A cover of “Irish Hearts”

With it now being March, that means that St. Patrick's Day is coming around the corner. Coming from an Irish family, it is a holiday celebrated all year round in my house, but especially for the next couple of weeks. One way that my family has embraced this holiday is by sharing literature that has Irish history or takes place in Ireland. “Irish Hearts” by Nora Roberts is a novel that transports the reader to Ireland with every page they turn.

This is actually a novel that has two books in one, which is one of the reasons I love this book. As a reader, sometimes it can be frustrating having to wait for the sequel to come out, but with this book, as soon as you conclude one story, you can jump right into the next. In the first book, “Irish Thoroughbred,” Adelia goes to work on a horse farm with her uncle. She soon starts to develop feelings for the farm owner, Travis, and as the story unravels, you start to see that the hard-headed Adelia has no problem controlling horses, but when it comes to the heart, she doesn’t have the same expertise. In the second novel, “Irish Rose,” Erin McKinnon captures the attention of a local man, and it is up to her to decide whether or not she wants his security or if she wants to get out of the small town and pursue her own dreams.

I love this novel because of the location it takes place in. I went to Ireland a couple of years ago, and the way that Nora Roberts describes the setting makes it easy to close my eyes and feel like I am back in Emerald Isle. With every new place that the characters visit, she provides the reader with a full description of the area, and it is easy to get lost in the book while you are reading. Even if you have never been to Ireland, it is easy to imagine what it looks like due to this book’s descriptive nature.

I love both of these stories due to the strength that she gives the female characters as well. As much as I am a hopeless romantic, and as much as I am a sucker for a good romance novel, many of the authors of these novels do not give the female characters enough of their own agency. Many romance novels make the females pretty submissive and take away their power to make their own decisions, due to the heavy influence that the male characters have on them. However, in this book, the female characters are very strong-willed, and they hold their own. At the end of the novel, when both girls end up falling in love with the men who were attracted to them, it had nothing to do with the men’s doing. In both situations, the girls realized what they truly wanted, and they followed their hearts. As a young girl reading this, it showed me that you don’t have to choose between love and your dreams. If you go after what you want, you can achieve what you want in both circumstances.

Also, like many other romance novels written by Nora Roberts I enjoy the fact that the characters are recurring. If there is one character or a couple of characters that you fall in love with, chances are that they are going to reappear in one of Nora Roberts’ books later on. With that being said, you can read her other novels and still know what is going on without reading any of the previous books. In my opinion, a good author can inform the reader of some of their other novels, but they don’t make it a necessity that they have to be read. With every novel that she writes, this is something that Nora Roberts does flawlessly, and it definitely works to her benefit.

All in all, there are many romance novels out there that can leave the reader feeling optimistic and hopeful about love. When it comes to romance, if you want a book with a great storyline, a beautifully described location and strong female characters, then “Irish Hearts” is the book for you.

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