I am truly torn as to what to say about this series and how to rate it.
To be honest, the story is a bit predictable and cliche. I didn't really feel the romance or love between the characters who were obviously supposed to be the picture of those things. And the Irish tone of the first novel especially - the style of language and whatnot - seemed forced, especially at the beginning. That said, I absolutely suggest this particular if you are interested in Ireland and even more so, if you are interested in nineteenth century Irish history.
However - and this is a big however - while predictable, the series is not boring. The ending of the first installment, Gracelin O'Malley, isn't all sugar and kisses, which is a nice change. And Gracelin's story is certainly able to evoke some strong emotions. It has been a long time since I found myself choking up while reading a book - especially numerous times, and especially throughout an entire series.
A quick note: It would behoove the reader to keep in mind the culture and time period in which the novel is taking place; personally I had to remind myself of this numerous times because Gracelin's attitude toward her Irish lord husband and about their questionable marriage would otherwise be quite maddening when held up to modern beliefs and opinions.
To be completely honest, quite some time passed between my reading Gracelin O'Malley and picking up the second and third books, Leaving Ireland and 'Til Morning Light. Therefore, I can't recall if the writing style was the same in all three novels - but I must admit that I didn't care for the constant jumping around between point of views (after this referred to as POVs), and I think that many of those POVs were unnecessary. I might have been more understanding if the POVs were relegated to a few important characters, but they spread out across almost any character that had more than two mentions in a book.
While the settings of New York City (in Leaving Ireland) and San Fransisco (in 'Til Morning Light) are interesting in their own rights, they're no Ireland ;) The change of settings, combined with the ridiculous number of POVs and the fact that the series ended wrapped in a far too perfect package left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth in regards to the overall quality of the trilogy (but most especially the second and third installments).
One final issue - while I understand that the author wanted there to be a significant passage of time between the end of Leaving Ireland and the beginning of 'Til Morning Light, it seemed a bit unnecessary to me that so much of the latter be devoted to tales of what happened in that time period. If anything Ms. Moore should have stuck with the story that they spent the year traveling and that's that rather than describing adventures all over the United States...unless of course she wanted to insert another novel between Leaving Ireland and 'Til Morning Light.
In conclusion, I would rate Gracelin O'Malley 3.5/5 stars, while Leaving Ireland and 'Til Morning Light are probably more in the 2.5/5 star range. I can't say enough that the series as a whole is predictable; but it's also heartwarming and certainly a feel-good set of novels :)
From 'Til Morning Light:
"'Don't waste another day mourning what you can't get back. Find a way to live, and then get on with it. Life is too short.'"
"'Why should any of us pay for how we're born, when how we live our lives is what makes us who we are?'"