Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An Irish Country Christmas

An Irish Country Christmas
by Patrick Taylor
Recommended Ages: 13+

In the third book of the Irish Country series, young general practice physician Barry Laverty feels the strain of distance on his relationship with the lovely Patricia Spence. She is studying civil engineering at Cambridge, while he is still settling into his role as assistant to Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly of Ballybucklebo, Northern Ireland. The question that nearly brings their budding romance to a halt is whether she will make it home in time for Christmas, 1964.

Meanwhile, a flame is rekindling between the older, widower doctor and Kitty O'Halloran, a senior nurse from the Royal Hospital in Belfast. Conflict is heating up between O'Reilly and an eccentric old rival who has moved into the next practice over. And his mind is turning over a devilishly clever scheme to help a struggling single mother give her children a merry Christmas.

While Barry carries more and more of the weight of the practice, especially during his senior's illness, he feels compassion for a lonely and often cranky older woman, temptation towards an attractive young teacher, concern about a variety of medical complaints presenting themselves at his surgery, and mischievous delight in one wicked little imp's improvisation during the village's ecumenical Christmas play.

Little Colin Brown's climactic line was a comic highlight in a story full of warmth, intrigue and the charm of Irish manners, dialects and cuisine. Again I particularly enjoyed John Keating's audiobook performance of this book. I look forward to checking out the next couple of books in the series, An Irish Country Girl and An Irish Country Courtship.

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