[The Maid of Ballymacool]: An ARC Blog Tour Review

The Maid of Ballymacool Book Tour Insta Graphic

Hi y’all! I am thrilled to participate in the blog tour for The Maid of Ballymacool by Jennifer Deibel!

I was very intrigued by this book for several reasons. First, the Cinderella inspired story line. I love fairy tale retellings of all sorts! Then the Irish setting and time period intrigued me as well. Having recently visited the Emerald Isle for the first time, I was excited to experience a novel set in that beautiful country.

This novel was beautifully written with compelling characters, gorgeous setting, and a truly magical story. I was captivated from the first page and loved it start to finish!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Maid of Ballymacool 2023

Book Summary: “Brianna Kelly was abandoned at Ballymacool House and Boarding School as an infant. She has worked there since she was a wee girl and will likely die there. Despite a sense that she was made for something more, Brianna feels powerless to change her situation, so she consoles herself by exploring the Ballymacool grounds, looking for hidden treasures to add to the secret trove beneath the floorboards of her room.

When Michael Wray, the son of local gentry, is sent to Ballymacool to deal with his unruly cousin, he finds himself drawn to Brianna, immediately and inescapably. There is something about her that feels so . . . familiar. When Brianna finds a piece of silver in the woods, she commits to learning its origins, with the help of Michael. What they discover may change everything.

Fan favorite Jennifer Deibel invites you back to the Emerald Isle in the 1930s for this fresh take on the Cinderella story, complete with a tantalizing mystery, a budding romance, and a chance at redemption.”

Deibel creates a captivating, beautiful setting for her novel set in the gorgeous Irish countryside. Having recently visited Ireland for the first time, I loved being transported back to the Emerald Isle. The setting is absolutely beautiful! The descriptions of the woods, Ballymacool grounds, and countryside are lovely. I could feel the magic in the trees and see the green leaves changing to fall. Ireland landscapes have a unique magic all their own and Deibel captures that magic so beautifully. In addition, she sets her story in an intriguing time period. We learn the tragic, complex history of the Ballymacool estate through flashbacks and memories to the Easter Rising and Irish Revolutionary cause of the 1910’s. I enjoyed the way the 1930’s feel like a crossroads between two times. There are many details that showcase the paradox of this time: motorcars and horseback, electric lights and candles, hospitals and local doctors, aristocracy and the common man. Deibel expertly weaves her story through this compelling time. Absolutely fascinating!

Brianna and Michael are complex, fascinating characters that center the story and the characters surrounding them. I was immediately drawn to Brianna and her mysterious past. I admired her strength, kind heart, and optimism in the face of cruelty and hardships. Michael is everything you could hope for in a fairy tale hero. He is a champion for good, connects with people in kind ways regardless of their station in life, and works hard for what he believes in. Their romance is a slow burning masterpiece. As their friendship builds, their affection does as well climaxing in a series of surprising and satisfying twists. I love the ways Michael patiently shows Brianna just how much he cares and how important she is to him. Theirs is a beautiful love story built on love, trust, and hope. Those feelings are in short supply in Brianna’s life for so long — it’s a miracle she can still find hope in her difficult circumstances instigated by the cruel, calculating Mistress Magee. The supporting characters like Maureen Magee are also well developed and create a compelling retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale.

This is a brilliantly told Cinderella retelling that gives new life and complexities to the classic tale. Brianna is a complex Cinderella character who wonders if she can ever have a life outside the Ballymacool. She has difficulty trusting others and remembering her own value because of the cruelty of Magee. I appreciated that depth. In turn, Maureen Magee is a fascinating step mother character. We get her backstory which has tragedy and betrayal. Yet what she chooses to do because of that betrayal is another tragedy entirely. The clues that lead Michael, his parents, and others to the truth about Brianna’s past are cleverly woven from the original tale with unique new characteristics. Overall, the novel adds compelling new dimensions to a favorite classic. It does not just retell the same story but adds depth to the characters and vibrancy to the story set in the Irish countryside.

Overall, I loved this beautiful story about finding meaning and joy in life especially when times are difficult. The beautiful ways Deibel includes God and faith in this story are absolutely stunning. I finished this novel feeling grateful to have read such a beautiful, hopeful story. I will be reading more from Jennifer Deibel!


What are your favorite novels set in Ireland?
Which fairy tale retellings are your favorites?

The Maid of Ballymacool Book Tour Horizontal Graphic (1200 × 675 px)

If you would like to read and/or purchase The Maid of Ballymacool by Jennifer Deibel, check out these links:


Jennifer Deibel author headshot 2023

Jennifer Deibel is the author of A Dance in Donegal (winner of the Kipp Award for Historical Romance) and The Lady of Galway Manor (a Parable Group bestseller). Her work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and in other publications. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children. 


11 thoughts on “[The Maid of Ballymacool]: An ARC Blog Tour Review

      1. Oh yes, it really does sound lovely. I started reading this author’s books because my ancestors are from Galway, Ireland and these books have such a wonderful connection. I can imagine how things used to be there through the books.

        Liked by 1 person

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