A Woman of Courage by Marlow Kelly

A Woman of Courage by Marlow Kelly
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (62 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

When an injured Fianna Byrne turns up at Connell O’Neill’s gate twelve years after their separation he knows this could be his last chance to find happiness with the woman he loves.

False accusations against Fianna had strained relations between their clans and forced Connell, under Irish law, to divorce her. Their disastrous three-month relationship left Fianna pregnant and heartbroken. She has avoided Duncarraig and her ex-husband ever since.

But with her home obliterated by the Vikings, Fianna must face her past in order to save her son, and prove once and for all she is a woman of courage.

Time can heal a lot wounds but it doesn’t erase the past. Connell has a chance to remind Fianna they really did have more than lust going for them so long ago. Twelve years was a lot of time to let bitterness simmer but if their love can be rekindled, it will be the ultimate healing power.

Fianna had to grow up quickly from the stary-eyed girl who married Connell at seventeen. She’s a mother and the queen of her clan. She took on the responsibility to maintain the livelihood of large group of people when she was forced to leave the security of her husband’s home. She was a woman who had proven herself and someone I could cheer for. I liked that the author didn’t have her turn into a weepy pile of goo as soon as she sees Connell. Yes, her body reacts to his closeness and concern but her priorities are in order. Her people come first.

I wanted her to be strong but I also didn’t want her to be so completely stubborn that she wouldn’t allow herself to see that Connell had changed as well. He’d been a boy of nineteen when they were married. He wasn’t a boy any longer and he’d had plenty of time to realize who had truly poisoned their chance at a happy marriage. Plus, he was able to see his own part in the fallout. He was a mature man, king of his clan, and still very attracted to the mother of his son. It was sweet and then it got hot.

I did expect the dialogue to be more of the period. It was almost too modern. The author obviously studied up on the era and used correct vernacular to describe the homes and the clothes as well as titles. Thankfully, I wasn’t drawn out of the story because of the dialogue, it was just noticeable. I’ve read some Historicals where the brogue can be so thick I couldn’t understand what I was reading without a translation dictionary but this was more on the other end of the spectrum. It was set in Ireland but it didn’t really feel Irish when they spoke.

The setting was very nicely described. I could see the way the villages were set up, the forest surrounding and the river running near Fianna’s home. The reader isn’t present for the initial battle that took place but the author describe the destruction and death and violence of the Vikings who decimated her clan’s home. That was exceptionally realistic.

Be sure to read the forward in this book regarding Irish laws and customs. It was beneficial in putting me in the right frame of mind to see the Irish culture of the period depicted as opposed to looking at it from a modern American standpoint.

This was nice period piece where land, loyalty and courage were highly valued. It’s a “one-sitting” story that has potential if the author ever decided to expound on Fianna and Connell’s world. There are secondary characters introduced who give the story some dimension. Ms. Kelly obviously likes to portray strong women and this is a short story worth spending time with.

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