The year is 2011 and the place is Ireland. Libby Finn is still shadowed by grief after the death of her husband Max. The era of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ has come to an end and the young widow has managed to survive the economic downturn better than most. However, despite seeming to possess every obvious advantage, Libby is resigned to a somewhat-less-than-rosy future, and one destined, in her opinion, to be without a great romantic love.
While many, including her best friend Jules Mahon, may think that they know what’s best for the gorgeous and talented Libby, the girl herself has other plans, and they don’t include a love story! These plans are for a place, a childhood dream, a country estate called Alice-Rose. Nevertheless, love has a way of finding those destined to have it, especially in a place where two evenly-matched hearts find the opportunity to know each other well. Libby’s dream estate becomes more than she has bargained for when it introduces her to a passionate love interest who himself has been ‘burnt by the fire of love,’ and a match played out with earthly concerns follows a difficult path to romantic paradise.
Romance becomes a wondrous thing in Caitríona Leslie’s hands. All the finer nuances of tendresse and emotion are brilliantly captured by her characters. Her novel is told from two viewpoints - that of one potential suitor named Dan Bryant and that of the main character, Libby Finn. This approach affords unique insights to the reader and allows the loose ends that often dog romance novels to be effectively tied up. This is Leslie’s first novel, a breakthrough work in multiple senses of the word. The language stays studiously in the genre but assures all who love romantic fiction that the pioneering spirits of Austen and the Brontë sisters are being remembered by a current talent.