What comes to mind when you think of Ireland? Maybe it’s the Blarney Stone or leprechauns. Maybe it’s St. Patrick or druids.
After reading Ghost of the Gaelic Moon, I think this book will come to mind for me. This was a lighthearted paranormal romp through Dublin and beyond. Ireland is on my travel bucket list, so maybe one day I can experience this magic myself.
Here is my (hopefully) spoiler free review covering the characters, setting, and emotional payoff.
The story follows an American woman- Mary- who is transferred to Ireland for a while. Sean, an Irishman, is her fast love interest whose point of view is also followed.
Mary is a little timid. I root for her, and can identify with her struggle of having a different work persona than in her private life.
Sean is pretty three dimensional as well. He makes a mistake that causes conflict. I found it refreshingly human. There was a series I read recently where the love interest was perfect – a Gary Sue. It elicited deep eye rolls from me. I won’t name names. The reviews for the unnamed book praised the love interest’s perfection. Ghost of the Gaelic Moon’s Sean was much more believable. His behavior did not result in unnecessary eye strain for me.
The antagonist, Maggie, is a power hungry witch (dark spells and all). We see several scenes from supporting characters that really help propel the story. She wasn’t very redeemable, but in this sort of story that seems appropriate. The author did not vilify the Irish people, or play too heavily on stereotypes – in my opinion. As an American I don’t have the right to say what is acceptable in this instance, but it felt respectful to me and not caricatured.
She does remind me a bit of Rowena from Supernatural. I know, I know – Rowena is Scottish, not Irish. They’re vain redheaded witches though, who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
There’s a secondary character who is rather annoying to me – Paul. I think he’s supposed to be, though. He’s a kind of gray character. Some of his actions are decent, but his motives are lacking. Some of his actions are deplorable but he seems true to life. I’ve known people like him and hope they get opportunities and support to improve.
Thus, the characters are all flawed, humans that I can relate to and not flat fantastical inklings.
This book passes the Bechdel Test. Mary and Amy have conversations about Mary’s life and career. Geraldine and Lily have good conversations though they are secondary characters. I don’t want to say too much in this regards for the sake of spoilers.
While the story does have a brief jaunt in Minnesota, most of it centers on Ireland. I can’t speak to Minnesota. The farthest north in the US that I’ve spent any significant time in is Chicago. I’ve passed through NYC but only long enough to be shocked by how rude people were. That won’t keep me from going back. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is also on my bucket list and of course Hamilton (I hope my husband is taking notes).
Enough about me and the US, though. Let’s talk about the Emerald Isle.
Mary goes to Ireland but finds herself in the tiny village of Cullamore, and that’s where the plot thickens.
Dublin is described vividly, and Sean and Mary go on a tour to see haunted places. Mary seems like a highly sensitive person who has an innate affinity for the supernatural.
The ancient pub – The Gaelic Moon – feels warm, quaint, and captivating. Even though I’m not a drinker, I get the appeal of a place like this. My impression is that it’s one of those places where everybody knows your name and yet there’s a freedom in being yourself. There’s a comfortable familiarity to a place like this that we often lack in larger towns.
In the first part of this book, it established it’s as fulfilling a lot of the typical romance novel checklist. Then it took a surprising turn. I did not see what happened coming at all.
Later in the book there was another surprise. Again, the story took a turn that I didn’t expect. At one point I was very worried for a character and afraid that something would happen that would really have upset me. That did not happen – my assumptions were incorrect.
The resolution was rather satisfying in that it tied up loose ends, but it was again not what i had originally expected to happen. Often stories with a romantic element are described as Happily Ever After or Happily For Now. This strayed from romantic tropes and plunged fully into being a ghost tale.
Speaking of ghosts, I don’t think we’ve heard from all the ghosts in this world. There was ample setup for future books in Cullamore.
This was pure escapism. It took me far longer to get around to reading this book than I originally intended. I added it to my To Be Read pile back in November and tweeted about wanting to read it in January but I’m just now getting around it it.
I do hope that you’ll consider adding The Ghost of the Gaelic Moon to your to be read list, and I hope to see additional books by Carol Maschke in the near future.
This book is available on Amazon. This post was #notsponsored.
Thank you so much for reading.
Here’s a ghost meme that gave me a chuckle.