Jove, $5.99, ISBN 0-515-12835-X
Contemporary Romance, 2000
Let’s run a small test. This a sample of an exchange between heroine Moya Mahoney and hero Rory O’Brien:
“Um, yes, I suppose New York City is quite grand. But I prefer the peace and quiet of our part of the world.”
Rory gave her a long, searching look. “Have you ever been there?”
“No,” she admitted reluctantly.
“Then how can you be sure which you prefer?”
“Look about you,” she said. “Do you have lush green fields that have fed the blood of Irish heroes throughout the centuries? Can you see the castle ruins of your ancestors from your back window, or a fairy fort where people lived at the dawn of time?”
If the heroine’s passionate speech makes you say, “Go, girlfriend!” by all means grab this book. Me, I want to run to the hills. Daughter of Ireland is a really bad, not at all subtle tourist brochure-cum-amateur cultural revivalist pamphlet masquerading as a romance novel. I want to gag at the overdone too-thick corny sweetness about everything Irish vs the evil, modern world outside the Irish paradise.
The plot is supposed to be our patriotic Moya losing her precious guardian, Uncle Angus. Uncle Angus ran an old-fashioned run-down inn called the Lios na Daoine Sidhe, and Moya looks forward to continuing the legacy and tradition of her pure Irish culture. To her disgust and dismay, Angus left the inn to his nephew Rory. Rory is a displaced Irish wealthy bloke now living in America.
He flies back to Ireland and complains about the weather and everything. He wants to build a factory. But we all know how evil modern things like dirty factories are, right? Can Moya save Rory from a life of disgusting capitalism? Can Moya show Rory how meaningless and aimless life is in the rat race? Will my nose be damaged from so much snorting in derision?
Enjoy the pure Irish life, my fellow brothers and sisters! A village in modern day life that still has faerie stones. Moya still talks to faeries, and cries and prays to them as well as god to keep Ireland pure from industrialism and materialism. Life in Kerry village is peaceful and bliss. People never seem to work, walking around exchanging gossips and laughing like one big family. And they all spend the evenings listening to O Noble Moya tell stories of heroes of yore.
Forget that Rory is rich and hence can afford to let Moya indulge in her glib, amateurish “All industry pollutes and all modern amenities are toxic to our culture!” speech. Forget that Rory and Moya are blander than bland, or that the cops should run a breathalyzer test on Moya because she acts as if she’s high on some illegal powder most of the time. Waif heroine with tears always at hand, a one-dimensional Modern Man to be redeemed back to the true path of tradition and heritage (but hey, he can keep his millions, of course, to indulge wifey), where money doesn’t matter and people just enjoy life as if they are in an alternate dimension… isn’t life in Ireland good or what?
It is so easy for Moya to preach nonsense, when, of course, her hubby-to-be is rich. She can get lost and leave me to my hoarding of materialistic wealth.