January 15, 2012

An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor

Ok, so it was probably not the best idea to start with this particular book in the series. I didn't realize it was the 5th until I was finished with it. As such, I just didn't really connect with the characters and I wonder if I'd have liked it better had I read the other books. The novel was complete enough on its own but it just didn't do anything for me.

In the small village of Ballybucklebo, two doctors are at odds with their love lives. While they are both general practitioners and have their days filled with patients and other sorts of things that go on in a small town, one is confused about how he feels and the other is suffering from a broken heart. O'Reilly, after losing his wife long ago is unnerved at the thought of being attached again, but he is highly attracted to Kitty and cares for her dearly. He just isn't sure he can make the next step. Barry, has ust been dumped and he suffers from a broken heart, believing that he can never love again and doesn't want to risk putting himself out there anymore. In addition to the heartache, a local man is cheating some of his employees in the horse races and O'Reilly wants to put a stop to that as well.

O'Reilly didn't do much as a character for me. He was a good foil and strong backup for Barry, but on his own he was kind of strange. While I understand his feelings they just weren't expressed in a way that made me connect with him. Barry was annoying sometimes and while I understand his heartache having experienced it recently myself, it brought up several painful memories of my own and made the book a tough read. The side characters were all interesting but it was hard to keep track of them at times as there were quite a few. The housekeeper, Kinky, in particular gave me a good laugh every time I read about her.

There wasn't really a plot per say in this book. It was just a moment in time in the Irish countryside with a town full of quaint people. It basically just tracks their lives and feelings. As such, it was kind of boring to me and moved quite slowly. Even the little side plot about the horse races wasn't enough to make it truly interesting. I would have definitely liked to see more in-depth interaction between the characters instead of little snippets here and there. I did appreciate that they included some recipes at the end, although they didn't look like anything I would ever make myself.

An ok book, and I have a few others by Taylor lying around waiting to be read so I will read more by him. I guess I just wish I would have realized the order of them.

An Irish Country Courtship
Copyright 2010
464 pages

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