinary chapter in history. Eden is an award-winning author of short stories and was a Whitney Award finalist for her novels Seeking Persephone and Courting Miss Lancaster. Visit her at www.sarahmeden.com.

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