Author: Jennifer Deibel
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: February 21, 2023
Brianna Kelly has worked at Ballymacool House and Boarding School since she was a wee girl and will likely die there. Despite a sense that she was made for something more, Brianna feels powerless to change her situation, so she consoles herself by exploring the Ballymacool grounds, looking for hidden treasures to add to the secret trove beneath the floorboards of her room.
When Michael Wray, the son of local gentry, is sent to Ballymacool to deal with his unruly cousin, he finds himself drawn to Brianna, immediately and inescapably. There is something about her that feels so . . . familiar.
When Brianna unearths an intriguing silver platter in the woods, she commits to learning its origins. Could the handsome newcomer hold the key? If so, their discovery could change everything.
Reviewer: Christy Janes
WOW! If this book is not on your TBR shelf for this year, then you need to carve out a space for it and then waste no time reading it from cover to cover.
Fans of historical fiction stories that include a slow-burn romance and a Cinderella retelling will love every moment of this Irish tale. You will root for Brianna as she slowly starts to see what her life could be like with such a dashing hero like Michael. You will loathe the headmistress, Mistress Magee, and find a kindred spirit in Brianna’s friend, Finnuala.
If your reading adventure through this story is anything like mine, you’ll find yourself reading it way past your bedtime because, well…sleep is overrated, and a story like this one begs to be read all in one sitting. It is a 5-star read of the best kind.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Conny Withay
“Have ya ever felt like ye were meant to do something—be something—other than what ya are?” Brianna asks in Jennifer Deibel’s novel, The Maid of Ballymacool.
This three-hundred-and-fifty-two-page paperback targets those interested in a historical romance involving finding one’s identity by learning past secrets. With no profanity, topics of verbal and physical abuse may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes the author’s note, acknowledgments, a glossary of terms, a teaser of a new book by the writer, her biography, and advertisements.
In this story set in Ireland in 1935, twenty-year-old orphaned Brianna Kelly knows that being unimportant, unseen, and unnoticed as a maid at a boarding school is her only station in life, yet she yearns for something more. When local gentry Michael Wray is sent to the Ballymacool House, he shows an interest in her that seems impossible. As secrets are uncovered about the house’s past and its occupants, Brianna learns that she is loved and wanted by many.
I love historical fiction about love and hardship in a foreign country. This one that covers Ireland is realistic and interesting. I appreciated the different characters and their roles of economic status. The headmistress’s deliberateness and lack of compassion are pivotal to how Brianna’s attitude and personality are molded. The budding romance between the protagonists is believable and tender. Adding the glossary was helpful with some of the Irish wording.
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like this story, but it is not overdone. Some may feel the read is Cinderella-like, and a character or two are stereotypical. It would be thoughtful to have included the eternal plan of salvation.
If you like a romantic tale of a hard-working, dedicated woman who feels inadequate while searching for her identity, this sweet Irish love story with warm your heart.
Thanks to Revell and Interviews & Reviews for this complimentary book. I am under no obligation to give a positive review.
Reviewer: Juanita Varela
Jennifer Deibel did an amazing job with The Maid of Ballymacool. This novel hits the matter of unconditional love on the mark.
Michael is one of the greatest male characters I’ve read. There was nothing really special about him. It was the way he treated Brianna from the very beginning. Honestly, everything he did for her bumped him way up my list of favorite male characters.
Brianna has had a rough life and is having a hard time accepting that people can truly want and love her. It is not easy, but she begins to accept that being loved is possible, especially by our Creator.
I recommend this book with caution. There are a lot of Irish terms and phrases that I did not know. I had to constantly look them up. After a while, I got tired of that and just read past those words. Sometimes, I could understand what they were saying based on the context of what was happening, but other times I did not.
This is a retelling of Cinderella from a Christian point of view.
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Diana Varela
The Maid of Ballymacool was an amazing novel full of secrets. It teaches us that no bad secret can stay hidden forever. Eventually, that dirty, little secret will see the light. It teaches us that we are worth more than what people say about us.
This is a story of understanding who we are in Christ. It doesn’t matter what the world says we are or what standing we have in the world. It only matters what our Heavenly Father says and thinks about us, and to Him, we are His children. We are loved.
This novel is perfect for anyone who has struggled to be accepted and loved. Like Brianna, we need to know that we are loved and accepted by our Father before we can accept human love and acceptance.
Aside from some lovable characters, I liked this book because it was clean.
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Nikita Wells
This was a lovely book! This is my second read by Jennifer Deibel, and it's even better than the first, if that's possible!
Brianna Kelly is a maid at the Ballymacool School for girls. She is the sweet and loveable main character of this Cinderella-like tale. It also reminded me of Frances Hodgson Burnett's "A Little Princess" a bit, especially the hateful headmistress.
This book is perfect for young and old readers and is simply a wonderful Irish historical romance. I absolutely could not put it down!!!
Thank you to the publisher and author for the paperback copy as part of Mrs. Deibel's launch team! Thank you also to Netgalley for the e-book. A positive review was not required of me but was gladly given, and the thoughts above are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
The Maid of Ballymacool by Jennifer Deibel is an emotionally-driven novel that will keep you reading until the last page.
Brianna Kelly is sorely abused by her employer, who has known Brianna all her life. While she is part of the staff at Ballymacool, Brianna is treated like a servant. She is abused both physically and psychologically by her employer Maureen Magee. Right away, you are hoping someone will rescue her.
Enter Michael Wray. He's at Ballymacool to check on his cousin. But he discovers the abuse Brianna is receiving at the hands of the school's Headmistress. Not only does he set out to make things better for Brianna, but he also finds himself drawn to her.
I loved the romance in this book and how Michael respects Brianna, whereas others do not. I detested Maureen Magee (and rightly so since she is the villain in the story), but I simultaneously felt sorry for her. The characters are well-written and draw you right into the story.
Throughout the book, the constant use of Gaelic without any translation of what was being said left me feeling left out of the conversation. I didn't know until the end of the book that there was a glossary of all the Gaelic terms. It would have been better if this were in the front of the book - just a thought.
All that aside, the story was brilliant and moving. The romance is sweet and innocent, and the faith elements are inspiring. I will miss the characters and look forward to Ms. Deibel's next book.
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley for my honest opinion.
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