A Dance in Donegal Book Review + Giveaway

Last week, I finished the sweetest book – A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel. The story centers around Moira Doherty who returns to her mother’s village in Ireland to teach the village children. While there, she must rely on strangers to help her solve the mystery behind the rumors about her mom.

With my love of history and genealogy, I found this story interesting and captivating – to see how my ancestors might have lived in Ireland before immigrating to the United States. Keep reading to see my thoughts and enter a giveaway for a free copy!

Mother was the most honorable, decent person I’ve ever known. But, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps that wasn’t always so.

Boston-born Moira Doherty has grown up listening to her mother’s stories of living in a small village in Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly, Moira is compelled to fulfill her dying wish – that she become a teacher in Ballymann village, her mother’s village in County Donegal, Ireland.

After an arduous journey, Moira begins the challenging new teaching job in an unfamiliar and ancient country. While she makes friends of some of the locals, some are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira’s mother are unspoken in her presence, but threaten to derail everything she’s journeyed to Ireland to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends–and the strength of Sean, an handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced–as she seeks to navigate a life she’d never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

And, can we take a moment to appreciate the beautiful cover for A Dance in Donegal! I want to visit right now!

My Thoughts

I loved this book – the story is heart-warming and sometimes gut wrenching. Following Moira on her journey to find love, God, and the truth was a beautiful journey. At times, the story surprised me and at other times made me laugh. Jennifer Deibel has done an excellent job with the characters and with the setting.

While reading, I could smell the turf burning, hear the Sean thatching roofs, and see the beauty of Ireland – much more than any other Ireland-based book I’ve read. The setting and storytelling were beautiful, but the characters with all their idiosyncrasies and flaws, were what made the story! Even Moira isn’t perfect – she had issues and doubts like the rest of us.

I definitely suggest reading this book – it is truly heart warming. Just make sure you have a box of tissues ready. You’re going to need them.

About the Author

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and others. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.thisgalsjourney.com.

You can find her online at www.jenniferdeibel.comFacebook (@JenniferDeibelAuthor), and Instagram (@jenniferdeibel_author).


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A complimentary e-copy of A Dance in Donegal was provided to facilitate this post.  No other compensation was received in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.  No affiliate links are present in this post.  Please see my disclosure for more information.  

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