What do you get when you mix a couple craving love, Nazi concentration camps, rich Irish landowners, and crazy chemists? You get a book called A Little Irish Love Story, but it’s a most unusual story.
The scene opens with Anna, camp survivor, following her mother-in-law Sarah to her Irish hometown Adare. At this point I figured it was going to be a historical-fiction version of the Ruth and Naomi story and settled in to watch out for Boaz – but while the wealthy relative soon came on the scene, he was no confident kinsman-redeemer.
Henry is rich and lonely. His shyness appears to be his biggest issue, but you soon find out that there’s more.
As Anna and Henry start to dance around each other, interested but unsure of how to proceed, unreality reared its ugly head – at least for me. After all that Anna had survived, she was so quick to move on? After decades of being afraid of approaching a woman, Henry was jumped at the chance to date Anna? Then, as their situation changes, they seem to run hot and cold alternately. This certainly adds to the drama of the story, but when the crazy chemist pops up, the storyline got plain creepy.
At this point I wanted to put the book down. It felt almost as if I were reading a fantasy book at that point, and one that was rather unbelievable, as well. If not for having promised this review, I might have put the book down, when suddenly things started looking up. Still strange, but much more interesting and possible, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
By the end of the story I felt as if those strange parts were worth it. The author was surely going to make an amazing point about real, true, Biblical love after all, right?
Well, she did – but not with whom I expected. The final resolution of the love angle fell rather flat with me, between all of the hots and colds and running away and letting go. I wanted the ending that happened – but I wanted it built up more. More resolved. More details figured out. More ends tied up and wounds healed.
Instead it ended rather suddenly, just as most of the action happened. Is the story well planned? Detailed? Well written? Theologically sound? Yes to all. Is it suspenseful? Could I easily put the book down? Yes and no – I couldn’t wait to find out what happened – until I did.
The premise is actually quite fascinating. I enjoyed the parallels and the ideas behind the characters – but they weren’t fleshed out enough for me to feel as if they were real, and while I felt quite a part of their stories, it needed more. More detail. More interaction. A different pace to the interpersonal resolutions.
I think it really boiled down to Anna’s reaction to her time in the camps. Because her reactions to that part of her story didn’t make sense to me, I had trouble relating to the rest. Maybe you’ll have a different perspective.
I received a free copy of A Little Irish Love Story in exchange for an honest review.