In the modern Kingdom of Ireland, few mortals believe in the fairy folk. Without that belief, the fairies are dying. Finvarra, the King of the Fairies, would rather dance than worry—but he must have a mortal dancing partner.
When Janet Gleason’s grandfather becomes the new U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, the sixteen-year-old orphan must leave Boston and her friends behind. Janet is lonely in Dublin and unused to her grandparents’ stuffy social life. An invitation to a royal ball terrifies her. She can’t even waltz and dreads embarrassment. Finvarra’s fairy witch overhears her fervent wish to learn to dance.
Seventeen-year-old Prince Liam Boru loathes the idea of escorting another spoiled American girl to a ball. In fact, he detests most of his royal duties. He dresses down to move through Dublin unnoticed and finds himself on his royal backside when Janet crashes into him. Intrigued, he asks to see her again, and she willingly agrees. Unaware of each other’s identities, they arrange to meet. When they do, the fairies steal Janet away.
Liam’s attempts to find her trigger a series of frustrating misadventures. Can he and Janet outwit a treacherous fairy king who’s been hoodwinking mortals for centuries?
The first time Liam slipped and fell, he cursed the rain-damp grass. He blamed his second tumble on his haste to catch up with Janet. What on earth had possessed the girl to run off like that? She couldn’t possibly want to find music that badly.
Music only she could hear.
The third time he lost his balance, he’d swear someone had pushed him, but no one was there. He landed on his hands and knees and cursed again. He might not be a muscleman, but he was far from a clumsy dolt. A lifetime of sports and outdoor treks had surely left him fit enough to climb a scrubby little hillside.
Something strange was afoot.
I’m being ridiculous. The breeze must have kept him from hearing the music she heard. She’d likely gone after the owner of whatever was playing the tune to learn its name.
Yet the Nose of Howth seemed deserted. How odd for a sunny Sunday morning. Even if Janet had gone off seeking the source of the music, no amount of rationalizing could explain why she’d left so abruptly. The chilling sense that she was in danger had Liam’s heart thumping high in his throat.
Should he call his cousin? If Kevin was still on the pier, it would take him a while to get here. And practical Kevin would surely think Liam astray in the head.
Maybe he was, but something told him he had to find Janet, and fast. Keeping close to the ground as if he were dodging radar, he clambered monkey-like up the hill. This time he reached the top of the rise. Lumps in the landscape surrounded him, clumps of rock and rolling masses of heather and gorse that encircled the level spot where he stood. He knew the place well. Except for the curious lack of weekend hill walkers, nothing seemed amiss.
He listened hard. A seagull cried in the distance. Otherwise, all was silent. No, wait! Music drifted toward him, a plucky harp tune he might have enjoyed under different circumstances. Was that what Janet had heard?
Where was it? He turned in a circle, squinting in the sunlight, scanning, straining to hear. When he returned to the spot where he’d started, a jolt of fear set his pulse racing.
A round stone hut had appeared on the highest part of the clearing. Its low thatched roof rose to a ridiculously high point. It resembled a roundhouse, the sort of dwelling that belonged in a prehistoric ring fort.
Or a fairy fort.
Liam swallowed hard. He’d seen replicas of such huts in Ireland’s folk parks. He’d also viewed ruins of the original ring forts, all that remained of the structures built by the mysterious peoples who’d lived and died in prehistoric Ireland thousands of years ago.
Where had this one come from? Why was it on the Nose of Howth? Liam had never seen it before, nor had he heard of any gimmicky tourism plans for the cliff walk. Of course, he didn’t know everything. Convincing himself that he’d failed to see the hut at first because the sun had blinded him, he ventured toward the structure.
He spotted a doorway and relaxed. Janet was there, speaking to a woman wearing a period costume, medieval or older. That’s what it was, he thought: tourism come to tarnish Howth. How could Uncle Peadar have allowed such nonsense?
Liam called Janet’s name again, but neither she nor the woman showed any sign that they’d heard him. The wind must have carried his voice away. He stalked toward the roundhouse. As he approached, the costumed woman placed a necklace over Janet’s head.
The roundhouse flickered, faded, and reappeared. Alarmed, Liam stopped. This was no tourist gimmick. As his thoughts scrambled for an explanation, the woman grabbed Janet’s arm and pulled her into the hut.
“Janet, no!” His ferocious roar proved useless. Unbelievably, the roundhouse began to dissolve. No longer doubting his horrified senses, he dove at the hut and charged through the disappearing door.
In Glancing Through the Glimmer, author Pat McDermott turns Irish history on its head and draws us into a fantasy so real we never want to leave. This novel is full of wonderful characters we want to spend time with. Enchanted, we roam Dublin's fair city, dance with ancient fairies veiled in glimmer, and wander the magical labyrinths within the hills of Howth and beneath a royal castle.
On entering this magical world with American teen, Janet Gleason, granddaughter of the American Ambassador, and her friend Matti, we meet handsome Liam Boru - the prince who might have been - and Finvarra, King of the Fairies who depends on...no...demands royal patronage. Then there is the memorable Nora, with the power to charm and deceive, who turns up at the right and wrong times, and the lovely Princess Talty, Crown Princess of Ms McDermott's mythical Ireland.
Janet dreads meeting the royal family and having to dance with a prince because she can't dance, and Prince Liam doesn't want to escort another American upstart to this year's Royal Ball. So, it is fortunate that young love blossoms between the pair when both are still unaware of each other's true identity.
However, mischief, cunning and selfishness born of need are traits attributed to the desperate fairies. They are dangerous to unwary humans. Janet and Liam find themselves separated and adrift in their own frightening adventures.
Written from the heart, Ms McDermott's hauntingly lovely story will enthral both young and adult readers. I love Glancing Through The Glimmer. It feels personal.
So, when you step inside these pages, heed my simple warning, `Beware bewitching music on the misty hills above the Irish sea.'
It is not often that I buy a book that I simply cannot put down! I am so happy to have learned of this author, and this story. She blends fact and fantasy, and presents us with "what might have been." While one can argue that the fantasy introduced could never happen, Ms. McDermott does, indeed, make us believe that not only could it...it actually did. Set in modern-day Ireland, but with a twist (I don't want to give away too many details...best you should discover them for yourself!), this extraordinary story will lift you from your every day world and transport you to Mother Ireland, where a wonderful story of young love mixes with a bit of the faery kingdom. There is romance, suspense and a plot designed to keep you reading long into the night. This is a book that I will read over and over again, particularly when I need a "lift" to my spirits. Thank you, Ms. McDermott, for your imagination and the ability to spin your story into words! You are, indeed, one heck of a seanchaí! I couldn't possibly give you a better compliment. Now...I want more!
I thoroughly enjoyed doing the cliff walk on Howth again and revisiting Dublin with Pat McDermott's characters. While everything seemed so familiar, her fairies inhabiting the island, kept me on my toes. The idea of an Irish king ruling the country today adds to the fun and enchantment. The troubles of the American ambassador's granddaughter drew me in from the start. Beautifully written, the story plays with the contrast of a modern day Ireland and the presence of mythical creatures. Great read for young and old.