cover image The Pub Across the Pond

The Pub Across the Pond

Mary Carter. Kensington, $15 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-7582-5336-1

After the McBride sisters' Uncle Joe wins the family pub from their gambling-addict brother Ronan in a poker match, the sisters create a sweepstakes as a way of keeping their scheming uncle from turning the pub into a tanning salon. When adrift 30-year-old Cleveland, Oh. resident Carlene Rivers wins, creating a local media storm, no one expects her to actually accept ownership. But she does, leaving the Midwest and heading to Ballybeog, a small fictional town "out in the bogs" of Ireland off Galway. Carlene feels an intense attachment to Ireland%E2%80%94"Welcome home" says the voice in her head as she descends into Shannon%E2%80%94and the Irish accent makes her swoon. Though she's a "people-pleaser," she's drawn to bad boys, and finds herself immediately attracted to black sheep Ronan, and he to her. But circumstances conspire to keep them apart, perhaps so that Carlene can deal with a few demons of her own. Carter cleverly urges the reader to root for Carlene to hook up with bad catch Ronan, but this story is most deeply rooted in Carlene's own self-discovery. As Carlene to Irish accents, so goes Carter to Irish clich%C3%A9s, but beyond them lies a fun, quirky read. (Oct.)