This week’s Throwback Thursday choice is the first of a trilogy that I loved reading. Set initially in England, the story moves to Ireland and the island of Innishmahon. The Hollow Heart was published in 2012.
We first meet Marianne Coltrane, investigative journalist for the Chesterfield Chronicle, as she confronts Sister Mary May about the illegal sale and adoption of children from the women’s refuge she runs. Marianne’s work and resulting article earns her a nomination for Journalist of the Year.
At the National Media Awards Marianne eventually meets George Brownlow, the new Chesterfield MP, after an unsuccessful attempt at an interview. She and George hit it off and a relationship develops. But fate has other plans for Marianne. After she suffers a tragedy, a near disaster and to escape the pressures of work she takes a sabbatical from the newspaper. The beautiful island of Innishmahon, off the west coast of Ireland, begins to work it’s magic and puts Marianne on the road to emotional recovery.
For once in her life Marianne Coltrane was not on a deadline and this precious gift of time would be spent in Innishmahon, the little fishing village sitting on the edge of the island bearing the same name. Perhaps the smallest dot on the map, nevertheless Innishmahon rose up out of the sea boldly, staring defiantly across the Atlantic with its sweeping cliffs turned upwards, seeming to snub the vast continent of America that lay across the swathe of ocean.
Marianne crosses paths with actor Ryan O’Gorman, who she met briefly in England when he also saved her life. Journalists are not his favourite people, and he also needs recovery time, away from the spotlight of the media. Life on the island isn’t as quiet as Marianne hoped it would be after a major storm and the resulting damage, and when Ryan lands a huge movie contract almost out of the blue, circumstances conspire to disrupt her life once again.
I’m late to The Heartfelt series, but what a great start and a wonderful debut! I enjoyed the first part of the story but loved it when Marianne went to Innishmahon. Beautifully described and giving a real sense of place, it’s filled with a wonderful array of individual characters. The warmth of the well defined and realistic inhabitants, and the rugged beauty of the place shines through.
This isn’t a straightforward romance – there are several dramatic and significant threads running through the narrative. I found Oonagh’s storyline particularly touching and poignant. The characterisation and dialogue are very well done and Marianne is strong enough to carry the storyline. She’s been through so much but her resilience and spirit keep her going. A very well-written and engaging story.
About the Book
The Hollow Heart, a modern, romantic adventure. Marianne Coltrane is a feisty, award-winning journalist who is far from lucky in love. Taking herself off to the wilds of the west of Ireland to recuperate, she literally runs into Ryan O’Gorman, the most conceited, infuriating man in the world. He’s an actor who’s just landed the biggest role in movie history and he loathes journalists. One thing they do have in common is they both think their chance of true love has passed them by…but fate has other ideas!