An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor (Canada) -(US)
Irish Country Doctor series, Book 4
Pages: 298 pages
Finished: Feb. 21, 2010
First Published: January 5, 2010
Genre: historical fiction, magical realism, cozy
"Run along, make your calls, and enjoy His Lordship's hooley," said Mrs. Maureen Kincaid, "Kinky" to her friends, as she knelt in the hall and sponged Ribena black-currant cordial from a small boy's tweed overcoat.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the books publicist.
Reason for Reading: The Irish Country Doctor series has been on my tbr list for a while and when I had an offer to read this fourth book, which can also be read as a stand-alone, I jumped at the chance to get my feet wet with the series.
Summary: This fourth book in the series takes a different direction than the other books by centering on Maureen Kincaid, housekeeper/cook for two country doctors in the 1960s. The book actually takes place during a few hours near the end of Book Three while Maureen is at home preparing Christmas dinner and the doctors have gone out. During this time Mrs. Kincaid reflects back on her earlier life in the 1920s, specifically following the years she was fourteen to eighteen years-old. The book tells the story of Maureen's biggest characteristic, being that she has "the sight" and how she first became that way, when she first saw the fey and had her first visions of the future. Her story also answers questions such as why she came to be called "Kinky", how she became a Mrs., and how she finally ended up as the doctors' housekeeper.
Comments: First, I'll say the book was not what I had expected. Not having read any of the other books in the series I did not know Mrs. Kincaid had "the sight" making the story a lot more whimsical than just the cozy village story I had expected. I thoroughly enjoyed the book from start to finish and since this book is so different from the others, as a newcomer to the series the only character I had to get to know was Maureen herself. A wonderful story, with exceptional characters, that tells a tale full of romance and heartbreak, life and death, religion and folklore at a time when people spoke of God in the same breath as they warned away the spirits.
Maureen is a lovely, spirited girl with such a bittersweet story. I took to her right from the first page. Actually the rest of her family was just as real and enjoyable that they all felt like people I knew by the end of the book. I wonder if any of them ever came to visit or vice versa in the previous books or if they may pop up again in future books now that they have been introduced. I am now even more eager to get started reading the first book, meet the doctors and read the type of story I was more expecting in the first place but now I will have a familiar face to greet me when I open its pages. Charming tale for those who enjoy cozies, but also appreciate a good dose of Irish folklore.