An Irish Country GirlLarge Print - 2010
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The Irish-doctor equivalent of James Herriot opens an Irish Country Girl at the exact moment is previous book, An Irish Country Christmas ends. In 1960’s Ulster, Doctors Laverty and O’Reilly are on their way to a Christmas party, being seen out the door by their housekeeper. But this novel is a departure from the ups and downs of the rural county practice of the doctors. Author Patrick Taylor picks up the tale of the housekeeper, Maureen “Kinky” Kincaid, as she welcomes a group of young carolers into the parlour and spins them the tale of a St. Stephen’s Day she experienced forty years before. In the 1920’s, the Great War is just over, but local belief in the Dubh Sidhe – the dark fairies – is still strong, especially for people like Kinky’s mother who has the gift of second sight. It is a talent she passes on to her daughter, for Kinky hears the banshee keening for her sister’s sweetheart, and when she does, her life changes forever. It is a gift that was not always welcome, however, and Kinky is also influenced by her teacher, Miss Toner. Miss Toner has fairly progressive ideas for women in 1920’s Catholic Ireland, like women having the vote, or having both careers and marriage. Knowledge of the ancient ones battles with Kinky’s hope for new ideas and the future, and she may find it unwise to ignore one at the expense of the other. Patrick Taylor has written another enjoyable novel rife with colourful local lore, language and characters, and he includes an excellent glossary of the local dialect and even some of Kinky’s own recipes to try, in case you want to sample the flavour of Ireland before his next book is published, which is rumoured to take up the threads of the doctors once more.
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