The first book in the Gallaghers of Ardmore series, published November 1999.
In her new trilogy, New York Times #1 Best Selling author, Nora Roberts returns to the lush, green hills of Ireland, where love is forever touched by magic - and where the Gallagher siblings explore the depth of their fiery hearts.
Determined to re-evaluate her life, Jude Murray flees America to take refuge in Faerie Hill Cottage, where she immerses herself in the study of Irish Folk and discovers hope for the future in the magic of the past.
Finally back home in Ireland after years of traveling, Aidan Gallagher possesses an uncommon understanding of his country’s haunting myths. Although he’s devoted to managing the family pub, a hint of wildness still glints in his stormy eyes – and in Jude, he sees a woman who can both soothe his heart and stir his blood. And he begins to share the legends of the land with her – while they create a passionate history of their own…
Three hundred years ago, there lived a fair maiden in Faerie Hill Cottage, Ardmore, Ireland, and Carrick, a faerie prince, fell in love with her. Gwen was taking care of her father, whom she loved very much. And when night, when he couldn’t sleep, he saw his daughter flying with the faerie prince in his winged horse, and got scared. He would not have his daughter lured away to faery, lost to him forever. So he arranged a marriage for her, and Gwen, being a dutiful daughter, agreed. Carrick was heartbroken, but he flew to the sun and gathered its jewels to lay down at her feet. He would give her the world, and himself, if she said yes. But Gwen refused, and choose duty over love. For he did never tell her he loved her in return.
A year later, married and pregnant, Carrick came back to her. Giving her pearls, the tears of the moon, and ask her to come away with him, again. And again she refused, because although she did not love her husband, she could not betray him. So she lived a quiet and content life with her husband, her children and grandchildren. And years later, Carrick dove into the sea, to its heart, and brought it back to her. But Gwen was old and gray now and it was just too late. Her life was over. So again she refused him. So duty and pride won out over love and two souls are lost. Gwen still wanders the country, and Carrick still mourns her loss. And now, is history about to repeat itself?
Jude is a psychology teacher in university in Chicago. But she has come to hate her job, the students, the politics, everything. So following the advice of her grandmother, she comes to Ireland to find out what she really wants with her life. She just didn’t take a sabbatical, she quit her job, to the distress of her parents.
To her own surprise, she loves the simple life. A little cottage with no modern appliances like a microwave, a dishwasher, an electric coffeemaker. She even learns how to do laundry and cooking and gardening, and she loves it. She is planning to write a study of Irish legends and myths, and then analyze them. But she lets her words get fancy, and just loves to write. Jude also gets new friends, and even a handsome lover. Still, in the back of her head, she knows she has to go back to Chicago, and find a sensible job to support her sensible boring self.
Or does she?
And then there is Aidan Callagher. Owner of the pub in Ardmore, a very handsome man who has done some wandering about the world before he came home to take over the pub from his parents, with the help of his sister Darcy and his brother Shaun. He is content with his life, but knows he is waiting for something, or someone. And then he sees Jude wandering into his pub. Shy and self conscious, and he is interested in her. So under the pretense of telling her stories for her studies, he can come over, and get to know her better. Jude and Aidan like eachother, and become lovers after a while. Jude also becomes friends with Darcy and Brenna O‘Toole, who lives next door with her parents and four sisters. Brenna is totally different, she is a mechanic, and a good one, and doesn’t care about her looks. Darcy longs for the good life, she has an eye for fashion and an incredible voice. Jude never had friends who would get her drunk, talk about intimate things, and try on her clothes and shoes, and she loves it.
So Aidan decides they fit together, and he needs a wife, so they should get married in a few weeks. No talk of love, but only of need and he would provide for her while she figures out what she wants with her life. Will history repeat itself? Or will he come to his senses in time?
The second time I read this book, and I love it just as much. It is such a sweet story, I loved Jude very much, and can see why she is so unsure of herself. But she is getting there, and doesn’t let Aidan bully her into something she doesn’t want if it is not on her terms. She has been married before, and that was a disaster.
And then Aidan, well, handsome, Irish, a great lover, what more is there to tell. He sure needs a setdown and learn to grovel a bit. But I liked this book, the primary characters and all the secondary characters as well. The way Nora Roberts has with words is so good, I could see myself there, in that little cottage, working in the garden, or sitting at the bar in the pub and watching Aidan. And for sure, the other two books will be re-read again as well.