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A Dance in Donegal

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  482 ratings  ·  267 reviews
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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2021 by Revell (first published February 2021)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Jocelyn Green
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.
Rachel McMillan
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 Dela
Sarah Sundin
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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.
Heather Wood
Jan 26, 2021 rated it liked it
"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 t
Susan Snodgrass
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 es
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 moth
Natalie Walters
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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 co ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was ok
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 nex ...more
Paula Shreckhise
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 o
Feb 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-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.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
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 pre
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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 netgalle
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, ...more
Abby Breuklander
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Maureen Timerman
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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
Lindsey Rojem
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 Boo ...more
Raechel Lenore
Feb 11, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021-reads
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 re ...more
Feb 28, 2021 rated it liked it
A Dance in Donegal is a refreshing change from what I'm used to reading in the Christian romance genre. While it has redemptive themes and chaste romance, this is set in Ireland in 1920. I loved journeying to the Emerald Isle. I could fairly see the thatched roof chalets and rocky shores and smell the turf fires of Ballymann. That said, while I adored the setting, the romance itself is a little lacking. I felt zero sparks between the heroine and hero. The love triangle just does not work, especi ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is such a lovely debut by Jennifer Deible! She paints a vivid picture with her descriptions. I was swept away by the beauty of the Emerald Isle in this book. I also loved the character growth in this book. I can’t wait to see what is next for this author!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel is a great historical fiction that has a wonderful plot, romance, a stunning backdrop with a dash of mystery thrown in to create an enjoyable read.

The book starts off in Boston during the 1920s where we meet Moira whom has just graduated from school to become a teacher. She ends up on a quest to her mother’s hometown village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland. Here Moira encounters so many new things: a different culture, societal culture and customs, the loc
Anne Rightler
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 dialo ...more
Nov 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Moira Doherty leaves Boston in 1921 for Donegal, Ireland, after the sudden death of her beloved Irish mother. She has accepted a post as the new teacher in the school with a mixture of trepidation and excitement, knowing it was her mother's wish to return to her native home. What follows leads her to love and the unraveling of long-held mystery. For those of us who love Ireland, this is a wonderful novel to see that country, its customs, its language and people through her eyes.

My thanks to Lib
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
A Dance In Donegal by Jennifer Deibel is a step back in time to Ireland in the 1920s. It is hard to believe that this novel is the author's first. I enjoyed it from cover to cover.

Moira Doherty grew up in Boston listening to her mother regale her with stories from her native Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira fulfills her mother's dying wish and becomes the teacher in Ballymann, her mother's beloved home village. Moira works hard to fit in even though there a
Feb 03, 2021 rated it liked it
"Yer mother's tale will come ta light sooner or later, peata. Then the whole of Ballyman'll know the truth about ye. . . . keep your eyes wide open".

With those kinds of ominous words still ringing in her ears, Moira Doherty could not, for the life of her, imagine what the old man was threatening to reveal, for her "mother was the most honorable, decent person (she'd) ever known". Wasn't she? But apparently the seeds of doubt had already been planted among members of her new Irish community, and
Holly Bleggi
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book! I loved the story and the setting. This books takes you back to Ireland in the 1920s. I loved how Moira in a way came home, even though she wasn’t born there. I liked how she had to deal with the rumors about her and her mother but she had good people who stood by her through it. I liked the romance but I liked that it wasn’t the whole story. I liked that there was a good blend throughout the story. I also liked seeing some of the history of Ireland. I thought the author did a gr ...more
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a beautifully written novel! The descriptions of the countryside of Ireland were breathtaking! I felt as though I was truly there walking the rolling hills, visiting the quaint towns and pubs. So many lovable characters; Moira and Seth's love story was simply delightful! So tender and sincere. The friendship between Peg and Moira...the strength they gave each other in their time/s of need...and the shared encouragement from the Scriptures...truly inspiring! Brid the mother nurtu ...more
Jeanne Alfveby Crea
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
What a beautiful debut novel by Jennifer Deibel. I have been anxiously awaiting the chance to read this lovely story set in Ireland in the 1920s. After her mother dies, Moira Doherty leaves Boston for Ireland to teach in the local village where her mother grew up. What a courageous undertaking to travel alone to a new country. In addition, Moira also experiences a spiritual journey during these difficult times.

Moira experiences one extreme or the other based on rumors about her mother's past tha
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Off to Ireland I go!

What a lovely, faith-filled read set in 1920s Ireland.

This is sort of a coming-of-age tale of a young woman, Moira Doherty, who returns to her ancestral roots after her mother's passing in Boston. She is a new teacher and has a lot to learn about the local customs in the small village of Ballymann. I was drawn to the vivid descriptions: "The amber light from the setting sun set her silvery gray hair alight." Scripture was never far away throughout the chapters: "A sense of
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A Dance in Donegal is a lovely story that whisks you away to the grand land of Ireland. When she arrives, she makes a few friends, but as time goes on she finds that most of the people in town are completely turned against her, though she doesn't know why. She soon learns why, and her only friends are Sean, his boss, and his boss's wife, and one other lady in town. When a tragedy happens, the truth is exposed. A wonderful, clean story I really enjoyed! I loved the way the main character is able ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
First off I can not believe this is Jennifer Deibel's debut novel. I hope we see a lot more from this very talented writer. She does a marvelous job of taking you to the Emerald Isle in the first few moments of the novel. I had the privilege of visiting Ireland, but not living there like the author. Reading A Dance In Donegal took me right back there. Jennifer paints such a beautiful word picture, you can see the green hills and hear the ocean waves. Her characters are well crafted. You can not ...more
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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

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