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Brides O' The Emerald Isle    by Pamela Griffin & et al order for
Brides O' The Emerald Isle
by Pamela Griffin
Order:  USA  Can
Barbour, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

When travel reporter Jack Andrews arrives in Ballymara, Ireland, his main goal is to expose the town's infamous 'Pledging Stone' as a myth. Supposedly, any vow made before the stone in the name of the Trinity is unbreakable. Moyra O'Cullen, Ballymara's tourism director, makes it her mission to prove Jack wrong by revealing her family's past. Tales from the history of the Pledging Stone unite with a contemporary quest to discover the truth about promises made before God.

A Legend of Peace by Vickie McDonough, set in 1895, is the story of two opposites who find love. Keely O'Cullen had her heart broken when her American cowboy fiancÚ left her to return to the United States. Her father surprises her with tickets to a Wild West show, where Keely causes one of the cowboys to fall from his horse. As Ballymara's attending physician, Keely's father takes the man, Nick Dalton, into their home for recuperation. Although Keely distrusts cowboys and believes Nick to be similar to her ex-fiancÚ, his quiet spirit and belief in God begin to change her mind. Can Keely open herself up to love and trust?

Pamela Griffin's A Legend of Mercy is set in the fourteenth century. Breanda and Ardghal have loved each other since they were children, when Lord Garland took the two orphans into his home at Ballymara castle. They make a vow to each other at the Pledging Stone, but soon Breanda is kidnapped and it looks as if Ardghal and his clan are the culprits. A Legend of Light by Tamela Hancock Murray delves into the origins of the Pledging Stone. Conn moves into the area to spread the news about Jesus Christ. Sorcha vehemently opposes what he has to say, preferring to worship her own gods. She devises a trick to discredit Conn, but when he acts in a manner contrary to her expectations, Sorcha finds herself listening more intently to Conn's message. Will God break through Sorcha's closed heart?

Linda Windsor's A Legend of Love introduces Moyra and Jack in the beginning, and then intersperses their story with the historical accounts of the Pledging Stone. Windsor's tale also provides the conclusion, with the answer to Jack's quest for the truth. This is a uniquely written anthology. Typically, historical accounts start with the oldest story first, and then move forward systematically to the present day, but this one does just the opposite. Although I'm not generally a huge anthology fan, this one kept me involved throughout. Each romance is well constructed and readers will warm to the characters.

Linda Windsor is well-known for her well-researched tales set in Ireland. Her contribution adds a great deal to the collection. The intriguing history of the Pledging Stone is fascinating to discover, and the truth is confirmed by each story - it's not the stone that holds the power, it's God. The faith message is clear and meaningful, adding to the enjoyment of the plot rather than feeling tacked on and heavy-handed. Brides O' The Emerald Isle is a pleasant mix of contemporary and historical that is sure to please a wide variety of readers.

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