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June Books 24) Irish Magic II

A collection of four fantasy romance novellas set in Ireland, by Morgan Llewellyn and three other authors I hadn't heard of, Barbara Samuel, Susan Wiggs and Roberta Gellis. I shall not identify the author who named her female lead Ciarann (which I have never encountered as a woman's name) and consistently spells Samhain with the 'h' and 'm' reversed. I will, however, give good marks to Roberta Gellis, whose "Bride Price" is the longest of the four stories and wrenches the story of Findabair and Fráech from the Táin Bó Cuailnge subplot and shifts it to a contest of wits between Medbh of Connacht and her daughter and prospective son-in-law, scoring also in contrast to the other three by having the central characters already in a relationship at the start of the story rather than the usual formula of getting boy and girl together. Romance isn't my usual genre of reading, and I was slightly taken aback by the enjoyably explicit prose of some of the passages. While the stories teetered on the brink of Oirish cliche they didn't completely tip over. Those who like this sort of thing will find it the sort of thing that they like.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 26th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
Gellis has been writing historical romance since the sixties and is a good writer as well as an excellent researcher. Hers were the books I didn't chuck out when I did a cull.
Jun. 26th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
Roberta Gellis is my favorite historical writer. Many of her books are now available in electronic format. I bought them all in paper format at least twice, and I'm buying the electronic versions as they come out.
Jun. 28th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
my favourite moment that made me double take was the romance writer who used NIAMH as a male character name!
Jul. 5th, 2011 11:06 am (UTC)
One to avoid for me, so; wrong names are one of the things which grate the most in Irish-set books. Somewhere on Usenet are my grumblings about Juliet Marillier (names not so much wrong as centuries too early).
Even Guy Gavriel Kay is something of an offender in this regard in the Fionavar books - "Liadán" is pretty much invariably a woman's name (the famous one was one of a pair of star-crossed lovers, sort of the Abélard and Heloise of their day).
I will let him off for "Éanna" which can sometimes be female. "Flidais" though usually a woman's name can apparently be sometimes be a man's name.
All these people could do with a copy of Ó Corráin and Maguire. Or they could look up the research that various SCA people have put online which is absolutely scrupulous about sourcing, avoiding anachronisms etc.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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