Haunted Ground

Haunted Ground (Nora Gavin, #1)Haunted Ground by Erin Hart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Erin Hart may be a “midwesterner” but she has obviously spent a great deal of time in Ireland and has immersed herself in the history, music, and culture of Ireland. Her debut book in the Nora Gavin series is a wonderful blend of science, history and folklore. Nora and Cormac track down local elders and musicians in their search for answers to mysteries old and new. The plot and characters are complex, she does a great job with creating atmosphere, and there are plenty of red herrings to keep the reader guessing. The romance between Nora and Cormac is understated and undeveloped, and presumably will develop in future books. I didn’t find it added anything and could have been left out. There is also the (unsolved) background mystery of the murder of Nora’s sister. So I’ll give it 3 stars with room to grow.

Book description: Read by Jennifer McMahon. When farmers cutting turf in an Irish peat bog make a grisly discovery – the perfectly intact head of a young woman with long red hair – Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin are thrown together by their shared scientific interest in human remains. Because of the preservative effect of the bog, it is difficult to tell whether the head has lain there for two decades, two centuries, or two millennia. As they dig into the mystery of the red-haired girl, they are drawn into the two-year-old disappearance of a landowner’s wife and young son. The story delves through the many layers of Ireland’s turbulent past, tracing the still-visible footprints of fortified tower houses and ancient burial mounds, ever mindful of the eternal, subliminal connections between past and present.

Advertisements

Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner

Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner (Lord John Grey, #3)Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Outlander series and the Lord John series intersect in this story, which brings Lord John and Jamie together again. Forced into daily contact with his former jailer, Jamie gradually softens and we get to see the beginning of healing, respect for each other, and even friendship. The audio version used two different narrators to show the alternating point of view of the characters. I thought that was very effective. While the book could probably stand on its own, I loved how characters from other stories made a reappearance: John’s brother,Hal, his valet, Tom Bird, Stephan von Namtzen, Harry Quarry, and, of course, Jamie Fraser and his son, Willie.

Book description: London, 1760. For Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war, life is coming apart at the seams. In the remote Lake District, where he’s close enough to the son he cannot claim as his own, Jamie’s quiet existence is interrupted first by dreams of his lost wife, then by the appearance of an erstwhile comrade still fighting to rally the Irish. But Jamie has sworn off politics, fighting, and war. Until Lord John Grey shows up with a summons that will take him away from everything he loves—again. Lord John is in possession of explosive documents that expose a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. Soon Lord John and Jamie are unwilling companions on the road to Ireland, a country whose dark castles hold dreadful secrets, and whose bogs hide the bones of the dead.

In the Company of Others

In the Company of Others: A Father Tim NovelIn the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel by Jan Karon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I Have really enjoyed Jan Karon’s books for her interesting characters, uplifting message, and sense of fun and humor. I especially enjoyed the first Father Tim novel, which seemed to be a bit edgier than the previous Mitford series. This book was a bit disappointing to me. I expected much more from a book set in Ireland. Except for the attempt at local dialect (which I listened to as an audiobook) there was nothing much Irish about the setting, or representative of the culture. While the characters were interesting, and the humor was there, it was difficult to sort out who was who and how they were all related. I also found this book’s message bordering on proselytizing which got tiresome. And the last minute change of heart of deeply embittered and wounded characters was just not believable.

Audio version read by Erik Singer. Description from back of box: Father Time and Cynthia arrive in the west of Ireland, intent on researching his Kavanagh ancestry from the comfort of a charming fishing lodge. The charm, however, is broken entirely when Cynthia startles a burglar and sprains her already injured ankle. Then a cherished and valuable painting is stolen from the lodge owners, and Cynthia’s pain pales in comparison to the wound at the center of this bitterly estranged Irish family.