Book Title: Under the Emerald Sky
Series: The Irish Fortune Series, Book 1
Author: Juliane Weber
Publication Date: 23rd October 2020
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 468 Pages
He’s come to Ireland to escape his past. She’s trying to run from her future.
It's 1843 and the English nobleman Quinton Williams has come to Ireland to oversee the running of his father’s ailing estate and escape his painful past. Here he meets the alluring Alannah O’Neill, whose Irish family is one of few to have retained ownership of their land, the rest having been supplanted by the English over the course of the country's bloody history. Finding herself drawn to the handsome Englishman, Alannah offers to help Quin communicate with the estate’s Gaelic-speaking tenants, as much to assist him as to counter her own ennui. Aware of her controlling brother’s hostility towards the English, she keeps her growing relationship with Quin a secret – a secret that cannot, however, be kept for long from those who dream of ridding Ireland of her English oppressors.
Among the stark contrasts that separate the rich few from the plentiful poor, Under the Emerald Sky is a tale of love and betrayal in a land teetering on the brink of disaster - the Great Famine that would forever change the course of Ireland's history.
Violence, sexual content.
He led me along the path, which ambled away from the manor house and grounds, down into a small valley of luscious green countryside that bordered the small river. The grasses and delicate flowers of the hills gave way to reeds and lilies at the edge of the gently flowing water, which we traversed over a small wooden bridge. Orange-breasted robins flew around us while wrens whirred from bush to bush, breaking into surprisingly loud but sweetly melodious song.
I closed my eyes, enjoying the sunshine on my face and relishing in the beauty of a sky that was bright and blue, with not a cloud in sight.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Quin’s voice was soft and filled with wonder.
I opened my eyes and found that both horses had come to a stop on the other side of the stream, my mare nibbling contentedly on the succulent grass, nose to nose with Quin’s brown gelding.
“It is,” I replied. “It’s wonderful. It’s…home.”
He smiled at me and looked around him, shielding his eyes from the sun.
“It’s rather unlike my own home,” he said after a moment, turning back to me.
“Do you miss London?” I asked.
“Yes…and no,” he answered, and laughed. “I do miss the comforts and familiarity of my own house, of course. Not to mention the pleasure of being able to speak to everyone in English! But…right now…I wouldn’t trade places with anyone,” he said softly, holding my gaze.
I swallowed and looked down onto my hands. When I looked back up, he was still looking at me, but with a good-natured smile on his lips.
“Mind you, I would trade my best pair of boots for a good old-fashioned traditional English meal, one that doesn’t involve potatoes!”
We laughed and continued on our way, emerging, after a short while, at the crest of the hill—which revealed a scenery that was not nearly as riveting as that by the river below us. From this vantage point, the entire estate was spread out before us and I could clearly see what I had already glimpsed the day before. Acres and acres of farmland were covered in scraggly vegetation that was a far cry from the orderly rows of crops to which these neatly demarcated fields had once been accustomed.
“Look at all that unused land,” I exclaimed. Having lived on a farm for most of my life, I found such disarray offensive.
“It is astonishing, isn’t it?” Quin said, with a note of irritation in his voice. “Mr Brennan was hired to oversee the running of the estate and this is what’s become of it! Not only did he neglect the crops and livestock to the point that we’re making no money, but he also exploited scores of people who are already poor as dirt!”
Quin was visibly disgusted at his father’s erstwhile steward, a sentiment I shared entirely.
“Greed begets greed,” I sighed. “There’s good reason it’s one of the seven deadly sins…He will receive his judgment,” I said and looked up at Quin, “in this life or the next.”
“I’m sure you’re right, Alannah,” he responded, exhaling in a puff of annoyance, “but it’s difficult to be entirely satisfied with the prospect of the Lord’s eventual vengeance when the wickedness of the man is clear to see from where I stand.” He gestured towards the ill-managed land. “Just look at what he’s done to the place! Let acres of prime farmland be reclaimed by the wilderness…and why? Because he couldn’t be bothered with the effort of farming it? Or to spare the expense of hiring hands to do the work?”
“Probably both,” I mused. “I imagine he thought he would make easier and better money by exploiting the tenants.”
I could see Quin’s jaw muscles tighten at this remark. He was quiet for a long moment.
“I shall see them done rightly by,” he said at last and turned towards me. “I swear it.”
Juliane is actually a scientist. She holds degrees in physiology and zoology, including a PhD in physiology. During her studies she realised, however, that her passion lay not in conducting scientific research herself, but in writing about it. Thus began her career as a medical writer, where she took on all manner of writing and editing tasks, in the process honing her writing skills, until she finally plucked up the courage to write her first historical novel, Under the Emerald Sky. The book is the first in The Irish Fortune Series, which is set in 19th century Ireland around the time of the Great Famine.
Juliane lives with her husband and two sons in Hamelin, Germany, the town made famous by the story of the Pied Piper.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Juliane-Weber/e/B08M3DYY22