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Doctor O'Reilly heeds the call to serve his country in Irish Doctor in Peace and At War, the new novel in Patrick Taylor's beloved Irish Country series Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plans to marry midwife Dierdre Mawhinney. Those plans were complicated by the outbreak o Doctor O'Reilly heeds the call to serve his country in Irish Doctor in Peace and At War, the new novel in Patrick Taylor's beloved Irish Country series Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plans to marry midwife Dierdre Mawhinney. Those plans were complicated by the outbreak of World War II and the call of duty. Assigned to the HMS Warspite, a formidable 30,000-ton battleship, Surgeon Lieutenant O'Reilly soon found himself face-to-face with the hardships of war, tending to the dreadnought's crew of 1,200 as well as to the many casualties brought aboard. Life in Ballybuckebo is a far cry from the strife of war, but over two decades later O'Reilly and his younger colleagues still have plenty of challenges: an outbreak of German measles, the odd tropical disease, a hard-fought pie-baking contest, and a local man whose mule-headed adherence to tradition is standing in the way of his son's future. Now older and wiser, O'Reilly has prescriptions for whatever ails...until a secret from the past threatens to unravel his own peace of mind. Shifting deftly between two very different eras, Patrick Taylor's latest Irish Country novel reveals more about O'Reilly's tumultuous past, even as Ballybucklebo faces the future in its own singular fashion.


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Doctor O'Reilly heeds the call to serve his country in Irish Doctor in Peace and At War, the new novel in Patrick Taylor's beloved Irish Country series Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plans to marry midwife Dierdre Mawhinney. Those plans were complicated by the outbreak o Doctor O'Reilly heeds the call to serve his country in Irish Doctor in Peace and At War, the new novel in Patrick Taylor's beloved Irish Country series Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plans to marry midwife Dierdre Mawhinney. Those plans were complicated by the outbreak of World War II and the call of duty. Assigned to the HMS Warspite, a formidable 30,000-ton battleship, Surgeon Lieutenant O'Reilly soon found himself face-to-face with the hardships of war, tending to the dreadnought's crew of 1,200 as well as to the many casualties brought aboard. Life in Ballybuckebo is a far cry from the strife of war, but over two decades later O'Reilly and his younger colleagues still have plenty of challenges: an outbreak of German measles, the odd tropical disease, a hard-fought pie-baking contest, and a local man whose mule-headed adherence to tradition is standing in the way of his son's future. Now older and wiser, O'Reilly has prescriptions for whatever ails...until a secret from the past threatens to unravel his own peace of mind. Shifting deftly between two very different eras, Patrick Taylor's latest Irish Country novel reveals more about O'Reilly's tumultuous past, even as Ballybucklebo faces the future in its own singular fashion.

30 review for An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Obsidian

    This one had my mind wandering. The past and present narrative structure did not work as well with this one. I think I fell asleep a few times trying to finish this one. I also did not care about Fingal's first wife Deirdre at all and reading about their relationship (two years in) didn't do much for me at all. I also still think Fingal getting jealous about Kitty's past was beyond ridiculous. Previous review. This has spoilers for those who have not read the other books in this series. Please st This one had my mind wandering. The past and present narrative structure did not work as well with this one. I think I fell asleep a few times trying to finish this one. I also did not care about Fingal's first wife Deirdre at all and reading about their relationship (two years in) didn't do much for me at all. I also still think Fingal getting jealous about Kitty's past was beyond ridiculous. Previous review. This has spoilers for those who have not read the other books in this series. Please start with book #1 before reading this series or you will be completely lost by all of the characters. I have been reading Patrick Taylor for a while. With the ninth book in his An Irish Country series I was looking forward to visiting back with Doctors Laverty and O'Reilly and the fictional village of Ballybucklebo. The last book I read in the series was "Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor". I skipped "The Wily O'Reilly" which was a collection of columns that Taylor wrote about Fingal O'Reilly and published before. With this newest offering we have the book focusing on Final dating and becoming engaged to his first wife Deirdre. We go back and forth between past and present with Fingal now happily married to Kitty but also thinking about some of the things that occurred to him while serving on a warship during WWII. I didn't mind the past and present structure in the last full length book or the one before that. It made sense and it helped to see how Kitty and Fingal first met. And it actually worked quite nicely with the overall present day plot. However this time I see no idea why the book was structured this way. Honestly a novella or just a full length novel depicting Fingal and his early days on the warship, engaged, married, and eventually widowed (not a spoiler, we know from book #1 he was a widower) and just be done with it. Breaking this up into this book and now based on the afterword there will be one more book showing his eventual marriage to Deirdre that I am just going to pass on. The present day plot is not much better. We have Fingal thinking about how he can persuade Colin Brown's (a reader favorite that has been in all of the books) father to let him sit for a test to see about him continuing with his education. And we have Fingal feeling jealous and upset about someone from Kitty's past. That's it. That is the entire present day plot. We don't really have anything on the first part besides O'Reilly have one conversation and then not doing anything about it for several weeks apparently and even when this is resolved he did not one thing besides bringing the conversation about. The second party I thought was just unreal to include. We have a character who got married being upset that his now wife after they broke things off may have someone else that she cared for her in her past. That's it. She's not in love with this person, not going to see them, but this became a thing that actually took up several chapters in the present day side. Readers are cheated of the chance to see Barry Laverty propose, move on from being hurt by the first woman readers will remember and able to be happy for him. Barry lives with Fingal and Kitty and you barely see him in this book. Neither is the new partner Jennifer Bradley shown besides one key scene. The same thing happened with the character of Kinky. She is barely in this which is a surprise since fans of the series knows that she is preparing for marriage. I think that unless this book switches back to the third person and includes the points of view of either Barry or Jennifer I am going to just put this series away and move on from it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    This is book nine in the Irish Doctor series. It is best to read this series in order as Taylor builds the next story on the past one. In this book Taylor flashes back and forth between Northern Ireland in the 1960s and the Wartime travails of 1939 to 1945 at home and at sea. Dr. Fingal O’Reilly served in the Royal Navy during World War Two. The author tells of O’Reilly’s wartime courtship of his wife, Deirdre. Deirdre was a nurse midwife in training when they met. I found the part of the story a This is book nine in the Irish Doctor series. It is best to read this series in order as Taylor builds the next story on the past one. In this book Taylor flashes back and forth between Northern Ireland in the 1960s and the Wartime travails of 1939 to 1945 at home and at sea. Dr. Fingal O’Reilly served in the Royal Navy during World War Two. The author tells of O’Reilly’s wartime courtship of his wife, Deirdre. Deirdre was a nurse midwife in training when they met. I found the part of the story about O’Reilly’s service on HMS Warspite most interesting. Taylor tells of HMS Warspite’s action in the Battle of West Fjord in Norway and later off Italy. Then he covers HMS Warspite’s in time in Alexandria, Egypt. O’Reilly was a medical officer on the Warspite. The book opens in the 1960s with housekeeper Kinky’s wedding. Young Barry Laverty is back in Ballybucklebo and medical student Jenny is helping out for the summer. The book is well written and researched. I really enjoyed the various Irish accents, the humor and the pithy insights. In this book, aboard HMS Warspite there is a wide variety of accents from Scottish to Cockney. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is thirteen and a half hours long. John Keating does a fantastic job narrating the book. This series works best as an audiobook because Keating does such a great job with all the various accents and the pronunciations of the Irish words. Keating has narrated the series from the beginning. Keating is an Irish actor and award-winning audiobook narrator.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sharen

    The Irish Doctor series makes pleasant reading. However, I admit to feeling extremely distressed by a reference that the author makes to Wilfred Owen (page 317-hardcover). Fingal is reflecting on war: "He could hear the voice of his father, the late professor of Classics and English Literature, quoting Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," 'How sweet and right it is to die for one's country." The hell it was, although Professor Connan O'Reilly could perhaps be forgiven for being The Irish Doctor series makes pleasant reading. However, I admit to feeling extremely distressed by a reference that the author makes to Wilfred Owen (page 317-hardcover). Fingal is reflecting on war: "He could hear the voice of his father, the late professor of Classics and English Literature, quoting Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," 'How sweet and right it is to die for one's country." The hell it was, although Professor Connan O'Reilly could perhaps be forgiven for being sentimental about warfare." This comment does a grave injustice to Wilfed Owen, who wrote some of the finest anti-war poetry of the First World War. Owen railed against the senseless loss of lives. To suggest that the title of his poem is a sentimental tribute to fighting 'for love of King and Country' misrepresents his work. I believe Patrick Taylor owes Wilfred Owen an apology and needs to correct this comment for readers who are unfamiliar with Wilfred Owen's poetry. As one can see from the text below, Owen with bitterness, sadness and regret views "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." as the old Lie. "...If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori."

  4. 5 out of 5

    The Library Lady

    The book switches smoothly from Dr O'Reilly's adventures in WWII to 1965 Ballybucklebo where perpetual scapegrace Colin wants to take an exam for higher learning, but his da wants him to follow in his footsteps in a trade, scheming Bertie Bishop's heart attack seems to have truly affected his heart, and Mrs Maureen "Kinky" Kincaid marries her mailman beau Archie, causing some changes in the O'Reilly house. Barry Laverty is back, though he doesn't appear much here, and in the WWII era chapters we The book switches smoothly from Dr O'Reilly's adventures in WWII to 1965 Ballybucklebo where perpetual scapegrace Colin wants to take an exam for higher learning, but his da wants him to follow in his footsteps in a trade, scheming Bertie Bishop's heart attack seems to have truly affected his heart, and Mrs Maureen "Kinky" Kincaid marries her mailman beau Archie, causing some changes in the O'Reilly house. Barry Laverty is back, though he doesn't appear much here, and in the WWII era chapters we meet his dad Tom, and learn of Barry's birth, then in 1965 meet Tom again along with his wife Carol as they return from Australia.I don't remember how far I got with this series when I first tried it, but I am now a convert

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Re-read 2018 This book looks more in-depth at Dr. O'Reilly's time on a warship during World War II. It also has some flash-forwards to the late 1960's in Northern Ireland which is the present day for this series. There are fewer patients seen in this book, with more of every day, non-work, issues taking over the narrative. While I enjoyed this book, I didn't like it as much as the earlier books in the series. I'm starting to get into the books that I haven't read before and hope that more of the Re-read 2018 This book looks more in-depth at Dr. O'Reilly's time on a warship during World War II. It also has some flash-forwards to the late 1960's in Northern Ireland which is the present day for this series. There are fewer patients seen in this book, with more of every day, non-work, issues taking over the narrative. While I enjoyed this book, I didn't like it as much as the earlier books in the series. I'm starting to get into the books that I haven't read before and hope that more of the doctor part of the series comes back.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Janie

    I still love this series, but this volume was not one of my favorites. The chapters alternate between the current setting of the book and Fingal's time in the war, but the war chapters are somewhat heavy with war details of naval maneuvers and attacks. However, Taylor uses all this to tell the backstory well. I still love this series, but this volume was not one of my favorites. The chapters alternate between the current setting of the book and Fingal's time in the war, but the war chapters are somewhat heavy with war details of naval maneuvers and attacks. However, Taylor uses all this to tell the backstory well.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Weiss

    “It’s no place for a man when his wife’s having a wean” Prenatal classes and the notion of a man holding his partner’s hand and coaching her breathing as she gave birth? Forget it! In 1960s Ballybucklebo (as in most of the “civilized” world at that time), when it came to the birthing process, most men simply beat a hasty retreat and waited in their local with their friends while the event played out. Misogyny and male machismo was culturally endemic and equality of the sexes was an idea whose “It’s no place for a man when his wife’s having a wean” Prenatal classes and the notion of a man holding his partner’s hand and coaching her breathing as she gave birth? Forget it! In 1960s Ballybucklebo (as in most of the “civilized” world at that time), when it came to the birthing process, most men simply beat a hasty retreat and waited in their local with their friends while the event played out. Misogyny and male machismo was culturally endemic and equality of the sexes was an idea whose time had yet to come. With much thumping of puffed-up chests, men went so far as to crow about the additional dose of masculinity they believed it took to sire male progeny over mere daughters. “Any ould tinker can put a hole in the bottom of a bucket … but it takes a craftsman to put a spout on a teapot.” And the point of this lengthy preamble would be? I read a number of other reviews of AN IRISH DOCTOR IN PEACE AND AT WAR that took issue with Fingal O’Reilly’s immature reversion to jealousy when he realized that his new wife had actually had a past relationship with another man she cared about deeply. Personally, my take was that, despite his forward thinking acceptance of a female doctor and his willingness to help a young woman achieve admission to medical school, he was still a man of the 60s in a deeply misogynistic culture. In short, AN IRISH DOCTOR IN PEACE AND AT WAR is a masterful portrayal of both 1940s World War II culture and a more modern, but still problematic, 1960s Ireland. As novel #9 in Canadian author, Patrick Taylor’s wildly successful IRISH COUNTRY DOCTOR series, AN IRISH DOCTOR IN PEACE AND AT WAR continues to fill in Fingal O’Reilly’s past as a young man first coming to grips with his craft in the 1930s and a war torn Europe in the 1940s. Like the television series M*A*S*H that portrayed the emergency “meatball” surgery of an American mobile hospital in the Korean War, it portrays the gruesome realities of impossibly stressful emergency surgery and medicine aboard a WW II battleship in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic. It introduces fans to O’Reilly’s first wife whom we already know he will somehow lose to be later re-united as a widower with his first love. And, of course, it continues to portray O’Reilly’s life and growth in a series of heartwarming vignettes that will simultaneously put a lump in the throat and a smile on the face of any reader. Highly recommended. Paul Weiss

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily Schmader

    I think this is my favorite of the series so far. The back and forth between WWII and 1960s Ireland kept my interest and gave insight into both periods of history.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paula Dembeck

    In this book,the ninth in the Irish Country Doctor series, Taylor moves back and forth between 1960s Northern Ireland and Fingal’s wartime experience in the late thirties and early forties. He continues to move the story forward but fills in some gaps in Fingal’s past. As Taylor brings us up to date from the last book, Kinky and Archie marry and settle in their new home. Kitty and Fingal are very content, are enjoying life and becoming accustomed to the new living arrangements. Jenny Bradley has In this book,the ninth in the Irish Country Doctor series, Taylor moves back and forth between 1960s Northern Ireland and Fingal’s wartime experience in the late thirties and early forties. He continues to move the story forward but fills in some gaps in Fingal’s past. As Taylor brings us up to date from the last book, Kinky and Archie marry and settle in their new home. Kitty and Fingal are very content, are enjoying life and becoming accustomed to the new living arrangements. Jenny Bradley has started her well woman’s clinic and the entire practice is humming along. As Fingal thinks back to former times, we get a glimpse into his early life after he graduated and had joined Dr Flanagan’s practice in Ballybucklbo where he first met Kinky. We read about his engagement to Dierdre MaWhinney, the nurse midwife he fell in love with after Kitty left for Spain. He intended to marry her, but the war interfered and they had to delay their plans. He remembers when he was first called to war and his assignment as a medical officer on the warship Warspite, a huge heavily armoured ship with over a thousand men on board. He was terrified, had no experience treating war wounds and was required to deliver his first anaesthetic for a surgeon carrying out an emergency appendectomy. He learned quickly and although he was terrified most of the time, he did well, earning the praise of his colleagues and subordinates. We also get to meet his friend Tom Laverty, the navigator on the warship and the father of Barry who twenty years later joined Fingal’s practice in Ballybucklebo. Fingal’s life overseas when on land was exciting and he was very tempted by a flirty naval wife named Elly. Like most men at war, he was lonely, frightened and dearly wanted some female comfort. During these times Taylor gives us interesting scenes of Fingal’s time spent in Egypt as well as terrifying descriptions of war at sea. Meanwhile as the story gently moves back to Ballybucklebo, Barry and Fingal continue their practice in the village. Fingal diagnoses a case of German measles, a curious and exotic Mediterranean virus from ticks and delivers a baby with Kitty helping as midwife. Fingal also helps Lenny Brown, a proud worker in the shipyards, to see there might be an alternate future for his son Colin, if he would only allow him to take an exam that would lead to a wider choice of possible careers. And Bertie Bishop seems to be evolving into a new, kinder man after his heart attack. Barry is more in the background in this book, but he does come through finally with an engagement to Sue Nolan after gentle pushes from all his friends. He even has a short encounter with Patricia Spence, the woman who broke his heart and left him high and dry one Christmas. Taylor continues to charm us with the dialect in the story (as always, complete with glossary at the back), his humourous small town characters, his insights into human behavior and Kinky’s lovely recipes at the end. A pleasant and enjoyable read in a series that still holds interest.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lisa of Hopewell

    UGH! I LOVE this series, but Patrick Taylor you are BORING ME TO DEATH with stuff that should have an asterisk and a footnote! I don't want stilted conversations that are lifted from a medical text book or, this time, from the Royal Navy handbook for officers. And, jeeze Pete! is there a literate human being who doesn't understand "Davy Jones Locker?" Need we have a Welsh Royal Navy Doctor named, you guessed it! Davy Jones TELL us the meaning? UGH! And if Dr. O'Riley is so smart he can become a UGH! I LOVE this series, but Patrick Taylor you are BORING ME TO DEATH with stuff that should have an asterisk and a footnote! I don't want stilted conversations that are lifted from a medical text book or, this time, from the Royal Navy handbook for officers. And, jeeze Pete! is there a literate human being who doesn't understand "Davy Jones Locker?" Need we have a Welsh Royal Navy Doctor named, you guessed it! Davy Jones TELL us the meaning? UGH! And if Dr. O'Riley is so smart he can become a doctor why is it he's suddenly forgotten every bit of navy terminology he ever knew? And why must GREAT series get bogged down in telling us who everyone is and how they met? Are editors really so stupid that they think readers can't consult a "Cast of Characters" in the front of the book????? Subtract all of this garbage and eventually you get to our beloved Kinky, Fingal, Barry, Kitty, Arthur Guiness and Lady MacBeth. What a shame we have to wade thru the bogs to find them. Give us what we love and skip the endless rehashes and jargon already. Mind you, this is only up to disc FOUR. The reader, who to me IS the voice of this series, even seems to find it tiresome! Please give us the STORY!! I love the interplay of these characters who are now like beloved old friends. Sadly each "new" part of the story recently has been jargon, definitions, newspaper headlines etc. Just write the story. If we don't understand, we'll Google it! Sadly, we barely get to know Diedre and why Fingal liked her! That's the NEXT book. Please, Patrick Taylor, PLEASE, PLEASE go back to ONE story at a time and STOP with all the definitions and dialogue like [paraphrased] "She's in the Women's Land Army....Oh? Is that what they're now calling the women who work on the land..." Give us the people we love--the people that make this series so delightful. Not specifics of naval guns. THERE IS a wee bit of story in here that's really worth it, but boy do you have to dig to find it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sharone Powell

    Though some books in the series are very enjoyable, this one is not one of them. Simply put, there is no story here, but a mere collection of anecdotes. Fundamentally, jumping from past to present between two stories leaves us with two "wanna be" stories. But there is no inciting incident, conflict, and resolution (an easy example of that is book one in the series: Barry Lafferty needs to decide whether or not he likes to work with Fingal and living in Ballybucklebo - leading to his experiences Though some books in the series are very enjoyable, this one is not one of them. Simply put, there is no story here, but a mere collection of anecdotes. Fundamentally, jumping from past to present between two stories leaves us with two "wanna be" stories. But there is no inciting incident, conflict, and resolution (an easy example of that is book one in the series: Barry Lafferty needs to decide whether or not he likes to work with Fingal and living in Ballybucklebo - leading to his experiences there - culminating with his decision to stay). For fans of the series I'll elaborate on what's in this book: You get to see Fingal in action, operating on Warspite on an English solider and a German one, too, treating them equally, and despising the war in his heart. He remains true to himself by caring about his patients, including the German one. He spends time with Tom Lafferty (Barry's dad). A beautiful, English woman seduces him in Alexandria. Fingal considers betraying Deidre, his fiancee. The excessive trivia is distracting more than ever; Taylor even names many Arabic streets. Talk about distracting. At present, the stories have even less 'meat': Some more ailments here and there; a birth helps Fingal and Kitty get over a hurdle in their relationship (he finds out she had one relationship in the 20 odd years they've been apart (!!) and he's incredibly jealous); Counselor Bishop is a changed man; Fingal tries to convince Colin Brown's da to let him take an important exam; and finally, Fingal, Kitty, Barry, his parents, and Sue, have dinner together, during which they run into Patricia Spence (Barry's love interested before Sue). I guess Patrick Taylor wanted her to eat her heart out when Barry introduced her his fiancee, Sue. As you can see, there were a lot of unrelated threads here that didn't make a story. Much better to focus on one timeline and flesh it out, in my opinion.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

    I actually listened to the audio version of this book, having come across it in our library. The voice actor who read the book did a beautiful job of evoking all the characters - from the rough Irish brogue to the polished "plummy" upper class British accents. This is a charming - and at times thrilling - novel of an Irish doctor who experiences horrific sea battles during World War II in the British Navy - but ends up in a bucolic Irish town later in life. His descriptions of the big guns on th I actually listened to the audio version of this book, having come across it in our library. The voice actor who read the book did a beautiful job of evoking all the characters - from the rough Irish brogue to the polished "plummy" upper class British accents. This is a charming - and at times thrilling - novel of an Irish doctor who experiences horrific sea battles during World War II in the British Navy - but ends up in a bucolic Irish town later in life. His descriptions of the big guns on the warship firing salvos at the enemy - and of the resulting human carnage - do much to bring the experience of war to the reader. As a young ship's surgeon, his heart goes out to his shipmates and the German enemy alike, as he and his fellow doctors must repair the damage done during the battles. His home life is equally entertaining - with intricate and engaging portraits of the townspeople, his work as a country doctor, and the love he rediscovered late in life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This book was not one of Mr. Taylor best books in this series. I found the conversation lacking and trying too hard. I found there was a lot "Remember when..." type dialogue. Instead of just regular discussion. The storyline did not grab me like the previous stories have, it was kind of disappointing. This book was not one of Mr. Taylor best books in this series. I found the conversation lacking and trying too hard. I found there was a lot "Remember when..." type dialogue. Instead of just regular discussion. The storyline did not grab me like the previous stories have, it was kind of disappointing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cinzia Cera

    Nice story, but a lot of threads end up nowhere. I then read it is the 9th book in a series, which explains it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lynnette

    Largely a look back at Dr. O'Reilly's wartime experience, including the beginnings of the story of his relationship with Deirdre (which the author says will be concluded in the next book). And the story of life in Ballybucklebo advances as well, sometimes intertwining with the stories of the past. Largely a look back at Dr. O'Reilly's wartime experience, including the beginnings of the story of his relationship with Deirdre (which the author says will be concluded in the next book). And the story of life in Ballybucklebo advances as well, sometimes intertwining with the stories of the past.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This book was much more serious than others I've listened to in the series. It did not make me laugh. It was pretty dry. Meh. This book was much more serious than others I've listened to in the series. It did not make me laugh. It was pretty dry. Meh.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    My least favorite of the series so far, due to the emphasis on war story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

    Some of it was good, but some parts bored me to tears. Sometimes it seems like the author is showing off his knowledge and it gets to be tedious.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Casey

    A very good read filled with human feelings and the anguish of the War. It portrays Fingal and others living their lives , supporting and caring for each other through loss and joy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    It has been a while since my last visit to Ballybucklebo, and I frequently found myself wondering how Barry and Sue's romance was going, how Fingal and Kitty were settling into married life, and how the other residents of the village were doing. I finally pulled this book off the shelf and dove in. Like the book Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor, this book bounces back and forth between the past and Fingal's current life. While the transitions aren't seamless, for the most part, they aren't jarring It has been a while since my last visit to Ballybucklebo, and I frequently found myself wondering how Barry and Sue's romance was going, how Fingal and Kitty were settling into married life, and how the other residents of the village were doing. I finally pulled this book off the shelf and dove in. Like the book Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor, this book bounces back and forth between the past and Fingal's current life. While the transitions aren't seamless, for the most part, they aren't jarring either. The story opened with the village preparing to celebrate the marriage of Kinky and Archie, and the many people who want to make it a memorable day. Fingal's skills as a peacemaker and negotiator became vital when battle lines were drawn between two groups over the proper way to decorate the church. I loved his common sense approach to bringing compromise to the combatants. The upcoming marriage made a good segue into the next chapter, which was a flashback to Fingal as he prepared to propose to his first wife, Dierdre. There is a romantic heart inside the sometimes gruff doctor, and I felt his frustration as his "right moment" got wrecked. But his Dierdre is not high maintenance, and I loved seeing her handle it all with ease and grace. For the modern side of the story, I always enjoy the adventures of Fingal, Barry, and the people of the village. It opened on a high note, with the wedding of Kinky and Archie. It was a beautiful ceremony, but as frequently happens in this village, there was a touch of excitement. Young Colin Brown brought an uninvited guest with him to the ceremony, a guest whose presence was not appreciated by the ladies. I had to laugh at the chaos and cheered as Kinky herself used humor and practicality to return peace to the day. Colin played an ongoing role in this book, as Fingal and Barry's girl, the schoolteacher, tried to find a way to show Colin's father that there was a wider world of opportunities available for Colin. Help with that came from a very unexpected source, leaving Fingal shaking his head in disbelief. The life of a country GP is never dull, and Fingal faced everything from German measles to gout to a medical mystery that was solved by reaching back into his wartime memories. He even brought Kitty along on one case, as the doctor and the midwife used their skills to bring a new life into the village. It's not all sunshine and roses for Fingal though when a blast from Kitty's past unsettled him. I ached a bit for Fingal, as he knew he was unreasonable, but he couldn't help it. I liked that he was smart enough to talk to his brother, who helped him through it. I was a little disappointed in not seeing Barry actually propose to Sue after all this time, but I look forward to seeing more of them in the future. The flashback part of the book was fascinating for me. Just as Fingal was settling into his work in Ballybucklebo, World War Two broke out, and he was called up. As a naval reservist, he was assigned to become a medical officer on HMS Warspite. Within hours of arriving on the ship, Fingal found himself delivering his first anesthetic for the senior surgeon doing an emergency appendectomy. Fingal was nervous, bordering on terrified as he began his duties, as he had no experience treating war wounds and there were more than a thousand men on that ship alone. But he learned quickly and did well. I enjoyed his insights into what went on around him, from witnessing the firing of the big guns to his feelings on the wasted lives. His descriptions of the battles were vividly portrayed, leading me to discover that the Warspite was a real ship and the actions described really happened. His times with Dierdre were few and far between, but their love was a source of strength for both of them. I did have a few bad moments while Fingal was in Egypt and the loneliness and a flirtatious Navy wife created some unexpected temptation. I loved seeing Fingal get to spend time with the ship's navigator, his friend Tom Laverty, who would eventually become Barry's father. I'm looking forward to the next book and getting to see more of the time that Fingal and Dierdre spent together, as well as the progression of life in the village of Ballybucklebo.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Laura Edwards

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Definitely more negatives than positives this time around. I'll just list them. The few positives: -Bertie Bishop seems to have turned over a new leaf. -The reader is finally introduced to Deirdre. On to the negatives: -Continuing from above. We are introduced to Deirdre. Barely. I've been waiting for a book which focuses on O'Reilly's first wife. This isn't it. Barely a glimpse after all this waiting and I don't get a real sense of her character. I'm thinking (and hoping) this will be rectified in Definitely more negatives than positives this time around. I'll just list them. The few positives: -Bertie Bishop seems to have turned over a new leaf. -The reader is finally introduced to Deirdre. On to the negatives: -Continuing from above. We are introduced to Deirdre. Barely. I've been waiting for a book which focuses on O'Reilly's first wife. This isn't it. Barely a glimpse after all this waiting and I don't get a real sense of her character. I'm thinking (and hoping) this will be rectified in the next book. -I don't really care for the shifting between time periods. I understand it's needed in order to take a look at O'Reilly's earlier years, but there is just a little too much of it happening in this series. I hope the next book is the last time. -Because of the preceding point, the reader no longer enjoys Barry's POV like we did in the first few books. Once a main character, he barely has a supporting role and, as a result, we aren't getting a chance to know Sue Nolan very well, either. -I was really annoyed at the way Patrick Taylor wove the stories of O'Reilly's temptation with Elly Simpkins and Kitty's confession about her affair in Spain together, as if they were on an equal parallel. Um, Kitty and O'Reilly had parted ways well over a year prior to her affair and she had no obligations to him while O'Reilly's near misstep happened when he was actively engaged to Deirdre. No comparison in my book. -Another negative being I really didn't like O'Reilly much in this book. The temptation to betray Deirdre was one reason, another being when he ignored the call to action stations on the Warspite and exposed himself to harm in order to watch the battle. If everyone ignored their duties, the Allies never would have won the war. Yet Taylor treats it as no big deal. -I normally enjoy military history and novels, but Patrick Taylor has a gift for rendering battle scenes, which should be filled with action and tension, boring. He tries to stuff so much information into dialogue and descriptive passages, the pace is slowed and any tension is muted. -And that ending. Came out of nowhere. I turned the page and to my surprise, there were Kinky's recipes. I hope the next one is better because this particular entry was a bit of a chore to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    "Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plans to marry his sweetheart, Deirdre Mawhinney, and settle down. But those dreams are complicated by World War II and the call of duty. Assigned to HMS Warsprite, a formidable thirty-thousand-ton battleship, Surgeon Lieutenant O'Reilly soon finds himself face-to-face with the horrors of war, tending to the dreadnought's crew of twelve hundred as well as to th "Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plans to marry his sweetheart, Deirdre Mawhinney, and settle down. But those dreams are complicated by World War II and the call of duty. Assigned to HMS Warsprite, a formidable thirty-thousand-ton battleship, Surgeon Lieutenant O'Reilly soon finds himself face-to-face with the horrors of war, tending to the dreadnought's crew of twelve hundred as well as to the many casualties brought aboard. Also a struggle: remaining true to his beloved Deidrdre despite temptations abroad ... "More that two decades later, life in Ballybucklebo is a far cry from the strife of war, but O'Reilly and his young colleagues still have plenty of challenges on their hands, including an outbreak of German measles, a hard-fought pie-baking contest, the odd tropical disease, and a local father whose mule-headed adherence to tradition is standing in the way of his son's future. Now older and wiser, O'Reilly has prescriptions for whatever ails ... until a secret from the past threatens to unravel his own peace of mind. "Shifting deftly between two very different eras, Patrick Taylor's latest Irish Country novel reveals more about O'Reilly's tumultuous past, even as Ballybucklebo faces the future in its own singular fashion." ~~front cover This book delved more deeply into the horrendous reality of war on a naval vessel, and graphic descriptions of war just aren't my cup of tea, which explains the two star rating instead of the usual three stars. The book was as well written as usual ... it's just that most of it was action packed, so I skimmed over those parts and concentrated on the lives of the characters instead.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Duckpondwithoutducks

    This Irish Country novel is one where the action goes back and forth between Dr. O'Reilly's 1960s present and 1940s wartime past. I personally prefer the Irish Country novels where all the action is in one time over the ones where it goes back and forth in time. In particular I found this one jarring because the past detailed Dr. O'Reilly's courtship of his first wife, whereas the present scenes discusses the early part of his marriage to his second wife. Maybe I was just in a really nitpicky mo This Irish Country novel is one where the action goes back and forth between Dr. O'Reilly's 1960s present and 1940s wartime past. I personally prefer the Irish Country novels where all the action is in one time over the ones where it goes back and forth in time. In particular I found this one jarring because the past detailed Dr. O'Reilly's courtship of his first wife, whereas the present scenes discusses the early part of his marriage to his second wife. Maybe I was just in a really nitpicky mood while I was reading this because there were a lot of small things that bothered me: - In one scene the author described a ceiling fan circling noiselessly. Then a couple of pages later, there was another fan circling noiselessly. I think that detail was repetitive and could have been edited out. - An opening scene described two sparring groups of women, whose animosity was only solved by the timely intervention of a man. I'm sorry, but that felt really patronising to me. - The author occasionally mentions books, movies and music from the time period in which the books are set, but these references felt somewhat clunky to me and forced. - I just didn't feel any chemistry between Barry and his fiancee in this book. I didn't feel it in the last book either, actually. I felt invested in Barry's former relationship with Patricia, but this new relationship just seems contrived, just so that Barry isn't single anymore.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mandolin

    It's been a while since I've visited Ballybucklebo but this visit, like all the others, was an enjoyable one. As always, I find Taylor's insight into the heart of a country doctor so on-target and his descriptions of Dr. O'Reilly's "modern" form of medicine throughout his training and practice and of the history of medical advances that came before so interesting. This look back at Fingal's time in the naval service during the second world war adds an even greater depth, for it captures Fingal's It's been a while since I've visited Ballybucklebo but this visit, like all the others, was an enjoyable one. As always, I find Taylor's insight into the heart of a country doctor so on-target and his descriptions of Dr. O'Reilly's "modern" form of medicine throughout his training and practice and of the history of medical advances that came before so interesting. This look back at Fingal's time in the naval service during the second world war adds an even greater depth, for it captures Fingal's struggle with serving as a medical doctor and watching men on both sides of the war tear each other apart. Even more agonizing is the knowledge that a long-time reader of Taylor's stories holds about the bleak future that awaits Fingal before the war is over. For now, though, if one can put that thought aside, it is wonderful to watch him fall further in love with Dierdre and do his best to make her his wife, despite all that the war does to thwart his efforts. Add in Fingal's current attempts to convince a local father that his son deserves a chance to "better himself," his encounters with other favorite inhabitants in Ballybucklebo like Donal, and a few hiccups in his relationship with his beloved Kitty and you have a read chock full of everything a good book needs: laughter, love, a little bit of melancholy, and a lot of life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Another in the series by this Irish Canadian author, I read this as a light diversion while reading more serious and stress-filled books. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it more than I anticipated, and read it exclusively until it’s end. It is classical Patrick Taylor, and his main character Fingal O’Reilly stayed loyally in character. I’m generally not a fan of war stories, but surprisingly, I found Fingal’s experiences as a medical officer and ship’s surgeon aboard a warship interesting, if at times a Another in the series by this Irish Canadian author, I read this as a light diversion while reading more serious and stress-filled books. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it more than I anticipated, and read it exclusively until it’s end. It is classical Patrick Taylor, and his main character Fingal O’Reilly stayed loyally in character. I’m generally not a fan of war stories, but surprisingly, I found Fingal’s experiences as a medical officer and ship’s surgeon aboard a warship interesting, if at times a bit long winded. This aspect of the story, however, opened my eyes to the sheer scope and breadth of the whole war thing. Who knew. Perhaps if I’d read more or seen more movies of this genre, I’d be more informed. But to what gain, aside from my interest? Anyhow, i digress. I thought this book was well put together for someone like me to learn about WW2. The warship segments taking place in ~1940 were interspaced with the parts of the book that took place in the mid-sixties, a time of relative peace, at least in the lives of the doctors in Ballybucklebo, giving the reader a break from the hostilities of war. All in all, I thought was a good read, and I’m looking forward to reading the next( last?) in the series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Love, love, love this series. I go onto other things in between, but when a book in the series pops up when scrolling through books on my Kindle, I always hesitate. Sometimes, I want a light, uncomplicated read. These are not; but they are fully of goods stories and wonderful characters, the most engaging of all is Fingal Flattering O'Reilly himself. This one flips between his time on a naval ship during World War II and his current reality, which is about 1966 in Ireland. As the book progress th Love, love, love this series. I go onto other things in between, but when a book in the series pops up when scrolling through books on my Kindle, I always hesitate. Sometimes, I want a light, uncomplicated read. These are not; but they are fully of goods stories and wonderful characters, the most engaging of all is Fingal Flattering O'Reilly himself. This one flips between his time on a naval ship during World War II and his current reality, which is about 1966 in Ireland. As the book progress they become much less humorous and start tackling serious medical issued. This is compounded by a war that has moral issues for a young doctor doing service in the Navy during the war. So, more serious than some in the series, but not gory or bloody or really a downer. Very good story progress and it makes me want to push aside the light stuff and dig in more. Hints that we may find out what happened to his first wife in the next book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Pieck

    This novel alternates between rural northern Ireland of the mid-Sixties and the early part of World War II aboard a British naval ship. Dr. O'Reilly wasn't always the long-serving local doctor in Ballybuckleboe whose compassion, temper, humor, and decency see him through all manner of situations. As a naval surgeon, he questions his ability to deal with the casualties of war and tries to keep a diary of how the war changes him. Romance remains a possibility, too, as he and his bride-to-be corres This novel alternates between rural northern Ireland of the mid-Sixties and the early part of World War II aboard a British naval ship. Dr. O'Reilly wasn't always the long-serving local doctor in Ballybuckleboe whose compassion, temper, humor, and decency see him through all manner of situations. As a naval surgeon, he questions his ability to deal with the casualties of war and tries to keep a diary of how the war changes him. Romance remains a possibility, too, as he and his bride-to-be correspond about their plans, their love, and their future. The narrator of the Library of Congress edition I listened to was David Cutler. Mr. Cutler's handling of the various accent of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales were educational to an American unused to distinguishing the variations within each of those places. I'm reading these books out of order, but now that I've discovered them, I plan to go back and start at the beginning of the series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    Wonderful writing, as usual by Patrick Taylor. He is quite the storyteller. However, this story is one that, in my opinion, would have been better told strictly in the past, rather than moving back and forth between past and present. The backstory of Fingal and Deidre's marriage and early life together is one I have been curious about, to be sure. Filling in those gaps makes sense. But there really is no need to go back-and-forth between that story and the present in the telling. The "present" s Wonderful writing, as usual by Patrick Taylor. He is quite the storyteller. However, this story is one that, in my opinion, would have been better told strictly in the past, rather than moving back and forth between past and present. The backstory of Fingal and Deidre's marriage and early life together is one I have been curious about, to be sure. Filling in those gaps makes sense. But there really is no need to go back-and-forth between that story and the present in the telling. The "present" storyline just isn't that compelling or urgent; it easily could have waited for another writing. That being said, and I'm going to sound very female now, the descriptions of the warship and its guns, and the battle scenes, did very little for me. I found myself skimming through much of that writing to get back to the storyline. Thus my 3-star rating. Now, on to #10!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennybeast

    I continue to really enjoy this series -- Fingal now at war, learning his new duties. Dierdre onshore and the wedding still in the future. I really appreciate the depiction of life on the Warspite -- I had a headmaster who served as a gunner in WWII and suffered both hearing loss and lame leg because of it. This book gave me a new perspective on what his experience might have been like. Pretty awe-inspiring. One of the things about this series that I find completely fascinating is hearing more a I continue to really enjoy this series -- Fingal now at war, learning his new duties. Dierdre onshore and the wedding still in the future. I really appreciate the depiction of life on the Warspite -- I had a headmaster who served as a gunner in WWII and suffered both hearing loss and lame leg because of it. This book gave me a new perspective on what his experience might have been like. Pretty awe-inspiring. One of the things about this series that I find completely fascinating is hearing more about the sexual realities of the various times that it's set in -- as a modern person, it's hard to imagine -- how did people deal with lack of contraception? How far did the "proper" folks go? Very interesting to see how that plays out, and I thought the sojourn in Alexandria with the swinging set was an interesting addition, if very uncomfortable to listen to.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Interesting in the areas where Taylor uses the frame story to present specific things he has studied; in this instance the early months of WWII. As in previous volumes that flipped back and forth chronologically, for some reason he repeats himself on pretty basic points, seeming not to trust that the reader will remember details from one time skip and a few chapters ago. That was a minor drag; in this book, the more significant drag was the presence of two competing female romantic characters. I Interesting in the areas where Taylor uses the frame story to present specific things he has studied; in this instance the early months of WWII. As in previous volumes that flipped back and forth chronologically, for some reason he repeats himself on pretty basic points, seeming not to trust that the reader will remember details from one time skip and a few chapters ago. That was a minor drag; in this book, the more significant drag was the presence of two competing female romantic characters. It’s an interesting phenomenon I haven’t yet diagnosed (ha), but Taylor does a great job writing Kinky and Kitty, and a terrible job writing romantic side characters. They just come out as flat stereotypes. This volume was particularly beset by that except for the episode his mother (!) instigated between he and Deirdre, which was surprisingly well done.

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