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review 2020-06-08 14:04
An Irish Country Family
An Irish Country Family - Patrick Taylor

Not too much to say. This one was just boring. There's some slight tension because of a new character who just disappears into the ether. Taylor really needs to stay in the present day in his books. Him jumping back a few years to show Barry on rotation was not needed and was boring. I don't know how much longer these books can go. This used to be one of my favorite series because Taylor actually didn't just have happily ever after endings for people all of the time. These books usually surround a big problem in the village that O'Reilly really doesn't need to get involved with and then it's solved in like 5 chapters while we readers get flashback scenes that no one asked for. Here's hoping the next one self corrects.

 

"An Irish Country Family" deals a bit with the Troubles in Ireland (it's 1969) and with Barry and Sue trying and failing to get pregnant. Taylor also has Doctor O'Reilly dealing with a new arrival to Ballybucklebo who seems focused on preventing the village into making a nearby location into a place for men and women to listen to music and dance. Taylor also has readers following Barry back a few years prior to the start of "An Irish Country Doctor" to watch him during his medical rotation. 

 

The characters are the same in this one really. We have Barry and Sue both getting frustrated that she can't get pregnant. I liked that Taylor had them discussing adoption, but you know that flamed out quickly.

 

O'Reilly still wants Kitty to retire but apparently he's not going to? I don't know, that whole plot-line needs to be dropped. It's annoying. Also I wonder why everyone goes to O'Reilly about things they can do without him. We had the whole surprise that took forever to unfold. We had the Marquis asking O'Reilly to accompany him when he honestly didn't need him. 

I loathed the newcomer to the village and once again we have a man that does something horrible to a woman and it's just ignored? I don't know what to say here. It's a weird choice. 

 

The writing was just okay in this one. I think I just got frustrated because the book seem to be moving at a glacial pace. Seeing the dates in the chapter headings made me feel impatient. 

 

The flow of the book was off. Why Taylor decided to show Barry 6 years in the past made zero sense. Thankfully his chapters were short, however, they were not necessary. I hope this is the last flashback of his we get. Taylor kept doing this with O'Reilly and it soon wore out its welcome for me as a reader. 

 

 

With regards to the setting, I think it's weird that Taylor wants to have Ballybucklebo be this perfect place in Ireland where Catholics and Protestants get together. There are some mentions of the fighting going on, but that's it. It's a weird choice and I don't know if he will ever get into more details or what in the series.

 

The book ends on a happy note, but also I had some confusion about things since we hear about a character who is moving but it's not mentioned before and I went wait what and then decided to move on because I didn't care a whit.


I still say "An Irish Country Girl" is the best book in this series. Taylor would do better to write more like that instead of the mismash between characters and past and present that isn't really working that well anymore.  

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text 2020-06-07 12:48
Reading progress update: I've read 368 out of 368 pages.
An Irish Country Family - Patrick Taylor

Eh this wasn't great. I skipped over all of Barry's flashback chapters. I really wish Taylor would stop that. It doesn't work or even matter when you are in the present day. And Taylor has another terrible man that assaults a woman but nothing really is done to them. I just felt let down by the time I got to the end of this one.

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review 2018-11-30 18:56
Christmas in Ballybucklebo
An Irish Country Christmas - Patrick Taylor

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. 

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review 2018-11-11 19:31
Book Meanders, Though Ends on a Hopeful Note
An Irish Country Cottage - Patrick Taylor

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!

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review 2018-02-06 18:26
An Irish Country Practice
An Irish Country Practice - Patrick Taylor

Ehh I dithered about this one, but honestly it had so many things wrong with it, I could not enjoy it much. I think that's because Barry sucked a lot in this one and we had random plot devices used to get rid of a romance and a character that has been around for several books. I usually enjoy these books and the village of Ballybucklebo, but ultimately think this was just a so-so installment in the Irish Country series.

In "An Irish Country Practice" Barry and Fingal are dealing with different things. 

Barry is becoming increasingly nervous about marrying his fiancee Sue Nolan due to her wanting children and Barry being hesitant about being a father. If you are wondering where this random divergent interest thing came from, you are not the only one. Up until the last book there has been no mention of Barry not wanting children. I at least understood why he was hesitant in the last book due to being concerned about bringing children into a world that is dealing with so many awful things. But this book he turns into Ebeneezer Scrooge and decides that he doesn't like kids and was really nasty towards one of them to the point I really wish that Sue had dumped Barry's butt.

Fingal is agreeing to take on a trainee and to help with having GPs certified. It's not that interesting. He also has to help out his colleague Fitzpatrick who develops an addiction to betting (that comes out of nowhere) and realizes that one of the village women is being beaten by her spouse. None of the stories were satisfactorily resolved to me. I mean they were resolved, but resolved with what I called hand-waving writing to not have to really deal with what Taylor sets in motion in this book. We also still have Fingal wanting Kitty to retire and is going around "subtly" trying to make her see how much more appealing it would be if she stayed home. I can honestly say that I don't even get why Fingal wants Kitty to retire just so she can sit around and be outdoors with him while he still has plenty of work? I hope she doesn't retire. Between Fingal and Barry I wanted to kick both of them in the shins for how they were acting in this one. 

The main reason why I liked this one is that there are callbacks to the villagers in this one. We forget it's been about 3 years or so since Barry has started working with Fingal, so we follow up with some of his earlier patients and some we have not heard from since "An Irish Country Christmas." 

The writing (medical) I will just say was okay. I just thought the issues which Taylor tried to delve into in this one didn't make a lot of sense at all with the overall story structure. 

The ending was just okay and I was very annoyed we only hear about Barry's wedding in the afterword written by Kinky Kincaid (now married and I can't even remember her married name).

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