Tag Archives: Irish folklore

Reluctantly Charmed, by Ellie O’Neill, is a Lively and Whimsical Read Set in Ireland

Reluctantly Charmed cover

St. Patrick’s Day Review~

Isn’t that cover gorgeous!?

Reluctantly Charmed is a sweet, lively, and humorous novel that really was a breathe of fresh air in my fiction reading que! I was at first excited to read this novel because it was set in Ireland, and was set to publish today on St. Patrick’s Day (3/17/2015)! When I found out it featured the folklore of fairies in an original way, I was pretty much sold as I truly needed a “fun” read for the holiday.

As soon as I started reading Reluctantly Charmed, I was hooked on Ellie O’Neill’s breezy and light writing style, her humor, and her everyday life demeanor that she portrayed through her main character Kate. Kate McDaid is working as a copywriter for a Dublin advertising agency, seeking promotion and it alluding her, when a letter arrives from a lawyer about a long lost relatives estate. She has no idea who this other Kate McDaid is, until she sit with the lawyer who tells her it’s her great-great-great-grand aunt. Her parents are also shocked. It seems there hasn’t been another girl since the last Kate McDaid and if she does what’s outlined, she’ll gain the estate.

So what does she have to do? Publish a series of poems called “The Seven Steps” which tout the existence of fairies each week for seven weeks. Actually the poetry was quite clever and in all ways beautiful. That was a neat addition to the story to include them–and quite well-written! If she doesn’t publish the poems now, she risks making the fairies mad, and mad fairies aren’t ones you want to mess with, while happy fairies make the world go round. I thought this whole plot was very unique and entertaining and kept me flipping the pages with a big smile on my face.

Kate, as a character, was well-formed and the author accomplished turning her into a shy and boring cubicle worker into a a magical hero for fairies without us even blinking an eye. We are cheering her on and wondering about the reality of fairies ourselves. I enjoyed her descriptions of Ireland in which the book was set and the ancestral lore that I relished within the pages. I adore historical legends and stories, especially from places such as Ireland, so it had me captivated when I wasn’t in stitches from the witty prose.

A welcome addition to my library, Reluctantly Charmed was a pure vial of fairy dust sprinkled over my weekend. I highly recommend this book for light, entertaining reading that will bring whimsy into your otherwise over-scheduled life.

Now, I’m off to search for fairies, but be assured, I’m definitely treating them kindly!! I hope to see more Ellie O’Neill!

Reluctantly Charmed, Synopsis~

Reluctantly Charmed coverPaperback: 416 pages / Touchstone-Simon and Schuster, March 17, 2015

In the spirit of Cecelia Ahearn and Regina McBride, a lighthearted and relatable debut novel about an advertising copywriter who upends her ordinary life and captures the attention of the world after publishing a seven-part treatise on the existence of fairies.

Kate McDaid thought that going to the reading of her great-great-aunt’s will would be just another non-event in her ordinary life. A junior copywriter at an advertising agency in Dublin, she was used to spending her days wrangling clients, over-indulging in chocolatey products, and whiling away nights at the pub with her best friends, using her trusty bicycle to get around town. Instead, Kate finds out that the will and her aunt (also known as the Red Witch of Knocknamee) dictates that Kate must publish a series of strange poems called “The Seven Steps” under her own name in order to inherit the rest of her aunt’s estate.

And those poems? They’re a mysterious treatise on the importance and existence of fairies…

Kate decides to publish the Steps on a friend’s website, thinking that the low traffic on the site would let her posts go unnoticed. She never could have imagined that in a matter of days, she would find herself a local celebrity with her own group of devotees and the target of a mysterious and glamorous newspaper reporter. Even Dublin’s rock-and-roll sweetheart—and Kate’s onetime fling—writes a song inspired by the Steps.

While the Steps strike a chord across Ireland and the world, Kate takes the message to heart. But as the tone of each Step moves from free-spirited to sinister, Kate must decide if she will go through with publishing all seven Steps—or protect humankind from an ancient evil.

Infused with just enough magic and everyday familiarity that anyone can relate to, this fantastic debut is a page-turner with the perfect mix of humor and mystery.


Ellie O’Neill’s childhood in Ireland was filled with stories of fairies. As O’Neill grew up, she began investigating the folklore behind those tales, surprised to find modern Ireland still so full of magic and superstitious faith. After discovering stories about road work and construction sites brought to a halt because of the threat of disturbing a fairy tree or fort, the idea for RELUCTANTLY CHARMED: A Novel  was born.

An exceptionally witty and addictive debut novel, RELUCTANTLY CHARMED is a whimsical tale full of laughter and heart, with a heroine who is part Bridget Jones and part Sookie Stackhouse. O’Neill captures the charm and spirit of Irish superstition while weaving a tale that is outrageously funny and enchanting.

Praise for Ellie O’Neill~

“[A] chatty and original debut . . . The pages breeze by due to O’Neill’s accessible style. . . . The true appeal of the novel is in the author’s sure-handed depiction of Ireland’s landscape, people, and lore. . . . Whimsical.” (–Kirkus Reviews)

Reluctantly Charmed is a sweet, whimsical, quintessentially Irish novel guaranteed to add a little magic to your day!” (Liane Moriarty)

Ellie O’Neill, Biography~

Ellie O'NeillEllie O’Neill sold spider catchers in Sydney, flipped burgers in Dublin, and worked in advertising in London, but all the while she had that niggling feeling she had stories to tell.

Swapping the dizzy disco lights of London for her parents’ suburban Dublin house, she scribbled away knowing that there was something about Irish fairies she needed to share with the world.

Then, most unexpectedly, Ellie fell madly in love. Five years later, Geelong, Australia, is home to Ellie, her Joe, and their fabulous baby. Ellie is currently working on her second book.

Website for Ellie O’Neill 

Watch Ellie on YouTube 




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