Feeling Lucky in Romance
by Donna Soluri
My family’s origin story has always been a thing of mystery. Once, as a child, I asked my grandmother about it and was informed that, “…well, we aren’t from here are we? So we must be from over there somewhere.” Obviously, this lack of knowledge comes from a position of privilege and, truth be told, my grandmother ran a busy tobacco farm and didn’t have time for my youthful questions. Luckily, my college roommate’s family accepted me with open arms into their very loud, always dancing, forever laughing (and drinking), Irish Catholic family. All it took was one boisterous St. Patrick’s Day with the extended family and they had an eighth child for life — there was no turning back for me! St. Patrick’s Day will always hold a special place in my heart. My biggest bucket list item is to spend a month (or more) wandering around all of Ireland, taking in all of the sights, sounds, and beauty.
It’s not a hard leap to say I absolutely love books set in Ireland, or books featuring a hero or heroine with a beautiful Irish brogue. I have compiled a list of books that might help you get your lucky on today. Sláinte!
“Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat! (Guh NAH-ree on TAAH-laht!)” — Good luck!
Literal meaning: ‘That luck may rise with you’
Barefoot on a Starlit Night by Jo McNally
The third book in McNally’s Rendezvous Falls series tells the story of Bridget McKinnon and Finn O’Hearn. Bridget steps in to help her ailing grandma Maura run her bar, the Purple Shamrock. Bridget’s culinary dreams are yet again put on hold to sling green beer. College professor Finn is new to town and needs a job, a home, and a little Irish luck to secure his visa. This fake romance fools almost everyone except Bridget’s matchmaking grandma and her meddling book club friends. Oh no, they see right through the fake and witness the true love happening under everyone’s noses. Even the grumpiest Bridget can’t resist Finn’s sexy brogue when it’s whispered in her ear. Two thumbs up!
Roomies by Christina Lauren
Nothing ever goes wrong in a marriage of convenience, does it? Calvin Mcloughlin is a street musician and Holland Bakker’s secret crush. She goes out of her way regularly just to listen to his musical genius. His sexy voice puts a spring in her step but she’s too shy to make herself known to him. One night, a drunken attacker gives fate a little boost when Calvin comes to her rescue. In an effort to repay the kind, beautiful, sexy, and very talented stranger, Holland arranges an audition for Calvin with her uncle, one of Broadway’s hottest musical directors. Yet again, that pesky visa comes into play and Holland agrees to pretend to be the dutiful wife. The only trouble is Calvin and Holland realize pretty quickly they aren’t simply acting the part.
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
Set in lovely Ireland, the first book in Young’s On Dublin Street series is Braden and Jocelyn’s story. Oh, it is a doozie! Jocelyn is determined to hide from her past and that means, no relationships. Braden is determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Braden proposes a no-strings attached arrangement that should hopefully scratch that intense attraction itch they both feel when in each other’s company. Of course, much to everyone’s chagrin, Jocelyn and Braden catch some serious feels right off the bat, now he just has to convince her he’s the one. Also note, this is the first book — honestly, maybe the only book — I’ve read that has on-page farting. Oh, poor humiliated Joss.
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
When I stumbled upon this book and subsequent series many years ago it was already several books deep. Friends, when I tell you I was so completely captivated by the world building and impossible story Moning set up, I am not over selling it – I don’t think I fed my family a real meal for a week because all I could do was read. MacKayla “Mac” Lane travels to beautiful Ireland to look into the untimely death of her sister. Make no mistake, Ireland is not just a setting, it’s practically a secondary character in this series. During the course of her investigation, she encounters a mysterious man, Jericho Barrons, who seems to want to either protect her or eat her, or maybe both. All these years later and I’m still unsure what exactly Barrons is but that’s okay! The Fever series also gives us Vlane, the ruthless alpha Fae, who uses sex to control unsuspecting victims. Mac’s search leads her to realize she needs to find and safely secure an ancient book, the Sinsar Dubh, before the bad guys find it and destroy the fabric of time. The world building in this epic paranormal series is absolutely outstanding. The suspense is overwhelming at times, and the chemistry between Mac and Barrons is off the charts. To label this as a “grumpy/sunshine” trope feels almost quaint while still being accurate. One of my favorite paranormal series to date.
Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’Malley
While curating this list of Irish books for you, I asked my teammate Julie if she had a pick. Before I could even finish my sentence, she yelled, literally yelled, “The Mystic Cove Series is the greatest series I’ve ever read in my life, I recommend it to everyone all the time and everyone always thanks me for it!” It begins with Keelin O’Brien travelling from Boston to a small village on the coast of Southern Ireland to unearth the secrets of the enchanted waters of the cove. She encounters a surly Irishman, Flynn, who reluctantly helps her uncover her own mysterious powers. I have not read this yet but after listening to Julie’s heartfelt recommendation yesterday, I have already downloaded it to my Kindle! I guess I know what I’m doing today to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Lucky me.
Irish Books with Bite(s)
AKA You Might Also Like…
The Hooker and the Hermit by Penny Reid & L.H. Cosway
More Than This by Shannyn Schroeder
Play Dirty by Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliot
Gettin’ Lucky by Ellen Mint
Deception by Kris Kennedy
Donna should be an empty nester, but she’s not, thanks COVID-19. She’s a voracious reader of all books; she can’t pick just one sub-genre. A staunch supporter of seasoned romance and a lover of cupcakes, you’ll often find her with a cup of tea and a mountainous TBR pile close at hand. Follow her @DonnaSoluri on B+M Bites.
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