The Irish Bride by Alexis Harrington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A novel of Irish immigrants illustrating Stephen Colbert's quip before the House Agriculture Committee: "My grandfather did not travel across 4,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this country overrun by immigrants. He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland." The hero of this book, an Irish peasant, accidentally kills the heroine's brother, a rent collector for an Evil Landlord. At the exact same time, the heroine (who is engaged to the hero's brother) smacks the Evil Landlord's Evil Son for attempting to rape her. Obviously they have to leave their village posthaste, buttheir relatives make sure they are married before they leave. So they cross the ocean together (unpleasant), and travel west (unpleasant) to begin their new life together (more pleasant but also haunted by tragedy), they need to work through all the fraught brother stuff and tragedy stuff and also evade or defeat the Evil Landlord's Son (who must have nothing else to do for years on end and unlimited funds, because he remains in hot pursuit throughout the WHOLE BOOK). So in the end the only thing in the book that does not really leave me scratching my head is the hero's plot device mad card playing skillz, because, really, how else does a dirt poor Irish peasant afford to travel west and establish himself as a businessman? POKER, of course.
I usually like Harrington but this was far from her best. Yet the glimmering of a good book is hidden here somewhere under the vast plot improbabilities, and the characters themselves were likeable and well-developed--squeaking this book, barely, into 3 stars.
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