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352 pages, Paperback
First published February 1, 2021
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.