This is the third Irish Country book and this one has a lot of moving parts. It's still one of my favorites though. Not going to lie, though I initially felt for Doctor Barry Laverty in this one, I ended up losing all of my sympathy after a while due to how he was treating the woman he is dating (Patricia Spence). Him acting as if her studies or meeting new people, seeing new things is not as important as coming home to spend a few days with him during the holidays got old after a while. The star of this one really is Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly and his second chance romance with Sister (meaning nurse) Kitty O'Hallorhan. It's so weird though, the first couple of books acts as if O'Reilly and Kitty didn't really have much of anything until you read the later books. I am shocked that O'Reilly didn't look her up ages ago or at least get why she felt the way she did about him.
"An Irish Country Christmas" has the village of Ballybucklebo waiting for the Christmas season. Unlike in the first two books, we have Taylor switching between Doctor Barry Laverty and Doctor Fingal O'Reilly. Both men have the holidays and romance on their mind in this one.
Barry was an ass in this one. I can't say much more than this. I get that the book takes place in 1964 and of course men's attitudes about equality among the sexes had not set in yet, but good grief. Barry got involved with Patricia Spence in book #1 with the understanding that she was attending Cambridge. Him all of a sudden acting put upon because she is studying and meeting people got old fast. Barry I realized was quite selfish when it came to his relationship in this book.
“The same family own property with a big wood, and that was the very spot A. A. Milne called the Hundred Acre Wood in the Pooh stories.”
“Really?” He started to let his tone show his disinterest. He was certain she was using all this trivial chitchat as a smoke screen to avoid having to tell him she wasn’t coming home. “That’s interesting."
"Barry took a deep breath. “Look, Patricia, it’s great to chat, but I need to know so I can work out on-call schedules with Fingal . . . are you coming home?” He heard the edge of irritation creep into her voice. “I still don’t know.” Barry tried not to let his own disappointment show. “If you still don’t know, why did you call?” “Because, Barry, I like to hear your voice”—her tones were measured—“and I knew Jenny’s dad wouldn’t mind. I miss you, and I was happy we would be able to talk.”
I swear, after a while I started just sighing heavily and speeding past Barry's sections.
Fingal has a lot of thinking to do in this one. Kitty throws it out there that she could care for Fingal again, but she won't wait forever for him. Fingal is still haunted by his first wife's death.
The doctors are still doing what they can to take care of the villagers in Ballybucklebo. We get another antagonist in this one besides Bertie, we have an introduction to a former classmate of Fingal's, Doctor Roland Hercules Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was awful in these earlier books and one wonders why Taylor ended up getting rid of all of the doctors antagonists in this series. It has started to make things dull in these books.
The writing in these earlier works was good to me. Taylor explains diagnosis and what people did back then with regards to labor and other things.
The flow wasn't great though. I always tell people if you read these books be prepared for some repetition and slowness to things. It's not a bad way to spend an afternoon inside.
The happy ending was funny to me based on what ends up happening next in the series with regards to Barry and Fingal's romances.