The story of two girls transformation into sisters was sweet. Their individual tales, a bit different...
Colleen O'Leary's tale of redemption and complete turn-around was heartwarming and enjoyable. It could have been a novel all of it's own!
Brianna's tale of seeming injustice and independence was a bit disappointing. I kind of felt like she was a high-school drama queen, treated as a mature young woman, and no one- especially not herself- could see or acknowledge the errors in her character. Young she may be, but I couldn't really grow fond of a heroine so morose and irritatingly naive. I felt like some of the characters were constantly making mountains out of mole hills, and the real contention was continuous with no breathe-easy-fun-scenes.
Also- frustrating as he was- both girls had an attitude towards their father that was disrespectful. (Colleen's turn-around brought more respect and daughterly submission, while Brianna felt light and free when in defiance- even in the end I didn't detect much change. I hate to harp on a character so much, but she was so immature.)
I am not able to support the spiritual aspect of this book, which was also a negative for me.
I just felt that some of the viewpoints of the characters and their beliefs were rather shallow or unworthy, and made to seem normal. One line in particular really soured my favorite character in my sight, said about a girl he doesn't even like: "How could he ask for her hand in marriage when he hadn't even kissed her yet?" ...getting things backwards here, aren't we? :/ Besides, he's in love with someone else, so lines like this made what was supposed to be the hero seem like a fickle and physical-attraction-focused guy; this whole "if she's good to kiss she's good to marry" mentality is ridiculously ungentlemanly.
My favorite thing about this book was Kathleen O'Leary; the girls mother and a minor character, but the most sensible and respectable. The author also did a good job at setting up for book 2 with just enough hints that, near to the beginning, I was already intrigued by Adam and wondering about his story.
The ending of Irish Meadows came together well - many issues were resolved and things left on the right track with the O'Leary clan - but, unfortunately, the getting there was rough and I wasn't entirely thrilled, though I did enjoy the story.