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An Irish Country Girl: A Novel (Irish Country Books, 4) Mass Market Paperback – September 25, 2012
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“Taylor, like Kinky, is a bang-up storyteller who captivates and entertains from the first word.” ―Publishers Weekly on An Irish Country Girl
“Quietly, almost surreptitiously, Patrick Taylor has become probably the most popular Irish-Canadian writer of all time.” ―The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“The cozy village of Ballybucklebo and its eccentric inhabitants make the holidays bright.” ―Library Journal on An Irish Country Christmas
“Taylor's novel makes for escapist, delightful fun.” ―Publishers Weekly on An Irish Country Doctor
“Full of stories and vivid characters, An Irish Country Village recalls a good night in a pub.” ―Booklist
About the Author
- Publisher : Forge Books; Reprint edition (September 25, 2012)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0765369273
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765369277
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 1 x 7.48 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #101,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I enjoyed getting to know Kinky's family, however, the narration style was disruptive and the story jerked along in fits and starts. I enjoyed the scenes with Maureen (Kinky) and her sister Fidelma. I'd really like to see Fidelma pop up in a future story or two.
How sad that Kinky had such a short time with her husband. Add to that the fact she lives on the opposite end of the country from her family, whom she loves very much, and it just adds to the melancholia of this particular book. I really like Kinky's character and I was disheartened to see how she ended up so far from those she loves best.
I also enjoyed the bits of Irish legends and folklore scattered throughout.
I guess this book doesn't rate as high for me as the previous entries because of the disruptive narrative style and because I wished Kinky had enjoyed a happier adult life surrounded by her family.
As Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, Caitlin "Kitty" O'Hallorhan, and young Dr. Barry Laverty make their way out of the house on Christmas day to Ballybuckleboo House for the marquis' Christmas Day Open House, housekeeper Kinky Kincaid welcomes the visiting children with hot black current juice and sweet mince pies ... and the promise of a tale of ghosts and spirits. Therefore, Kinky begins, with a tale from her own youth.
She tells of Conner MacTaggart, and how he cuts down a Blackthorn tree, even after being warned by Kinky's mother that the "Doov Shee", or dark fairies, live under Blackthorns. Kinky, known as Maureen back then, knew her older sister Fidelma, was sweet on Conner and planning to marry him. The story isn't a happy one, as Conner angers the Doov Shee and the Queen of the Doov Shee takes her revenge. The children leave satisfied at Kinky's tale, but as Kinky continues to prepare the doctor's Christmas dinner, her thoughts continue to wander back to the time of her girlhood, Fidelma's loss of Conner, and how Kinky met her own young husband Paudeen.
It was great to get to know Kinky better, but as I said you'll want to introduce yourself to her in the first books. It's better to know where she is now first, before getting acquainted with her as a girl. There's a lot to the tale, and the book is a fast read just as the previous 'Irish Country' books are. There was a little slowing at the end, drawing out the finale, but that would be the only grouse over the story. Taylor has the ability to absorb you into his world, take you all the way to Ireland and really feel what it was like for Kinky during that timeframe in a sometimes volatile place. Reading about Kinky made me feel young again too! Taylor is a talented and knowledgeable writer, speeding you through the pages with fully fleshed characters that you find yourself caring a great deal about.
Included in the back of the book are some of Kinky's recipes and a glossary of the Irish terms used in the book. Now I can't wait for the next book, and get back to Dr's O'Reilly and Laverty with their busy medical practice and budding romances. Thank you, Mr. Taylor, for another great installment in 'Irish Country'.
Regarding the series as a whole: They are set in rural Ireland during the 1960s. The main characters are the established older doctor (Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly) who is bringing a younger doctor (Barry Laverty) into his practice to help ease the growing workload. The two physicians don't limit themselves to helping the residents of Balleybucklebo with their physical complaints. It seems that they end up with their fingers in many pies and the villagers look to them for their wisdom in helping with all life's problems. Mrs. Kinky Kincaid is the housekeeper and friend that looks over them and takes care of the home fires while these two run all over the countryside ministering to those who need them.
This particular book takes a detour and is primarily the story of Mrs. Kincaid and her early life (1920s) in County Cork prior to coming to Balleybucklebo. It's Christmas day and everyone in the household is out at various festivities except for Mrs. Kincaid. A group of children come to call and end up talking her into telling a story to them which ends up being her story from when she was a girl. Lots of Irish folklore is included and faeries and banshees make their appearance as well as other mythical creatures. A delightful historical lesson of that area is interwoven throughout the story.
I have always loved Kinky and thought she was such an interesting character that she deserved her own story. Obviously, the author did as well since that is exactly what this book is about. While I missed Dr O'Reilly and Dr. Laverty, I am sure they will make their appearance in the next installment which I am eagerly awaiting.
All of these books have been an absolute joy to read. The author really is Irish so it's authentic and the dialect/speech patterns used make you feel that you are a fly on the wall listening to the characters of this delightful little village. If this is the first time you have read one of these books, make sure to look in the back for a glossary of Irish terms. Not all of the dialogue makes sense to the American ear without it.
If, as a reader, you are looking for a high level of action or lots of plot with twists and turns, this book probably wouldn't be for you. It unfolds gently and meanders around just like the Irish mist so prevalent in the stories. If you enjoy slice-of-life books with a strong sense of place and time, this may be the perfect choice. I have found that I wait until I know I won't be rushed or hurried and will have the time to slowly savor each and every page before picking up Patrick Taylor's novels to read.
Beautiful writing, beautiful setting and a transport to a gentler time and place. One of my all-time favorites.
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