Stunning cover and fantastic title. Also, Dublin is my favorite city. Actually, Ireland is my favorite place, so there’s that.
Under the Emerald Sky (The Irish Fortune Series, Book 1) by Juliane Weber released last October in the Historical Fiction/Historical Romance genre.
He’s come to Ireland to escape his past. She’s trying to run from her future.
It’s 1843 and the English nobleman Quinton Williams has come to Ireland to oversee the running of his father’s ailing estate and escape his painful past. Here he meets the alluring Alannah O’Neill, whose Irish family is one of few to have retained ownership of their land, the rest having been supplanted by the English over the course of the country’s bloody history. Finding herself drawn to the handsome Englishman, Alannah offers to help Quin communicate with the estate’s Gaelic-speaking tenants, as much to assist him as to counter her own ennui. Aware of her controlling brother’s hostility towards the English, she keeps her growing relationship with Quin a secret – a secret that cannot, however, be kept for long from those who dream of ridding Ireland of her English oppressors.
Among the stark contrasts that separate the rich few from the plentiful poor, Under the Emerald Sky is a tale of love and betrayal in a land teetering on the brink of disaster – the Great Famine that would forever change the course of Ireland’s history.
Trigger Warnings: Violence, sexual content.
Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/4DxvLA
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08LSC6HN3
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08LSC6HN3
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08LSC6HN3
Juliane is actually a scientist. She holds degrees in physiology and zoology, including a PhD in physiology. During her studies she realised, however, that her passion lay not in conducting scientific research herself, but in writing about it. Thus began her career as a medical writer, where she took on all manner of writing and editing tasks, in the process honing her writing skills, until she finally plucked up the courage to write her first historical novel, Under the Emerald Sky. The book is the first in The Irish Fortune Series, which is set in 19th century Ireland around the time of the Great Famine.
Juliane lives with her husband and two sons in Hamelin, Germany, the town made famous by the story of the Pied Piper.
From a thought comes a book and then another and another
When I first thought about writing a book, I knew only that I would write historical fiction but not what era my story would take place in. Eventually, more or less by accident, I decided on 19th century Ireland and the Great Famine as my setting. I started researching and tentatively writing the first few scenes. And then I wrote some more and some more…until I realised that I wasn’t writing just one book but a series of books. With the complex nature of the political, social and agrarian underpinnings of the Irish Famine, there was much historical background to impart, but of course I wanted to do so within the context of an entertaining story with engaging characters. I wasn’t writing a history book after all!
Setting the scene…
Quite early on I decided that I would start the series a few years before the Famine, to set the scene, as it were. In Under the Emerald Sky, the first book in The Irish Fortune Series, the reader is introduced to the two main characters, Alannah O’Neill, an Irishwoman, and Quinton Williams, an Englishman, as they struggle to find happiness in an Ireland fraught with injustices—not to mention in the face of opposition from her Anglophobic brother!
Quin and Alannah’s story is intertwined with that of the poor peasants living on their land. The reader gets some idea of the hardships the Irish commonfolk had to endure to survive, even before the first potato crop failed. The plight of the poor in 19th century Ireland was shocking; the suffering of these same people during the Famine was horrifying. I knew I didn’t want to downplay these horrors, but I also knew that I didn’t want to write books that were overly glum.
Something a little lighter…
The more serious content is therefore balanced with that which is a little more light-hearted. In Under the Emerald Sky, there are wedding and festival scenes, scattered bits of humour and Irish folklore, and a trip to 19th century Dublin (with a few glasses of Guinness) to lighten the mood.
A similar mix of content can be expected in the second book of the series, which I am working on now. The second book starts off where Under the Emerald Sky ends, namely, in the spring of 1845. Like the first book, the second book spans approximately two years, which in this case constitute the first two years of the Famine. Of course, the effects of the Famine on the Irish people and the reactions of the Irish and the English will be an important part of the book, but the reader can also expect to go on a few more adventures with Alannah and Quin—another trip to Dublin, this time including an accidental visit to a brothel (!), and one to London, including an evening spent in discussion about 19th century science, to name a few.
A third book on the horizon…
When I wrote Under the Emerald Sky, I had no outline for the book and simply wrote as the scenes came to me, going back and forth in the manuscript until the story was complete. I wouldn’t be able to create an outline if I tried, nor am I able to write chronologically. I am therefore using the same approach to writing that I used for Under the Emerald Sky as I work on the second book in the series, which is slowly taking shape.
(If you’re worried about this seemingly haphazard approach to writing novels, take note that one of the most successful authors of our time, Diana Gabaldon of Outlander fame and a big inspiration for me, also writes in this fashion!)
I know that there will be a third book in the series and already have a few ideas for that in mind. Once again following the lives of Quin and Alannah, the third book will touch on the attempted rebellion of 1848, make mention of the coffin ships that saw the death of hundreds of Irish people as they attempted to emigrate to America, and tie up a few ongoing plotlines from the second book. I can’t yet tell you more than that, though, or whether there will be a fourth book to follow. What I do know is that however many books in the series I write, I will aim to make them both entertaining and enlightening as I take the reader through a dark time in Irish history.
Thank you, Viviana, for letting me share a little about my books on your blog today.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Juliane-Weber/e/B08M3DYY22
This post is part of a tour. You can find the Tour Schedule Page here: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2021/10/blog-tour-under-emerald-sky-irish.html