Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Taylor's fifth novel about the life of an Irish country doctor in Ballybucklebo, set on the cusp of 1965, is a warm, friendly tale about an idealized way of life. Dr. Fingal Flaherty O'Reilly, the local GP, tries to balance the needs of his patients with many personal demands. There's a rekindled love for Kitty O'Halloran; his housekeeper Kinky Kincaid's fears that she will no longer be needed; and the broken heart of his protege, Barry Laverty, a young doctor torn between staying in a small town after the failure of his relationship and searching for something more. A subplot about corrupt, arrogant town councilor Bertie Bishop trying to cheat his employees out of their shares of a racehorse adds intrigue. An exquisite sense of place and Taylor's authentic medical experience help compensate for an undercurrent of outdated gender roles (housewives are happy; working women are not). Readers who adore novels set in rural Ireland (and fans of Jan Karon's U.S.-based Mitford books) will enjoy settling in again with Taylor. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Set in the 1965, this gentle slice-of-life novel is the fifth in a series about life in the colorful Ulster village of Ballybucklebo. The only doctor in town, Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, is looking for a partner and welcomes younger doctor Barry Laverty into his home and his practice. After being suddenly and publicly dumped by his girlfriend of a few months, Laverty is unsure if he wants to stay in the small town. Trying to convince him to stay, O'Reilly involves Laverty in various town intrigues, including a complicated horse-betting swindle being run by a local politician on a group of tradesmen. At the same time, the widowed O'Reilly attempts to rekindle a romance from his youth. O'Reilly's stoic, painful attempt to build a new life for himself contrasts sharply with Laverty and his excessive whining about the breakup of a relatively short-term relationship. The town is stocked with a Hollywood-worthy cast of supporting characters, including busybodies, eccentrics, and a beautiful schoolteacher. Appendixes include a glossary for readers not familiar with Gaelic slang and recipes for dishes made in the book.--Block, Marta Segal Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Continuation of Taylor's popular series about country doctors in the tiny Northern Irish town of Ballybucklebo, circa 1964.At Number 1, Main Street, Ballybucklebo, Dr. Fingal O'Reilly still grapples with the symptoms of his motley group of patients and with the prickly mien of his imperious housekeeper, "Kinky" Kincaid. Kinky has even more to be testy about these daysshe fears that Fingal's new girlfriend, Kitty, may actually convince the long-widowed doctor to marry again, thus dethroning Kinky as domestic tyrant. O'Reilly's young assistant Barry Laverty is reeling from a breakup with his lady love Patricia, who's told him in no uncertain terms that life as a general practitioner's wife in a backwater town is not for her. But what if Barry were to train in a specialty, say obstetrics/gynecology, for which he's been told he has a flair? Not only would he no longer have to refer all his interesting diagnoses to Belfast for treatment, he might be able to entice Patricia to the altar if he practiced in the big city. The plot, such as it is (Taylor's primary obsession appears to be the culture and dialect of Ulster province), revolves around these romantic concerns, as well as Fingal's well-intentioned attempt to bail out working-class Ballybucklebo-ites. A few of the local pub crawlers have gotten themselves embroiled in the latest scheme of unscrupulous politician and real-estate mogul Bertie Bishop to separate them from their hard-earned shillings. It's up to Fingal to figure out how the scamfeaturing a crooked jockey and depreciating shares in a racehorseoperates before Bertie's marks lose everything. Interspersed throughout, medical cases, described in suitably gruesome detail (a long-festering liver abscess being only one example), will satisfy the most voyeuristic armchair physician. Fear notin the cozy world of Ballybucklebo, hearts may be on the line but lives seldom are.Nostalgia for a simpler time, plus an idyllic depiction of universal health coverage in action, may be the main appeal here.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.