Since it’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day, let’s chat about the Irish heritage of the main characters in my Secrets of Roseville series, shall we? This is most clear in the first book, Undying Love. Like me, sisters Meredith O’Connell Reed and Paulette O’Connell can claim ancestors from Ireland. However, Meredith struggles with those roots and how they may impact her plans.
Before I tell you more about her feelings and plans, let me share that I’m doing an Easter giveaway if you’re interested in winning a signed copy of Undying Love (Book 1 of the Secrets of Roseville series). Here are the details and the link to enter:
Betty Bolte’s Easter Egg-Stravaganza Giveaway
Includes: (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card, a signed paperback of Undying Love, a signature wine tumbler, and other cool Easter swag. Enter now for your chance to win!
One (1) winner will be chosen at random on March 25th * 18+ to enter * Continental USA only * Betty Bolte is solely responsible for this giveaway. *Picture for illustration purposes only.
So, Meredith returns to her grandmother’s plantation manor, one she’s inherited after her beloved grandmother died. But she doesn’t plan to live there. Only, Meg, the housekeeper, prompts her memories of how much her grandmother loved Twin Oaks and especially a certain tree of Irish legend. Here’s a snippet from Undying Love:
“I can’t believe after all the time you’ve spent here, the joy you felt staying here, that you’d turn your back on your heritage.”
“I’m a city girl now.” As good an excuse as any other. Meredith ran a hand through her hair, slipping the ponytail holder off with a sigh of relief.
“That’s by location, not heritage.” Meg gripped her shoulder and squeezed until Meredith met her eyes. “Your Irish blood will speak to you, remind you of the legacy the land represents. Both past and future for the O’Connell family.”
“I haven’t heard an Irish brogue in my head yet.” Meredith grimaced. “Don’t know that I want to, come to think of it.”
“You know it’s a matter of time. You’ll always come home to the one thing that has bound this family and Twin Oaks together for generations.”
“What do you mean?”
Meg leaned toward Meredith and pointed out the window, indicating an area to the right of the cemetery. “Have you forgotten the fairy tree?”
Meredith’s eyes widened as she followed the direction of Meg’s finger, finally sighting the old hawthorn standing alone in the middle of the meadow. She’d forgotten all about it. Or perhaps ignored it on purpose. The fairy tree. Her grandmother loved the ancient hawthorn and the myths associated with it. Despite the fact they only technically existed in Ireland, Grandma insisted on protecting the little tree as though it were from their ancestors’ homeland. To her grandmother, the fairy tree symbolized the unity of the O’Connell family, across time and space, no matter what befell them. She claimed the tree alone protected the many generations of O’Connells.
She stared at the hawthorn. Roads had been relocated in Ireland because a fairy tree happened to grow in its path and the workers dared not harm it. Good men trying to provide for their families had died who had cut down a fairy tree. The tree’s one mission, according to Grandma O’Connell, was to keep Twin Oaks safe from all harm. What should she do?
“I wasn’t planning to cut down all the trees, Meg.” She stared out the window at the little tree, wishing it and her grandmother’s traditions away. No luck there, though. “In fact, I wasn’t planning to harm any of the trees and bushes.”
I learned about this tradition while touring Ireland with my husband and father-in-law many years ago. The tour guide pointed out a particular tree that they’d actually diverted the road project around for the very reasons above. I was fascinated by the concept, intrigued enough to include it in my story. I think it’s indicative of the nature of the Irish mindset, which is pretty cool. I loved Ireland! I’d go back in a heartbeat.
Have you been to Ireland? What did you think of the country, if so?
Happy St. Patty’s Day! Thanks for reading!
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Meredith Reed inherits the family plantation after the tragic loss of her family and now must decide its future. Max Chandler has found his soul mate in beautiful yet aloof Meredith, but she threatens to destroy the property he cherishes. Can Meredith learn a lesson from the spectral lady in time to save both her family and home from destruction?