Devin Reilly has come to America to seek his fortune in the gold mines of California. Unfortunately he gets waylaid just off the boat in Boston. When two men hear his Irish accent they use it as a good excuse to start a fight, which startles some near-by carriage horses. Devin races to the rescue and keeps the carriage from too much damage. He helps Maggie Brownley out of the carriage, and the moment he touches her he realizes she’s the one. His family has what’s called “the blessing,” which means that once a Reilly has found his destiny he knows it. Only Devin doesn’t have time to deal with his destiny at the moment. Maggie’s driver is injured and Devin agrees to take them home. He stops by the ship to get his things, only to discover he’s been robbed and the ship he intended to catch to California has sailed. Devin is now alone, penniless, and stuck in a city that is hostile to Irish immigrants.
Maggie feels she owes Devin and convinces her father to allow Devin to work for them until their driver is well. Devin reins in his pride and works as a servant, and watches as Maggie’s family tries to force her into a society marriage. Maggie, who wants to be independent and run her grandmother’s lumberyard in Maine, convinces Devin to help her escape to Maine. In return she’ll make sure he has enough money to reach California.
The story plods on at a slow and easy pace. Any time something exciting is about to happen it seems to fizzle out, as the action is replaced by talking – lots of talking. In a way it was nice, for once, to see a hero and heroine talk to each other. Maggie and Devin actually have long conversations about what they want from their futures, their families, their pasts, and so on. It was actually very believable that these two people from different worlds would fall in love. The only problem is that it didn’t really engage my interest.
There were hints at a very interesting back-story about Devin’s home in Ireland, his family’s ship building business, and the relationship he has with his older brothers. Those tidbits were enough to wet my appetite, but the story never satisfied my curiosity. Ms. Keys brought up the hatred for the Irish immigrants that were coming to Boston in the 1850s, but this to was never fully explored. It was frustrating, as was Devin’s allowing his stubbornness and pride to keep him from seeking help from his family’s international business contacts.
I can’t recommend Reilly’s Gold, but neither can I say, “Don’t read it.” If you’re looking for a simple love story with a hero and heroine who obviously belong together then you will enjoy this book.