Monday, April 24, 2023

Review: A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

Genre: Historical Romance 
Publisher: Revell
Released: Feb. 21, 2021
349 pages
About the Book:

All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother's wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland.

After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira's mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she's journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends--and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced--as she seeks to navigate a life she'd never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.


My Rating & Thoughts:    

I liked the setting of Ireland and getting to know the characters, and I like Moria at the beginning and watching her learn to adapt to the new community but then there was an incident that happened where her actions really bothered me. I couldn’t believe she made the decision she did in a certain scene. She does feel remorse and go back the next day to try to correct it and make sure things are okay, but this is after the fact and she was lucky that it didn’t play out differently overnight due to her decision. After this point I struggled with caring about her again, at this point though we meet the characters of Peg and Colm, who I absolutely adored. Their witness, their support and their strength was amazing and then an incident happens involving them and I was like please no, that hurt my heart. I felt like I was grieving with them. While I did not love the main character I did enjoy getting to know the townspeople and following the journey the main character was on. Another thing I struggled with is that the school kids all speak English but they also speak Gaelic and there were times the Irish words are used and I had no idea what they were saying. About a quarter of the way through the book I realized that there was a glossary of terms at the back of that book and that helped so much, but it would have been nice to have that at the beginning so I knew it was there. I really debated about between giving this one three or four stars because I did enjoy it but I didn't love the main character. I did find myself invested in the story and I couldn't put it down as I wanted to know what was going to happen. There is a little bit of romance in there but it's not like in your face and it was sweet and I really liked that. 

(I was gifted this book by a friend; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

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