Both historical and contemporary romances set in England abound, and there are plenty of Scottish romances (especially Scottish romances with the word “Highlander” in the title). In fact, our own listing of Scots and Irish romances is dominated by the Scotland-set books. However, when I started thinking of Irish romances for St. Patrick’s Day, I quickly realized that there weren’t nearly as many out there. Perhaps some of the sad events in Ireland’s history have something to do with this. This is a shame, because Ireland is a beautiful place with a rich history that is far from 100% tragic and I hope more authors will discover it. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite romances with some tie to Ireland:
– Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee – Not only is this a very recent release, but it was a wonderful read. I got to read this for review, and absolutely loved the book! The heroine’s love for Ireland plays a central part in the book, so it’s a very appropriate St. Patrick’s Day read.
– Erinsong by Diana Groe – If you want to lose yourself in medieval Ireland, this is a good way to do it. The novel features an Irish heroine and the Viking hero who washes up on shore. The two should be enemies, but they end up falling in love in a vividly written story.
– A Match Made in Scandal by Melody Thomas – This story of two Victorian engineers is split between Ireland and England, so it’s not strictly an Irish romance. However, hero and heroine are both Irish Catholics and their backgrounds are more than mere wallpaper in this very entertaining story.
– Now and Then by Jacqueline Sheehan – This is one of those books that I think I will have to reread. It’s a time travel tale(not a romance) set partly in modern days and partly in mid-nineteenth century Ireland. The heroine and her nephew find themselves in very different circumstances in Ireland, must try to find a way home, and it’s quite the adventure.
– the Born In trilogy (Born in Fire, Born in Ice, Born in Shame) by Nora Roberts – Nora Roberts has several books set in Ireland(not to mention her fantastic Irish hero Roarke from the J.D. Robb In Death books). However, this trilogy uses the setting well and she tells good stories here – it’s one of my favorites of her many series.
– The Bridal Bet by Trish Wylie – This category romance is a fun, “feel good” read. The story centers on old friends in Ireland who end up thrown together after the heroine’s return from living in the United States. The “let’s pretend to be a couple” setup is contrived, but the author makes it fun.
– The Ground She Walks Upon by Meagan McKinney – Not a realistic story in the least, but there is something enchanting about it. It has Celtic legend, prophecies and melodrama galore, but it’s still a very fun, sometimes tender read.
– Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale – I’ve seen this referred to as “the Irish fairy book”, but it’s so much more than that. This story of a psychic heroine and an impoverished Irish earl is truly magical. There’s too much here to sum up in a short paragraph, but it really is a wonderful story and its DIK review is here.
– Kathleen by Candice F. Ransom – This one is long out of print, but I adored it when I was in middle school or thereabouts. The heroine leaves Ireland in the wake of the Potato Famine and winds up as a servant in Boston. From there, we have a wonderful Cinderella story.
So, who here has a favorite Irish romance?
– Lynn Spencer