Dancing To An Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton @cfullerton3 #TuesdayBookBlog Contemporary #Romance

  • DancingAuthor: Claire Fullerton
  • Published: March 2015 by Vinspire Publishing
  • Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
  • four-half-stars

Twenty five year old Hailey Crossan takes a trip to Ireland during her sabbatical from the Los Angeles record business. While on the trip, she is unexpectedly offered a job in the Irish music business that is too good to turn down, so she decides to stay.

The story revolves around Hailey, an American with celtic roots, and is told from her perspective. She came to Ireland on holiday and stayed on, working as part of a team of four, for the Galway Music Centre, looking for, and helping, aspiring musicians. Hailey has settled into the community and is getting used to the laid back approach, differences in lifestyle and the small town feel where everyone knows everyone else’s business. She’s made good friends, most notably Shannon who also works at the music centre, and Mick and Gabrielle, her neighbours who ‘lived deep in the bog’ behind her cottage. 


To my surprise, it only took Mick about five minutes to invite me to “call out” for a cup of tea the following day. In Ireland, people are always ‘calling out,” which shouldn’t be confused with either a planned arrangement or just showing up, because calling out lays somewhere between, in the realm of “I’ll get there when I get there.”

Don’t put a time on it, Mick replied, furrowing his brow. “Come when it suits you.”

When Hailey meets the darkly handsome Liam Hennessy, the contrast is even more apparent. Liam is a musician, not one for straight talking or letting his feelings be known when it comes to love or commitment. Hailey is self-confident and natural in her relationships and comfortable with herself. They are complete opposites and Hailey’s frustration with Liam’s awkward internal conflict and the misunderstandings it causes, is delivered extremely well. Liam is unable to take the relationship further or completely withdraw from it. Hailey is very attracted to him but struggles to interpret or understand Liam’s behaviour.

old Galway city street
old Galway city street

Written from Hailey’s point of view, the narrative makes following her life in Ireland intimate and interesting. I like the fact the romance is convoluted, it kept me guessing, and it’s Hailey who has the strength of character against Liam’s capriciousness and confusion. Each of the very well defined and unique characters have a distinct and individual voice and personality, they are very realistic. I love the mysticism and folklore threaded throughout and the way music is so necessary and important in Irish culture. 

There’s a road in Spiddal that leads down to the sea. It’s lonesome as it meanders between an ancient Catholic church and miles of green, rolling fields separated into geometric prisms by gray stone walls. The gravel on its path is scattered from wind and rain and years of neglect; it is part of the ambience of Spiddal, part of its history. At the end of the road is the Spiddal Pier. There is no sign that would indicate this, but it’s common knowledge – like a lot of things on the western coast of Ireland. 

The story is well crafted, beautifully phrased and woven together with rich descriptions of the Irish landscape, particularly Connemara and Galway City, which invoke strong images and atmosphere of the country and it’s people. Claire Fullerton’s authentic observations and detailing give a real sense of this beautiful place and make the book a delight to read.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

About Claire Fullerton

7388895Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of literary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” which is set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. She is also the author of “A Portal in Time”: A paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a little village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing. Claire is a three time award winning essayist, a former newspaper columnist, a contributor to magazines including Celtic Life International and Southern Writers Magazine. She is a five-time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series and can be found on Goodreads as well as the website under her name. Currently, Claire is fine tuning her third novel, which is a Southern family saga based on her award winning essay in the 2013 San Francisco Writer’s Conference. The manuscript’s epilogue appears in “Southern Writers Magazine’s” November 2015 issue as a finalist in the magazines’ short story contest.

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14 thoughts on “Dancing To An Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton @cfullerton3 #TuesdayBookBlog Contemporary #Romance

  1. I can not thank you enough, Cathy! In looking at your beautiful layout, it thrills me to recognize that you truly ferreted out the essence of “Dancing to an Irish Reel.” Thank you so very much; I am “chuffed” to be here, especially so close to St. Patrick’s Day. And as the Irish say, when all other words fail, ” Slainte.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, Book Club Mom, and in this case, the landscape of the west of Ireland completely sets the tone of many scenes, as there is a palpable and somewhat historic soulfulness to the region that colors everything.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Cathy, you have written a compelling review of Claire’s book, which is quite possibly the best book I’ve read in a long while. I’ve never been to Ireland though I have roots there. Maybe someday.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I thank you from the bottom on my heart, and want to say this: I’ve been to Ireland many times and am always astounded by how much easier it is to go than I have it worked up in my mind to be! I think the idea of travel is more complicated than it actually is, and with regard to Eire, once you get there, believe me, there will be people everywhere suggesting what you should do! It’s absolutely uncanny. I’ve always said the best way to travel in Ireland is without a plan. Just avoid the months of June, July and August, when it’s “off-season” and the rest will take care of itself!

      Liked by 2 people

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