When Michael Kilbride, a handsome man with a dark past, arrives in the Irish village of Ballymuir, rumors begin to fly. While many turn against him, one woman steps forward—the village's beloved schoolteacher, Kylie O'Shea. Kylie's friends have long believed that proper Kylie is bound to fulfill the local legend of being the last bride in Ballymuir. But sparks soon ignite between Michael and Kylie. Will Kylie, who also hides secrets, find the courage to confront her past and claim passion as her own?
I've got to admit I'm a sucker for a tortured hero and a go getter heroine. Both with scars, scared to move on and make a new life for themselves - it's the perfect amount of drama from me, and when combined with a well written supporting cast, I've got to say that this was a very pleasant surprise. I picked it up for free from Amazon after a Dear Author tip and didn't know what to expect - Irish romances have been a favorite of mine forever (*cough* Nora Roberts *cough*) but me and new authors don't always get along. Kelly's written a romance centered on the emotional journey and the small town setting was perfect in that it allowed Michael and Kylie to shine at the center of it all.
This is truly a romance where Michael and Kylie are the focus; they're drawn to each other but scared to subject the other to their own personal baggage. Switching view points from Kyle to Michael, Kelly draws the reader in, and makes their eventual happy ending that much more poignant. Neither of them believe they deserve or are going to get that forever love. It's a slow build up to trust, each having to prove to themselves and the other that they can withstand gossip, threats of violence, and family drama. I was very satisfied by the time I reached the end and am very interested in picking up the next two stories in this trilogy.
Overall Feeling - B+
Series - 1) The Last Bride in Ballymuir 2) The Boldest Man in Ballymuir 3) The Brightest Flame in Ballymuir
(And it's still free on Amazon!)