An Irish Country Welcome (Irish Country Books Book 15)

Written by Patrick Taylor
Review by Thomas j. Howley

The latest in the endearing and long-running Irish Country series, this most recent novel is a paean to new beginnings – whether they’re a new baby or a neophyte doctor who just may be out of his element amidst simple and gregarious country people. Young Dr. Barry Laverty’s wife is enduring a complicated pregnancy, while Barry and mentor Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly are endeavoring to break in a new trainee, Sebastian Carson. Sebastian appears to be an upper-crust snob with the trappings of an English “toff” who makes an exceedingly egregious first impression.

As the new apprentice makes his rounds accompanied by Barry and/or Fingal, Sebastian reveals a few secrets of his own, which slowly change his colleagues’ opinions of him. As the doctors assist in deliveries, Barry worries about his own wife. Meanwhile Fingal supports one of his erstwhile patients and the small town of Balleybucklebo’s resident Master of Ceremonies, Donal Donnelly, in conducting a most satisfying sting operation against a local corrupt businessman.

Slowly and deliberately paced, this book, like others in the series, is a collection of related tales of life in a town and countryside filled with overwhelmingly likeable characters. Fans of thrillers, action and adventures may find it wanting, but many satisfied readers over the years will know and welcome what this charming novel delivers. Since it is set in the late Sixties in Ireland’s northern six counties, there is some tension associated with the ongoing civil strife – loyalist Unionists versus the native Irish republicans. Ballybucklebo tries and seems to avoid the troubles going on elsewhere, however. There are also some extensive and detailed descriptions of the human anatomy during invasive medical procedures. Newcomers will find that the book stands alone, and fans of James Herriot will be pleased.