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Fiction Review – An Irish Country Doctor


An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor


Review by Mirah W. (mwelday)


Almost two years ago my in-laws came for a visit and my MIL brought me a bag full of books.  Her sharing books with me all the time is just one of the many reasons she is an awesome MIL…and there’s no sarcasm intended here, she really is awesome. Anyway, I digress.  In the bag were about 15 books, several of which were part of the Irish Country Doctor series by Patrick Taylor.  I had never heard of the series but thought they seemed interesting.  So I put the bag of books next to the bookshelf with the best of intentions, things got busy, other books got read, and recently I rediscovered the bag and decided to give the first book of the series, An Irish Country Doctor, a try.

The story, set in the 1960s, reminds me of two of my favorite television shows: BBC’s Ballykissangel, which aired from 1996-2001, and the CW’s current hit Hart of Dixie. I know this may sound strange but hear me out.   I won’t provide in depth descriptions of both tv series here…you’ll just have to take my word for it or take the time to watch both series and judge for yourself.  Just as in Ballykissangel, the new doctor in Ballybucklebo (the novel’s rural Irish town) has to learn, and come to accept and/or tolerate, the way things are done there.  And just as in Hart of Dixie, the new doctor has to realize practicing medicine in a small town is different than the city; people want their doctors to do more than just heal and prescribe medicine and the role of the doctor takes on new dimensions. And the quirky characters of a small village in Ireland and a small town in Alabama are strangely, humorously similar.

So back to the book itself. Dr. Barry Laverty is recently out of medical school and looking to gain experience in the profession.  He is drawn to small Ballybucklebo and the opportunity to be an assistant at Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly’s practice.  In the beginning of An Irish Country Doctor, Dr. O’Reilly seems to be just a crotchety old doctor who is stuck in his ways.  Within a short period of time Dr. Laverty comes to see Dr. O’Reilly in a different light.  I won’t tell you what situations bring Dr. Laverty to this conclusion because that would just spoil things.

The quirky characters, funny doctor-patient visits, heartwarming moments, and bits of wisdom crafted by Taylor all come together to make this book an enjoyable retreat.  I look forward to visiting with the doctors again in the next installment of the series.  And I’m hoping my MIL may have some new books to share in the future; she has great taste.




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4 Responses to “Fiction Review – An Irish Country Doctor”

  1. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm says:

    A delightful series and one of my absolute favorites! Have you read any of Jeanine McMullen’s books? She’s an Aussie who purchased a smallholding in Wales and her memoir’s are among my favorites.Her first of three is My Small Country Living; she passed away a few years ago but I still re-read her books yearly. Yes, they are *that* good!

  2. MIRAH W. (mwelday) says:

    I haven’t read anything by Jeanine McMullen but I will have to look them up. Thank you for the recommendation!

  3. I have read mostly all book of Mcmullen. All are really interesting, may be it will be also like other, so next week going to buy it.

  4. Priscilla C. (MSCOZY) says:

    This has been an enjoyable series for me.

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