Longing For Home by Sarah M. Eden
(Summary taken from an email sent to me by the publicist) "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."
How is this for an opening sentence: "Eighteen years had passed since Katie Macauley killed her sister."? Wow, right? You want to keep reading, right? Well, I did! That sentence definitely grabbed me, and I was hooked from the start. I haven't read a good old-fashioned love story in a long time, and it was fun to get lost in the story. This story is full of everything you need for a love story: cheese, sap, and a handsome main character. Yes, it's a little cheesy, but you know what? That's what good love stories need! I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was well written and the characters were very well developed. Katie is a bit of a mystery throughout the book. You don't learn her whole story until almost the end of the book, and so you think you like her, but you're unsure of how she "killed her sister." I kept wondering if I would change my mind about her when I knew the truth. You learn bits and pieces as the book unfolds, and I ended up liking her even more. Tavish is an interesting character. First off, I love that name, and if I were having another baby boy (I'm not) then I would seriously consider naming him Tavish, because it's great name. Ms. Eden might be starting a trend in baby names. Anyway, you meet him on page two or three, and you know from then that he will most likely be a love interest in Katie's life. And Joseph is also a good character. I didn't like him at first because of the circumstances, but the more I learned about him the more I liked him as well. I also fell in love with his daughters. The townspeople in the book are instrumental in setting up the decision that Katie needs to make. I didn't envy her situation and definitely felt bad for her. I love that she is a strong female character. She works hard and even though she likes having the men in her life, she shows that she can take care of herself and isn't whiny or frail. I loved learning about the Irish people and their history. I thought it was so sad that prejudice against the Irish was so strong here in America. I know I like to look back and think that everything was perfect among the different nationalities of our "melting pot." I guess it wasn't perfect, but I'm hopeful that there were people like Joseph to help calm everyone down and bring them together.
I loved that this book was clean. (Yay!) There wasn't any language, and only a couple small kisses. There was some violence against the Irish people, but nothing too harsh. I think I might like this new "Proper Romance" category from Shadow Mountain. I really did enjoy this story. Like I said, it's been a long time since I've read a good old-fashioned love story, and I forgot how much I enjoy them!
Rating: PG+ (It's clean except for some acts of violence against the Irish people, and they aren't too harsh.)
Recommendation: 12 and up. And yes, it is YA approved!!!
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.