Wednesday, March 13, 2019

7 Books to Satisfy Your Ireland Wanderlust

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m obsessed with Ireland, and have been for many years. I still haven’t actually made it to the Emerald Isle, but I travel there vicariously as often as I can. If you’re like me and you’ll read just about anything set in Ireland, I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite books to satisfy your desire for sexy accents, lush landscapes, and a bit of blarney. A common theme I’ve noticed about books set in Ireland is the desire for the main character to lose themself or escape. People seem to go there for a fresh start, a new perspective, and a bit of romance or magic - often both. Because of that, all of the books on this list with one exception are romances, and they range from Young Adult to Adult. Here’s hoping you’ll find your next favourite book on this list!

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance with elements of paranormal Buy Jewels of the Sun: Amazon US || Amazon Canada

This book is the first in the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy (Tears of the Moon is book two and Heart of the Sea is the third book), which follows a trio of Irish siblings and their ‘destined’ romances. I’ve read all three books multiple times, and they’ve definitely stoked my obsession with Ireland. Jewels of the Sun features Jude, an American who has gone to Ireland to get distance from her past and also to do research for a book on Irish folklore. Not only does she discover the existence of faeries and ghosts, she also finds a charming Irishman she finds impossible to resist. This is my favourite of the trilogy because I related to Jude so much, and I loved how romance, folklore, and magic were woven through the story. This whole series will always have a special place in my heart; you can read more on Instagram about how these books were my introduction to the Romance genre.

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Buy Love & Luck: Amazon US || Amazon Canada

Addie and her family travel to Ireland for her aunt’s wedding. She’s supposed to fly to Italy after the wedding to visit her best friend, but plans change unexpectedly and she’s stuck in Ireland. She embarks on a whirlwind tour of Ireland with her brother, his Irish friend, and a guidebook that’s supposed to help heal a broken heart. This book is so sweet and charming. It has the perfect mix of complex characters, real emotion, and humour. The relationship between Addie and her brother Ian was a highlight for me. ‘Travelling’ around Ireland with them was so much fun, and it was as much an emotional journey as a physical one.

There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B Jones Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Buy There You'll Find Me: Amazon US || Amazon Canada

This is another one of those ‘go to Ireland to get lost and end up getting found’ books. Following the death of her brother, Finley travels to Ireland in the hopes of reclaiming her creativity so she can prepare for her interview at the Manhattan music conservatory. When she lost her brother, she also lost her creativity, and she’s having trouble holding onto her faith. Normally I shy away from books with religious themes because I find they can be preachy, but I actually really appreciated Finley’s journey back to finding her faith, among other things. It was done really well, and I loved ‘being’ in Ireland with her, as well as the adorable Irish love interest Beckett (who’s a Hollywood star, so if the ‘famous guy falls for regular girl’ trope is your thing, add this one to your list).

The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Buy The Upside of Falling Down: Amazon US || Amazon Canada

Just like I tend to shy away from books with religious themes, I also tend to avoid books that feature characters with amnesia. I can’t remember whether this book was a random Amazon discovery or if someone recommended it to me, but I was sold on the Irish setting.
Clementine wakes up in a hospital in Ireland with no memories. All she knows is what she’s told: she was the lone survivor of a plane crash, and her dad is on his way from America. She doesn’t remember why she was on that plane, what her plans were for Ireland, or anything about herself, her past, or her family. The pressure of trying to remember, paired with nothing feeling right to her, is too much to handle, so when she meets a cute Irish boy visiting the hospital, she assumes a new identity, makes up a story about why she’s there, and asks for his help...which includes fleeing the hospital and travelling to a different part of Ireland. I loved that more than anything, this was a story about discovering who you are and who you want to be, while still honouring your past. The characters were great, and I was completely invested in their story.

Top O the Mournin’ by Maddy Hunter
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Buy Top O the Mournin’: Amazon US || Amazon Canada

Breaking up all the contemporary and romance books...Top O’ the Mournin’ is the second book in the Passport to Peril series (aka my absolute favourite cozy mystery series). These books follow the misadventures of Emily, a tour guide in charge of a band of misfit seniors from Iowa. Trouble - and death - follow them everywhere they go, and Ireland is no different. What I love about Hunter’s books (besides the fact they’re laugh-out-loud funny from beginning to end) is how vividly she describes the setting of each book without ever overdoing it. You really feel like you’re there. Also, I’ve read all 12 of Hunter’s books and I’ve never once correctly guessed the killer, so she’s a master at weaving a great mystery.

Her Best Laid Plans by Cara McKenna Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy Her Best Laid Plans: Amazon US || Amazon Canada

This novella is from Cosmopolitan’s Red Hot Reads Harlequin line and it’s perfect if you’re looking for a quick, sexy read. Don’t let the 85-page length fool you; this book packs a surprising amount of content, including a fun plot and fleshed-out characters.

Jamie has escaped to Ireland after having her heart broken. She's reconciled herself to a quiet two weeks house-sitting when she meets hot Irish bartender Connor. They both know there can be no future for them, but that doesn't stop them from enjoying each other's company while they can...and by 'enjoying each other's company', let me just say this book is called a red-hot read for a reason! *fans self*

Love and Shenanigans by Zara Keane
Genre: Adult Romantic Comedy
Buy Love and Shenanigans: Amazon US || Amazon Canada

This is the only book on the list that doesn’t involve ‘escaping’ to Ireland, because it features characters who already live there and is written by an Irish author. Love and Shenanigans is the first in the Ballybeg series, which follows the lives, loves, and misadventures of people in the small town of Ballybeg, Ireland.
After discovering the drunken vows they exchanged in Las Vegas almost a decade ago were actually legally binding, Fiona and Gavin find themselves in a bit of a predicament...especially since Gavin was about to marry someone else. Unfortunately (or in this case, fortunately), the divorce laws in Ireland make a quickie divorce impossible, so Fiona and Gavin have to figure out what to do next. If escapist fun is your thing, this book will likely be a hit!

Have you read any of these books? Do you have a favourite book set in Ireland? Have you been to Ireland?

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*Some of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, through which I make a very small commission when a purchase is made. Buying through my links ensures I can keep this blog running, so your support means a lot!

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