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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 ro…

A Dance in Donegal

by Jennifer Deibel

Overall Book Review:

A Dance in Donegal is a standalone work of historical fiction by Jennifer Deibel.  The story follows Moira Doherty, an American as she traverses an ocean to return to the homeland of her mother.  The author is a debut novelist and there is a lot good to be said about her work.

It is obvious that Diebel knows the land of which she speaks, and she draws readers into the world of the characters with her descriptions.  The author also shares much of the traditional suspicion that is often found is small communities.  Yet she does it in such a way as to not condemn them for their biases.

The main character Moira Doherty is interesting, but too naive for a woman who has traveled all the way to Ireland alone.  Some of her circumstances are of her own making and others are brought about by her innocence of human nature. Sometimes the reader just wants to shout and shake her to keep her from making certain choices.

The best and worst part of this story is that the reader becomes emotionally invested in the characters–flaws and all. Even though the basic plot is fairly formulaic, the reader still wants to see how it all ultimately unfolds.  The writer has made it hard not to feel some connection with the emotional and physical trials of the characters.  This is a great first novel and a read that makes it easy to picture the setting of the story.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Revell

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  A character attempts to grab another; a character is grabbing another character and fists are thrown; a character is fatally injured, but it is not described in detail. 

Sex/Nudity:  Many mentions that a servant was intimately involved with the son of the house in which she works; a man is intent on raping a woman, torn clothing is mentioned, but he is interrupted before completing the act, several pages long; non-married characters kiss and embrace.

Mature Subject Matter:

Sexual promiscuity, death of parents, murder, attempted rape.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A character appears to be drunk; characters consume alcohol.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!