I picked up the first book in the Irish Country series because I was looking for a peaceful read, and this little novel appeared to offer it. I am happy to say it did. The author himself is a medical doctor from Ireland, and this fictional narrative has heart and belief behind it. There’s not much to raise the pulse, but the plot is just right to pull you through this idyll.
Dr. Barry Laverty is fresh out of medical school and heads to the country town of Ballybucklebo in hopes of being an assistant to the current town’s doctor, Fingal O’Reilly. The quaint town outside of Belfast is full of delightful characters who constantly need guidance – far beyond just the physical – from the two doctors. Barry gets a helping hand from the world-wise and gruff Fingal, and their burgeoning friendship is a delight to follow. The minor escapades of the novel resolve without too much issue, but An Irish Country Doctor is less about plot and more a glimpse into a world we all want to live in.
If you’re looking for a charming vacation and light reading than this book would probably fit the bill. It deserves to mention the similar and superior James Herriot books. This tale does not quite have the ultimate charm of All Creatures Great and Small, but if you have already acquainted yourself with those, give this a go.
My one caveat is the language. It’s pretty strong in the beginning. It grows milder as the book progresses, but it took away from the story for me. Whether it’s there for reality’s sake or for some other reason, I felt like it hurt the idyllic feel of the novel. Of course, I think cursing is lazy in real life or in fiction, but it’s worth noting.
Taylor’s story made me want to go find a peaceful village and enjoy the one I live in more. I may not continue to the next one in the series right away, but I know there’s something for another rainy day.
6.5 stars out of 10