Debut novelist Jennifer Deibel spent six years on the Emerald Isle and fell in love with the sights, sounds, smells, and language of the lush country and its colorful people. Now she brings her love of Ireland to the pages of her historical romance novel, A Dance in Donegal.
In the summer of 1920, Moira Doherty decides to fulfill her deceased mother’s wish for her to leave Boston and teach in her mother’s home village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about a scandalous family reputation abound and threaten not only Moira’s new position but also her life. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of unlikely friends,including a handsome thatcher named Sean, to help clear her family name before it’s too late. As she seeks to navigate her new life in Ireland,she may find that this truly is the life she was always meant to live. Historical romance fans will embrace this lyrical tale of family and relish the cultural nuances, the rich history,and the beautiful settings embedded in the pages of A Dance in Donegal.
“Smack in the middle of what God is askin' is the best place for any of us to be.”
It seems God has led Moira Doherty to Ireland to not only fulfill her mother's dying wish, but to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. Many thoughts fill her mind on how things will be for her, but she finds that sometimes dreams shift and become more than she ever thought they'd be.
I loved Moira, she didn't succumb to the veiled whispers behind her back or the furrowed brows of some of the townsfolk as she walked past. Instead, she constantly reminded herself of God's promises and turned to scripture for comfort. My other two favorite characters were Peg and Colm who were foundational to the story (at least in my opinion). They were strong in faith, in character, were loved by everyone and two of Moira's biggest supporters. Sean is our hero; he will surely draw you in with his lilting speech and clever wit. It's quite entertaining to see the banter between Moira and him.
With lyrical prose, Jennifer Deibel drew me in to this richly layered story. Ballymann is steeped in Irish traditions and superstitions and I savored learning about them. The lavishly drawn scenery painted vivid pictures in my mind as I walked in Moira's shoes. Each character was brought to life as the author introduced them. A truly mind-blowing debut by an author to keep an eye on. In conclusion, this novel is a feast for the senses!
“I know ye feel responsible for what happened, but ye canna live in defeat. Ye love the Laird, and ye follow hard after Him. Not a man on earth can condemn ye.”
*I received a complimentary copy and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *
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.
Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose 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 with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.thisgalsjourney.com.