On sabbatical from her job in the LA record business, Hailey Crossan takes a trip to Ireland for the vacation of a lifetime. What she finds is a job offer too good to turn down.
But her life in Ireland comes with one complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire live has revolved around performing, so when he meets Hailey, he is so unbalanced at the prospect of love that he can’t decide whether to come closer or run away.
And so begins the push and pull of Hailey and Liam’s attraction. It is a dance enriched by colorful Irish friends who help Hailey navigate her budding romance with Liam in a landscape with more charm and character than any place Hailey ever imagined.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of Hope, Friendship and Discovery March 8, 2015
By Ellen Comeskey
My favorite kind of book is one where I feel like the narrator is speaking only to me, and “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is just that! Reading this book had me feeling like I was sitting talking to a friend; its tone is so immediately intimate as the narrator, Hailey Crossan, tells her story that I didn’t feel the need to interrupt by asking questions about this American’s spell binding experience in rural Ireland!
A short, crisp prologue tells us with plausibility how the narrator came to leave Los Angeles and make her home on Ireland’s west coast. From the first engaging chapter, we are given a vivid sense of place as we are introduced to both Galway City, where Hailey works at the Galway Music Center, and the countryside of Connemara, where she makes her home. Both settings are painted cleverly in a manner that “shows” and never “tells” because the book takes off with action!
Twenty five year old Hailey Crossan is a savvy, insightful, fish out of water who has the kind of self-confidence to move to a new country without knowing a soul. She quickly surrounds herself with a group of Irish friends who are instrumental to the building story, for when she meets an intriguing musician named Liam Hennessey, who is clearly interested in her but has a funny way of showing it, they are by her side with their running commentary, which is often times funny and always revealing of how the Irish conduct themselves in a nuanced culture that Hailey is trying to understand.
At the heart of “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is the potential for new love, and the reader is lured along its uncertain development by being privy to exactly what Hailey is thinking as Liam Hennessey sends out mixed signals in his awkward courtship. I found myself laughing out loud at the dynamic’s accuracy in this realistic portrayal of an attraction that keeps the narrator guessing and has no guarantee.
But “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is also a lyrically written story. Its language is fluid and beautifully descriptive with laser sharp intelligence and pacing without any gaps. It reads like a celebration of hope, youth, friendship, and discovery as the narrator confidentially shares her longing to connect and her awestruck appreciation for all that is Irish. From the portrayal of the landscape to the character of Ireland’s people, it is an outsider’s travelogue experienced through the heart and a rollicking good time all at once!
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical and lovely! March 7, 2015
By Alison Henderson
This delightful novel reads more like a memoir than a work of fiction. In truth, it is a love song to the landscape, people, culture, and language of western Ireland. The author has perfectly captured the complex, and sometimes confusing, subtlety of the Irish people in the cadences and patterns of their language.
The characters are well-drawn, quirky, and unique. The story follows Hailey, a young American, as she navigates a maybe on/maybe off relationship with an Irish musician who struggles with the meaning and implication of falling in love. The author depicts the uncertainties and push/pull of their budding attraction with wisdom and sensitivity.
The carefully crafted descriptions of the settings, both natural and man-made, are so vivid you feel as if you’re sitting in the village pubs listening to traditional Irish music along with the characters. If you’ve ever been to Ireland, reading Dancing to an Irish Reel will take you back in a heartbeat; if you haven’t yet had that pleasure, this book serves as a tantalizing appetizer.
Claire Fullerton is the author of “A Portal in Time” and “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” both from Vinspire Publishing. She is an award winning essayist, a contributor to magazines (including “Southern Writers Magazine”) and a five time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series. Claire grew up in Memphis, TN and now divides her time between Malibu and Carmel, CA with her husband, two German shepherds and one black cat. Currently, she is writing her third novel.
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