Sunday, September 18, 2016

Alabama Irish by James Russell Lingerfelt

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me. 

A while back, I read the Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I just finished reading Alabama Irish by him which I enjoyed as well. I love the way the story is told, through Brian's journal entries. The short entries, within the longer chapters, were a perfect fit to my reading style, allowing me to read even when I had only a few minutes and allowing me to read just one more section before going to sleep. I will say though that the short entries were initially a challenge for me to get into the story, but once I was in I was hooked!
When Brian meets Lauren on a trip to New York, you get to witness his excitement and feelings of first love. A love that he holds so strong that he decides he must find a way to reconnect. This quest results in him heading off to school under a false backstory and with no money. I wasn't expecting it when I started to read, but loved when the story brought us to Pepperdine and started to intertwine with the story of Finn. It is with Finn that he first runs into Lauren, but winds up being disappointed to learn that she is seeing someone else. I love his maturity in recognizing that she had no idea that he was coming to Pepperdine. His false backstory eventually catches up with him and his coming clean nearly cost him the relationships that he so wanted.

I loved how through the course of the story, you could witness the growth of Brian, not only through the experiences that he relayed in the entries, but even in the writing of the entries. Through his journal, we get to see him weather the ups and downs of a relationship and discover the value of true friendship.

Reading a coming of age story told through the eyes of a young man, and written by a male author, is different than I am used to, but was wonderfully appealing. I can't wait to read more books by James Russell Lingerfelt in the future.

about the novel

Brian was raised on "the wrong side of the tracks" in inner-city Alabama. Now, at nineteen, with a troubled past and juvenile record, Brian struggles to earn a living and find a life purpose. When he journeys to New York on a chance trip, Brian meets and falls in love with Shannon; a bright eyed, aspiring actress from California.

Brian returns to Alabama stirred by Shannon's courage and passion for life. With a new zest and reason for living, Brian is determined to turn himself into a man worthy of her love. Unable to afford college, Brian discovers the Os Guinness Scholarship, which provides free tuition to Pepperdine University for Irish students who desire to train for Ireland's ministry. With some innovative thinking, Brian fakes his Irish citizenry, accepts the scholarship, and moves to Southern California to attend school and pursue Shannon.

However, when Brian visits Alabama, all the lies come crashing down and Brian comes face to face with a past he thought was finished. Now, Brian must make a choice: lose Shannon by spinning more lies and choosing vengeance in hopes of putting his past to rest. Or choose honesty and forgiveness and embrace a new life with the only woman he ever loved.

Alabama Irish will make us sit back and laugh, then lay the book down and cry. But in the end, we'll be reminded that no matter our pasts, the possibility to find true love again is never lost.

(This coming of age love story teaches readers the necessity of honesty and openness in the pursuit of loving, long-lasting relationships.)

about the author

James Russell Lingerfelt is the author of The Mason Jar and writes articles for The Huffington Post. James connects with readers at his blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective, and divides his time between Southern California and his family's ranch in Alabama.

Find James online: website, Facebook, Twitter

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.