Book: Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill
Genre: Magical realism
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 2014 (in Australia), today in the US!
Pages: 392

Source: Accepted an offered copy from the publisher

Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O'Neill

A “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” sort of novel

Summary: Kate McDaid, office drone in Dublin, receives an odd bequest and request. She stands to inherit the estate of a woman who has been dead for over a hundred years, but only if she publishes “The Seven Steps,” messages to modern Celts from ancient fairies. Fairies!? Who believes in fairies anymore? More people, it turns out, than Kate imagines. Maybe the modern world needs fairies, but what do fairies need from the modern world?

Thoughts: This was the perfect book for St. Patick’s Day reading! Much of Reluctantly Charmed takes place in Dublin, a city that I loved visiting in 2012. But we also get a nice bit in an idyllic Irish village, because it would hardly be the perfect St. Patrick’s Day book without that.

I got a special kick out of the descriptions of Dublin that reminded me of our visit.

The offices are on the top floor of a building in the financial district of Dublin. If this were any other city, F&P would be at a dizzying height, including wobbly knees and shortness of breath, but not in Dublin, where the hand of God rests firmly on the skyline to stop it from getting too proud. Modesty is a much-respected Dublin trait, in the people and in the city. p. 4

photo from our River Liffey Cruise

Samuel Beckett Bridge (designed by Santiago Calatrava) and Dublin skyline, taken through the sunroof of the boat during a rainy day cruise on the River Liffey

My bike was my trusted steed: I cycled everywhere. I wasn’t a Lycra-clad cyclist, more like a spinning-around-like-a-whisk-in-a-bowl, leisurely, A-to-B pedaler. It was the easiest way to get around Dublin–everywhere is within a three-mile radius and flat. p. 12

We took the Hop-On, Hop-Off buss to The Royal Hospital Kilmainham to see the gardens. And, then, got impatient for the bus and walked back to our hotel. As Kate says in the book, it's just not that far.

We took the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus to The Royal Hospital Kilmainham to see the garden. And, then, got impatient for the bus and walked back to our hotel. As Kate points out in Reluctantly Charmed, it’s just not that far.

We described the city as “human-scaled” and felt very comfortable in it.

In one scene, Kate met her parents at the Shelbourne Hotel. We stayed there a couple of nights while we were in Dublin. So, I know exactly where she sat with her parents from this description:

My parents were lounging in a window seat in the bar. Dad was dressed in a brown woolen shirt I didn’t recognize. His arm was casually draped over the back of the couch, and Mam was bent forward, talking on the phone with a look of concentration on her face. p. 80

Grace Kelly Salad, Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin

Grace Kelly Salad, Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. We had several memorable salads in Ireland — this was the first.

Appeal: Reluctantly Charmed is great fun for St. Patrick’s Day. It will appeal any time of the year to Celtophiles and fairy fans.

Reviews: Two of my favorite blogs were on a blog tour for Reluctantly Charmed last fall. Check out the review and guest post about Irish fairies at Book’d Out and the review and Q&A at Sam Still Reading. We also get the fun, from their posts, of comparing the Australian cover with the US cover that is on my post. I think I like the US cover better, but that might be only because it’s so evocative for St. Patrick’s Day.

What are you doing for fun this St. Patrick’s Day?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll


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Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill #BookReview #StPatricksDay #Photos — 4 Comments

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