Title: O’er the River Liffey
Author: Heidi Ashworth
Publisher: Dunhaven Place Publishing
Release Date: June 2016
Length: 32 pages
Series?: Power of the Matchmaker #6
Genre: Romance, Historical
Irish heiress Caroline Fulton knows this house party, ostensibly celebrating the victory of Waterloo, is really an audition: will she make a suitable wife? Her host, an English lord, has already won over her father, who’s determined to buy a title with Caroline’s dowry. She is far from taken with the baron, however, especially once she meets Niall Doherty, the impoverished, perceptive tutor to her host’s younger brothers. He shares her love of Irish fairy tales and seems to guard a troubled past…but neither quality will earn Caroline’s father’s approval.
Caroline Fulton is an Irish heiress whose father is intent on finding her a wealthy English husband. The daughter of a wealthy sheppard, she is not interested in the English lord who has wooed her father. Instead, she takes note of the tutor who teaches the barron’s two younger brothers. While she and her friend make waves with their mere presence in this English household, both women realize whom their hearts belong to.
Caroline – an Irish heiress who is desparate to get out from under her father’s roof
Fiona – Caroline’s friend and companion
Lady Bissell – Lord Arthur’s stepmother, an Irishwoman herself
Lord Arthur Bissell – the wealthy baron inheriting Oak View
Niall – an impoverished tutor at Oak View
Charles and Christopher – Arthur’s younger brothers/Lady Bissells’ sons, Niall’s charges
Lady Anne – a jealous, insensitive cad of a woman
“Why has Miss Fulton gone away?” Christopher asked.
“I had thought she would have dinner with us in the nursery,” Charles said.
Niall felt not one whit less bewildered. “That was certainly my intnetion when I suggested we each take dinner on a tray,” Niall explained. “Perhaps she did not understand. Suppose we issue her a proper invitation?”
“Do you mean that we should write one for her?”
“Precisely my meaning,” Niall said. He procured a piece of fresh parchment and put it on Charles’ desk. “Now, what do you think we should write?”
“That she must come back,” Christopher suggested. “But we must say please.”
The Highs and Lows
- Caroline’s Father. He is not the man he appears to be. Indeed, he is an Irishman and a harsh man at that. While Caroline may not want for much, she cannot wait to escape from under her father’s roof. She isn’t looking for much at all in order to persuade her to leave, which is disheartening. She could jump out of the frying pan and into the fire with that mentality. However, after she and her father return to Ireland, I can understand her reasons. He is a cruel, hard man. He doesn’t treat her like a daughter; he treats her like property. She is his cash cow.
- Instalove. I was surprised at this book and its instalove! Both Caroline and Niall both comment about how they only know each other for three or so days and they are like star-crossed lovers. It is like a Romeo and Juliet rewrite – both in terms of the instalove, and a father who won’t allow his daughter to marry a man of lower class. While I understand it can happen, it happened too fast. It did not seem plausable. It just seemed an infatuation.
- Charles and Christopher. These boys are a hoot! They are sweet and kind and quite witty. They can drive Niall crazy, but enter Caroline into the mix and they are angels.
- Fiona. Her character rubbed me the wrong way. She is like the here and now voice of Caroline’s father, prohibiting her from fraternizing with Niall. Primarily on the basis of class. It made me see Fiona in a different light. She put these embargos on Caroline, but then does not see that she is behaving in the exact same way with her own infatuation. There’s just one difference.
- Lady Anne. She makes such a fool of herself! It is worth reading just for that!
- The Matchmaker’s Prophecy. Niall is convinced he must follow the matchmaker’s prophecy: that he will meet the woman he is meant to be with on the River Liffey, she will have blue eyes and her name begins with L. While Niall is fascinated and falls for Caroline, after her sudden departure from Oak View, Niall still carries the torch but is resigned that she is not the woman from Pearl’s prophecy.
- The Ending. I was shocked by the last quarter or so of the book. After Caroline and her father leave Oak View, things spiral out of control. I could not believe what was happening! And then something bigger happens, and Caroline ends up walking the footbridge over the River Liffey daily. The ending had a twist that made me feel worse for Caroline. It all could have been avoided if her father would have just listened to her instead of being stubborn. Ugh!
It was hard for me to get into the book at first, but I found I liked Caroline’s character – and Charles and Christopher. The rest I could do without. There wasn’t a lot of pull for this book. It fell a little flat. Lady Anne’s own situation of embarrassment was hilarious to read, though!
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?