Sarah M. Eden is one of my go to authors for clean, historic romance. So, of course, when I saw stack including Longing for Home at the Shadow Mountain booth at BEA I may have squeed a little. This is my first choice from the books I picked up at Book Expo America. Within days of arriving home from NYC, I had already read it and wanted to hug it just as Katie MacAuley hugs her violin on the front cover. Katie is exiled from her childhood home after famine and harsh landlords cause her father to lose their land and a tragic death claims the life of her sister. She is far from home in Baltimore when word of opportunity anew reaches the East. But going far away can't keep the ghosts at bay that keep haunting Katie's memory. Literally crippled both emotionally and physically she begins to heal form the neglect and guilt harbored deep inside. Ultimately, her dream is to make things right by returning to Ireland, but two men vying for her affection have different plans.
Sarah Eden paints a clear picture of Irish life with historic elements of their homeland, Ireland...the soda bread, the music, the neighborhood gatherings or ceili, and the accent. All of these gave me a glance into what life may have been like for the green settlers who were trying to make their way in a "red" frontiersman's world, as well as the opposition my ancestors likely faced trying to make their way and earn a living here. The separation and prejudice against the Paddys, or "green" Irish side runs strong and heated fueled by "the red road" where Katie finds herself literally living in the middle. Joseph Archer, a widow with two children, also is torn between the town and his Irish. Enter Tavish, the very confident berry vendor, who is determined to tip the scales in his favor and win the heart of Ms. MacCauley.
As a descendant of the Irish who immigrated to the United States, I absolutely loved Longing for Home. Sarah's writing keeps getting better and better. I would definitely recommend all of her books.
Excerpt: Katie pulled open the back door only to have it pushed closed once more. For a moment she couldn't account for such an odd thing. Her mind, however, quickly pieced the mystery together. Mr. Archer stood behind her, his arm reaching out past her shoulder, hand flat against the door. She'd been so lost in her thoughts shed's never even heard him catch up to her.
Katie kept her back to him and folded her arms in front of her. "Have you come to order me about some more?"
"Order you about?" Though Katie knew Mr. Archer had to be standing almost touching her to have reached the door from behind her, the nearness of his voice still startled her. "If I've learned anything about you over the last week, it's that you do not respond well to being told what to do." p.151
Content: clean, mild violence