Irish Fire
by Jeanette Baker, contemporary (2000)
Pocket, $6.50, ISBN 0-671-03407-3


I have heard a lot about this author's historical and time travel romances, but somehow I never manage to get to her backlist. I didn't hesitate to pick up this new one from her a month ago, and it take me a month to finish it.

It's not that it's bad. It has deep characters and complex emotions. It's just that - well, I have no idea what Pocket is up to, since every other historical author of theirs is writing 'women's fiction' now, but whatever it is that Ms Baker has that other authors don't in her previous books, she has discarded that in favor of Ye Irish Faire propaganda and mid-week TV movie scriptdom.

Caitlin Clairbourne - hmm, is it me or every other Irish heroine is named Caitlin? - returns to her fair idyllic village hamlet of Kilcullen (cue sappy muzak theme here). Beautiful and brilliant (raise the volume of the seaswept theme please), she is Graceful and Wise with the horses (start a Celine Dion anthem, somebody). But she is running away from a Bad Marriage to an Evil American (aren't they all - must be the fast food) named Sam.

But no fear. Our heroine has her Wise, Homely Mom and her two Precious Children to keep her in muzak. As she rides along the windswept greens, her beautiful streaming hair dancing in the wind (maybe we can have Head & Shoulders sponsor this moment), she flies right into the embrace of good old Irish stable manager and all time stud Brian Hennessey.

But wait! (Jaws theme here.) Sam wants his children and his horses back. But fear not, there will be a melodramatic custody case and a deadly bang-bang finale, and at the end of the day, everyone goes home for a nice healthy swig of Irish lager. And we can all hold hands and sing Amhrán Na bhFiann as we trample each other in our frenzy to grab a permanent citizen status in Ireland.

Rating: 76


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