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A Dance in Donegal

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All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother's wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland.

After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira's mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she's journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends--and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced--as she seeks to navigate a life she'd never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

Jennifer Deibel's debut novel delights the senses, bringing to life the sights, sounds, smells, and language of a lush country and a colorful people. Historical romance fans will embrace her with open arms.

352 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 2021

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About the author

Jennifer Deibel

3 books444 followers
Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher and freelance writer. Her work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic Magazine, and others. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona.

Debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, releases February 2, 2021 from Revell. Follow Moira Doherty to the wilds of rural Ireland in 1921. Available for preorder wherever books are sold.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 388 reviews
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,168 reviews283 followers
April 2, 2021
A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibal
Historical fiction with a touch of romance. A debut novel.
School teacher Moira travels in 1920 to a small village on the southern coast of Ireland where her mother was raised. A long journey brings Moira to the picturesque but isolated village where her future awaits.
It’s not an easy transition for Moira. She makes a couple of friends in the village but as rumors about her mother spreads, doors close in her face. When a child gets sick, Moira turns to her faith in doing the right thing in caring for him even though he was rude and nasty to Moira and most in the village. Only Sean, a local man, and a spiritual couple, help Moira through the hardships.

A sweeping journey with hardship, faith and a sweet romance. Lovely and warm-hearted.
Profile Image for Jocelyn Green.
Author 28 books1,187 followers
September 22, 2020
Journey to the Emerald Isle with A Dance in Donegal! With an authenticity born of having lived in Ireland herself, the author deftly paints a lush landscape, colorful customs, and memorable characters with personal journeys of their own. Certain to appeal to fans of historical romance, this impressive debut marks Jennifer Deibel as an author to watch. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.
Profile Image for Deanne Patterson.
1,768 reviews126 followers
March 4, 2021
Beautiful and atmospheric descriptions. I can appreciate the authenticity of this book due to the author having lived in Ireland herself. Having ancestry that has come over to America from Ireland I was most excited to read this book. It's unbelievable this is a debut author, she truly writes like she has written for many years. I loved seeing the character growth. It's a miracle, we start out one way like some of the characters in this book and God plants the seed of change in our heart making us better people. I am really looking forward to the next book she puts out.

Published February 2nd 2021
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Heather Wood.
Author 5 books136 followers
March 23, 2021
"A man who lives only for himself is a man with few convictions."

"In Him, there was never a promise of no grief on this side of heaven, but there was always the promise of joy. And she would await that day with a hopeful heart."

A Dance in Donegal felt like a peaceful meander through an Irish village, like a hot cup of tea curled up in front of a stone fireplace - until 2/3 of the book, suddenly plot twists happened and things got shaken up! Some of the things I liked best: the use of Scripture throughout, how it was held up with reverence and the way the characters changed beliefs and took action based on the things they read; the immersion into the setting; and the gentle romance and happy ending. Deibel really makes you want to visit the place and spend time with her characters (Can I have a Peg, please?).

The writing is simple - and the story felt simple until the 2/3 mark - but simple things can be beautiful. It confused me how Moira came into a small town where it's stated that gossip moves fast, and yet she was there for weeks before some of the main characters even met her or realized she was there? I got the feeling that people could be friendly once you got to know them, but they weren't welcoming right off the bat (ie, no one at all came to call on the new teacher, even though she came from across the ocean to teach their children). Probably this was because of their prejudice against her, but I felt sorry for Moira being so isolated! Moira was so naive, and in some cases, overdramatic, which was painful to read but her character was written consistently. It was also interesting to me how even Christianity was mixed with (animism?) in the culture, and the beliefs weren't corrected in the book, which I'm sure was accurate for the setting.

In general, I would have liked to have gone deeper with, well, everything in the book, which is a sign that the author piqued my interest. I wanted to know about the church, which we didn't visit at all; more insight into the relationships of the townspeople with one another; more romance.

I'd recommend this to readers who want solid theology in a lighter tome, and if you are a holiday or theme-reader, this is perfect for St. Patrick's Day.
Profile Image for Rachel McMillan.
Author 25 books1,031 followers
August 17, 2020
from endorsement:

Jennifer Deibel’s debut is a hallmark of atmospheric and immersive writing. Her obvious passion for Ireland is a deft brush stroke against a lush green canvas. Featuring a strong heroine and themes of resilience through adversity, this lovely and impeccably researched debut is a treatise on belonging and the many facets of home. Unabashedly romantic both in setting and in tone, A Dance in Donegal firmly establishes Deibel as a must read for fans of Kristy Cambron. Jennifer Delamere and Sarah Ladd.
Profile Image for Sarah Sundin.
Author 16 books2,705 followers
February 10, 2021
Rich in atmosphere, deep in meaning, and sweet in nature. Jennifer Deibel’s A Dance in Donegal captivated me. Moira’s courage and compassion and Sean’s solid strength make them endearing characters, and the supporting characters were both flawed and charming. I truly loved this story.
Profile Image for Cindy Sheppard Gidge.
509 reviews4 followers
March 15, 2021
This was such a delightful, enchanting read :) The encouraging spiritual truths so woven in gently yet very appropriately added to it perfectly. It left me with a smile on my face/the "aww" feeling. I could get such a sense of life in Ireland with the hospitality and caring (for the most part) with the eventual forgiveness that played many parts throughout. I thought of the Bible verse about "heaping coals of fire" on the enemy/tormentor as Moira did with her kindness, despite how easy it would have to not do it as we are human. As I have written at times on other reviews; I generally only give an author "one chance" these days/being middle age so to speak... if I don't enjoy a particular book, I would be reluctant to attempt another, or not at all if crude, objectionable etc. I am drawn towards wholesome, uplifting stories and this one certainly was! I will purchase and read more of this author's :) I can definitely and do recommend this book!
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,032 reviews
February 25, 2021
I wanted to love this book. A historical set in Ireland?? What's not to love? Unfortunately for me the story fell flat. Moira wasn't my favorite as a leading lady, so there was a disconnect there for me. Then the absolute hatefulness of some of the characters turned me off as well as the twists the story took at the end. I loved the setting of Ireland and the characters of Peg, Bridge and Colm were my favorite elements of the story. While this wasn't my cup of tea overall, the teaser for the next book did peak my attention and I am definitely willing(and planning) to give it a try and see if that one clicks better for me.

I received this book from the publisher and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Natalie Walters.
Author 10 books842 followers
February 28, 2021
Author Jennifer Deibel sweeps readers away in her debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, and I enjoyed every single page! With attention to detail only someone intimately familiar with Ireland, Ms. Deibel paints a setting so vivid you can't help but believe you're living Moira's story right alongside with her. I love how the author weaves Irish culture throughout the mystery of the plot, memorable characters, and the beautiful message of God's purpose and forgiveness. In this debut, Jennifer Deibel comes out swinging as an author whose future stories will be a must-read.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.**
Profile Image for Beth.
775 reviews314 followers
March 5, 2021
I'm always delighted to read a debut author. Deibel thoroughly transports readers to Ireland in 1921. The setting came to life for me in a way that makes it clear the author has seen these sights with her own two eyes and to be transported in both time and place is a lovely happening for a reader.

I love the set up for the story. Moira is a teacher and a newcomer to Donegal and must deal with all of the trappings that come with it - both the charming, such as her quaint cottage and sweet students, as well as the not so charming - aggressive and no-so-sweet students, as well as locals who are not so welcoming. I think if the plot had stuck with that - and the romance, of course - I would have been more enamored of the story. I wanted more development between the characters, as well as more details about the daily life of an American teacher in Ireland. I also don't mind a secret within the plot, but for me, this one is a bit far-fetched, and the way some of the characters did a complete turn-around in their treatment of her really bothered me.

The secondary characters, especially Colm and Peg, and even Brid, do a lot to brighten the story. I love how they take Moira under their wings and give her a soft spot to land when others are not so welcoming. I adored all of the cozy details of warm fires and drinking tea. And lovers of happily-ever-afters, never fear - despite the plot twists, all ends well.

Deibels is an author to watch for, and I will make sure to keep myself in the loop for her sophomore novel. I recommend A Dance in Donegal for fans of historical fiction and light romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This review is my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Paula Shreckhise.
1,074 reviews83 followers
January 29, 2021
What a splendid debut by Jennifer Deibel. From the quaint village of Ballymann, to the lilting Irish language, the author immerses us in the culture and story of Moira who is fulfilling a promise made to her mother. She travels to the small town of thatched roof buildings to become a teacher. Some welcome her warmly but others shun her and she knows no reason why.
Moira clings to her faith amidst the superstitions surrounding her. Many Bible verses come to mind to comfort and guide her in time of need. She quotes my favorite passage Romans 8: 38&39. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. She finds godly friendships in Colm and Peg Sweeny and young Sean McFadden, who she grows fond of. Colm says: “Smack in the middle of what God is askin’ is the best place for any of us to be.”
Ms. Deibel crafts believable characters to teach us what it is to show the love of God to our neighbor. She gives us a mystery that unfolds in an exciting climax.
I will certainly look for her next book about Ireland.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Profile Image for Susan Snodgrass.
2,000 reviews189 followers
February 2, 2021
A lovely debut novel that carries the reader to Ireland in 1920. Moira Doherty makes the journey to Donegal to take up a teacher position after her mother dies at their Boston home. She is enamored of Ireland’s beauty and excited to blend in. But there are whispers behind her back, some thinly veiled threats and Moira has no idea what they mean. As she struggles to fit in and love her new home, she must lean into God like never before.

I enjoyed this very much. I loved ‘visiting ‘ Ireland and especially this village as Deibel spins her tale. I also found the traditions of the people quite interesting. Well written and populated with wonderful characters, this book is sure to be enjoyed. Recommended.

My thanks to Revell Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. I received no compensation and the review here is expressly my own.
Profile Image for Jaina Rose.
522 reviews64 followers
February 10, 2021
This review and many more are available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

Oof. Not going to lie, this was painful.

I went in expecting a light and fluffy read set in the gorgeous country of Ireland, and I suppose I got that but it was so cringey to read that I truly struggled to get through it. I wound up skimming through the later parts, but I read enough that I feel pretty qualified to at least list my pros and cons. I'll alternate between those, in no particular order.

Pro: the vocabulary is really good, and some of the descriptions of settings are clever.

Con: A lot of the dialogue is very cringe. There are quite few info dumps, and the characters always seem to say exactly what they're thinking.

Pro: the food is spot-on. Made me hungry for a big Irish breakfast. The British bacon that looks like American ham is very accurate (and a constant disappointment every time I order bacon here in Scotland).

Con: The romance is excruciating. So much insta-love it gives me physical pain, plus a brief enemies-to-lovers plot (and the briefest, least suspenseful love triangle I've ever seen). Here is a quote from literally her third interaction with the love interest, at a point where he's been nothing but really unpleasant to her:
Heat seeped across her cheeks. Why was she so shaken by this man? Until a moment ago, he'd done nothing but give her a hard time. He'd practically insulted her. And now she was blushing?

Pro: I liked learning about some Irish traditions, like their superstitions and some traditions I can't go into for fear of spoilers. I assume they're relatively accurate, since the author has apparently lived in Ireland for quite a few years.

Con: God literally talks to the main character throughout the book. Like He literally speaks in her head, giving her pep talks and reminding her that she is under His wing, and sends her dreams sometimes. I never enjoy storylines that use God as a plot device, because it feels weird for authors to assume they know how God would behave in any specific situation. But this psychic link was just next-level, and I really wasn't a fan.

Pro: The love interest gets better as the story goes on until I actually almost root for him. Which doesn't sound very positive, I know, but he's horrible at the beginning. Like he grabs her when she's running from a creepy old guy, won't let her leave, and keeps trying to engage her in conversation (granted, he doesn't know about the creep, but he still has no right to demand her attention!). And then he later makes her feel guilty for being rude to him in that scene! Like, seriously? But like I said, by the end of the book I kind of root for him (though I still think he's way too controlling/overprotective).

Con: There's this whole plotline later in the book (minor spoilers) where she cares for a schoolboy who is very sick. Like, almost dying. And I have two issues with this storyline. First, she initially doesn't want to help him because he has been horrible to her. Her friends frame it as an ethical dilemma where she is the only one with the power/responsibility to save him when she literally has no more moral responsibility for his health than they do (and helping him would mean completely abandoning her teaching responsibilities). Second, when she starts nursing him the entire town turns on her. Their motives are a bit vague, jumping back and forth between slut-shaming (you know, because she's spending so much time alone with a teenage boy!), moral admonishment (I think they wanted her to let this clearly neglected boy die because he'd acted out?), and genuine fear of catching the Spanish Flu from her (this one I'm on board with - she spends way too much time hugging people for me to be comfortable in 2021). I hate how this whole "town turns on her" storyline is resolved, too. I hated most of the townspeople and how shallow and judgemental they were, and I was rooting for Moira to ditch them all and just get out of there.

Pro: I like the little touches of cultural differences, like how Moira and her new friend Sinead get confused because the Irish call staple products messages. I have had so many arguments with my Scottish friends about stupid vocab differences, so this is very realistic and was a fun inclusion.

Now I have a few more cons left on my list, and no more pros. So let's finish this.

Con: How on earth does Moira not have any aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. either in Ireland or America? The Irish are not known for their tiny families.

Con: I don't like the plot twist at the end. I think it's a bit silly and anticlimactic and honestly a bit obnoxious.

Trigger Warning (sexual assault)
Final (and, perhaps, biggest) con:  There is way too much assault in this book. Not something I enjoy reading, and sometimes it seems to basically just be included as a plot device.

So there you go. I don't really recommend this book, but you've got the list of my thoughts on it to help you decide for yourself. If you do read it, I'd love to know what you think in the comments. 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Brittany.
2,182 reviews136 followers
February 19, 2021
As I read this novel, I felt transported to Ireland in the 1920’s. Seeing things through Moira’s perspective as she tried to navigate a people who held rigidly to traditions and superstitions was eye-opening. I loved seeing Moira connect with Brid, Peg, Colm, and Sean. The strong faith guidance that Peg and Colm lent to both Moira and Sean was a beautiful part of this story.

There was a mysterious undercurrent running throughout the entire novel and Moira knew it had something to do with her mother. Moira had quite the faith journey in this book as she worked to follow what she felt God leading her to do, regardless of the way people treated her.

The romance between Sean and Moira built gently throughout the book and I loved seeing the way Sean cared for Moira in both big and little ways.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

You can read this review on my blog:
Profile Image for Malia Saldaña.
252 reviews12 followers
March 18, 2021
This was such a good book. I liked how it was set in Ireland! It was fun reading about some Irish traditions,and imagining the beautiful scenery. I liked Moira Doherty and Sean Fannigan. They were cute together. I loved Colin and Peg! They were the sweetest.So was Bríd. I’m really excited to read the second book in the series!
Profile Image for Staci.
1,654 reviews509 followers
February 23, 2021
County Donegal, Ireland 1921

It's a joy to find a debut. Bostonian Moira Doherty has just lost her mother and has been offered a teaching position in her mother's homeland of Ireland. Such a brave step to move alone to another country.

In Ireland, she finds friends and foes. The descriptions of the area and the language brought readers the feel of Donegal. My favorite part was Moira’s interactions with one of her students, Aedach.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,470 reviews43 followers
September 22, 2021
Oh, wow. WOW!
What a beautifully crafted debut! I was transported back in time and across the sea to 1920 Ireland. The descriptions were so lush, I honestly felt I could see them as I read.
Moira was just a lovely character. I understood her hesitation in some places, but also her soul-felt desire to do what God was calling her to do. I also appreciated Sean's raw honesty and goodness . . . his striving to be a better man through Christ.
I loved many of the secondary characters as well, and was intrigued by the mystery that faced Moira, especially about her mother's reputation in Ballymann. I thought I had figured out a connection between the past and what was happening to Moira, but though I was partly correct, the 'reveal' was even more shocking than I expected.
The theme of redemption was absolutely breathtaking. There were so many places throughout the book where I found myself smiling, or weeping in turn at what had happened. So much grace given . . . and the reminder that because we've been given grace, we should also give grace.
Profile Image for Meghan.
2,067 reviews
November 16, 2020
This book was received as an ARC from Revell in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

This book was so inspirational and relatable that it made me enjoy this book even more. Everything that was going on in Moira's life I could apply it to my real life and it almost felt like I was reading my life story except for the part where my mother passed away and not living the Amish lifestyle. Losing someone that was your livelihood can be pretty tough but if you are strong enough, life can throw you many curveballs that can help realize what your real purpose in life is giving you the life you thought could never have. Reading this book immediately made me count my blessings and be thankful for the people in my life and the path I am on. I know this will be a story that will be passed on and enjoyed throughout our community.

We will consider adding this title to our Christian Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
438 reviews5 followers
January 15, 2021
The highlights for me in this book were learning more about the Irish and the forgiveness and redemption that shone forth in the story.

Moira is a young woman from Boston whose mother has recently passed away. She keeps feeling like she should go to Donegal, where her mother had lived, and become a teacher. Unfortunately, she is not warmly received by the people there because of something in her mothers past. Will the secret be revealed and how will it affect those around her?

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the arc. The opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kellyn Roth.
Author 24 books896 followers
November 15, 2022
I had a hard time getting into this book, which is weird, because I have always been a lover of an Irish setting. However, I just didn't get into the main character, and I found the love interest rather boring, which are the two cardinal sins of a romance novel. Particularly, I thought the main character was rather naïve and melodramatic, making me reluctant to trust her POV and frustrated with the apparent lack of action while she made a big deal about everything.

I also felt like the story took a LONG time to get going, and I'm a little done with the "out of place chick becomes a teacher in a small town/village/etc. and finds love and belonging and peace about the past there." That said, this wasn't a bad little story, and it was nostalgic. The author did an excellent job with the setting!
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,387 reviews59 followers
February 2, 2021
A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel has Moira Doherty traveling to Ballymann, Ireland to teach. Her mother had made the arrangements before she passed. Some of the townspeople welcome Moira to her mother’s hometown, while others shun her and eye her suspiciously. Moira has a feeling that there is something about her mother’s past that she failed to disclose. Soon Moira has a group of close friends and Sean McFadden, the handsome thatcher, has caught her eye. Will her mother’s secrets, though, mess up Moira’s new life? A Dance in Donegal captures the beauty of Ireland. You can tell Jennifer Deibel loves Ireland from her beautiful word imagery. The Gaelic words and Irish customs helped to capture the locale. Moira Doherty was a naïve young woman when she began her journey. I liked the growth she experienced. I also enjoyed the cast of colorful characters. I like how the author described Moira’s emotions (very realistic). God, faith, scripture, and prayer are incorporated into the story. Moira brought her troubles to the Lord through prayer. She relied on Him for comfort and guidance. The romance was sweet and heartwarming. I was glad that the author added the mystery into the story because it gave it additional depth. A Dance in Donegal is a charming debut novel.
Profile Image for Lindsey Rojem.
1,028 reviews1 follower
December 13, 2020
I enjoyed this book, it was a lovely story of a woman traveling to Ireland to teach and falling in love while uncovering her mother’s secrets. The characters seemed like a lot of fun and her trials were moving, but overall this book wasn’t a winner for me. I’ve read some Christian Fiction and I normally don’t mind it, I just found this book had an excessive amount of praying and talking to God and reciting scripture. I should have saved this book for next year as it fits 11 prompts of The 52 Book Club’s 2021 reading challenge.

#1 – Set In A School
#2 – Featuring The Legal Profession
#7 – An Author With Only 1 Published Book
#10 – Related To The Word “Fire”
#12 – Title Starting With The Letter “D”
#27 – First Chapter Ends On An Odd Page Number
#43 – A Character With A Pet Cat
#44 – Includes A Garden
#47 – A Character With A Disability
#48 – A Cover With A Woman Who Is Facing Away
#51 – Published In 2021
Profile Image for Maureen Timerman.
2,774 reviews466 followers
January 8, 2021
We walk the countryside in the village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland through the eyes of Moira Doherty as she takes in the beauty of what was formerly her mother’s home.
Young Moira has left Boston with the ink barely dry on her teaching certificate, and has taken a job in the small village in Ireland, as the new teacher.
We see how these people live, with the domes over their beds and learn why, the thatched roofs, and the superstitions they all seem too possess.
There are a couple of young men whom Moira takes a fancy too, but she is just enjoying being in the home of her roots, but there are some that begin tormenting her, and one of her students is not very nice to her, but keep reading!
There are some sweet happenings here, and others you will need the tissues handy for, but I loved the strong Love of God these people have, and how they shared their love with others.
I received this book through LibraryThing and was not required to give a positive review.
April 9, 2022
Jennifer Deible's debut novel is an absolute masterpiece!

In brilliant storyteller fashion, she sweeps you into Donegal, Ireland and the life of Moira Doherty.

Come along on this exciting tale of following where the Lord leads you and doing what He has called you to do, no matter what those around you may think.

This book is an excellent read for those who love historical fiction with Biblical Truths woven into the story.

I absolutely recommend it and am looking forward to the Author's next book!

***Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the digital ARC of this book. All views and opinions expressed in this review are my own.***
344 reviews17 followers
February 8, 2021
Love love and love this story!! We all struggle at times with the calling that God has for our life. Why me? Why this? I'm not qualified! He knows exactly what He's doing and that we are the perfect person for the job. We may not be perfect ourselves, but He gives us the strength and courage to do the work that He was called us to do.
Profile Image for Raechel Lenore.
Author 3 books21 followers
February 15, 2021
I wanted to love this book. The snippets and quotes I read before hand were so enticing, and I am all for a fictional journey to Ireland. And the writing style itself was well done, and the author clearly has talent! But I had a hard time with the main character, Moira. For the first half of the book, I enjoyed the story, and especially the setting. Moira came across naive but innocent. However, after an incident occurred roughly half way through, I began to really struggle to not just try to relate to her but honestly, even like her.  .
The setting/landscape itself was rich, and the descriptions vivid enough to clearly picture them in my mind. I really liked that aspect. The lilt and language spoken by the Irish came across beautifully as well. And most of the supporting characters were fantastic. I'm just sorry that I couldn't get behind the rest of the novel.
*I received a copy of the book from the publishers on behalf of the author. All thoughts expressed are my own
Profile Image for Kati.
561 reviews12 followers
February 18, 2021
Moira Doherty decides to fulfill her mother's wish and move to Ireland, her mother's homeland, and become a teacher in her mother's home village. What she doesn't realize is that she's going to be met with suspicion and a hint of family scandal.

While trying to figure out why some of the people of Donegal seem to think her mother left Ireland to avoid scandal, she is also faced with the dilemma of a sick (teenage) male student who needs attention. Most of the rest of the village is not willing to help him, but Moira feels called by God to help him, which causes further suspicion to be cast upon her character. As she tends to this young man with the help of the few friends she does have, it seems she may also have found love. With a bit of mystery and intrigue, this novel has just enough going on to keep the reader wanting more, while reminding the reader of how God calls people to love and care for one another and how things aren't always as they seem, without feeling at all preachy.

Will Moira ever find out why some of Donegal's residents claim her mother left under questionable circumstances, and might she find love along the way? Read Jennifer Deibel's debut novel to find out ... you'll feel like you're visiting Ireland's sweeping landscapes all while meeting a cast of characters you will really come to love.
Profile Image for Anne Rightler.
1,676 reviews12 followers
November 19, 2020
What a lovely debut novel. Jennifer Deibel's A Dance in Donegal is a book that readers who enjoy historical romance stories will not want to miss. Moira's story is one of courage and inspiration as she moves from Boston to Ireland in the early 19oos. I can't imagine moving from all I've known to a place where I know nobody. The author portrays Moira's emotions and reactions well, as they are realistic and relatable. The romance is sweet and satisfying although not free from conflicts. Good dialogue and situations help keep the pages turning. I felt like I was right there in the scenes. A Dance in Donegal is a captivating novel by a new author.
I received a complimentary advanced reading copy of the book from LibraryThing and was not required to write a review. The opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Dana.
985 reviews72 followers
April 1, 2021
{3.5 stars}

I'm very torn about how to rate this one, I really enjoyed the story but had a few issues with the structure of the story that kept this from being a perfect story for me. I tore through it because I love stories of Ireland and I found Moira to be so endearing and I was so invested in what happened to her.

When she arrives in Ireland, the mystery of her mother's life and why she left Ireland for America was so compelling. There were good clues along the way and how that story unravels is both interesting and slightly stress as was her fish out of water adventure to learn the language and customs of her new home. I appreciated the word of God being used so liberally and effectively throughout.

I had some small issues with the clarity of the language at times, Gaelic is quite hard and there wasn't always clear definitions or descriptions in the text itself. There was a glossary but in the text would have been helpful the first time a word or phrase came up would have been helpful.

But my major issue was that I struggled with the quickness of the changes in relationships between the characters there are a few times where friends quickly turn to enemies and vice versa. Emotions were very intense and easily changeable and that seemed like more a YA-type approach than I had anticipated going into this novel. They felt like teenage emotions and these characters were reported as older than that, perhaps it was just small town life but I found it really annoying and perhaps disingenuous. That rankled me a little bit at times, but I could see where it had its role in the plot. So as long as you're aware of that going in and it's not a bug bear for you then those parts may not bother you as much as they did me.

Overall a charming story of small town Ireland with a fun toe dip into the lore of magic of the land.

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 2 books1,630 followers
May 9, 2022
This story was so lovely. I adored Moira and her journey so much. I felt badly for Aedach and his circumstances despite how difficult-to-love he was. It was interesting to see how the superstitions of the Irish townsfolk in this story led to so many hurt feelings… yet how Moira fought her way through the gossip and cruelty to shine God’s light of hope and doing the right thing. This proved, once again, that God’s will and our obedience in serving Him are more powerful than our greatest fears.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Content: alcohol, pubs, praying to saints (mentioned), swearing by “Great Mary,” attempted rape, one profane word
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