Sunday, September 26, 2010
Review: An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor
In An Irish Country Courtship, it's the mid to late sixties in northern Ireland's little town of Ballybucklebo. Dr. Fingal O'Reilly and his newest assistant, Dr. Barry Laverty, live in the same house as their surgery. The housekeeper, Kinky Kincaide, keeps the doctors on their toes and is not afraid to voice her opinion. A fun character, to be sure!
The young Dr. Laverty has been seeing Patricia Spence but she breaks it off with him because she can't see herself living in such a small place where it seems everyone knows your business. She told the broken hearted Barry she would feel suffocated. As Barry walks around looking woeful and moaning oh, woe is me, Dr. O'Reilly gives him some good advice to throw himself into his work and get "on with it". He knows what it is to have a broken heart as his wife Deirdre died only 6 months after the wedding. Dr. O'Reilly has been mourning her since and that was over 20 years ago. It's time for him to move on as well and so he begins to court Kitty O'Halloran; a woman he knew long before he married Deirdre.
Dr. Laverty is tossed up as to whether he should stay and become a partner in the GP practice or should he branch out and become an OBGYN specialist. The feisty little copper-haired school teacher he recently met just might help him make up his mind and heal his broken heart along the way.
The two good doctors get involved in their patients lives as well as their healthcare. When one of Dr. O'Reilly's patients confided in him that he was being conned out of his shares in a racehorse owned by the local councillor, Bertie Bishop, Dr. O'Reilly figures out how to beat Bertie at his own game. His scheme was one of the amusing plot threads in the story.
Patrick Taylor knows how to bring ordinary people and everyday events to life and make them into a pleasant read. I enjoyed my visit with the residents of Ballybucklebo very much. It almost made me long to return to a slower way of life when doctors actually cared about their patients as people and not just as an insurance number. 4****
A lot of the dialogue is written in dialect using many unfamiliar (to me, anyway) Irish expressions and words. Taylor thoughtfully provides a glossary at the end of the book. This is Taylor's fifth book in the Irish Country series.
Diclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Forge books through the Goodreads first look program.