Title: An Irish Country Courtship
Author: Patrick Taylor
Genre: Contemporary fiction, Irish fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the publisher
First line: Barry Laverty – Doctor Barry Laverty – stood in a jam-packed drawing room where the sound level was as intense as the racket of riveting guns in Harland and Wolff’s shipyard.
Spoiler alert: This review will not contain spoilers from An Irish Country Courtship, but may include spoilers from the previous books in the series.
Doctors Barry Laverty and Fingall O’Reilly are once again enmeshed in the business – medical and otherwise – of Ballybucklebo. The docs are trying to foil a racehorse scam being perpetrated on the good-hearted village laborers – including buck-toothed Donal Donally – by Councilor Bishop. Barry is working on a difficult case that ends in an exotic diagnosis – but isn’t sure that village general practice is going to be enough to keep him challenged. As he considers his future in Ballybucklebo, he also undergoes a romantic reversal. Barry’s romantic prospects may be rocky, but O’Reilly is finding he may be ready to end his prolonged period of mourning for his first wife and open his heart again. Only how will his devoted housekeeper, Mrs. Kinkaid, react to another woman in O’Reilly’s life – and his kitchen?
Patrick Taylor’s quirky, homey series has become one of my favorite comfort reads. I adore the characters, and after five books, I feel like I truly know them. I love the way that the doctors interact with the villagers – knowing all of their history and personality quirks allows the doctors to diagnose and treat their patients much more effectively. It makes me long for a time when this was the way things were done.
It has been especially fun to watch the relationship between O’Reilly and Laverty evolve from one of revered – and feared – elder/mentor to student, to one of true friendship and partnership. Their housekeeper, Kinky, is by far my favorite character – I want my own! This is the type of book that evokes many smiles, a few tears, and more than a few chuckles. The only downside is that I’ve now read the entire series so far, and so am in the position of waiting for the next book.