I again encounter coincidence in my reading schedule as The Crows of Beara by Julie Christine Johnson takes place in Ireland as did the last book I read – albeit in different centuries. This always amuses me as I schedule my reading at different times from different sources. This book was provided by TLC Book Tours at no charge for my honest review.
About the Crows of Beara:
• Paperback: 300 pages
• Publisher: Ashland Creek Press (September 1, 2017)
Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of her own heart
When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life.
Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine.
Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice–a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind.
Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.
Beautifully crafted with environmental themes, a lyrical Irish setting, and a touch of magical realism, The Crows of Beara is a breathtaking novel of how the nature of place encompasses everything that we are.
About the Author:
Julie Christine Johnson’s short stories and essays have appeared in journals including Emerge Literary Journal; Mud Season Review; Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim; Cobalt; and River Poets Journal. Her work has also appeared in the print anthologies Stories for Sendai; Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers; and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and psychology and a master’s in international affairs. Julie leads writing workshops and seminars and offers story/developmental editing and writer coaching services.
Named a “standout debut” by Library Journal, “very highly recommended” by Historical Novels Review, and “delicate and haunting, romantic and mystical” by bestselling author Greer Macallister, Julie’s debut novel In Another Life (Sourcebooks) went into a second printing three days after its February 2016 release. A hiker, yogi, and swimmer, Julie makes her home in northwest Washington state.
Annie is a woman who has had her world implode due to her own actions. She is just out of rehab and is trying to rebuild what she had but she is still making questionable decisions. Her home life is collapsing and it’s by the grace of her coworkers that she still has a job.
An opportunity to redeem herself at work is offered but it means going to Ireland – far away from her support network but Ireland is a place that is very special to her and Annie feels if she can get back there all will work out. She is to convince the people that a proposed mine is a good thing for them. But when she gets there she finds that sometimes PR is not always right and some people just cannot be bought with pretty words.
As she gets to know the issues and the people, especially one person – Annie finds that perhaps she is on the wrong side of the issue. She also needs to determine where her future lies. Mystical elements might be helping her decide.
This was a beautifully written book full of complicated characters. I don’t usually read these drama type of books but something about this one intrigued me. It was probably the setting as I have long wanted to visit Ireland and in all likelihood the only way I’m going to get there is through reading. Ms. Johnson surely took me there with her words as they brought at least a small corner of the country alive. I was flying with the choughs. These cousins of the crow are fascinating birds and I was happy to be introduced to them through this story of passion and love for birds, a land and survival.