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The story is told from a third point of view and the chapters alternate between the present (2009 – 2010) and the far past (1587). The story in the present time jumps from 2009 to 2010 and it gets some using to. The protagonists are two couples, present day Amanda and Xavier and Annora and Miguel in Sixteenth century Ireland, and their stories are intertwined.
This is the story of Amanda Morrison, a young Irish girl in present day Galway City, Ireland. Our heroin is adopted and has unsolved issues in her life. She feels she lacks roots since she doesn't know anything about her biological family and therefore has difficulties to find her path in life. She works in her brother's book store, but doesn't share his love to books and reading. When a long-lost aunt leaves her a mysterious golden cross in her will, her life is turned upside down. Amanda suffers from reoccurring dreams that are somewhat connected to her bequest.
While she starts hypnosis sessions and at the same time researches the origins of the cross, she finds out starling discoveries her ties up to a young feisty woman who had lived 400 years ago. Meanwhile Xavier, a Spanish yachtsman who ran out of family obligations while trying to do the right thing, enters into the picture. While the two cross paths, all hell breaks loss. Xavier also shares invisible ties to the past and while researching a sunken Spanish Armada ship that was discovered in the Balnakeil bay finds love. Contemporary Galway is described side by side with Galway in the sixteenth century, to the enjoyment of the reader. Armada treasure, football championships, redemption, historical setting, love and much more are the base of this charming book.
The story has started slowly, but pretty fast picked up steam and one finds himself immersed into the lives of the characters. The setting and descriptions of Spain's king Philip II's preparations for the holy war (1588) were supreme. I could visualize the scenes of combat at high seas, feel the excitement of the Spanish knights (though I didn't identify with their goals), hear the war cries, the signs of the wounded and the hissing of the wind while the sailors tried to control the mighty ships.
It is clear a lot of research was done on the period, but the many details sometimes set the story back. The book has likeable characters, an excellent writing, a wonderful eye for details and a helluva plot. At first I was upset with Amanda due to her liaison with a married man and there were many a moment where I wanted to shake her up. Any writer who can cause me to feel so strongly and care about the characters deserves a high praise.
I would rate this book 4 out of 4. I greatly enjoyed the book and found it a great read. The book left a good taste and a flaming desire to visit the lovely bookstore and the charming cottage at Balnakeil bay. I certainly recommend this book to all lovers of the genre who like a bit of romance to spice up their reading.
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