It is so relieving to continually enjoy new books by favorite authors. For some reason, I’m always worried that I’ll pick up their latest book and won’t like it. But when it comes to Lisa T. Bergren‘s books, I’m never disappointed.
Fiona Burke is one step away from finishing her dissertation on famed pirate queen, Grace O’Malley, and earning her PhD in history. But that step involves finding additional, local folklore to flesh out her paper by visiting Ireland and tracing O’Malley’s footsteps. There, she meets Rory—a distant relative of the pirate queen and a fellow lover of history. But as the two get to know each other, Rory’s past threaten to dismantle everything they’ve built between them.
I’m not the biggest adult romance fan, but reading Once Upon an Irish Summer felt like a wish list come true: Irish brogue, history on an awesome pirate queen, a treasure hunt, and even puppies!
As always, Lisa is a master when it comes to setting and character. The details about Ireland were absolutely stunning and fueled my wanderlust to visit the Emerald Islands. Fiona and Rory were both such great, relatable characters. A lot of “adult” romance books feel so far away from my age in life, but I felt kinship with Fiona and felt such compassion for Rory’s struggles.
I appreciate how Lisa handles the PTSD aspect of Rory’s life. I like that it points toward healing both through therapy and faith. A lot of times, books about faith seem to skirt around these topics, so I’m glad Lisa took the time to address it and allow Rory to move forward from his past.
I also like that despite this being a Christian novel, it isn’t overly pushy or in your face. There isn’t the cliche conversion story or some cheesy discussion about God. It’s just about two people living life alongside their faith and knowing that God brought them together. This is the kind of faith-filled story I need in my time of life.
I found Fiona’s hunt for more about Grace O’Malley, a pirate queen, fascinating. I loved all the details and discoveries along the way as well as some of the drama and tension that unfolded because of her hunt. It was an interesting angle to give the story something more than just the romance. I love that Lisa’s books weave together several elements to bring more excitement and a sense of adventure to the swoon-worthy bits.
I’ve read several of the books in the Once Upon a Summer series, and while I enjoyed them all, Once Upon an Irish Summer just might be my new favorite of the series. If you like romance novels with a little bit more excitement and less steamy scenes, definitely check out the whole series, but especially Irish Summer!