About the Book
Book: Irish Encounter
Author: Hope Toler Dougherty
Genre: Sweet, inspirational romance
Release Date: May 7, 2015
After almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her life, perhaps an adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she’d buried with her husband.
After years of ignoring God, nursing anger, and stifling his grief, Payne Anderson isn’t ready for the feelings a chance encounter with an enchanting stranger evokes. Though avoiding women and small talk has been his pattern, something about Ellen makes him want to seek her—and God again.
Can Ellen accept a new life different than the one she planned? Can Payne release his guilt and accept the peace he’s longed for? Can they surrender their past pain and embrace healing together or will fear and doubt ruin this second chance at happiness?
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When they first meet, Ellen Shepherd tells a stranger that she believes in both prayer and divine appointments and remarks that "Maybe you're one for me today." Little does she know just how true this may turn out to be! Irish Encounter tells the story of two people who have known grief and disappointment but have chosen totally different paths to handle their situations. Ellen has turned to God and relied on Him and prayer to help during the three years since her husband's death and she is now returning to a place they had once visited together. Payne Anderson has chosen to nurse his anger and ignore his grief by turning away from God. It's apparent that they are drawn to each and their chemistry is very strong but is it possible for this attraction to be stronger than their differing beliefs?
Hope Toler Dougherty has chosen the wonderful setting of Galway for this sweet and inspiring romance that focuses on hope, forgiveness, and second chances. Reading this book made me feel like I was sharing Ellen's vacation with her. I was seeing the Irish countryside, visiting the yarn shops, and eating at some of the small pubs, but all vacations must end and many questions and doubts follow Ellen as she returns to the United States. Was her chance meeting with Payne truly 'God ordained'? Can her strong Christian witness be a positive influence in Payne's return to faith? Is it possible for Ellen and Payne to find a second chance at happiness, together?
Dougherty has written a lovely story and I am looking forward to reading more of her books. I recommend Irish Encounter to all readers who enjoy contemporary Christian romance.
I received a copy of this book from the author via Celebrate Lit. A positive review was never required. These are my own thoughts and opinions.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
About the Author
Hope holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Forever Music is her fourth novel. Residing in North Carolina, she and her husband enjoy visits with their daughters and twin sons.
More from HopeInspiration Behind Irish Encounter
A few years ago, I was staring at the first day of the rest of my life. My oldest daughter was set to graduate high school in less than a month. Two years later, her sister would march right behind her, followed in two years by their twin brothers.
Life as I’d known it for the preceding eighteen years was about to change enormously.
Throughout my tenure as a stay-with-my-children mom, I’d written for publications—sporadically—but I had a portfolio of articles with my byline in print.
That May afternoon, I decided to write something for Guideposts, a magazine filled with inspirational, faith-filled stories. I’d just completed “The Life of Moses” with Bible Study Fellowship, and I envisioned sharing wisdom and insight gleaned from thirty two weeks of study.
I penned What I learned from Moses on the top line of a yellow legal pad. As soon as I wrote this fascinating title, I immediately began daydreaming—about Ireland, not Moses.
In my daydream, a woman in an Irish café scribbled in a journal. A little old man in a tweed vest approached her, introduced himself, and began talking about his late wife. I saw the wooden buttons on his vest and the Irish cap clutched in his hands. Suddenly another man, dressed in dusty safari clothes, appeared to the woman’s left, lounging at his table and eavesdropping on their conversation.
This scene interested me infinitely more than the Moses idea. I turned the page to a fresh sheet and wrote everything I saw and heard in that Irish coffee shop.
Irish Encounter began that day. I didn’t know it yet, but God did. I just hurried back every morning to my desk to see what happened next. Before writing, I’d recite Bible verses from the Moses study, like Exodus 3:12 “And God said, ‘I will be with you’” and Exodus 4:12 “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (NIV)
I’d pray for guidance and help, and then I’d travel to Galway.
God led me onto this writing journey with a lot of prodding and pulling and nudges toward those interesting characters. I’m thankful every day He did, and I hope readers will enjoy the trip to Ireland with Ellen and Payne, too!
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To celebrate her tour Hope is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.