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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Do I love Fingal or Barry More? Fingal's More My Age--Barry Could Be My Son. So

An Irish Country VillageAn Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an example of winning a Goodreads review copy and deciding to read the series of books from which it comes. I won the 9th book in this wonderful group of books about Fingal O' Reilly: Irish Doctor is the title of that volume. So taken was I by the story of an older widowed GP in the Northern Irish fictional village of Ballybucklebo and the recently graduated new doctor, Barry Laverty that I went to the first volume to start the series. This, An Irish Country Village, is #2 and continues into the 6th month of Barry's tenure as a conditional member of Fingal's practice. If all goes well after a year, Fingal is going to offer Barry a permanent position.

Through #1, Barry, not really used to a small country practice and the intimate relationships with the community, has gotten his sea legs and is feeling fairly adequate though inexperienced. Nevertheless by this installment he has overcome his nervousness working with the bluff former sailor and has even adapted some of his elder's methods of interacting with the rural patients that make up most of their clientele. During this tale, however, an elder has died after Barry's diagnosis and treatment and it is possible that the widow is going to file a malpractice suit against him. Even without that threat the loss of the patient has rocked some of the inhabitants' confidence in the young newcomer's abilities. So, in Barry's eyes, he has to go back to square one to gain back their belief and has to depend upon a pathologist's findings to avert the suit.

In addition, Barry's sweetheart, Patricia is trying to receive a full boat scholarship to study at Cambridge University for the next three years. If she passes the exam he worries that such a long separation will destroy the young relationship that he has with a woman he's pretty sure is the love of his life. Should he stay in Ballybucklebo if she succeeds or seek a place in England?

All the while, we encounter the people of the village, the trials and tribulations both in health and in daily life and we move with Barry and Fingal among them. It is a warm and welcoming village with gossip and antagonisms, love and death, gambling and drinking, marriages and new life. It is a pleasant place to be and like Barry it would be hard for the reader to choose to leave.

Looking forward to #3--what is going to happen to Barry and Patricia's relationship and their careers? And who is this Kitty woman who has re-entered Fingal's life? Oh, and what new recipes will Kiki provide at the end of the next story. How are Arthur Guinness, the wellie napping dog, and Lady MacBeth, the diva cat, doing?

These books can be read alone with no problem but let me tell you, if you like Irish folk and country tales, once you've read one, you'll want to read them all.

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