An Irish Country Wedding: A Novel
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An Irish Country Wedding: A Novel

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by Patrick Taylor
     
 

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An Irish Country Wedding is another heart-warming tale from New York Times bestselling author Patrick Taylor.

Love is in the air in the colourful Ulster village of Ballybucklebo, where Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly has finally proposed to the darling of his youth, Kitty O'Hallorhan. There's a wedding to be planned, but before O'Reilly can make

Overview

An Irish Country Wedding is another heart-warming tale from New York Times bestselling author Patrick Taylor.

Love is in the air in the colourful Ulster village of Ballybucklebo, where Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly has finally proposed to the darling of his youth, Kitty O'Hallorhan. There's a wedding to be planned, but before O'Reilly can make it to the altar, he and his young colleague, Barry Laverty, M.B., must deal with the usual round of eccentric patients—and crises both large and small.

Being a G.P. in a place like Ballybucklebo often means more than simply splinting broken bones and tending to aches and pains. It can also mean helping a struggling young couple acquire their first home, clearing the name of a cat accused of preying on a neighbor's prize pigeons, and encouraging a bright working-class girl who dreams of someday becoming a doctor herself. And, if you're Barry Laverty, still smarting from a painful breakup, there might even be a chance for a new romance with a lovely school teacher, if her passionate political convictions don't get in the way.
Much has changed in Ballybucklebo, and bigger changes are in store, but the lives and practices of these Irish country doctors remain as captivating and irresistible as ever.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A spirited and compassionate story filled with pastoral Irish imagery, cheerful village life, and heartwarming romance.” —Booklist on An Irish Country Wedding

“Taylor is a bang-up storyteller who captivates and entertains from the first word.”

Publishers Weekly on An Irish Country Girl

“Patrick Taylor has become probably the most popular Irish-Canadian writer of all time.” —The Globe and Mail

“Taylor masterfully charts the small victories and defeats of Irish village life.”

Irish America Magazine

Kirkus Reviews
What Herriot did for Yorkshire, Taylor does for Northern Ireland's County Antrim and County Down; minus the animals, of course, but with all the good sentiments. Taylor's seventh in the Irish Country Doctor series (An Irish Country Doctor, 2007, etc.) provides a dose of easy medicine to readers familiar with the 1960s milieu and characters in the fictional wee town of Ballybucklebo, where Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly practices medicine. The critical illness of Kinky Kincaid, O'Reilly's housekeeper, sets the drama in motion, what with a strangulated bowel requiring immediate hospitalization. O'Reilly's in Belfast buying an engagement ring for fiancee and first love, Kitty O'Hallorhan, and so Dr. Barry Laverty, his assistant, diagnoses Kinky's problem and beckons an ambulance. Now, the busy doctors of Ballybucklebo need a receptionist and housekeeper. Working-class lass Helen Hewitt's available, having been laid off. Ah, but care must be taken so Kinky doesn't worry she's being shuffled out the door. Meantime, Bertie Bishop, cranky and self-absorbed townland Councillor, accuses O'Reilly's cat of killing Bishop's racing pigeons. Dr. Laverty soon discovers the true culprit, but he's distracted by his incipient romance with a lovely schoolteacher and ardent member of the Campaign for Social Justice. The author notes this is the first in the series where he's confronted the "Troubles." He does so in a limited way, with equal measures of empathy and realism. Kinky's afterword and recipes end the book, along with a glossary of Irish dialect. Gentle, colorful, feel-good stories of a peaceable life long gone. Think Mayberry with Dr. O'Reilly as Sheriff Taylor.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429955713
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
10/16/2012
Series:
Irish Country Series , #7
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
37,246
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

An Irish Country Wedding


By Patrick Taylor

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2012 Ballybucklebo Stories Corp.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-5571-3



CHAPTER 1

Diamonds Are Forever


"Kitty O'Hallorhan," said Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, looking into those familiar grey eyes flecked with amber, "you don't look a day over thirty-five, and you're lovely." Her silver and black hair shone in the sunlight filtering down past the buildings on Belfast's Royal Avenue. Her tailored grey suit, with its slim, knee-length skirt, accentuated her figure. God, but she was looking well.

She shook her head. "You're an old flatterer, Fingal, a soft-soaper. You know I'll not see fifty again, but thank you."

"I'll always see you as twenty-two, the way you were when we were youngsters, always, and that's because," he hesitated, "I love you."

"Thank you, Fingal," she said. "Thank you for loving me, and thank you for telling me. I do love you so much."

He bloody well nearly bear-hugged and kissed her there and then. Instead, he continued walking with Kitty at his side and thought about how on the drive here from her flat they'd discussed the progress of Donal Donnelly, one of Fingal's patients, who was being nursed by Kitty, a senior sister on the brain surgery ward of the Royal Victoria Hospital. It had made O'Reilly happy to discuss a patient with her. He was looking forward to these kinds of professional conversations when she became his wife, on July 3, 1965, and that was only a little more than two months away. He gave a hop and a skip, grinning as he did.

"Fingal," Kitty said with a smile, "will you stop acting the lig?"

"I'm happy," he said, guiding her through the midmorning crowds of shoppers, office messengers, and delivery men. Traffic growled, and he heard the ting of the conductor's bell as a red double-decker bus pulled away from a stop. The air was heavy with exhaust fumes. A flock of starlings wheeled and jinked in unison across the sky. He pointed to a glass door on which SHARMAN D NEILL. JEWELLERS AND WATCHMAKERS was etched in gilt letters. Watches, barometers, brass telescopes, and jewellery were displayed on velvet mounts in the window. "This is it," he said.

The lighting was subdued, the carpet thick. Glass jewellery cases were arranged around three walls. A door at the back led, O'Reilly presumed, to offices or storerooms. The air had only a trace of mustiness. Two staff members wearing short black jackets, pinstriped trousers, and highly polished black shoes stood waiting. The place exuded the confidence of a business that had catered to the upper classes for decades. Young men, O'Reilly thought, probably felt intimidated here, and their immediate concerns would be whether their budget might stretch. He was worried himself.

He and Kitty were the only customers.

An assistant glided across to them. He wore rimless spectacles.

"Sir? Modom?" His voice was reverential, his accent affected. "May I be of assistance?"

"Rings," O'Reilly said, surprising himself by lowering his voice.

"Certainly, sir." The man glanced at Kitty's gloved left hand. "Would that be dress or engagement?"

O'Reilly cleared his throat. His collar seemed to be tighter. "Engagement, please."

"How lovely. May I wish sir and modom every happiness?"

"Thank you," Kitty said.

O'Reilly wanted to tell the man to mind his own damned business and get on with selling them a flaming ring. He wanted to get this transaction completed. And it had been ages since, to his housekeeper Kinky Kincaid's amazement, he had refused the mixed grill she'd offered to cook and simply grabbed a quick cup of coffee and a slice of toast this morning in his hurry to get to Kitty's flat. Now he wanted his lunch.

The shop assistant moved behind a glass display case. "If I might enquire, would we be looking for a solitaire, a cluster, a trinity or bezel setting, a specific precious stone ... perhaps modom's birthstone? Something," his lip curled, "semiprecious?"

Jasus, O'Reilly thought, in 1939 when I bought Deirdre her little ring it was just a gold band with one tiny diamond. Back then men bought the ring before they proposed, but today O'Reilly had brought Kitty to pick hers. He smiled at his soon-to-be wife and knew for certain that Deirdre O'Reilly, née Mawhinney, his young bride of six months who had died in the Belfast Blitz of 1941, would approve of Kitty, be glad for him and his newfound happiness. "Kitty?" he asked.

She smiled at him. "If it's all right with you, Fingal, I'd like something simple."

"It's your choice."

"It can be bewildering," the shop assistant said. "Might I suggest a nice cluster with a central half-carat blue diamond?"

O'Reilly heard the condescension in the man's voice. "Kitty?"

"No, thank you. I've really got my mind set on a well-cut solitaire, S12 clarity, I or J colour grade —"

O'Reilly's mouth fell open.

"— of slightly less than half a carat." She turned to him. "Blue diamonds are the most expensive. Prices rocket at the half- and full-carat mark. It takes a hell of an eye to tell the difference between a smaller stone and I don't want to bankrupt you, dear."

O'Reilly grinned. He'd ask her later where she'd learnt her gemology.

"Modom ... modom knows her diamonds." There was awe in the shop assistant's voice.

Kitty inclined her head and said, "And I'm not fussed about the setting as long as it's platinum, the ring is gold, and the stone is good quality."

The man leant sideways and grabbed a set of sizing rings from the top of the case. "If I may?"

"Certainly." Kitty removed her left kid glove and gave him her hand. After using two rings the assistant said, "Size A and a half." He smiled. "I believe I have exactly what we need. If you'll excuse me?"

The second he'd left, O'Reilly asked, "Where in the hell did you —"

"Dublin's National College of Art and Design, remember? I was there before I started nursing, and I took a course on jewellery design."

He hugged her. "Do you know," he said, "I'd completely forgotten you'd been there. It is a year or two back." A year or two? More like thirty, he thought, but said, "And thank you for thinking of my wallet too."

"Fingal O'Reilly," she said, "not being extravagant on a ring doesn't mean you love me any less. You can't measure love in carats or colour. Pounds and shillings."

His throat felt tight and he swallowed. "Thank you, Kitty. Thank you for that." And he wasn't sure if he was thanking her for her understanding of how much he loved her, her solid business sense, or both. He heard a discreet cough and let Kitty go.

"I think this may be what modom requires."

O'Reilly watched as a ring was slipped on Kitty's finger. It fitted perfectly. He swallowed. From now on, Fingal would be the only man to put rings on Kitty's finger. Size A-1/2 at that. The second one, in July, would be plain gold. He'd pick that himself. Mrs. Kitty O'Reilly. He liked the sound of it.

She took it off. "It's absolutely beautiful."

"That's the ring you want?" O'Reilly asked.

"Yes, please. It's exactly what I had in mind."

"You don't want to look at any others?"

She shook her head.

"We'll take it," O'Reilly said.

"Just a minute, Fingal." Kitty spoke to the assistant. "May I borrow your loupe?"

"Certainly." He gave her a monocular magnifying eyepiece, which Kitty screwed into her right eye socket.

What the hell now? O'Reilly wondered.

She scrutinised the ring. "There's a tiny flaw in the stone," she said, handing the loupe and the ring to the man.

He examined the diamond. "Modom is right. I do apologise. Shall I —?"

"No need. I love the ring. We'll take it." She looked him in the eye. "But I'm sure you'll adjust the price."

"Of course."

"Good," she said. "Now, I'll wait outside while you take care of paying, dear." She lifted her glove and left.

Typical. O'Reilly had been going to suggest she go. He didn't want her to know what he paid.

"I'll box and wrap it, sir."

"Please. And the bill."

"Of course, and there will be a twenty percent discount because of the flaw."

"Thank you."

"And if sir doesn't mind me saying, he is a very fortunate man." The assistant looked at the door through which Kitty had vanished to a jangling of bells. "Your fiancée is a remarkable and very beautiful lady."

"I know," said O'Reilly, trying not to sound smug. "By God, I do know."

He paid, took his little parcel, thanked the assistant, and left.

Kitty linked her arm through his. "Thank you, darling. Thank you."

"Not yet," said O'Reilly. "We're going to Mooney's on Corn Market. It's not far. You can thank me after I've given it to you properly, you've put it on, and I've toasted you with a pint of black velvet."

"Black velvet?"

"Guinness and champagne. You'll love it." He set off at a brisk pace. "I'm buying lunch too."

"Sounds wonderful."

They crossed Royal Avenue and headed along Castle Place. "By the way," he said, "are you free this weekend?"

"I am."

"I'd like you to come down, show your ring to Barry and Kinky," he said, "the rest of the crew at Number One, Main Street, Ballybucklebo."

"I'd love to."

"Great." He pushed open the door to Mooney's Pub. "I know the barmen here," he said.

The place was packed, smoky, and noisy. "Black velvet. Two pints, Andy," O'Reilly roared in his quarter-deck voice, "menus, and a dozen oysters on the half shell to start with. My belly thinks my bloody throat's cut."

CHAPTER 2

And Strangled in the Guts


What on earth was that clattering? Barry Laverty — Doctor Barry Laverty — was enjoying a cup of tea after lunch, but now he frowned and listened. Probably that demented cat Lady Macbeth knocking something over. He rose from the table wondering how O'Reilly was doing up in Belfast with Kitty. He'd been like a child going on a school outing, so impatient he hadn't even eaten a proper breakfast, which for O'Reilly was unheard of unless there was an emergency. And it would have to have been a life-threatening one at that for the big man to forgo his vittles.

The clattering stopped, but now he could hear retching. A patient must have come into the house unannounced.

Barry crossed the hall and looked into the surgery. Empty. He hurried to the waiting room, but although the plain wood chairs and God-awful rose-patterned wallpaper were there, the room was deserted.

More sounds of retching were followed by a moan, and this time Barry knew where they were coming from — the kitchen. He ran to the back of the house and flung open the door. The room was warm and the stench of vomit smothered the cooking aromas. A saucepan lay on the floor with peeled and diced potatoes forming a small archipelago in a pool of spilled water. Mrs. Maureen "Kinky" Kincaid, Doctor O'Reilly's housekeeper, stood clutching the edges of the sink. Her silver chignon was in disarray, tears streamed down her cheeks. "Ohhh Lord Jasus," she gasped.

"Kinky, are you —" he began, then stopped. "Are you all right?" would be a bloody silly thing to ask, almost as stupid as "What's the matter?" He was a doctor, but it didn't take one to see that Kinky Kincaid was not well. He took a breath, resolved to behave like the doctor he was and sort out what needed to be done without wasting time mouthing platitudes. He moved to her and put an arm round her shoulders. "It's all right," he said. "It's all right. Let's get you sitting down."

"I'm sorry, sir," she said, and hiccupped, "but I've been taken over all funny, so, and I haven't finished getting tea ready for himself and you. And him with no breakfast." She dragged in a deep breath and shuddered. "I'll be grand if I could sit down for a shmall-little minute, so."

"Don't worry about tea," Barry said. Typical of Kinky to be thinking about "her doctors" and their next meal rather than herself. He knew he should get her into the surgery and onto the examining couch, or onto her own bed, but Kinky was what her fellow County Cork people would describe as "a powerful woman" and that did not imply slimness. He wasn't strong enough to oxter-cog her to the surgery or to her quarters in the next room. "Let's get you sitting down, Kinky Kincaid." He turned his head away as her shoulders shook and she threw up. "Sorry, sir," she said, and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

He felt her sag and with his hands under her armpits lowered her to the tile floor. He looked around. Laundry was piled nearby. He grabbed an armful and a plastic basin. Barry made a heap of the clothes, including, he noticed, a pair of his own trousers. "Lie back, Kinky. Put your head there." He set the bowl beside her.

"Thank you, sir." Her pinafore was splotched, her lips caked.

Barry dampened a tea towel, squatted beside her, and mopped her face. "Can you tell me what happened?"

She took a shallow breath, then said, "I was grand all together until about twelve thirty. I'd nearly finished getting lunch ready when I got a sharp pain. Mary, Mother of —" She clutched her lower belly and moaned. "There it is again."

"Tell me about the pain," he said. He took her pulse. The skin was clammy and her pulse rapid.

"It came on like a terrier pouncing on a rat, so, and it gnawed at me and kept on grinding, then it went away. That —" She inhaled. "— that was a blessèd relief for I was able to serve your luncheon on time, so."

Kinky, you're one brave woman, he thought, but asked professionally, "Can you show me where it hurts?"

She pointed to her left groin. "There, sir, and it does be back there now. And it's coming in spasms."

Barry glanced at his watch. One thirty-five. He frowned. Her vomiting had suggested the relatively innocuous acute gastroenteritis, often called stomach flu, or "the abdabs" by the locals. But while the disease might cause vomiting, clammy skin, and a fast pulse, it would not cause pain in the place Kinky was describing nor pain that came on so suddenly. "Have you ever had trouble there before?" he asked.

"Not like this. Once in a while if I've been lifting things or hoovering I'll get a bit of a grumbling there, but, och, sure don't I usually sit a while and then work it off?" She managed a weak smile. "My ma taught us that you should always try to work pain off, so. Not give in to it."

"And you've never mentioned it to Doctor O'Reilly?" He knew Kinky would not voluntarily consult him, Barry. She'd consider Doctor O'Reilly's assistant much too young.

"Och, Doctor Laverty, dear," she said, shaking her head. "Sure wasn't it only a shmall-little ache, and didn't it always go away, and amn't I at an age when you must expect such things? Another fourteen years won't I be seventy and if I'm spared I'll be playing in overtime then if you believe what the Good Book says about us being given three score years and ten?"

"Go on," he said, "tell me more about what's happening now." Her description of the pain and its situation had given a hint.

"Just a bit before you came, sir, I had another fierce one, a spasm like a hot knife in exactly the same place. I dropped a pan of potatoes. A few minutes later another one came and then —" A tear fell. "— I embarrassed meself. I threw up, so." She struggled to sit. "But I'm nearly better now —" She coughed. "— and soon I'll clean up."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from An Irish Country Wedding by Patrick Taylor. Copyright © 2012 Ballybucklebo Stories Corp.. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

PATRICK TAYLOR, M.D., was born and raised in Bangor, County Down, in Northern Ireland. Dr. Taylor is a distinguished medical researcher, offshore sailor, model-boat builder, and father of two grown children. He now lives on Saltspring Island, British Columbia.


Patrick Taylor, M.D., is the author of the Irish Country books, including An Irish Country Doctor, An Irish Country Village, An Irish Country Christmas, An Irish Country Girl, and An Irish Country Courtship. Taylor was born and raised in Bangor, County Down, in Northern Ireland. After qualifying as a specialist in 1969, he worked in Canada for thirty-one years. He now lives on Saltspring Island, British Columbia.

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An Irish Country Wedding 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As nice a read as the other books in the series. But paging on the Nook went wacky between 832 and 846. Skipped pages when "turned" or didn't advance at all. Used the slide bar to try to work around the issue but gave up and just moved on .... too bad because it meant missing the various wedding toasts.
Doctor-Sue More than 1 year ago
I have read all seven of these books, and I just love them! Unfortunately, the problem with that is that these are the BEST "feel-good" books I've read in ages! Right now I've been reading a somewhat depressing book about WWI (Ken Follett's "Fall of Giants"), and such books about war are sometimes depressing, so I frequently read something else cheerful for a while and then go back to the sad one. But - now that I've read all of these books, I'll have to find something else to cheer me up. As a pediatrician who went to med school in the 1960's, I feel close to these doctors! Such fun stories, especially for a physician to read, but ANYBODY will love them! Please hurry, Dr. Taylor. with the next one!
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lovebooksD More than 1 year ago
I've read all Patrick Taylor's Irish Country books and loved them all!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too drawn out. skipped half the book. All the village characters had a happy ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JHLV More than 1 year ago
As always, Patrick Taylor delivers a first class look at the Irish and the ins and outs of their daily life. Fingal and Kitty, what a delightful couple. When you finish this read, you will want to turn back to page one and begin again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Patrick Taylor's books are just so enjoyable and this one is no exception. Superb reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this for myself and also for my aunt. We both loved the book and hated to see it end. The time and characters are so well defined. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a book about a time gone by, but with values still relevant today.
pat34AZ More than 1 year ago
I have not read it as yet but if it is like his other books will be good. I really have enjoyed the Irish Country series.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will love being taken by the doctors loyalty to their profession with seriousness and wonderful sense of humor. There is just the right blend of Irish history to keep your interest peaked. I have missed a book of this serries...ENJOY!!
Nanvar More than 1 year ago
Good read! Characters are well developed. I look forward to Patrick Taylor's next novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the entire series by Patrick Taylor. This is excellent, fun reading. We need more books on the adventures of Dr.O'Reilly, Dr.Laverty, Kinky, and the rest of the residents of Ballybuckalo.