Review: Hearts in Ireland (World of Love) by J.C. Long

When the future is shrouded and it’s hard to find direction, maybe it’s time to let the heart lead the way….

Ronan Walker stands at a crossroads, unsure how to pursue his education… unsure if he even wants to. Now that his mother is gone, all he has left are the wonderful stories of her youth in Ireland, and he’s drawn to the land of his ancestors. There, he seeks out his mother’s family and meets Fergal Walsh, who works at Ronan’s aunt’s bookstore. A love of literature facilitates a fast friendship between the two men, and even though Ronan cannot deny the potential—and his desire—for more, he cannot see a future for the two of them when he leaves Ireland. Fergal must persuade Ronan to give school in Dublin a chance—and convince Ronan that his heart has already found its home.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

I was curious about this book having read the author's highly erotic short stories and wondering how his take on this particular line would transfer. The writing is easy to read and engage in, as usual, but the heat level is not in the same land at all. That isn’t a bad thing, it’s just very different from what I have read before but I truly enjoyed the romance of Ronan and Fergal and wouldn’t change a thing.

Home isn’t always where you started—sometimes it’s where you end up.
This book starts off with an extremely emotional scene as we meet Ronan Walker as he is with his mother as she passes away. Ronan’s mother, Allanah, was everything to him and the stories she would tell him of her homeland back in Ireland was a bond they shared. Knowing how much his mother loved where she was from and how much she wanted to go back, she made Ronan promise he would visit and of course he does.

The promise made was bittersweet for me as traveling to Scotland after my father passed was something I had planned to do. He and I always talked about visiting where his family was from and his passing only made my want stronger but life for me had other plans. It’s still on my list though… one day I’ll get there.

This story makes so much sense if you really take in how much Ronan’s mother meant him. Going to Ireland to really take the time he needs to deal with his grief of losing his mother in the place that meant the most to her, it’s only fitting he would find himself.

So, Ronan travels to Ireland to stay with his mother’s family; his Aunt Gwendolyn and his cousin Hannah in the small town of Abhainn Dún, where they run a bookstore. Once Ronan gets settled and takes in all that Ireland offers on his first day, he goes to the family bookstore and meets Fergal, the handsome boy with the thick Irish brogue, dark red hair and light green eyes. Okay, we can pause here to tell you how much I adored Fergal and not just because of his accent though the way his dialect was written I smiled because I could hear that “Oi” for “I” and just melted. Fergal is such a sweet character who has so much in common with Ronan and his fancy for the American makes him so freaking adorable! Sigh.

Ronan and Fergal have a slow burn to their relationship and really begin it all with being friends. They have a shared love for reading and James Joyce being a favorite and they have plans to see the sights as well as going to Dublin’s Parade together. When Fergal offers to take Ronan camping, a rain storm heats things up between them and Ronan is faced with decisions he wasn’t prepared to make.

Ronan learns so much about his mother from her family, including the fact that she was literally born in a barn, but the most important things Ronan learns is where his heart truly lies. This whole trip for Ronan was him running away from the depression losing his mother brought on. He has always talked about going back to school to get his Masters so he can teach, but put it off repeatedly but once he voices the intent in Ireland, Fergal and Ronan’s family offer the information about Trinity College and their program. It’s a subtle hint for him to stay but Ronan doesn’t know yet if he is coming or going and the feelings he’s having for Fergal muddle his thoughts and confuse the hell out of him.

You see, Allanah met his father when Richard, was stationed in Ireland with the US Air Force. They met, fell in love and when his father proposed, his mother immediately accepted and love took her to a new country to start a new life. Though she never once regretted following Richard, she longed to return to Ireland. So, if Allanah followed Richard to the US for love, you have to wonder if the same thing would happen to Ronan and if so, would his love follow him or would he stay for his love?

Hearts in Ireland was a lovely and sweet story about finding yourself and finding your heart. I loved how Ireland itself becomes part of the romance. The setting is strong and had Ireland not been such a strong tie to Ronan’s mother, this would have just been a boy goes in vacation meets another boy and they have and HEA. But Ireland IS Ronan’s mother to him. It’s who she was deep in her heart and souls and it makes sense Ronan would find himself on the emerald isle and also find someone to give his heart to.

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