This has spoilers for those who have not read the other books in this series. Please start with book #1 before reading this series or you will be completely lost by all of the characters.
I have been reading Patrick Taylor for a while. With the ninth book in his An Irish Country series I was looking forward to visiting back with Doctors Laverty and O'Reilly and the fictional village of Ballybucklebo. The last book I read in the series was "Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor". I skipped "The Wily O'Reilly" which was a collection of columns that Taylor wrote about Fingal O'Reilly and published before.
With this newest offering we have the book focusing on Final dating and becoming engaged to his first wife Deirdre. We go back and forth between past and present with Fingal now happily married to Kitty but also thinking about some of the things that occurred to him while serving on a warship during WWII.
I didn't mind the past and present structure in the last full length book or the one before that. It made sense and it helped to see how Kitty and Fingal first met. And it actually worked quite nicely with the overall present day plot.
However this time I see no idea why the book was structured this way. Honestly a novella or just a full length novel depicting Fingal and his early days on the warship, engaged, married, and eventually widowed (not a spoiler, we know from book #1 he was a widower) and just be done with it. Breaking this up into this book and now based on the afterword there will be one more book showing his eventual marriage to Deirdre that I am just going to pass on.
The present day plot is not much better. We have Fingal thinking about how he can persuade Colin Brown's (a reader favorite that has been in all of the books) father to let him sit for a test to see about him continuing with his education. And we have Fingal feeling jealous and upset about someone from Kitty's past. That's it. That is the entire present day plot.
We don't really have anything on the first part besides O'Reilly have one conversation and then not doing anything about it for several weeks apparently and even when this is resolved he did not one thing besides bringing the conversation about.
The second party I thought was just unreal to include. We have a character who got married being upset that his now wife after they broke things off may have someone else that she cared for her in her past. That's it. She's not in love with this person, not going to see them, but this became a thing that actually took up several chapters in the present day side.
Readers are cheated of the chance to see Barry Laverty propose, move on from being hurt by the first woman readers will remember and able to be happy for him. Barry lives with Fingal and Kitty and you barely see him in this book. Neither is the new partner Jennifer Bradley shown besides one key scene. The same thing happened with the character of Kinky. She is barely in this which is a surprise since fans of the series knows that she is preparing for marriage.
I think that unless this book switches back to the third person and includes the points of view of either Barry or Jennifer I am going to just put this series away and move on from it.