New & Noteworthy
It’s easy to forget one is traveling by novel when reading one of Patrick Taylor’s “Irish Country” yarns. He transports us to the Ulster village of Ballybucklebo in the 1960’s and introduces us to the wonderful people residing there. He captures their idiosyncrasies and lifestyles so surely that it’s like taking a trip back in time. An Irish Country Courtship is the fourth entry in the series, set to come out in September.
Taylor, who was born and raised in Bangor County Down in Northern Ireland, is a distinguished medical researcher and brings his knowledge of medicine to play in his village novels. Ballybucklebo is the charming village where two overworked doctors work to mend the bodies and spirits of the town’s inhabitants. As the novel opens, Drs. Barry Laverty and Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly are celebrating the Christmas season with the townsfolk. At the widower Fingal’s side is the lovely Miss Kitty and accompanying Barry is his love, Patricia.
After less than a year, Barry, is looking forward to becoming a fixture in the community, until an unexpected romantic reversal gives him second thoughts. Will he be truly happy tending to routine coughs and colds for the rest of his career? When a more challenging case comes along, like a rare tropical disease, all he can do is pass it on to a qualified specialist or big-city hospital. As much as Barry enjoys the rough and tumble of life in County Down, is running a humble GP’s shop all he wants out of life? He slowly begins to believe that he would like to specialize in obstetrics, for which he’s shown to have a knack.
Barry’s mentor, Fingal, is going through some personal upheavals too. After mourning the wife he lost in World War II for decades, he’s finally allowed Kitty into his life. However, his budding courtship is not going over well with Kinky, the doctors’ housekeeper, who fears having her position usurped by the doctor’s new flame.
Meanwhile, life goes on in Ballybucklebo, giving both doctors plenty of distraction from their troubles. For the men are much more than doctors. Indeed their lives are interwoven with those of the community in many facets. From a mysterious outbreak at the local school to a complicated swindle involving a racehorse, the doctors need all their combined wit and compassion to put things right again.
The heartbroken Barry realizes he will recover from Patricia’s let-down . . . especially after he meets the lovely young schoolteacher, Sue Nolan again. As for Fingal, he finally sees there may be room in his life for more than one woman.
I can’t provide you with an actual trip to Ireland but I can recommend you take a literal one via the pages of An Irish Country Courtship.