(Image from Barnes & Noble)
The Great Famine devastated thousands of Irish families, causing widespread starvation, disease and death across the Emerald Isle. Katie Macauley knows the horrors of that dark period only too well. Though but a wee lass during its most miserable points, the 26-year-old can't forget the terrible losses the Famine brought to her family. Or the suffering she herself caused them. Her only hope is to rectify her mistakes. The harder she works, the more money she can save to put toward that goal. As soon as she earns enough, she will return to Ireland, buy back her father's land, and set everything she ruined to rights again. That trip can't come soon enough for the determined Katie.
Whether she likes it or not, Katie must choose a side in the brewing battle. It doesn't help that her heart's torn between two men, one Irish, one not. Katie knows she can't give her loyalty to anything or anyone, not until she's paid her debt to her family in Ireland. But, with each day she spends in Hope Springs, it becomes harder and harder to leave. In the end, she can only follow her heart. The question is: Where will it take her?
The second novel (after Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson) to be published in Shadow Mountain's new Proper Romance line, Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden does what a proper romance should—it tells a wholesome love story in a pleasing format that's not going to make anyone blush. It's clean, it's fun, it's readable. The story's vintage Eden, just in a more modern setting and with a tragic back story that makes it a more serious novel than her others. Eden's gift for writing amusing banter between her male and female characters shines especially bright in Longing for Home. Overall, it's an enjoyable book. I would just leave it at that, but of course, I had a few issues. My biggest beef was Katie herself. Although she's a sympathetic and courageous character, she's also a very self-absorbed one. I'm still not quite sure why all the other characters loved her so much—she didn't really do anything and the things she did do mostly just benefited herself. Add that to a few other irritants—the story's ending is pretty anti-climactic, one arm of the love triangle doesn't get any kind of resolution (I know there's a sequel in the works, but still ...), Katie's inner conflict seems really weak, etc.—and I ended up liking, but not loving this one. I remain an Eden fan, I just hope she works out some of these story wrinkles in the next book (Hope Springs, coming in Spring 2014).
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for some violence
To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of Longing for Home from the generous folks at Shadow Mountain. Thank you!