Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

60. Irish Contemporaries, And What Comes Next

 Danielle the Book Queen is looking for contemporary romances set in Ireland. Sarah tries to remember a book title based on a cover description (again). Ashley F. asks what we think is the next big thing in romance – and Sarah and Jane disagree with one another about antiheroes.

 Here are some of the books we talked about in this episode:


Book Born in Trilogy - Nora Roberts Book Jeanette Baker - Irish Lady Book Jeanette Baker - Spellbound

Book Irish Girls about Town - Irish women anthology Book Tara Road - Maeve Binchy Book Dillon's Promise - Cheryl Reavis

Book Nora Roberts - Dark Witch Book Straight Up - Deirdre Martin Book Deirdre Martin - Power Play

Book There You'll Find Me - Jennie B Jones Book Stone Cold Kiss Book Sweet Irish Kiss

Book The Last Little Blue Envelope Book Darkfever Book 50 Shades of Grey

Book Dream Man - Kristen Ashley Book Eight Arms to Hold You Book Merry Gentry - Laurell K Hamilton


Plus, there's a list of reader-generated list Ireland-set romances here. We also talk about Sons of Anarchy.



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The music this week was provided by Sassy Outwater, who knows a heaping ton of musicians and finds original music for us for each episode. This week’s music is called “The Naughty Step” and it’s by Peatbog Faeries from their new CD Dust. You can find them at their website, or at iTunes.

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  1. 1

    Great list of Irish contemporaries to check out.

  2. 2
    Jess says:

    I did a search in NoveList for contemporary romances set in Ireland and found a few things.  I haven’t read any of these so I can’t attest to their content quality but here they are:

    Tenderwire by Claire Kilroy
    Wedding at King’s Convenience by Maureen Child
    Danny by Kate Hoffmann
    Breakaway by Deirdre Martin
    Love Letters by Katie Fforde
    An O’Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods
    The Bridal Bet by Trish Wylie
    The Pub across the Pond by Mary Carter
    The Man on the Cliff by Janice Macdonald
    The Last Bride in Ballymuir
    A Woman’s Heart by JoAnn Ross
    Legends Lake by JoAnn Ross
    Fair Haven by JoAnn Ross
    The Lady by Anne McCaffrey
    Hot Nights in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly


  3. 3
    Darlynne says:

    Marian Keyes’ Walsh sisters series is set in Dublin primarily, but also New York and LA. The Irish influence cannot be missed, however, especially through the audio books. Each of the five sisters has her own book and, honestly, the family is completely bonkers. I love them with all my heart. I suppose they’re considered women’s fiction, but I’ll bring them along to any discussion of romance any day.

    I read them out of order, which wasn’t confusing, but in terms of what the family is up to, in order is probably best:

    Rachel’s Holiday
    Anybody Out There? (Fair warning, will stomp all over your heart)
    The Mystery of Mercy Close

    I hope I’m not the only Keyes/Walsh fangirl out here.

  4. 4
    appomattoxco says:

    I think Keyes kind of chicklit and is a lot more Romance-y in terms of HEA than Binchy.

  5. 5
    appomattoxco says:

    I would love the next thing to be SF romance. Real life has me craving reading something very far from it with a HEA. Unfortunately, when a writer gets the world building right even if there is a romance with a HEA it’s marketed as SF. I’ve got a few auto buy PNR but I don’t see many more new ones that appeal to me.

  6. 6

    Sarah and Jane—

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question, and I appreciate all the recommendations you found. I’ve added them to my list on GoodReads, and I’ll slowly start to sort through them to see which ones (espeically from the Amazon Irish romance list) are worth trying. :D

    Oh, and Sarah, should you ever remember the title/author of the
    “Woman in the bathrobe with a handful of clovers” I won’t find it at all odd to find a random title in my inbox! Also, I’m always open to Scotland contemporary romances, as well, but I figured I’d stick to one country at a time in my message. :) I blame my desire to read more romances set in these countries on the fact that I want nothing more than to visit Ireland (and Scotland/England, for that matter). But I can’t be the only such reader, right?

    Also, I’d like to thank @Jess and @Darlynne for the lists of suggestions; I’m putting them on my GR as well.






  7. 7

    Ooh! Irish romances. My favorite kind! I haven’t listened to the podcast, so I don’t know what else was mentioned, but Nora also has The Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy: Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, & Heart of the Sea. And her first book & its spin-offs have connections to Ireland. I think the second book there actually starts in Ireland. (Irish Thoroughbred, Irish Rose, Irish Rebel).

    For Scotland, that’s a favorite location for Donna Kauffman. She has a few trilogies/series books set there. Usually in a small town or Island. In fact in one of her older books a woman learns to SURF in Scotland. *shivers* BRRRRRRR.



  8. 8
    Katharyn says:

    I enjoyed Hot Property by Susanne O’Leary. I got it on amazon for free.

  9. 9
    Ellie says:

    I LOVED Nora’s Gallagher series.  And even more I love Deidre Martin’s hockey series, but of the Irish ones I’d say start with Straight Up.  Finally, The Last Bride in Ballymuir is still free on amazon, and I seem to remember liking it a lot.

  10. 10
    Darlynne says:

    Is Yorkshire close enough to Scotland to count? I stumbled on Jane Lovering’s Please Don’t Stop the Music and absolutely loved it. Two very likable and wounded characters completely surprised me. I also have her Hubble, Bubble and look forward to digging it out of my TBR pile soon.

  11. 11
    Cammy says:

    AAR has a list of scottish/irish romances, including comtemporary.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Whitney K-E says:

    I have a contemporary Irish romance out at the moment. Would love to add it to the lists! Anyone think they can lend me hand?

    Jack O’Reilly is handsome, Irish and hard to resist. But can he win the feisty Aussie, Kate?

  14. 14
    Emily A. says:

    I actually read There You’ll Find Me which I really liked it, but it is an Inspirational and very kind of dismal. The heroine is going through a lot and spiraling downward. Still I found it very good, I think I graded it a B+. I did relate to heroine well, but she seemed to not be having a good time and I felt she needed more support than she received. (Her parents are overly critical.) I found the Inspy part well done but a big part of the book. (I am moderately Christian, and none of the Chistian stuff was offensive to me.)  The romance did work for me.

    I liked the first book in the series. The first book is intended for adults, and the second is young adult, but they are a series. The heroine in There You’ll Find Me is the sister of the hero.  Here is my review of the First book in the two part series that I wrote for the RITA reader Challenge.
    I am surprised they are not more books set in Ireland, but maybe it will be the next big thing.

  15. 15
    PamG says:

    Painted Faces by L. H. Cosway is a favorite of mine.  Set in Dublin, it features complex and likeable but not always “nice” characters and is totally unsentimental in its Irishness.  I believe it was either reviewed or discussed on SBTB.  To tell the truth, I am way too old for this book, but I love it anyway.

  16. 16

    Thanks ladies—I’m bookmarking those lists as well. :)


  17. 17
    Carol says:

    They aren’t my favorite of her work, but two of Carla Neggers recent series are set largely in Ireland: The Boston Police/FBI series and the Sharpe & Donovan series. These are romantic suspense.

  18. 18
    library addict says:

    I’ll second Carla Neggers Sharpe and Donovan series (Saint’s Gate, Heron’s Cove, and Declan’s Cross). Book 3 is set mainly in Ireland.

  19. 19
    Jewel says:

    I would like to second Painted Faces, as recommended by #15 PamG.
    Also, had a nice romance but it was not the main plot line, but I read and enjoyed The Bitch Proof Suit by De-Ann Black, amazon link
    and it’s only $.99 right now.

    Mind you, this was a vacation read a couple years ago, and I remember liking it fine, but really enjoying the descriptions of Dublin.

  20. 20
    Alina says:

    Allison Parr’s Running Back takes place largely in Ireland and the central conflict between the two leads is about a potential archaeological dig at an Irish farm. It’s part of her New York Leopards (fictional football team) series, but you don’t have to read the first book to read this one and there isn’t much football/sports in it either.

  21. 21
    Mischa B says:

    A few of the early Monica McInerney books were set in Ireland. A Taste for It, Upside Down Inside Out and Spin the Bottle. I’ve not read any of her others but I do remember Ireland featuring in these.

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