St. Martin's, Mar 2003, 6.50, 352 pp.
In 1855 Skibereen, Ireland, Farrell Kirwan flees her employer Noel Cardwell when the aristocrat tried to take unwanted advantage of her. She reaches the home of her intended Liam O'Rourke only to learn that his brother Aidan accidentally killed her sibling Michael in a dispute over the former collecting invalid debts as Noel's agent. To keep his family protected from retribution, Aidan must leave Ireland, but also believes Farrell must do likewise to keep herself safe. He persuades Farrell to marry him and accompany him to America when Liam tells her that is the best for all.
Noel's angry father informs his son that he is sick of his wastrel ways. He warns Noel if he fails to take responsibly for his actions especially allowing embezzlement by his deceased agent he will inherit nothing. The older Cardwell demands his son bring back Aidan and Farrell or else. As Noel gives chase across the ocean, Farrell and Aidan fall in love, but both hide their feelings because each fears unrequited passion.
IRISH BRIDE is a delightful nineteenth century cross Atlantic Irish romantic suspense. The story line provides an insightful look at the problems the Irish were struggling with in the 1850s at home and in America. Aidan is a wonderful hunk though his so-called drinking womanizing ways never comes across because he seems so responsible. Farrell is a charming Irish rose; Noel's pursuit seems a bit far-fetched as his motivation is to bed the heroine rather than insuring his inheritance. Alexis Harrington furnishes a gripping tale from the moment Farrell learns the fate of her sibling and never frees the reader until the final confrontation.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner