I’ve never been to Ireland, so I’m no expert, but I doubt that Irish people speak and think like passages out of a book of folklore. And that’s where the problem with Irish Moonlight lies: it paints all Irish people as folksy and whimsical and all Americans as uptight and materialistic. While the loving descriptions of the Irish countryside were nice, one of the annoying characters would invariably spoil the mood.
Conlan Sloan has the best interests of his friend and business partner Erin McKeough at heart when he asks Phelan McDermott to “look after her” while she’s in Ireland for Con’s wedding. In describing Erin to Phelan, Con calls her a “nerdette,” so off goes Phelan thinking he’s going to have to endure the company of a mousy woman. When he arrives at the airport he spies a tall, red-haired goddess who knocks his socks off. Who is she? A Victoria’s Secret model? Nope, it’s Erin, our geek heroine.
Erin is determined to stop the wedding of Con and Aisling. She doesn’t trust Aisling; she doesn’t want anything to upset the cozy relationship she has with Con and her bother Nolan. When she meets Phelan, she is instantly attracted to him, which annoys her. Phelan, who has sworn off women, is also not happy to be attracted to Erin. Both translate this anger at their hormones into hatred for each other. Now, the adversarial romance is fine when the hero is stealing the family farm, but disliking someone because they are too cute is silly, and deliberately being as unpleasant as possible, as they both do, is also silly. It’s also self defeating for the author – not only are the characters stuck with each other, so is the reader.
The gist of the story is this: Erin arrives in Ireland disliking romance, makeup, dresses, and sex, and she’s completely turned around by the end – and at 346 pages it’s a slooooww transformation. Yes, there’s padding, a secondary romance between Nolan and Aisling’s cousin (another cynical American seduced by Irish charm), and a “blink and you miss it” suspense subplot. Erin and Phelan are forgettable as a couple and as individuals. Poor Erin is constantly flustered, tripping, choking, and bumping into things, which gives Phelan the opportunity to soothe and steady her with his capable masculine hands. As for Phelan, well, it’s hard to get swoony over a man whose typical train of thought is:
Ah, she was easy on the eyes, but she was spirited like one of the fine and famous O’Hara hunter fillies. A wee bit skittish but also bold: daring yet anxious. T’was of traits that, in a green filly, could give a man the ride of his life or dump him on his butt when he was least expecting it.
This book just did not do it for me. Maybe I’m too cynical. Perhaps all I need is to fall into the arms of a man with a heavy brogue and a poet’s soul. When that happens, I’ll read Irish Moonlight again and get back to you.