Meet the Heroine: Maggie O’Leary from the novel Hold Me Close by Shannyn Schroeder
Maggie O’Leary was a tough heroine for me to write. Part of the issue was how I had portrayed her in previous O’Leary books (as a whiny, rude little sister). The other part was the backstory I had given her when I first created the character (before I considered writing a series). Maggie was raped by her ex-boyfriend. It happened years before the opening of the first book of the series, so there’s nothing portrayed on the page, but it shaped who Maggie is.
Maggie is the youngest of the O’Learys and definitely takes on the role of the baby of the family. The siblings are quite protective of her and she often uses that to get whatever she wants.
Hold Me Close is all about Maggie growing up and becoming her own person. After traveling in Europe for over a year, she returns home determined to face all her fears. She believes that if she can face those, she can finally have a normal life, one with a boyfriend who she can have a healthy sexual relationship with. It’s been five years since her rape and she feels like she’s failed at moving on.
Upon arriving at home, Maggie asks her brother for a job at the family’s bar and an apartment above it. This was where the rape happened. She hasn’t gone to the bar since, and she’s ready to be fully part of her family again. To her surprise, working at the bar is easier than expected because she has so many good memories there.
With every success she finds, Maggie pushes harder to have everything. Although she briefly dated while in Ireland, she hasn’t had sex. Her therapist assures her that it will happen when she’s ready to trust and be open with a partner, but Maggie wants to make it happen. So she turns to her best friend, Shane Callahan. Who else would she trust as much?
When Maggie and Shane do get together, it’s more than Maggie expects and she fears losing her best friend. At every turn, Shane is there for her, both to support her and push her toward independence, but she worries about trying to make it more. As individuals and as a couple, they have to negotiate what they want and where they’ll go.
Hold Me Close (The O’Leary’s #6) by Shannyn Schroeder
Release date: July 21, 2015
Leave it to the O’Learys to make romance a family affair…
Maggie O’Leary is finally coming home to Chicago. After more than a year in Ireland, she’s ready to make a plan for her future. But first, she’ll have to confront the tragedy that scarred her so deeply. Asking for a job in the family bar is the first step, and it’s one her family isn’t entirely happy about. At least Shane Callahan, her best friend in the world, is behind her a hundred percent. He’s also a hundred percent more lovable than she remembered…
Shane is determined to keep Maggie safe, even if it means working three jobs and giving up sleep to be around during her shifts at the bar. But when Maggie boldly tells him she needs more than a loyal friend now, Shane knows a single night together won’t be possible. The idea of spirited Maggie in his bed is electrifying, but will she believe he wants to give her his heart, too?
Add Hold Me Close to your Goodreads shelf.
About Shannyn Schroeder
Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.