Review: Hearts in Ireland by J.C. Long

hearts in irelandRating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella


When Ronan Walker’s mother passes, he feels the loss keenly and deeply. To honor her wishes, he decides to take a trip to her homeland of Ireland and spend some time with her family and in the country that has always held her heart. Ronan is immediately captivated by the beauty of the Irish countryside, feeling a connection to the land he never expected.

Ronan meets Fergal Walsh the second day he’s there and the two men connect. Fergal quickly offers to show Ronan the sights, and together they tour Dublin. But even more, their attraction is flaring, and when Ronan and Fergal go camping, they finally act on their feelings. But Ronan has to go home to America, and he has never been good at thinking about his future. Especially now, with his life so up in the air. But the simplest solution might just be the best one. Ronan’s heart is in Ireland and with Fergal, if he can just find a way to make it his home.

I picked this one up because the premise was caught my interest and I liked Ronan’s tale of finding himself. As part of the World of Love collection, this book does a great job of showing us the gorgeous country of Ireland and all the famous spots. There were times where I could almost picture the scenes the author painted with words. So it definitely worked in that regard. But I had a few small issues with other parts.

Ronan is the narrator character and this is his story. At first, I had a hard time connecting with him. Even though his loss is depicted clearly on the page, I felt a step removed, so it was hard to feel his grief. Some of his actions and words seemed out of step with what he was supposed to be feeling. He was definitely a bit inconsistent throughout the book, and the reader isn’t privy enough to his thinking to fully understand him. But as the story progressed, he grew on me, and I liked watching him find himself and get the strength to move on with the rest of his life.

I thought Fergal was completely adorable, and I loved the way he pursued Ronan in an understated and charming way. Through his interactions, we got to see the beauty of Ireland, and his feelings for Ronan were clear. We didn’t get to know Fergal as well, so I wasn’t exactly sure what made him tick, but he was an enjoyable character even if a bit two dimensional at times.

The pacing on this story, however, was a little off for me. The beginning seemed to drag a bit, but then the plot began to move too fast. While I appreciated the buildup in the beginning, the second half of the book went by too quickly and didn’t match the first half. While I got the MCs relationship on a surface level, I didn’t feel connected enough to it to believe in their love. The beginnings of love, sure. But for Ronan and Fergal to actually be in love with one another was harder to believe. I would have liked to see more of their interactions, rather than having those times be glossed over and told to the reader after the fact. If those scenes had been on page, I would have been more apt to understand how they had made it to that point already. So while I enjoyed these guys together, I wanted more from them, especially seeing them talk about their feelings.

So this book wasn’t without its problems, but I still enjoyed it. Though I would have liked to see some more development in their relationship, what was on page was very sweet and they definitely had a connection. They pacing was off at times, but I liked seeing Ronan find his place in the world, and it was easy to see how he could find his heart in Ireland. A quick and easy read, it’s a nice addition to the collection.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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