Synopsis from Goodreads: Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.
The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.
As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?
I had this book in my TBR stack on my Kindle – it was a Prime Reading offering from quite a while back, so I thought I’d give it a go for the Romance prompt of the Fall Into Reading challenge I’m participating in this fall. This has a similar feel to Outlander but I didn’t find it as engrossing a read. The plot is one you’ll recognize if you’ve read any of the Outlander books. Woman from current day (in this case the early 2000s) gets pulled backward through time (into 1921) where she has to create a persona and build a life in that time, unsure how to return to her past. As the plot progresses, she finds herself uncertain that she even wants to return to her original life. There is, of course, a love story where she falls in love with her husband’s best friend. (Her husband has died in The Troubles prior to her arrival in the 1921 timeframe, and she was presumed dead as well.)
I think this book will be a hard read if you aren’t already familiar with Michael Collins, the IRA and “the Troubles”. While the history of all of this is told in fictionalized diary excerpts that follow along with the activity in Dublin and Ireland leading up to Michael Collins’s death, you need to at least have the basis of the conflicts already firm in your mind, or these diary excerpts don’t help much. I will admit I know only the Wiki version of most of the history, and I still had to go look a few things up as I read to make sure I had timelines and events straight.
I did love the author’s descriptive passages of what Dublin and Irish life in the early 20th century was like. The heroine, Anne Gallagher, who is an American brought up by her Irish grandfather, appreciates the history of the country and it’s myths and legends. The love interest, Thomas, is a fine, likeable chap, but I never felt like there really was a lot of chemistry there. Certainly not enough to drag me through time. Tidbits about some of the ancient Gaelic tales that were incorporated into the story were a nice addition, and I enjoyed exploring how the author tied in bits of Anne’s life in the 21st century with some of the older stories.
Overall rating 3/5: It was okay, entertaining but not a great read. This is book 7/15 for the Fall Into Reading Challenge, but I’m going to take a look at my schedule for the next couple of months and see if I want to bump this up to the 24 book challenge instead!