An Irish Country Love Story

Written by Patrick Taylor
Review by Thomas j. Howley

This newest edition in a long-running, very successful series is actually a collection of interconnected love stories, and not just the romantic kind. Imagine Ireland’s Ulster province described similarly to author James Herriot’s beloved Yorkshire, and the fictional town of Ballybucklebo akin to Sheriff Andy Taylor’s Mayberry. Patrick Taylor’s homespun universe is filled with loveable, magnetically appealing characters of all types – humans and animals.  Amidst the romantic adventures, there are tales of love for special dogs and horses, and unswerving attachment to the land and traditions. All of these charming tales swirl around the unexpected threat of the town losing their adored Doctor’s home and practice.

Taylor makes clear Ballybucklebo is simply a “great big scattered family where everybody pitches in.” The author brilliantly describes the natural beauty of the Irish coastal setting and translates the colorful regional dialect in a helpful glossary. He even attempts the impossible by making Irish food somehow sound delicious. Cynics may find the wholesome goodness of this series facile and perhaps too saccharine. But the continued success of these great novels is more likely an antidote to much of what passes as current popular culture. Recommended along with a cup of tea and an armchair by a fire.