A Caryn Review: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling by Matthew Robbins


Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

when-irish-eyes-are-smiling-by-matthew-robbinsFelix first met Ronan in a particularly embarrassing circumstance – dressed only in his underwear, passed out on the beach, and unable to remember how he got there.  Felix was on a trip through Europe with friends, and was pretty sure that those “friends” were responsible for the entire situation, but he had no idea where he was, or where his friends were, so Ronan took pity on him and tried to help him find them.  Things went from bad to worse when he inadvertently wrecked Ronan’s truck and injured him severely enough that Ronan was unable to continue to work on his grandfather’s farm.   

The setup for the entire story started when the local Doolin police, Garda Redmond, offered Felix a choice for restitution to Ronan – either pay for a farmhand until Ronan is able to work, or do the work himself.  Felix didn’t have the money to pay, so he moved into the farmhouse with Ronan and his grandfather, and started work.  Yeah, the set-up was kind of far-fetched, but I was willing to look past that for a good story.

How disappointing not to get it.

Felix was introduced as an earnest young man who was immature, but who’d fallen in with a bad crowd and made bad decisions, and working the farm with Ronan – who wasn’t much older, but was years ahead in maturity, responsibility, and kindness – should have been an opportunity to grow up.  And I guess he did, to an extent, but my overall impression of him was that he was selfish, stupid, and acted like a spoiled 12 year old pretty much through the entire book (even his two acts of sacrifice on Ronan’s behalf were pretty dumb and he would have been better off just giving directly to Ronan).  I thought Felix was a complete douche, and I barely even liked him, much less got invested in him as part of a romance.  Ronan was this great character who was kind and generous to a fault, smart, community minded, with a plan for the future to save his grandfather’s farm, and working hard to accomplish it.  I actually liked him less at the end of the book precisely because he fell in love with Felix, and even picked up some of his stupider traits.  I thought Ronan should have dumped his ass after the first of the many stupid mistakes he made that endangered the farm.

Of course, in the end, Felix saved the day – in a very Scooby Doo-ish kind of way – Ronan declared his love, and the entire town threw them a party.  Uh huh.  I was just glad the book was over.  I would have rated it lower, but I thought Ronan’s accent was well written, and the descriptions of the Irish countryside and the farm were just lovely, so I gave it an extra half star.

Cover art by Written Ink Designs was meh.

Sales Links

JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 137 pages
Published January 7th 2017 by JMS Books LLC
Edition LanguageEnglish

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