on expected: April 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Narvla’s life is as precisely choreographed as the routines that have made her a national step-dancing champion. She has a loyal best friend, a devoted boyfriend, and a lock on admission to her dream college, the University of Notre Dame. Until her mother is named U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, and her life unravels. First Narvla receives a disturbing picture of her boyfriend and her best friend. Then she struggles to qualify for the Irish elite step-dancing squad, and her grades plummet.
But the biggest obstacle in Narvla’s new life is Dublin Boy, a cheeky musician with a disdain for academics and a distrust of Americans. Although Narvla is upset when she’s paired with Dublin Boy for the most important semester of her life, her real concern is the growing attraction she feels toward him. As the Celtic New Year unfolds, Narvla is pushed to abandon her lifelong need for control and embrace the charm of the unexpected.
A big thanks to the author for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
NARVLA’S CELTIC NEW YEAR
BY THERESE GILARDI
About the Author: Therese Gilardi adores blue cameos, Irish pub music and the Paris metro. She lives with her own Irish Man, fluffy dogs and Viennese hare in the hills above Los Angeles. Despite her fear of heights Therese’s favorite place in Ireland is Slieve League Cliffs, near her family’s ancestral home in Co. Donegal. Therese believes sticky toffee pudding, Celtic knot jewelry and Oscar Wilde are Ireland’s greatest exports. She is available for guest posts and interviews. You can also find her on her website or on Facebook and Twitter.
I had the opportunity to interview Theresa Gilardi and ask a few questions about the setting & the future of the characters in Narvla’s Celtic New Year.
Q: Having just visited Ireland for the first time this past year, I immediately fell in love with the setting of this story. For me, it was like visiting an old friend & taking a mini vacation from the comfort of my home. What was your inspiration for an Irish setting?
A: Thank you Heather Anne for inviting me to spend release day with you. I’m so pleased to hear you loved the setting of “Narvla’s Celtic New Year”! My inspiration for the book was that magical feeling I get whenever I’m in Ireland. On every corner of that island there is such a fabulous interplay between the people, the land and the music.
Q: I love the chemistry between Narvla and Dublin Boy. If you had to pick who would portray them in a movie, who would you choose?
A: I would love to see Madison Davenport play Narvla. Colin Ford would be a perfect Dublin Boy.
Q: The descriptions of Ireland were fantastic. I could picture every square inch of space almost perfectly. Some parts in which I’ve seen for myself, others I had never heard of. Did you write any of this book while in Ireland or was it all from memory/research?
A: Thank you. I love Ireland and the Irish people. (Full disclosure here, I have an Irish husband.) I wrote parts of “Narvla’s Celtic New Year” while in Dublin and Co. Donegal, which is my mother’s ancestral home.
Q: Narvla is full of determination. I love how hard she works in order to reach her goals. Is she in any way influenced by you or anyone that you know?
A: I believe that with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck you can reach any goal.
Q: I’ve always had a fascination with Irish step dancing. The technique of it all is so beautifully complex. The way in which you wrote the dancing scenes, I was able to visualize it as if I were watching a live performance. Do you personally know a lot about this type of dance or did you have to spend a lot of time researching it?
A: You’re very kind Heather Anne. I adore everything about Irish step dancing. The wigs, the costumes, the pageantry. As often as possible I enjoy reading about the competitions and watching step performances.
Q: Describe Narvla’s Celtic New Year in five words.
A: Witty poignant modern Irish fairytale.
Q: I really enjoyed this book and can’t help but wonder…is there a chance for more of Dublin Boy and Narvla’s story in the future?
A: I’m so happy you’d enjoy another story featuring these characters. Dublin Boy, Narvla, Win Squared, Jeremy, and Malcolm will all be returning in “Leenie and the London Bedsitters” which will be out in time for the holidays.
After having traveled to Ireland myself, I was thrilled to have the chance to read a book set in the beautiful Dublin setting. The description of Ireland & it’s many beautiful nooks and crannies, is captured on each and every page. Narvla’s Celtic New Year was a joy to read & I truly cannot wait to read more from the author, Therese Gilardi.
Narvla and her mother, the newest U.S. Ambassador, have just landed in their new home of Dublin, Ireland. It’s an adjustment for everyone, especially Narvla, who has always been at the top of everything that she does. She’s got a plan and one that she’s been working towards all her life. Unfortunately, things in her new home of Dublin, Ireland, aren’t as easy for her as they were back in the States. As an Irish step dancer, she was always at the top of her team back home in Connecticut, but once she’s in Ireland, she finds that she must work twice as hard in order to keep up with the other dancers. The same goes for her schooling. She now attends a prestigious school where her marks are even more important and require a lot more effort. Basically, everything is a struggle for Narvla now that she’s in Ireland and that the path she has chosen, may not be as easy to follow as she’d like.
Of course, what’s a good book without a mysterious love interest? In comes Dublin Boy. A handsome and very mysterious singer that not only performs in the park where Narvla walks through every day, but also attends the same school. As the reader, you find yourself drawn to him in the same way that our leading lady, Narvla, is. Perhaps it’s the fact he can sing & play guitar or the fact that he is an Irishman? Either way, I love the depth and mystery his character added to the pages. I especially adored his more sensitive side, especially when it came to his little sister & her special needs.
I love the sense of community and friendship that is apparent throughout the book. Narvla leaves behind so much when she moves to Ireland, but gains so much more by doing so. She meets several people who quickly become her friends, finds love in an unexpected person, and also gains more confidence in herself. There is so much to admire about Narvla. Her strength and determination being just a few. She overcomes a lot by moving to a place where the culture is unfamiliar, but learns a lot about herself & the person she is becoming.
This is a beautiful story, told in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I’m fortunate enough to have been able to visit Dublin in person, and thankful to have been able to “revisit” it in the pages of this marvelous book.
Now that Narvla’s Celtic New Year is out, I hope you find yourself downloading or purchasing a physical copy. It’s certainly a contemporary young-adult read to add to your ever growing TBR pile!
Four out of five stars.