Review By Veronica

The Maid of Ballymacool is a gorgeous retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale.

Favourite Quote:

He brushed the excess dust from her lids. “Ah, here we go.” His fingers tenderly swiped the corner of her eye. “There. Better?”

Brianna squinted up at him. The lines of his face blurred. She blinked a few more times and tried again. Gradually his features came into view. A scant handbreadth separated them, and the reality of his nearness stole her breath away.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Brianna Kelly was abandoned at Ballymacool House and Boarding School as an infant. She has worked there since she was a wee girl and will likely die there. Despite a sense that she was made for something more, Brianna feels powerless to change her situation, so she consoles herself by exploring the Ballymacool grounds, looking for hidden treasures to add to the secret trove beneath the floorboards of her room.

When Michael Wray, the son of local gentry, is sent to Ballymacool to deal with his unruly cousin, he finds himself drawn to Brianna, immediately and inescapably. There is something about her that feels so . . . familiar. When Brianna finds a piece of silver in the woods, she commits to learning its origins, with the help of Michael. What they discover may change everything.

I just love a good retelling story. I am always curious to see how authors make these classic tales their own. I adored this story and loved the spin Jennifer put on the classic Cinderella tale. I want to let readers know that this is a Christian historical romance, so God and the character’s faith play a big part in this story. I enjoyed the religious aspects of this book and thought it added more richness to the story. But I realize that not everyone wants to read books that have a more spiritual tone. 

This story is set in Ireland in the 1930s, and I just fell in love with the setting. The Maid of Ballymacool is full of lush and vivid descriptions that had me feeling like I was being transported to the grounds of Ballymacool and exploring the nearby forest with Brianna. I also loved that Jennifer picked a location and time period that often isn’t used in historical fiction books. It really added this uniqueness to the overall story and was a nice breath of fresh air for me as a reader. Not that I don’t enjoy books set in France or England, but sometimes it’s fun to explore other countries.

The story itself has this wonderful and captivating flow to it. I can see the elements from the Cinderella tale woven throughout the plot, and I loved the direction and spin that Jennifer went in. This book also brings in these bigger historical issues that were happening in Ireland during this time, which was the Irish Revolution/Rebellion against the English. It was interesting learning more about Ireland’s history, and Jennifer did a fantastic job bringing these historical elements into her story. 

The characters in this book are genuine and feel real. I quickly became invested in their stories and wanted to learn more about them. Brianna is a wonderful heroine, and I just enjoy spending time with her. The romance between Brianna and Michael was sweet and lovely. I loved the two of them together. Their connection leapt from the pages, and those sweet cute moments between them really had my heart pitter-pattering. 

The Maid of Ballymacool is an enchanting tale of love and finding out who you are really meant to be.  

Thank you, Austenprose and Revell for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.