This review of my book, An Irish Rogue (set in the San Lorenzo Valley) was penned by my critique partner, novelist Lynna banning.
I just flipped over this novel! Ms. Barrett writes a superb story, one that really grabbed me, and here are the things I particularly relished: (1) Each scene feels like a movie, so that reading it is like watching real people “do their thing”: Willow (the heroine’s sister) working in her herb garden and serving weird fried parsnip suppers to the meat-loving hero; Laverne, the older aunt with her astrological pronouncements and extraordinary good looks, and her wonderfully perceptive comments about life and love; and the Irish hero’s sidekick-cousin providing a good bit of humor. And the poor beleaguered English teacher-would-be-love interest… such a keen portrait of a man who isn’t gonna get the girl.
(2) The heroine (Justine) is busy-busy because she’s sensible and hard-working, and the writer shows her doing sensible things–tipping contents of a drawer into a carton while she’s talking; working on the accounts for her bookstore; brewing tea. (3) The hero is heart-gripping! He’s so wonderfully Irish, and he’s more–steady, outspoken (with that Irish “lilt” to his language), and very, very male. And he’s working for Justine as a carpenter but talking about Irish poets!
(3) The humor, which is subtle and fun. I had a good giggle on every page, and I don’t often laugh out loud while reading a romance. (4) The backstory, which is fed into the ongoing action in such small, clever snippets it intrigues without overpowering. (5) The “snap” Ms. Barrett adds to many, many paragraphs–right at the end so the reader either laughs or clenches her fist but can’t wait to read the next section.
And finally (6) the love story. Lordy, by the time hero Declan Walsh appeared in Justine’s fascinating old house (needing to be remodeled) I was in love with him. I felt great empathy with Justine, trying to make a living and provide for her sister and aunt Laverne… she’s my kind of woman. And she is certainly Declan’s…
This wonderful love story is a real keeper.