Love In Dublin (The McKinnon Brothers #4)
Single father Colin McKinnon has roots and obligations that have kept him firmly in Dublin his entire life. He once planned to explore the world, but he was bound by duty and gave up on his dreams long ago. When he meets free-spirited American travel writer Maggie in a pub, he’s intrigued. She could help him get a taste of what he lost, rattle the chains of his self-imposed isolation. Instantly drawn to her light, beauty, and sense of adventure, Colin can’t stay away.
Maggie Spencer doesn’t just crave the open road, she needs it to survive. After a harrowing accident and life-changing loss, she rebuilt her life by exploring new places on her own. When she accepts a temporary job writing about day tours in Ireland, she falls in love with Dublin and the man she teaches to explore it. Through their daily adventures, they learn opposites do more than just attract—they can also help each other heal.
But can a man with deep roots keep a woman with wings by his side?
But can a man with deep roots keep a woman with wings by his side?
“I’ve read author Jennifer Gracen before, but I’ve never read a book in this series and after reading this one, I immediately went and added the first three to my wish list. Love In Dublin reminded me what a well crafted romance looks like; the characters were complex, but we see them evolve during this story, the relationship starts as a friendship, but over time becomes more at a realistic pace especially for these characters, they have some fundamental differences, but they are adults about it and work through them over time, there was no rush to a happy ending, not everything was tied up in a nice, neat little bow, and I for one applaud this author for writing a book that was full and rich and everything I look for in a romance, but so seldom get anymore.
Colin McKinnon is finally free of the marriage that shackled him for years and he is trying to get a life as his children have told him to do, but he is finding that it isn’t so easy. Truth is Colin is in a rut and more than likely would have stayed in that rut if Maggie Spencer, an American travel journalist, hadn’t confronted him in his favorite pub and started pestering him with questions. There was so much to love about this couple including they are both closed off despite Maggie’s claim to be an open book. Both hiding behind their own pain, they for a friendship and throughout this book we see them grow and change and learn slowly how to live their lives to the fullest.
Honestly, I could go on and on and on about every wonderful moment in this book, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so I’m going to just say, go buy this book, savor it, and remember to live your own life to the fullest. I loved every messy, fun, sexy, complicated minute of Love in Dublin and I have a feeling you will too.”—Slick Reads, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews blog
“If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I have a deep, deep love for all things Ireland. I dream of going there one day, I dream of falling for a charming Irishman, and I adore reading about romances – contemporaries, especially – set in Ireland. Of which there are not nearly enough, by the way, and the few out there are ones I’ve already read. So it’s no wonder why Love in Dublin grabbed my attention while randomly scrolling through NetGalley the other day. And it’s no surprise that I started it right away, rather than sticking to the (haphazard) ARC schedule I already had in place. This was an impromptu read that turned into a top favorite for me, and introduced me to a new author to follow.
Colin, our Irish beta hero, is a divorced father in his 40s – well, 40 going on 41. He and his ex-wife married at a young age after a surprise pregnancy. They were in love, or at least lust, back then, but got married mostly out of a sense of responsibility. Their marriage was never great, and after three children and nearly 15 years of both of them being unhappy, he finally asked for a divorce. (In Ireland, where it’s very hard to do and takes an additional 5 years of living together after the papers are filed before the process is complete.) Trish wasn’t a bad person, nor is she cast as the shitty ex, which I appreciate. These two were simply never meant to be together, and they couldn’t make each other happy. They had something when they were young, and they dearly love their children, not regretting them for a moment, but their marriage was horrible for both of them, and finally getting the divorce allowed them to move on and find their own happiness. Trish is seeing someone now, and, as their children tell Colin, she’s finally smiling and happy. Now they want that for Colin, too.
Enter Maggie, an American travel writer in her 30s, currently in Ireland to do a large project on places to visit and things to do. Maggie has spent most of her life traveling the world, staying in one spot only long enough to enjoy the sights, write about it for her job, and then moving on to the next place. She’s got a serious case of wanderlust, and doesn’t even have a home to return to, instead having some of her things in storage at her parents’ house. This lifestyle is what makes her happy, what has literally kept her going in the 5 years since she lost her husband in a car accident. They were 25 and had only been married a year, but they loved each other deeply. While she’s doing much better now, the pain and loss is still there, following her from country to country.
Maggie walks into a local pub one night, and sees Colin, quiet and reserved, sitting in a back booth, writing. She strikes up a conversation with him, and over the next few days of meeting him there, they start to form an easy friendship. She invites him on some of her local trips around the country, wanting to spend time with him, but also wanting to encourage him to step out of this rut he’s been stuck in for nearly 20 years. She wants him to take control of his own life, to do things just for himself, to find what makes him happy, and while Colin’s not sure if he can do that, so used to his life as it is, he can’t deny that he’s captivated by her spark and sense of adventure – and, okay, her, in every sense.
It’s a slow, delicious burn between these two, and it’s very much Maggie who makes most of the first moves. The buildup is done so wonderfully that I didn’t even notice that their first kiss didn’t come until nearly 40% in. But oh, those first kisses were delightful and sexy and sweet. And when they decide to take the next step? Damn! These two have chemistry that both jumps off the page, burning in its intensity, while also being so intimate and sweet and sensual. It’s just the perfect combination of everything I want in a romance sex scene, and Gracen did a fantastic job with the scenes.
They spend the next few months exploring Ireland, learning more about each other, and yes, continuing to burn up the sheets (and my ereader!). But Colin knows that this isn’t going to last much longer, because very soon Maggie’s job there will be done and she’ll be off to another location. He can’t clip her wings, but he can’t leave his roots, either. He knows it’s going to hurt when she goes, but that doesn’t stop him from giving her everything he has, from loving her as hard as he can before letting her go. And he does, which is for the best because Maggie needs to work through her own things. She feels guilt over loving another man, still grieves and misses her late husband, and worries that she might not be able to stay in one spot, to put down roots like Colin needs and deserves. But in the end, she can’t leave him behind, can’t deal with the hurt of losing two men, especially not when she has the chance of keeping Colin. She surprises him in Ireland, and they work things out so that they can each have what they want, and build a happy life together, without abandoning what they each love – his family, her travel bug, etc.
This was a beautiful, sweet, and sexy romance, with just a bit of angst mixed in as well. It made me smile and laugh, it made me sigh with pure romance reader pleasure, and yes, at times it made my heart ache for these two. In the end, I was happy with how everything turned out and thoroughly in love with this book.
…If you’re looking for a lovely romance between a beta Irishman who needs to find himself and a fiery American widow who shows him how to live, Love in Dublin is the book you probably didn’t even know you needed in your life. But you do, trust me, you do. I’ll be going back to read about Colin’s siblings as soon as I can, and since I very much enjoyed Gracen’s writing style and voice, I’ll be keeping an eye out for her romances in general.”—The Book Queen, TBQ’s Book Palace blog, *Royal Pick*, 4.5 stars
“We’re off to Dublin for the fourth book in The McKinnon Brothers series and, being partial to a man in his forties, particularly one who’s Irish, Colin McKinnon was no struggle.
Recently divorced and settling into life as a single dad to three teenagers on the verge of adulthood who no longer need him quite so much, Colin is coming to terms with how his life has changed but, rather than embracing it, he sees himself as boring and over the hill. Until he meets American travel writer, Maggie Spencer who reignites the spark in him he thought had fizzled out long ago.
Jennifer Gracen has taken pretty much all I love to find in characters, woven them together and created two people who compliment each other in the best of ways. Despite harbouring her own pain, Maggie is bouncy and full of life, always planning her next adventure, whilst Colin is quieter, more contemplative and to a degree is settling: Dublin is his home, his kids are his heart, and whilst his earlier life decisions were understandable, he deserved more than a loveless marriage—he deserves love and laughter with a woman who appreciates him for the wonderful man he is.
As the story unfolds Maggie and Colin unleash the passion in one another in every sense of the word and although I found them a little too agreeable and polite at times, they were a strong couple who truly deserve a HEA. And I can’t not mention Colin’s daughter, Roisin—I loved her honest wise words and complete support for her dad. If you’re looking for heartfelt, engaging and sexy romance with just the right sprinkling of angst and which takes you on beautiful journey around the Emerald Isle into Europe and the US, then you won’t regret grabbing this.” —Nicola_1202, Amazon/Goodreads review
“Love in Dublin is one of those stories that when you flip the final page you let out a very satisfied sigh for a story well told.
After almost two decades of marriage Colin finds himself divorced, children almost grown, and at odds with life. He’s the kind of man who stays, discovers his duty and does it, who left the wandering dreams of his youth far behind. Now a chance meeting with an American travel writer has his attention. He’d love to do what Maggie does, but it’s no longer in him. What he could see is settling down with Maggie. But Maggie is still running from grief, from a life that was torn from her at her husband’s death. Now her wings will not be stilled… unless perhaps by love.
Colin and Maggie both are grieving, wounded souls although for different reasons. Over the course of three months or so they will strike up a friendship, slowly develop feelings for the other and determinedly begin to help break down walls, or at least put a dent in them. At first neither sees that what they are trying to fix in the other also needs addressed for themselves.
I know it often doesn’t really sound like it, but to say that a story gave me a very satisfied feeling is truly a high compliment. It means all the right buttons were pushed, the mix of happy and sad worked for me, and that the ending was everything that I could have hoped for. Love In Dublin brings two different people together in grief, slowly heals them and then gives them the love of their life to go on into the future with… you cannot ask for much more than that.
I enjoyed myself very much in this story, and I believe any Romance reader would find it charming and touching as well.” —Marsha @ Keeper Bookshelf, Amazon review
“Love in Dublin is a heartfelt, realistic tale of love and second chances.
Maggie is a traveler, a nomad, a wanderer. She doesn’t really have a home, she doesn’t have roots. She thinks it’s because she’s a free spirit, but it’s really because she’s running from the pain of her husband’s tragic death, even years after. When she meets Colin in Dublin, where she’s set to write another of her travel articles, the last thing she expects is to meet the man who will make her feel again. The last thing Colin expects is to meet a spunky American woman who will make HIM feel, too, after having finally shed the marriage he shackled himself to for so many years.
His teen children have urged him to start over, to make a new life for himself, but he just can’t, or more accurately, hasn’t. But, when he meets Maggie and forms first a friendship with her, then something more, he finally realizes that he is capable of moving on. But, how can it be that he finally meets a breath of fresh air, and it’s a woman who will be gone shortly? A woman who rarely stays in the same place for long? A woman who’s still running after all these years.
I love that Love in Dublin isn’t a gorgeous fairytale. No, Colin and Maggie have a realistic relationship with realistic problems and realistic personalities who don’t all the sudden tie up all their problems with a nice, shiny bow. No, they accept each other and their new relationship for what it is, for what they each are. Of course, there’s an HEA, but it’s a hard won HEA and even then it’s not one of those sappy, unrealistic ones. No, it’s as realistic as it is sweet and it’s in the same tone as the rest of Colin and Maggie’s relationship – realistic, heartfelt and really beautiful. If Love in Dublin is what this series is like then I am all set on reading the whole series now because it’s made me a true fan of Colin and Maggie and Colin’s whole clan.” —Valeen, Amazon review
“Ms. Gracen picked one of the most eerily beautiful places in the world for the setting of a haunting tale of love, loss and new beginnings. No backdrop could have been more perfect. Standing amid the ghosts of heartbreaks past and hopes restored, Colin and Maggie set about rebuilding their lives. Maggie is a drifter. Haunted by loss, her way of coping is to roam. Her adventurous spirit, has never steered her wrong, until she discovers the beauty of Ireland and ends up losing more than she bargained for. Colin gave up on his dreams in order to face his future, will fate bring his world full circle and give him the adventure, he never thought he’d have? The characters are more mature, but the issues are no less realistic and the romance borders on ecstasy.” —Isha Coleman, Amazon/Goodreads review
“Oh my God, Colin and Maggie!! Could there possibly be two more wounded souls? Neither of them is looking for love, which is exactly why they needed to find each other. The emotions this book wrung from me were intense. There might have even been a few tears involved. All of the McKinnon books were amazing reads, but author Jennifer Gracen certainly saved the best for last with this one. An enthusiastic two-thumbs-up recommendation.” — Lisa Guilfoil, Amazon/Goodreads review