FICTION

An Irish Country Family

Forge. (Irish Country, Bk. 14). Nov. 2019. 368p. ISBN 9780765396853. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780765396860. F
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The 14th in this series (beginning with An Irish Country Doctor) sees Irish doctor Barry Laverty facing ups and downs in his training life and as a rural GP in Northern Ireland. The flashbacks visit Barry as a hospital intern in the early 1960s, struggling to carry on a romance with a demanding girlfriend, while also learning the medical ropes, including the new science of CPR and defibrillation. Taylor explains in the introduction that his real life as a young doctor included learning to use these innovations with cardiac patients. Matters of the heart also feature in passages of the narrative that see Dr. Laverty in his late 1960s practice in rural Ballybucklebo. Barry and wife Susan are trying for a child, with the misery of infertility gently and authentically explored. Also sensitively examined is Northern Ireland’s political climate, as Barry and his fellow villagers strive to set up a social center where all members of the community feel welcome, and their efforts will give readers a feel for the best side of life in the region.
VERDICT Taylor’s fans will need no convincing, but also suggest this warm story to those who enjoy novels by Maeve Binchy.

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