LOVE AND SHENANIGANS (Ballybeg #1) by Zara Keane – Review

Love and Shenanigans

Vows in Vegas…True Love in Ireland.
Three days before leaving Ireland on the adventure of a lifetime, Fiona Byrne returns to her small Irish hometown to attend the family wedding from hell. When she discovers the drunken vows she exchanged with the groom during a wild Las Vegas trip eight years previously mean they’re legally married, her future plans ricochet out of control. Can she untangle herself from the man who broke her heart so long ago? Does she even want to?

Gavin Maguire’s life is low on drama, high on stability, and free of pets. But Gavin hadn’t reckoned on Fiona blasting back into his life and crashing his wedding. In the space of twenty-four hours, he loses a fiancée and a job, and gains a wife and a labradoodle. Can he salvage his bland-but-stable life? More importantly, can he resist losing his heart to Fiona all over again?

WARNING: This book features a crashed wedding, a labradoodle with attitude, sexy times, and love and laughter, Irish-style.
ROMANCE TROPES: Second Chance at Love; Marriage in Trouble; Vegas Wedding; Irish hero.



LOVE AND SHENANIGANS was a delightful second-chance love story set in Ireland and filled with a colorful and fun cast of characters and well, plenty of shenanigans! Zara Keane has set a high bar with her debut novel as she begins her Ballybeg series.

Her heroine, Fiona, an orphan raised by her elderly yet spunky aunt Bridie moved away from her hometown of Ballybeg eight years ago to make her own place in the world. Her only other family in Ballybeg is her aunt, uncle and cousin who have been less than kind. Her cousin, Muireann has in fact always been competitive, petty and sometimes cruel in her enjoyment of humiliating her younger cousin. She’s made a success of herself career-wise, but not had much luck romantically. Much of the reason being she never really got over her first love, Gavin, and no other man seems to measure up, even if she is doing the measuring subconsciously.

After an unexpected night of passion and an unplanned wedding in Vegas eight years ago proved Gavin and Fiona had chemistry to spare, Fiona’s heart was set. Gavin, however, was none the wiser when it came to Fiona’s feelings. He was strongly attracted to her fiery personality and beautiful curves, but she was all wrong for him. Too unpredictable, and the feelings she brought up in him were too scary to even consider. That night eight years ago in Vegas proved they were explosive together, but that was not the path he planned for his life. So he left her there and started a relationship with her cousin, Muireann. Leaving Fiona heartbroken and both of them believing their marriage certificate had never been filed and therefore, their impromptu wedding invalid.

Gavin came from his own sad family story, with a mother who provided a less than stable environment, his greatest desire in a partner and relationship was that there would be no drama. If to avoid the emotional stress of drama meant he also had to give up some of the more pleasant emotions such as passion and deep love for one another, so be it. He wanted a nice even, steady course with no bumps or suprises. Marriage to Muireann promised all of that, she was beautiful, elegant and calm. She could be a bit of an ice queen, but passion only brought trouble. The fact that her father dangled a coveted position with his company only made the relationship more attractive. Marriage to Muireann was the logical and sensible thing to do.

The story starts off with Fiona back in Ballybeg to be the maid of honor in Muireann and Gavin’s wedding. Forced to wear a horrendous dress and bear the pettiness of her “prettier” cousin. When she discovers, right before the wedding of course, that she and Gavin’s wedding was legal after all, she has no other choice than to let him know and stops the ceremony. This sets in motion a myriad of situations and throws her and her “husband” together as they try to sort things out. Seems there is more than one person with hidden motives and downright underhanded behavior living in the small town of Ballybeg. All sorts of shenanigans are afoot making this story comical, sweet, a bit mysterious, and there are even some nicely done love scenes thrown in. As I said the personalities of the characters are colorful and well-developed, the good guys and the bad. And there is a sweet little labradoodle puppy who doesn’t understand the meaning of good behavior, and answers to the ridiculous name of Wiggly Poo, who I grew to adore. Gavin’s best friend Logan and his son are a nice addition to the story, as is Fiona’s friend, Olivia.

I’m trying not to give spoilers and ruin the story with all it’s twists and plotting, but can say it was so much fun to read. It kept my absolute attention from start to finish and I ended the book with a smile on my face. I’m looking forward to the future books in Zara’s Ballybeg series. 4.5 stars

~Complimentary copy provided via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

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