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 is inspired by Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander Series of books, who also happens to be a scientist turned novelist.
Juliane lives with her husband and two sons in Hamelin, Germany, the town made famous by the story of the Pied Piper.
For more information, go to Juliane's website:
Book Buy Link: https://amzn.to/30kKsQA
Although this was an occupation that I would otherwise have enjoyed, doing nothing else left me feeling empty, unfulfilled, like a beautiful vase stashed away at the back of the cupboard, gathering dust.
“Quinton Fletcher Philbert Williams, at your service, ma’am,” he declared and bowed. “My parents felt it necessary to burden me with the greatest number of dreadful names they could come up with.”
And thus we are introduced to the two captivating main characters in the book, and from the first line to the last line, this is a book which excites and intrigues in the way a classic Historical Romance novel should do. This is a romance for the ages, and one I could not put down until I absorbed each and every event in Quinton and Alannah’s life.
Quinton, a very English gentleman (and devastatingly handsome to boot), comes to Ireland to oversee and restore his father’s holdings at the failing estate of Glaslearg. Many Englishmen held estates in Ireland, leaving the running to overseers and raking in the cash brought in by tenants while never stepping foot onto their properties, thus submitting many of the poor oppressed by heavy fees and very little sustenance. Quinton comes to Glaslearg as quite the different sort of Englishman, one who sees the suffering and wants to correct the ills wrought upon those in the estate’s care. One problem – he cannot speak Gaelic, and his tenants cannot speak English. Second problem – many of the Irish despise the English and are seeking a way to oust them from their island by any means necessary. Third problem – he is running from a past which shows up later in the story.
Alannah O’Neill, a beautiful strong-willed dark-haired Irish woman whose father doted on her, providing her with an education and bolstering her ambitions, succumbs to the oppressive hand of her brother, Kieran, after her father suddenly dies and leaves the farm to his son, and Alannah without a say in her future.
Kieran’s opinions about women were hardly unique, of course – in a male-dominated society that masqueraded behind superficial chivalry, prejudiced beliefs about women’s naivete and their excessive sensitivity were easily excused, if not actively encouraged. While many men genuinely seemed to love their female relations, a good number of these same men nevertheless recoiled at the thought of giving women more freedom.
But after hearing that the neighboring estate owner needs some help with the Gaelic-speaking tenants, she snatches up the opportunity to help out. The magnetism between her and Quin is evident from the start, and Ms Weber does a magical job of drawing the reader into this passionate romance reminiscent of early Victorian classic couples like Darcy and Elizabeth mingling with sexy couples like Jaime Fraser and Clare Randall.
Inevitably, their love grows at a galloping pace, and so does the troubles as Alannah’s brother threatens to marry her off to a good Irishman while spouting his disgust for the English. And then, when a dangerous associate of Kieran’s comes into the picture, someone whose violent ways and determination to rouse the Irish against the English brings near disaster upon Quinton and Alannah, their future and their love is tested to the fullest extent possible.
There are so many great things to say about this novel – the layers are so perfectly entwined, yet the story opens up like a blossoming rose as Ms Weber takes you by the hand and leads you through the travails of living during this turbulent time in Irish history – a time when the politics of the nobility held sway, where only a smattering of the Irish actually owned their own land, and how so many suffered from lack of decent food and housing. The author immerses the reader into the Irish landscape – you are there, gazing over the emerald fields, rooting for the success of Quinton’s efforts, and for this ‘forbidden’ love between an Englishman and an Irish lass to prevail; not to mention the rich description of how Guinness extra stout tastes on the tongue!
So many places with sublime imagery – such as page 260 where she traces ‘the star-shaped scar that marred the right side of his chest, just beneath the collarbone’ to the ‘long line that snaked its way along the left side of his abdomen... still an angry red.... tracing the line lightly with my index finger.’ - Just so exquisite and intimate in such a way that makes these character alive.
Or page 267 where the author relays the politics of landowners and tenants, doing so with such ease and not overburdening the reader with too much – just enough historical fact to add to the narrative, and this is done again and again, effortlessly.
I even loved the added tidbit on page 312 about how long it takes for an author to write a book, or how a ‘writer is led, be that to the amusement of some or the disappointment of others...’ - to which, I say, this novel is both entertaining and not a single page of disappointment. I know readers will find a treasure trove of their own favorite passages to read again and again.
The characters are SO believable, and the emotions, both intimate and public, are incredibly relatable; so much so that Under the Emerald Sky reaches another level in storytelling – the kind where the characters remain with you long after you have closed the book, and you are longing to know what happens next for them. I, for one, cannot wait for the next installment!!
Under the Emerald Sky by Juliane Weber receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award from The Historical Fiction Company