I did a read/listen of this series over the last week, and really enjoyed it. These were the first Susanne O’Leary books I had read and I loved them. I will be looking at her backlist, for sure.
The Lost Girls of Ireland (Sandy Cove #7/Starlight Cottages #1) by Susanne O’Leary, Jennifer Fitzgerald (Narrator)
Published May 5th 2021 by Bookouture, October 21st 2021 by QUEST from W. F. Howes Audio
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lydia Butler recently lost her husband and is dealing with grief and adjusting to life with just her and her daughter, Sunny. Meeting with her attorney, she found out that he had been involved in some shady dealings before he passed away, in fact, he was a the airport fleeing the country when he suffered his heart attack. Lydia and Sunny have been left with nothing, even their home will be sold. Luckily for them, Lydia owns a cottage left to her by her great aunt Nellie, that had been rented as a holiday home over the years, and all proceeds were in an account. They pack up their meagre belongings, and she and Sunny head to Wild Rose Bay to Starlight Cottages. Lydia and Sunny begin to settle into their new lives, with Lydia going back to her maiden name and working for the first time in over 20 years. Fortunately for Lydia she finds some wonderful neighbors and townsfolk. As they learn how much everyone loved Great Aunt Nellie, they do even more research to learn more about her. Meeting their new neighbour, Jason O’Callaghan, causes some confusion for Lydia as she doesn’t understand how she could possibly have feelings for this man so soon after the death of her husband. Working as a cleaner and washing hair in a salon, she does hope to return to Dublin and a life she is more familiar. As she and Sunny make friends and become accepted in Sandy Cove, she realizes happiness may be a bi different than what she had been dreaming of.
I have not read the Sandy Cove series, but will be adding them to my TBR after reading this book. I loved the setting of this small community on the beautiful coast of Ireland. The Lost Girls of Ireland was a delightful read/listen. The characters were wonderful, caring and people I would love to meet. Lydia was extremely strong and resilient. She did not wallow in self-pity, like many characters would, but moved forward, accepted her life, and made the best of it with her daughter. This was definitely a story of Happily Ever After. It was predictable and things fell into place rather quickly after their arrival, as well as the death of husband/father not evoking much grief or sadness did reduce my rating, but it was an enjoyable story that had me moving quickly to the next book in the series. Jennifer Fitzgerald does a wonderful job with the narration. Using tone, expression, accents and voices she made this an enjoyable listening experience.
The Lost Secret of Ireland (Starlight Cottages Book 2) by Susanne O’Leary, Jennifer Fitzgerald (Narrator)
Published August 31st 2021 by Bookouture, December 30th 2021 by W. F. Howes Ltd.
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Lost Secret of Ireland by Susanne O’Leary is the second book in the Starlight Cottages series, but as each book in the series is about different main characters, they can be read out of order or as standalone books. I enjoyed The Lost Girls of Ireland and do recommend the whole series. Ella Caron is an artist that lives in the Starlight Cottages in the wonderful and friendly village of Sandy Cove, Ireland. Ella fell while painting and broke her leg, but is recovering slowly. While telling her mother’s dearest friend, Lucille decides to come and help her rehabilitation. The problem is, Lucille has lied to her children about where she is. Ella enjoys having Lucille there and begins to recover quickly, when Lucille’s son Rory shows up looking for her. Lucille has her own reasons for coming to Sandy Cove: she wants Ella to help her move to her own little cottage by the sea. It seems Lucille’s plans to make changes as well as keeping secrets from both her children and Ella may cause some problems. Does Rory want the best for Lucille, or is he interested in what he and his brother want? As Ella begins to fall for Rory, she is not sure what to believe or how to help both Lucille and Rory get what they want and need.
I enjoy multi-generational stories and the relationship Lucille and Ella have is wonderful. They each provide something to the relationship that the other needs. Rory seems to be a caring man, but is there a selfish streak when it comes the family home? Once again we meet wonderful characters living in this quaint community, some that we met in the previous book in the series. I like that there is also a historical element to the story that we learn as part of Lucille’s secret. This is a story of family, community, secrets and healing. The romance between Ella and Rory is slow, sweet and uplifting. I would love to visit this area of Ireland. Once again, I did a read/listen with Jennifer Fitzgerald providing an enjoyable performance, making the story come alive. I do recommend this book and series to those who enjoy stories about community, new beginnings, romance and family.
The Lost Promise of Ireland (Starlight Cottages Book 3) by Susanne O’Leary, Jennifer Fitzgerald (Narrator)
Published December 15th 2021 by Bookouture, February 24th 2022 by W. F. Howes Ltd.
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is the third book in the Starlight Cottages series, a contemporary fiction story with community, friendship, new beginnings, romance and unwanted progress. It’s a series that can be read as standalone stories as each book has different main characters. There are some recurring and familiar characters in each book, which ties them together as well as the setting. Maggie wants to go away for the summer and happens upon an advertisement to rent a cottage near Kerry. It just happens to be the same cottage her family used to own 30 years earlier and sold when she was a teen. Her marriage has broken up and this seems to be a perfect place to get away, yet see some familiar faces. She meets up with some old friends, as well as meeting up with Paul, the boy she had liked years ago, but they lost touch when he returned to the U.S. While in Sandy Cove she gets involved with a group trying to stop a large hotel being built on the bluff. Paul seems to be playing his cards close to the vest, what are his secrets and how will they affect Maggie?
Sandy Cove is a place where there is a great community and wonderful friendships. It was lovely to see how Maggie was welcomed back and quickly became part of the community. The characters were all well developed, realistic and I loved that they all had their own unique personalities and issues to deal with. Once again there are familiar characters from the earlier books. Maggie is an independent woman and I enjoyed seeing her relationship with Ellie, Lydia and Sorcha, as well as the way they supported each other. Paul and Brian, Sorcha’s cousin, were both handsome men, who were vying for Maggie’s attention, one who cared for her, and one who wanted something from her. I enjoyed reading how the community worked together to try and stop the hotel from being built and to see how different organizations work to save not only historic buildings, but also environmental endangered areas. My one issue was that Maggie seemed to be a bit oblivious to what was happening in her own budding relationships. I do enjoy Susanne O’Leary’s descriptive writing that pulls me into the story and helps me to feel like I am there on the coast of Ireland. As in the first two books, Jennifer Fitzgerald does a wonderful job with the narration. Using tone, expression, accents and voices she made this an enjoyable listening experience.
The next book in the Starlight Cottage series, The Lost House of Ireland, is due out on June 8th and I am definitely looking forward to it.