cover image The Maid of Ballymacool

The Maid of Ballymacool

Jennifer Deibel. Revell, $16.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-800-74174-7

Deibel (The Lady of Galway Manor) transports readers to 1935 Ireland in this enchanting romance. As a baby, Brianna Kelly was left on the doorstep of Maureen Magee, the headmistress of Ballymacool Boarding School, with only a broken pendant as a link to her past. Demanding, abrasive Magee raises Brianna as a servant; now 20, she’s still “earning her keep” as a maid at Ballymacool and finds solace only in the woods near the school, where she collects small trinkets and connects with God. Her fortunes shift when Michael Wray, the son of a local lord, visits the school to keep an eye on his wayward cousin; once there, he’s captivated by the beautiful scullery maid. Michael and Brianna fall in love, but she struggles to imagine a future together given her low social standing. Then her pendant goes missing, and the search for it unravels a mystery involving Magee and the Ballymacool estate that may have huge impacts on Brianna’s life. Deibel’s update on the “Cinderella” story features sympathetic, three-dimensional characters that readers will find easy to root for as they navigate the page-turning plot and find their way to one another. This heartwarming entry will keep readers hooked till its satisfying close. (Feb.)