Well this is another Christmas book though I didn't realize it at the time. I think I just skimmed over the synopsis and started reading right away.
I will say that this may be a major change for many who have been reading the Irish Country books. Though Taylor invites some history into his books, he has mostly stayed away from the Troubles in Ireland. Now though, he takes on the first signs of this when he showcases the fights between the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.
I am not surprised he finally showed it in his books, Barry's now wife Sue, is a member of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) and has often talked about Dr. Martin Luther King, and one man, one vote. I think Taylor did a good job of incorporating that into his book, but I still find it unrealistic that the town of Ballybucklebo would not have any issues with things going on. Though that part was okay, I thought the rest of the book was a wash. Too many plots were going on and we didn't get to spend much time before rushing off to read about something else.
"An Irish Country Village" takes 18 months after the events in the last book. FYI, I am still salty we didn't get a wedding scene in the last book and instead had Kinky describing it before Taylor gets into his usual recipes.
We have Barry and Sue returning home from the Christmas holidays when they stop due to fire trucks rushing past. They follow and realize that Donal's family's cottage is up in flames. Barry and Sue of course take the whole family back to number one (O'Reilly's home) and soon the whole village pitches in to help out Donal and his family. Donal and his family are able to move temporarily, but the village does what it can to help him rebuild his old cottage.
We still have O'Reilly still wishing that Kitty would retire to spend more time with him (eyeroll city) and that's about it. He and Kitty are happy, and O'Reilly does what he does best, sits around and meddles with things.
We have a new doctor in this one that I didn't feel anything about her. She was just there, and boring in my eyes. We have reference to the doctor in the last book who takes over Fitzpatrick's practice and that's about it. It's so weird how Taylor will just ignore characters and go on and on about those I would happily take a break from (like Bertie and Flo). Fitzpatrick does appear in this one, and we get another romance on the horizon.
As I said above the book talks about the Troubles for the first time. I have never read about the march that took place on January 1, 1969. The People's Democracy began a four-day march from Belfast to Derry, which got harassed and attacked by loyalists. We even have Sue and Barry go and march in the book and I think the incident that is referenced in this book, is about Burntollet Bridge. We have Barry witnessed people getting attacked and doing what he can to help a young woman who is hit repeatedly over the head. I am not going to lie, I was sick of Sue's attitude in this one. She wants to continue marching even though people are being beaten all around them and doesn't get why Barry (who is a doctor) refused to continue on and stays and tends to the woman he got attacked. I read a bit more about this incident and it sound pretty bad. The book ends in March, but reading further, there are several more incidents that will be occurring that it seems Taylor will incorporate into this book.
We have major plots also dealing with Barry and Sue's fertility problems, Bertie's health issues, etc. It just reads like same old same old in this one.
There is an interesting ending though with the talk of someone who has been in this series from the beginning, who may emigrate due to the fights between the Catholics and Protestants. And it seems to be setting up possibly Barry's exit from this series.
I forgot to mention this book is $15 and is not worth the price at all.
New Year's Eve (December 31): Read a book about endings, new starts, or books where things go BOOM!