Friday, January 27, 2012

Irish Lady by Jeanette Baker

Once I started reading Irish Lady, I had a hard time putting the book down. It’s been a busy week, but I still managed to sneak the book open on odd minutes here and there and probably stayed up too late a couple of nights to read it. It was a riveting story. A blurb on the front cover from one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon, says “Wonderful . . . it grips from the first page to the very last.” I would have to agree.

It’s 1994 and Meghann McCarthy has come as far as she can from her poor Irish Catholic roots. After her family was killed during riots in Northern Ireland when she was a child, she vowed to make a life for herself somewhere where she wouldn’t have to worry about death constantly knocking at her door. A smart student, she first attended Queens College in Belfast and then went on the Oxford. After graduation, she promptly got a job at a prestigious firm and just as promptly, married the much older senior partner, David Sutton. Now the widowed Lady Sutton, Meghann is known as a top-notch lawyer. She thought she has left the past behind her, until she gets a call from Annie, the woman that raised her. Annie’s son Michael, Meghann’s first and true love, has been arrested for the assassination of a politician that was critical to the peace process in Northern Ireland. As Meghann takes on the case, she soon discovers that the stakes and danger are high as someone does not want Michael to get off the murder charge.

As she delves into the case, Meghann also has a mysterious woman that helps her during times of trouble. Through the help of this mystery woman, Meghann “time slips” back and sees the past of her distant ancestors. Nuala O’Neill knows that she wants to marry Rory O’Donnell who is pledged to her sister. After making her father see that her sister wants to be a nun, Nuala is allowed to marry Rory. They have a great passion for each other, but they live in troubled times. Queen Elizabeth of England wants to possess Ireland and rid it of its troublesome lords. Together and apart, Nuala and Rory have to stand strong to try to save their beloved Ireland. When the two face personal turmoil will they cling to each other or find their own life apart?

I loved both the story set in the nineties as well as the story set four-hundred years earlier in the 1590s. The 1990s story held more intrigue, but the 1590s story was more passionate. I really wanted to know how both story lines would resolve. Many time travel or time slip novels with parallel story lines suffer from one story being stronger than the other. Irish Lady did not suffer from this dilemma and had two very strong storylines.

I thought the 1990s story was very intriguing as I don’t know much about the IRA and troubles in North America. I remember it being in the news when I was a teenager, but this book really brought the issues to light for me. It also showed how this is a conflict with roots that go back hundreds of years. I love to read historical fiction novels about Queen Elizabeth, but this put her in an entirely new light. A vain and selfish woman, Elizabeth will do anything to expand her territories and to maintain the image of being a young and beautiful woman.


While I loved Nuala and Rory’s story line, I’ll admit that I wanted her take her child and leave with Niall. His love for Nuala was twisted, but it was true. When he said that he would love her even when she couldn’t have any more children, I was ready for her to ride off into the sunset with him and their baby. Did anyone else feel the same way?


Overall Irish Lady is a wonderful Irish tale with intrigue, romance, historical fiction, ghosts, time slips, mystery, and grand passion. In other words, it is a riveting story. I highly recommend it.

Want to read Irish Lady? The giveaway for one copy of the book ends tonight at midnight! Leave a comment at this link for a chance to win this fantastic novel!  Also at that link is a wonderful guest blog by Jeanette Baker about America's Love Affair with Ireland.

Irish Lady is my second item in the Historical Fiction Challenge 2012.

Book Source: Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!


  1. Hmm! I was unaware of this book. Thanks for sharing your review! This sounds good.

  2. Excellent review, Laura! It sounds like this book was quite a wonderful read for you. :)