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A Dance in Donegal

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All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother's wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland. After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother's wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland. After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira's mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she's journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends--and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced--as she seeks to navigate a life she'd never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live. Jennifer Deibel's debut novel delights the senses, bringing to life the sights, sounds, smells, and language of a lush country and a colorful people. Historical romance fans will embrace her with open arms.


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All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother's wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland. After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother's wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland. After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira's mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she's journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends--and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced--as she seeks to navigate a life she'd never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live. Jennifer Deibel's debut novel delights the senses, bringing to life the sights, sounds, smells, and language of a lush country and a colorful people. Historical romance fans will embrace her with open arms.

30 review for A Dance in Donegal

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    Journey to the Emerald Isle with A Dance in Donegal! With an authenticity born of having lived in Ireland herself, the author deftly paints a lush landscape, colorful customs, and memorable characters with personal journeys of their own. Certain to appeal to fans of historical romance, this impressive debut marks Jennifer Deibel as an author to watch. I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    from endorsement: Jennifer Deibel’s debut is a hallmark of atmospheric and immersive writing. Her obvious passion for Ireland is a deft brush stroke against a lush green canvas. Featuring a strong heroine and themes of resilience through adversity, this lovely and impeccably researched debut is a treatise on belonging and the many facets of home. Unabashedly romantic both in setting and in tone, A Dance in Donegal firmly establishes Deibel as a must read for fans of Kristy Cambron. Jennifer Dela from endorsement: Jennifer Deibel’s debut is a hallmark of atmospheric and immersive writing. Her obvious passion for Ireland is a deft brush stroke against a lush green canvas. Featuring a strong heroine and themes of resilience through adversity, this lovely and impeccably researched debut is a treatise on belonging and the many facets of home. Unabashedly romantic both in setting and in tone, A Dance in Donegal firmly establishes Deibel as a must read for fans of Kristy Cambron. Jennifer Delamere and Sarah Ladd.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sundin

    Rich in atmosphere, deep in meaning, and sweet in nature. Jennifer Deibel’s A Dance in Donegal captivated me. Moira’s courage and compassion and Sean’s solid strength make them endearing characters, and the supporting characters were both flawed and charming. I truly loved this story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heather Wood

    "A man who lives only for himself is a man with few convictions." "In Him, there was never a promise of no grief on this side of heaven, but there was always the promise of joy. And she would await that day with a hopeful heart." A Dance in Donegal felt like a peaceful meander through an Irish village, like a hot cup of tea curled up in front of a stone fireplace - until 2/3 of the book, suddenly plot twists happened and things got shaken up! Some of the things I liked best: the use of Scripture t "A man who lives only for himself is a man with few convictions." "In Him, there was never a promise of no grief on this side of heaven, but there was always the promise of joy. And she would await that day with a hopeful heart." A Dance in Donegal felt like a peaceful meander through an Irish village, like a hot cup of tea curled up in front of a stone fireplace - until 2/3 of the book, suddenly plot twists happened and things got shaken up! Some of the things I liked best: the use of Scripture throughout, how it was held up with reverence and the way the characters changed beliefs and took action based on the things they read; the immersion into the setting; and the gentle romance and happy ending. Deibel really makes you want to visit the place and spend time with her characters (Can I have a Peg, please?). The writing is simple - and the story felt simple until the 2/3 mark - but simple things can be beautiful. It confused me how Moira came into a small town where it's stated that gossip moves fast, and yet she was there for weeks before some of the main characters even met her or realized she was there? I got the feeling that people could be friendly once you got to know them, but they weren't welcoming right off the bat (ie, no one at all came to call on the new teacher, even though she came from across the ocean to teach their children). Probably this was because of their prejudice against her, but I felt sorry for Moira being so isolated! Moira was so naive, and in some cases, overdramatic, which was painful to read but her character was written consistently. It was also interesting to me how even Christianity was mixed with (animism?) in the culture, and the beliefs weren't corrected in the book, which I'm sure was accurate for the setting. In general, I would have liked to have gone deeper with, well, everything in the book, which is a sign that the author piqued my interest. I wanted to know about the church, which we didn't visit at all; more insight into the relationships of the townspeople with one another; more romance. I'd recommend this to readers who want solid theology in a lighter tome, and if you are a holiday or theme-reader, this is perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    A lovely debut novel that carries the reader to Ireland in 1920. Moira Doherty makes the journey to Donegal to take up a teacher position after her mother dies at their Boston home. She is enamored of Ireland’s beauty and excited to blend in. But there are whispers behind her back, some thinly veiled threats and Moira has no idea what they mean. As she struggles to fit in and love her new home, she must lean into God like never before. I enjoyed this very much. I loved ‘visiting ‘ Ireland and es A lovely debut novel that carries the reader to Ireland in 1920. Moira Doherty makes the journey to Donegal to take up a teacher position after her mother dies at their Boston home. She is enamored of Ireland’s beauty and excited to blend in. But there are whispers behind her back, some thinly veiled threats and Moira has no idea what they mean. As she struggles to fit in and love her new home, she must lean into God like never before. I enjoyed this very much. I loved ‘visiting ‘ Ireland and especially this village as Deibel spins her tale. I also found the traditions of the people quite interesting. Well written and populated with wonderful characters, this book is sure to be enjoyed. Recommended. My thanks to Revell Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. I received no compensation and the review here is expressly my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    As I read this novel, I felt transported to Ireland in the 1920’s. Seeing things through Moira’s perspective as she tried to navigate a people who held rigidly to traditions and superstitions was eye-opening. I loved seeing Moira connect with Brid, Peg, Colm, and Sean. The strong faith guidance that Peg and Colm lent to both Moira and Sean was a beautiful part of this story. There was a mysterious undercurrent running throughout the entire novel and Moira knew it had something to do with her moth As I read this novel, I felt transported to Ireland in the 1920’s. Seeing things through Moira’s perspective as she tried to navigate a people who held rigidly to traditions and superstitions was eye-opening. I loved seeing Moira connect with Brid, Peg, Colm, and Sean. The strong faith guidance that Peg and Colm lent to both Moira and Sean was a beautiful part of this story. There was a mysterious undercurrent running throughout the entire novel and Moira knew it had something to do with her mother. Moira had quite the faith journey in this book as she worked to follow what she felt God leading her to do, regardless of the way people treated her. The romance between Sean and Moira built gently throughout the book and I loved seeing the way Sean cared for Moira in both big and little ways. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. You can read this review on my blog: https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Walters

    Author Jennifer Deibel sweeps readers away in her debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, and I enjoyed every single page! With attention to detail only someone intimately familiar with Ireland, Ms. Deibel paints a setting so vivid you can't help but believe you're living Moira's story right alongside with her. I love how the author weaves Irish culture throughout the mystery of the plot, memorable characters, and the beautiful message of God's purpose and forgiveness. In this debut, Jennifer Deibel co Author Jennifer Deibel sweeps readers away in her debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, and I enjoyed every single page! With attention to detail only someone intimately familiar with Ireland, Ms. Deibel paints a setting so vivid you can't help but believe you're living Moira's story right alongside with her. I love how the author weaves Irish culture throughout the mystery of the plot, memorable characters, and the beautiful message of God's purpose and forgiveness. In this debut, Jennifer Deibel comes out swinging as an author whose future stories will be a must-read. **I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.**

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I wanted to love this book. A historical set in Ireland?? What's not to love? Unfortunately for me the story fell flat. Moira wasn't my favorite as a leading lady, so there was a disconnect there for me. Then the absolute hatefulness of some of the characters turned me off as well as the twists the story took at the end. I loved the setting of Ireland and the characters of Peg, Bridge and Colm were my favorite elements of the story. While this wasn't my cup of tea overall, the teaser for the nex I wanted to love this book. A historical set in Ireland?? What's not to love? Unfortunately for me the story fell flat. Moira wasn't my favorite as a leading lady, so there was a disconnect there for me. Then the absolute hatefulness of some of the characters turned me off as well as the twists the story took at the end. I loved the setting of Ireland and the characters of Peg, Bridge and Colm were my favorite elements of the story. While this wasn't my cup of tea overall, the teaser for the next book did peak my attention and I am definitely willing(and planning) to give it a try and see if that one clicks better for me. I received this book from the publisher and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    What a splendid debut by Jennifer Deibel. From the quaint village of Ballymann, to the lilting Irish language, the author immerses us in the culture and story of Moira who is fulfilling a promise made to her mother. She travels to the small town of thatched roof buildings to become a teacher. Some welcome her warmly but others shun her and she knows no reason why. Moira clings to her faith amidst the superstitions surrounding her. Many Bible verses come to mind to comfort and guide her in time o What a splendid debut by Jennifer Deibel. From the quaint village of Ballymann, to the lilting Irish language, the author immerses us in the culture and story of Moira who is fulfilling a promise made to her mother. She travels to the small town of thatched roof buildings to become a teacher. Some welcome her warmly but others shun her and she knows no reason why. Moira clings to her faith amidst the superstitions surrounding her. Many Bible verses come to mind to comfort and guide her in time of need. She quotes my favorite passage Romans 8: 38&39. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. She finds godly friendships in Colm and Peg Sweeny and young Sean McFadden, who she grows fond of. Colm says: “Smack in the middle of what God is askin’ is the best place for any of us to be.” Ms. Deibel crafts believable characters to teach us what it is to show the love of God to our neighbor. She gives us a mystery that unfolds in an exciting climax. I will certainly look for her next book about Ireland. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  10. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    County Donegal, Ireland 1921 It's a joy to find a debut. Bostonian Moira Doherty has just lost her mother and has been offered a teaching position in her mother's homeland of Ireland. Such a brave step to move alone to another country. In Ireland, she finds friends and foes. The descriptions of the area and the language brought readers the feel of Donegal. My favorite part was Moira’s interactions with one of her students, Aedach. County Donegal, Ireland 1921 It's a joy to find a debut. Bostonian Moira Doherty has just lost her mother and has been offered a teaching position in her mother's homeland of Ireland. Such a brave step to move alone to another country. In Ireland, she finds friends and foes. The descriptions of the area and the language brought readers the feel of Donegal. My favorite part was Moira’s interactions with one of her students, Aedach.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Revell in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. This book was so inspirational and relatable that it made me enjoy this book even more. Everything that was going on in Moira's life I could apply it to my real life and it almost felt like I was reading my life story except for the part where my mother passed away and not living the Amish lifestyle. Losing someone that was your livelihood can be pre This book was received as an ARC from Revell in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. This book was so inspirational and relatable that it made me enjoy this book even more. Everything that was going on in Moira's life I could apply it to my real life and it almost felt like I was reading my life story except for the part where my mother passed away and not living the Amish lifestyle. Losing someone that was your livelihood can be pretty tough but if you are strong enough, life can throw you many curveballs that can help realize what your real purpose in life is giving you the life you thought could never have. Reading this book immediately made me count my blessings and be thankful for the people in my life and the path I am on. I know this will be a story that will be passed on and enjoyed throughout our community. We will consider adding this title to our Christian Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    The highlights for me in this book were learning more about the Irish and the forgiveness and redemption that shone forth in the story. Moira is a young woman from Boston whose mother has recently passed away. She keeps feeling like she should go to Donegal, where her mother had lived, and become a teacher. Unfortunately, she is not warmly received by the people there because of something in her mothers past. Will the secret be revealed and how will it affect those around her? Thanks to netgalle The highlights for me in this book were learning more about the Irish and the forgiveness and redemption that shone forth in the story. Moira is a young woman from Boston whose mother has recently passed away. She keeps feeling like she should go to Donegal, where her mother had lived, and become a teacher. Unfortunately, she is not warmly received by the people there because of something in her mothers past. Will the secret be revealed and how will it affect those around her? Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the arc. The opinions are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel has Moira Doherty traveling to Ballymann, Ireland to teach. Her mother had made the arrangements before she passed. Some of the townspeople welcome Moira to her mother’s hometown, while others shun her and eye her suspiciously. Moira has a feeling that there is something about her mother’s past that she failed to disclose. Soon Moira has a group of close friends and Sean McFadden, the handsome thatcher, has caught her eye. Will her mother’s secrets, though, A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel has Moira Doherty traveling to Ballymann, Ireland to teach. Her mother had made the arrangements before she passed. Some of the townspeople welcome Moira to her mother’s hometown, while others shun her and eye her suspiciously. Moira has a feeling that there is something about her mother’s past that she failed to disclose. Soon Moira has a group of close friends and Sean McFadden, the handsome thatcher, has caught her eye. Will her mother’s secrets, though, mess up Moira’s new life? A Dance in Donegal captures the beauty of Ireland. You can tell Jennifer Deibel loves Ireland from her beautiful word imagery. The Gaelic words and Irish customs helped to capture the locale. Moira Doherty was a naïve young woman when she began her journey. I liked the growth she experienced. I also enjoyed the cast of colorful characters. I like how the author described Moira’s emotions (very realistic). God, faith, scripture, and prayer are incorporated into the story. Moira brought her troubles to the Lord through prayer. She relied on Him for comfort and guidance. The romance was sweet and heartwarming. I was glad that the author added the mystery into the story because it gave it additional depth. A Dance in Donegal is a charming debut novel.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abby Breuklander

    Love love and love this story!! We all struggle at times with the calling that God has for our life. Why me? Why this? I'm not qualified! He knows exactly what He's doing and that we are the perfect person for the job. We may not be perfect ourselves, but He gives us the strength and courage to do the work that He was called us to do. Love love and love this story!! We all struggle at times with the calling that God has for our life. Why me? Why this? I'm not qualified! He knows exactly what He's doing and that we are the perfect person for the job. We may not be perfect ourselves, but He gives us the strength and courage to do the work that He was called us to do.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    We walk the countryside in the village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland through the eyes of Moira Doherty as she takes in the beauty of what was formerly her mother’s home. Young Moira has left Boston with the ink barely dry on her teaching certificate, and has taken a job in the small village in Ireland, as the new teacher. We see how these people live, with the domes over their beds and learn why, the thatched roofs, and the superstitions they all seem too possess. There are a couple of young men We walk the countryside in the village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland through the eyes of Moira Doherty as she takes in the beauty of what was formerly her mother’s home. Young Moira has left Boston with the ink barely dry on her teaching certificate, and has taken a job in the small village in Ireland, as the new teacher. We see how these people live, with the domes over their beds and learn why, the thatched roofs, and the superstitions they all seem too possess. There are a couple of young men whom Moira takes a fancy too, but she is just enjoying being in the home of her roots, but there are some that begin tormenting her, and one of her students is not very nice to her, but keep reading! There are some sweet happenings here, and others you will need the tissues handy for, but I loved the strong Love of God these people have, and how they shared their love with others. I received this book through LibraryThing and was not required to give a positive review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Rojem

    I enjoyed this book, it was a lovely story of a woman traveling to Ireland to teach and falling in love while uncovering her mother’s secrets. The characters seemed like a lot of fun and her trials were moving, but overall this book wasn’t a winner for me. I’ve read some Christian Fiction and I normally don’t mind it, I just found this book had an excessive amount of praying and talking to God and reciting scripture. I should have saved this book for next year as it fits 11 prompts of The 52 Boo I enjoyed this book, it was a lovely story of a woman traveling to Ireland to teach and falling in love while uncovering her mother’s secrets. The characters seemed like a lot of fun and her trials were moving, but overall this book wasn’t a winner for me. I’ve read some Christian Fiction and I normally don’t mind it, I just found this book had an excessive amount of praying and talking to God and reciting scripture. I should have saved this book for next year as it fits 11 prompts of The 52 Book Club’s 2021 reading challenge. #1 – Set In A School #2 – Featuring The Legal Profession #7 – An Author With Only 1 Published Book #10 – Related To The Word “Fire” #12 – Title Starting With The Letter “D” #27 – First Chapter Ends On An Odd Page Number #43 – A Character With A Pet Cat #44 – Includes A Garden #47 – A Character With A Disability #48 – A Cover With A Woman Who Is Facing Away #51 – Published In 2021

  17. 4 out of 5

    Raechel Lenore

    I wanted to love this book. The snippets and quotes I read before hand were so enticing, and I am all for a fictional journey to Ireland. And the writing style itself was well done, and the author clearly has talent! But I had a hard time with the main character, Moira. For the first half of the book, I enjoyed the story, and especially the setting. Moira came across naive but innocent. However, after an incident occurred roughly half way through, I began to really struggle to not just try to re I wanted to love this book. The snippets and quotes I read before hand were so enticing, and I am all for a fictional journey to Ireland. And the writing style itself was well done, and the author clearly has talent! But I had a hard time with the main character, Moira. For the first half of the book, I enjoyed the story, and especially the setting. Moira came across naive but innocent. However, after an incident occurred roughly half way through, I began to really struggle to not just try to relate to her but honestly, even like her. (view spoiler)[ She finds one of her new students deathly ill - and this student has been extremely mean to her, threatening and rude. So I understand why she doesn't like him and feels afraid - that makes sense. But the utter lack of compassion she showed disturbed me. She let the student remain alone, possibly dying for the rest of the afternoon/evening upon finding him and all through the night while she tried to decide whether she wanted to help him or not. Again, I can understand being afraid and wary of a person, even when they're sick, but I expected her then to immediately find someone else to care for him, not the let the person die while knowing. She of course came to the "right decision" the next day, deciding it was God's will for her to take care of the boy, but then she gave off so much...pride. Like a self-righteous attitude. As did those close to her - her new friends lauded her for being so "selfless" in caring for him, despite the fact that she literally was ready to let the boy die. I just had a really hard time with that, and it soured the rest of the book for me. I put myself in her shoes, imagining finding someone in the same condition of whom I didn't care for at all, and I just cannot fathom letting someone die alone, if I knew that I could do something - even just getting someone else to care for the person if I could not. I'm not saying that I don't understand how she could struggle with the decision because I know, everyone is human, but the whole way it was handled, during and after...I had a hard time with it. (hide spoiler)] . The setting/landscape itself was rich, and the descriptions vivid enough to clearly picture them in my mind. I really liked that aspect. The lilt and language spoken by the Irish came across beautifully as well. And most of the supporting characters were fantastic. I'm just sorry that I couldn't get behind the rest of the novel. *I received a copy of the book from the publishers on behalf of the author. All thoughts expressed are my own

  18. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    A Dance in Donegal is a refreshing change from what I'm used to reading in the Christian romance genre. While it has redemptive themes and chaste romance, this is set in Ireland in 1920. I loved journeying to the Emerald Isle. I could fairly see the thatched roof chalets and rocky shores and smell the turf fires of Ballymann. That said, while I adored the setting, the romance itself is a little lacking. I felt zero sparks between the heroine and hero. The love triangle just does not work, especi A Dance in Donegal is a refreshing change from what I'm used to reading in the Christian romance genre. While it has redemptive themes and chaste romance, this is set in Ireland in 1920. I loved journeying to the Emerald Isle. I could fairly see the thatched roof chalets and rocky shores and smell the turf fires of Ballymann. That said, while I adored the setting, the romance itself is a little lacking. I felt zero sparks between the heroine and hero. The love triangle just does not work, especially when the other guy is introduced more than halfway through the book. That subplot, I could have ignored and been a happier reader. It feels super forced and like it was thrown in to up the drama, which in my opinion, is not needed. As a debut novel, it is pretty good. I'm really intrigued by the teaser at the end for the next book. I think the romance might just spark joy in this reader! ~ My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ~ *I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    This is such a lovely debut by Jennifer Deible! She paints a vivid picture with her descriptions. I was swept away by the beauty of the Emerald Isle in this book. I also loved the character growth in this book. I can’t wait to see what is next for this author! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel is a great historical fiction that has a wonderful plot, romance, a stunning backdrop with a dash of mystery thrown in to create an enjoyable read. The book starts off in Boston during the 1920s where we meet Moira whom has just graduated from school to become a teacher. She ends up on a quest to her mother’s hometown village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland. Here Moira encounters so many new things: a different culture, societal culture and customs, the loc A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel is a great historical fiction that has a wonderful plot, romance, a stunning backdrop with a dash of mystery thrown in to create an enjoyable read. The book starts off in Boston during the 1920s where we meet Moira whom has just graduated from school to become a teacher. She ends up on a quest to her mother’s hometown village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland. Here Moira encounters so many new things: a different culture, societal culture and customs, the local inhabitants (some more welcoming then others), mystery surrounding her mother’s past presence here that is shrouded in questions and whispers, and possibly even love. I love the awakening of Moira throughout this novel. Learning her profession, making friends, finding a partner/romance, facing questions of where she came from, who that makes her, what is her purpose in life, where does she fit in, and where is her home. I really enjoyed her finding herself, her place, path, and solidifying her faith. I also loved how the author was able to draw the reader in with the MC on her journey to the end of the novel. I really wanted to see how it would all wrap up. I enjoyed the complex and rich array of characters. They were well thought out and added perfectly to my favorite part of the novel: The location: Ireland. It was wonderful to be able to read and visualize such a beautiful place. Taking a peak into this rich culture, the people, customs, religion, daily lives, the food (oh my the food!), and the stunning landscapes at times took my breath away. The inclusion of the wonderful Irish Gaelic really added to the story as well. It is such a beautiful language. The author has a real talent in being able to give the reader a fully immersive experience to make one feel as if they were actually there right along with her, experiencing it all for the first time together. I absolutely loved imagining life within the villages of this gorgeous country within the early part of the 20th century. I learned so much about this time period there just from reading this novel. An excellent book that has me yearning to travel to Ireland myself to find out where my own Grandmother is from. 5/5 stars Thank you NetGalley and Revell Publishing for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Instagram, and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 2/2/21

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anne Rightler

    What a lovely debut novel. Jennifer Deibel's A Dance in Donegal is a book that readers who enjoy historical romance stories will not want to miss. Moira's story is one of courage and inspiration as she moves from Boston to Ireland in the early 19oos. I can't imagine moving from all I've known to a place where I know nobody. The author portrays Moira's emotions and reactions well, as they are realistic and relatable. The romance is sweet and satisfying although not free from conflicts. Good dialo What a lovely debut novel. Jennifer Deibel's A Dance in Donegal is a book that readers who enjoy historical romance stories will not want to miss. Moira's story is one of courage and inspiration as she moves from Boston to Ireland in the early 19oos. I can't imagine moving from all I've known to a place where I know nobody. The author portrays Moira's emotions and reactions well, as they are realistic and relatable. The romance is sweet and satisfying although not free from conflicts. Good dialogue and situations help keep the pages turning. I felt like I was right there in the scenes. A Dance in Donegal is a captivating novel by a new author. I received a complimentary advanced reading copy of the book from LibraryThing and was not required to write a review. The opinions are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Moira Doherty leaves Boston in 1921 for Donegal, Ireland, after the sudden death of her beloved Irish mother. She has accepted a post as the new teacher in the school with a mixture of trepidation and excitement, knowing it was her mother's wish to return to her native home. What follows leads her to love and the unraveling of long-held mystery. For those of us who love Ireland, this is a wonderful novel to see that country, its customs, its language and people through her eyes. My thanks to Lib Moira Doherty leaves Boston in 1921 for Donegal, Ireland, after the sudden death of her beloved Irish mother. She has accepted a post as the new teacher in the school with a mixture of trepidation and excitement, knowing it was her mother's wish to return to her native home. What follows leads her to love and the unraveling of long-held mystery. For those of us who love Ireland, this is a wonderful novel to see that country, its customs, its language and people through her eyes. My thanks to LibraryThing and the publisher for this ARC.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    A Dance In Donegal by Jennifer Deibel is a step back in time to Ireland in the 1920s. It is hard to believe that this novel is the author's first. I enjoyed it from cover to cover. Moira Doherty grew up in Boston listening to her mother regale her with stories from her native Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira fulfills her mother's dying wish and becomes the teacher in Ballymann, her mother's beloved home village. Moira works hard to fit in even though there a A Dance In Donegal by Jennifer Deibel is a step back in time to Ireland in the 1920s. It is hard to believe that this novel is the author's first. I enjoyed it from cover to cover. Moira Doherty grew up in Boston listening to her mother regale her with stories from her native Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira fulfills her mother's dying wish and becomes the teacher in Ballymann, her mother's beloved home village. Moira works hard to fit in even though there are rumors that her dear mother wasn't who she thought she was. Can she overcome the rumors and fit in to this small community? A Dance In Donegal is full of memorable characters, mystery and romance. I felt like the characters were fun to get to know and spend time with. Even some of the characters that I didn't like to start with, I liked by the end. Although there were a couple of characters that I didn't care for but still served the plot well. I especially liked how Moira's faith was a part of her every day life. Spiritually, this is one of the best novels that I have read in awhile. While I liked the romance, it wasn't a huge part of the book for me--although I loved the sweet ending. As a reader, I felt like I was journeying along with Moira as she grows up into her adult life in a new land with her faith in tact and facing all sorts of relationships on her own, including a romance. I highly recommend A Dance In Donegal. There is also a preview of the next novel in the back of the book, which I am looking forward to. I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author and the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "Yer mother's tale will come ta light sooner or later, peata. Then the whole of Ballyman'll know the truth about ye. . . . keep your eyes wide open". With those kinds of ominous words still ringing in her ears, Moira Doherty could not, for the life of her, imagine what the old man was threatening to reveal, for her "mother was the most honorable, decent person (she'd) ever known". Wasn't she? But apparently the seeds of doubt had already been planted among members of her new Irish community, and "Yer mother's tale will come ta light sooner or later, peata. Then the whole of Ballyman'll know the truth about ye. . . . keep your eyes wide open". With those kinds of ominous words still ringing in her ears, Moira Doherty could not, for the life of her, imagine what the old man was threatening to reveal, for her "mother was the most honorable, decent person (she'd) ever known". Wasn't she? But apparently the seeds of doubt had already been planted among members of her new Irish community, and Moira is beginning to seriously question why the Lord would send her so far away from Boston. . . . except that deep down in her heart Moira does know the answer to that question, her coming was to fulfill her mother's dying wish and to obey the voice of the Lord that she was certain had confirmed it. Being an American trying to find her way into acceptance in a small Irish village wasn't easy, but Moira loved teaching and was glad the local teaching position provided her with a means of employment. But even that seemed to be fading away after she made a conscious decision to do the right thing instead of doing the easy thing; people began talking behind her back, her students weren't attending school and Moira even began to fear for her own safety. Thanks goodness for Sean McFadden, an handsome young thatcher as well as Sean's employer Colm Sweeney, and his wife Peg. What would it feel like to have Sean constantly by her side, with his easy manner and honorable intentions. What would it feel like to have that "dance in Donegal" that her mother had always talked about? Where this story seems a bit weak in development, it makes up for in inspiration. It's always refreshing to see the Word of God so liberally applied to real life circumstances, especially when multiple opportunities for forgiveness are essential to a character's well being. And the ending? There were so many unexpected scene changes that the reader may very well wonder if they are still reading the same book. An excellent finale is always a good thing; it's what the reader will remember with fondness. I received a copy of this book from the Baker Publishing Group through Interviews and Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Holly Bleggi

    Wonderful book! I loved the story and the setting. This books takes you back to Ireland in the 1920s. I loved how Moira in a way came home, even though she wasn’t born there. I liked how she had to deal with the rumors about her and her mother but she had good people who stood by her through it. I liked the romance but I liked that it wasn’t the whole story. I liked that there was a good blend throughout the story. I also liked seeing some of the history of Ireland. I thought the author did a gr Wonderful book! I loved the story and the setting. This books takes you back to Ireland in the 1920s. I loved how Moira in a way came home, even though she wasn’t born there. I liked how she had to deal with the rumors about her and her mother but she had good people who stood by her through it. I liked the romance but I liked that it wasn’t the whole story. I liked that there was a good blend throughout the story. I also liked seeing some of the history of Ireland. I thought the author did a great job! I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    What a beautifully written novel! The descriptions of the countryside of Ireland were breathtaking! I felt as though I was truly there walking the rolling hills, visiting the quaint towns and pubs. So many lovable characters; Moira and Seth's love story was simply delightful! So tender and sincere. The friendship between Peg and Moira...the strength they gave each other in their time/s of need...and the shared encouragement from the Scriptures...truly inspiring! Brid the mother figure...so nurtu What a beautifully written novel! The descriptions of the countryside of Ireland were breathtaking! I felt as though I was truly there walking the rolling hills, visiting the quaint towns and pubs. So many lovable characters; Moira and Seth's love story was simply delightful! So tender and sincere. The friendship between Peg and Moira...the strength they gave each other in their time/s of need...and the shared encouragement from the Scriptures...truly inspiring! Brid the mother figure...so nurturing and caring. And Colm.....the father figure....so protective and non-judgmental. This is truly one of the best novels I have read this year. With themes of repentance, forgiveness and GRACE...I consider myself blessed to have made this trip to the Emerald Isle.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Alfveby Crea

    What a beautiful debut novel by Jennifer Deibel. I have been anxiously awaiting the chance to read this lovely story set in Ireland in the 1920s. After her mother dies, Moira Doherty leaves Boston for Ireland to teach in the local village where her mother grew up. What a courageous undertaking to travel alone to a new country. In addition, Moira also experiences a spiritual journey during these difficult times. Moira experiences one extreme or the other based on rumors about her mother's past tha What a beautiful debut novel by Jennifer Deibel. I have been anxiously awaiting the chance to read this lovely story set in Ireland in the 1920s. After her mother dies, Moira Doherty leaves Boston for Ireland to teach in the local village where her mother grew up. What a courageous undertaking to travel alone to a new country. In addition, Moira also experiences a spiritual journey during these difficult times. Moira experiences one extreme or the other based on rumors about her mother's past that she herself was unaware of. People either became true friends or shunned her. "But why would someone wish me ill? What have I done to anyone in this town?' "I don't know dearie. I'd say ye need to watch yer back and make sure ya say her prayers. Saint Michael"s yer man for that he is.' I was experiencing a difficult time in my own life while I was reading this story, and I think it's natural to have questions, and doubts, and to cling to the promises of the Lord during those moments as Moira did. "Come to me, ye who are weary. And I will give you rest. The familiar promise from scripture whispered deep in her heart and soothed like water in a parched land." Set in Ireland, A Dance in Donegal is a well researched, authentic, vividly engaging, sweet romance, with themes of redemption, forgiveness, and belonging. I highly recommend this beautiful debut by Jennifer Deibel, and I look forward to reading what she writes next! Thank you to the author, publisher, and Net Galley for allowing me to read an early copy! All opinions are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    BlueJeansAndTeacups

    Off to Ireland I go! What a lovely, faith-filled read set in 1920s Ireland. This is sort of a coming-of-age tale of a young woman, Moira Doherty, who returns to her ancestral roots after her mother's passing in Boston. She is a new teacher and has a lot to learn about the local customs in the small village of Ballymann. I was drawn to the vivid descriptions: "The amber light from the setting sun set her silvery gray hair alight." Scripture was never far away throughout the chapters: "A sense of Off to Ireland I go! What a lovely, faith-filled read set in 1920s Ireland. This is sort of a coming-of-age tale of a young woman, Moira Doherty, who returns to her ancestral roots after her mother's passing in Boston. She is a new teacher and has a lot to learn about the local customs in the small village of Ballymann. I was drawn to the vivid descriptions: "The amber light from the setting sun set her silvery gray hair alight." Scripture was never far away throughout the chapters: "A sense of confirmation took root with her. I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." And, Oh! The tea moments ["cupan tae"] are many: "Mrs. Martin returned carrying two teacups, a kettle, sugar, milk, a few biscuits, some piping hot brown bread, and a dish of butter, all precariously yet perfectly balanced on a decorative tray. "Have a seat, darlin'. Would ya like a little cuppa?" the spry old woman asked, setting it all down on the table. "Yes, please. Moira sighed. The idea of tea brought relief to Moira's tired bones. "Mother made sure I knew the value of a good cuppa." Mrs. Martin chuckled. "She always did enjoy her tea, so she did." Her shoulders quaked with quiet laughter." The character of Sean McFadden was charming and honorable, as were some others, but many others were not. There is a good balance of both, but one scene may give pause to anyone who has ever experienced sexual abuse; not overly detailed, but you understand the intent. Fun Quote: "You'll never plow a field by turnin' it over in yer mind" Glossary of Terms found in the back: I recommend reading those first. For a first time author, I would say Jennifer Diebel knocked it out of the park! I am happy to recommend A Dance in Donegal thanks to the publisher for a gifted copy. All opinions are mine alone without expectation or compensation. 5 stars = Excellent

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    A Dance in Donegal is a lovely story that whisks you away to the grand land of Ireland. When she arrives, she makes a few friends, but as time goes on she finds that most of the people in town are completely turned against her, though she doesn't know why. She soon learns why, and her only friends are Sean, his boss, and his boss's wife, and one other lady in town. When a tragedy happens, the truth is exposed. A wonderful, clean story I really enjoyed! I loved the way the main character is able A Dance in Donegal is a lovely story that whisks you away to the grand land of Ireland. When she arrives, she makes a few friends, but as time goes on she finds that most of the people in town are completely turned against her, though she doesn't know why. She soon learns why, and her only friends are Sean, his boss, and his boss's wife, and one other lady in town. When a tragedy happens, the truth is exposed. A wonderful, clean story I really enjoyed! I loved the way the main character is able to extend forgiveness to some other characters that treated her horribly. Great book!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    First off I can not believe this is Jennifer Deibel's debut novel. I hope we see a lot more from this very talented writer. She does a marvelous job of taking you to the Emerald Isle in the first few moments of the novel. I had the privilege of visiting Ireland, but not living there like the author. Reading A Dance In Donegal took me right back there. Jennifer paints such a beautiful word picture, you can see the green hills and hear the ocean waves. Her characters are well crafted. You can not First off I can not believe this is Jennifer Deibel's debut novel. I hope we see a lot more from this very talented writer. She does a marvelous job of taking you to the Emerald Isle in the first few moments of the novel. I had the privilege of visiting Ireland, but not living there like the author. Reading A Dance In Donegal took me right back there. Jennifer paints such a beautiful word picture, you can see the green hills and hear the ocean waves. Her characters are well crafted. You can not help but want them as a friend and want the best for them. The romance between Moira Doherty and Sean was very believable. The love and family that is formed between the two, along with Brid, Peg and Comb was well worth the read. Warning,, make sure you have tissues handy. I thank Revell for allowing me, through NetGalley, to read this book. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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