An Irish Country Girl

( 81 )

Overview

The New York Times bestselling tale of heartbreak and hope from the author of An Irish Country Doctor

Readers of Patrick Taylor’s books know Mrs. Kinky Kincaid as the unflappable housekeeper who looks after two frequently frazzled doctors in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo. She is a trusted fixture in the lives of those around her, and it often seems as though Kinky has always been ...

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An Irish Country Girl

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling tale of heartbreak and hope from the author of An Irish Country Doctor

Readers of Patrick Taylor’s books know Mrs. Kinky Kincaid as the unflappable housekeeper who looks after two frequently frazzled doctors in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo. She is a trusted fixture in the lives of those around her, and it often seems as though Kinky has always been there.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Some forty-odd years before and many miles to the south, the girl who would someday be Kinky Kincaid was Maureen O’Hanlon, a farmer’s daughter growing up in the emerald hills and glens of County Cork. A precocious girl on the cusp of womanhood, Maureen has a head full of dreams, a heart open to romance, and something more: a gift for seeing beyond the ordinary into the mystic realm of fairies, spirits, and even the dreaded Banshee, whose terrifying wail she first hears on a snowy night in 1922. . . .

As she grows into a young woman, Maureen finds herself torn between love and her fondest aspirations, for the future is a mystery even for one blessed with the sight. Encountering both joy and sorrow, Maureen at last finds herself on the road to Ballybucklebo—-and the strong and compassionate woman she was always destined to become.

An Irish Country Girl is another captivating tale by Patrick Taylor, a true Irish storyteller.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Taylor, like Kinky, is a bang-up storyteller who captivates and entertains from the first word."

Publishers Weekly on An Irish Country Girl

"Quietly, almost surreptitiously, Patrick Taylor has become probably the most popular Irish-Canadian writer of all time."  —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"The cozy village of Ballybucklebo and its eccentric inhabitants make the holidays bright."

Library Journal on An Irish Country Christmas

"Taylor's novel makes for escapist, delightful fun.”

Publishers Weekly on An Irish Country Doctor

"Full of stories and vivid characters, An Irish Country Village recalls a good night in a pub."

Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765369277
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 9/25/2012
  • Series: Irish Country Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 123,216
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

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, 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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Read an Excerpt

1

"Run along, make your calls, and enjoy His Lordship’s hooley," said Mrs. Maureen Kincaid, "Kinky" to her friends, as she knelt in the hall and sponged Ribena black-currant cordial from a small boy’s tweed overcoat. "I’ll expect you all back by five, sir, not a minute later. I’d not want the Christmas dinner to be spoiled."

Her employer, Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, said over his shoulder, "We’ll be on time, I promise, Kinky." He strode off accompanied by his guest, Caitlin "Kitty" O’Hallorhan, and his young assistant, Doctor Barry Laverty.

Kinky shut the front door after them. She imagined that over the excited voices of the children she could hear footsteps crunching through the freshly fallen snow as Doctor O’Reilly led his little party to his big old Rover for the drive to Ballybucklebo House and the marquis’ 1964 Christmas Day open house.

It was warmer in the hall with the door shut. Just as well with a dozen chilled little carollers inside drinking hot black-currant juice. She straightened up, inspected her handiwork, and smiled. "There you are, Dermot Fogarty. Good as new, so."

"Thank youse, Mrs. Kincaid." The eight-year-old bobbed his head. "If I’d got my new coat dirty, my daddy would’ve killed me, so he would."

She tousled his hair. Not for the first time she thought how harsh to her ears the County Down accent sounded, especially when she remembered the softer brogue of her own people down in County Cork.

She’d grown up there on a farm near Beal na mBláth and had left as a slip of a girl of nineteen to come north in 1928. That had been thirty-six years ago. She shook her head. It seemed like no time at all.

"Here." She refilled Dermot’s mug, feeling the heat in the delft and inhaling the scent of the black-currant juice. "Try not to spill any more."

"Thank you, Mrs. Kincaid."

"Anyone else?"

Several voices replied, "No thank you, Mrs. Kincaid."

The kiddies were crammed into the hall and overflowing up the broad staircase of Doctor O’Reilly’s house at Number 1 Main Street, Ballybucklebo, County Down.

"Then eat up, and drink up, and let’s be having a bit of hush." They were quiet now, filling their faces with Kinky’s homemade sweet mince pies and hot juice. She beamed over them. She liked children, would have loved to have had some of her own, but that hadn’t been meant to be. She smiled sadly to herself.

She probably could have found another fellah here in Ulster, but och, he’d not have been the Paudeen Kincaid she lost so long ago. She saw herself in the hall mirror and thought she’d not been a bad-looking lass when she’d been with Paudeen. Her silver hair, which she wore in a chignon now, was chestnut then and had flowed in soft waves to her shoulders. It was the worry about him one Saint Stephen’s Day that had started the turning of it.

She’d been a slim girl then. Now, she knew she could afford to lose a couple of stone, although doing so wouldn’t get rid of her three chins. But it was hard not to sample her own cooking, and she did love to cook. She always had, ever since Ma had showed her how all those years ago.

She shook her head, and sure if the years had passed, hadn’t they been good ones ever since she’d come here, first as house keeper to old Doctor Flanagan and later on, in 1946, to Doctor O’Reilly when he took over the practice? And hadn’t looking after those two bachelor men been a satisfying job, and almost the same as rearing chisellers?

Doctor O’Reilly, learned man that he was, would not get out of the house without egg stains on his tie if she wasn’t there to sponge them off or make him change it. He often called his Labrador, Arthur Guinness, a great lummox. Sometimes, she thought with affection, the pot does call the kettle black.

"Pleath, Mithis Kincaid?" A child’s voice interrupted her thoughts.

She saw Billy Cadogan, a boy who suffered from asthma. He’d been a patient of the practice since Doctor O’Reilly and Miss Hagerty, the midwife, had delivered him ten years ago. "Yes, Billy?" He looked smart in what must be his brand-new cap and bright red mittens.

He held up his mug. "Pleath, Mithis Kincaid, can I have a toty wee taste more? Ith cold thinging carolth round the houtheth today, tho it ith."

So, she thought, she should have known that Billy was the one lisping when they sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

Before she could answer, Colin Brown chipped in, "Billy’s right; it would found er you." Even today he was wearing short pants. His bare knees stuck out from under his overcoat, and his left sock was crumpled around his ankle. Colin was the lad who had single-handedly, as the innkeeper at the recent Nativity play, caused the mother superior to faint. Colin spoke again. "My Da says it’s as cold as a witch’s tit today, so he does."

Kinky frowned, then seeing the seriousness on the boy’s face, realized that he was merely repeating what he had heard his notoriously foul-mouthed father say. "And what would you know of witches, Colin Brown?" she asked.

"Oooh," said Colin, "witches is oul’ wizenedy women with wrinkles and warts on their green faces. They have black cats, they wear pointy hats and black dresses, ride around on broomsticks on Halloween night . . . they cast spells, and . . ."—he frowned—"and . . ." Then a smile split his face and his words came out in a rush. "And they get together in ovens."

"Colin means ‘covens.’ " That was Hazel Arbuthnot. She was Aggie Arbuthnot’s twelve-year-old daughter. She had lustrous black hair, just like her mother. For a moment, Kinky wondered if Hazel had also inherited the family trait of six toes. No doubt Cissie Sloan, Aggie’s cousin and the most talkative woman in the village, would know.

"That’s right, Hazel, covens." Kinky heard the other children laughing at Colin’s discomfiture. "And there’s no need to laugh at Colin. He nearly got it right."

The giggling subsided.

"And some witches do cast evil spells and sour the milk, or make the crops fail or animals die—"

"Oooh." Several voices were raised, and Kinky heard sharp in-drawings of breath.

"—but some are good witches." She paused to let that sink in.

"Good witches?" Eddie Jingles asked. He’d had pneumonia two weeks before Christmas. He was better now, but his mother, Jeannie, had very sensibly wrapped him up in boots, thick trousers, a heavy anorak, a green scarf, and a blue-and-white-striped wool toque. "I never knew there was good witches. Are you having us on, Mrs. Kincaid?"

Kinky scowled at him, then let a smile play at the corners of her mouth. "Why would you think I was making it up, Eddie Jingles?"

Eddie blushed and lowered his head. "Sorry."

"Now," she said, "how many of you believe there are good witches? Hold up your hands."

Jeannie Kennedy’s hand was the first to go up, then Micky Corry’s. Those two had been Mary and Joseph in the Christmas pageant earlier that week. The last hand raised was Colin Brown’s, but Kinky had expected that. Colin had a mind of his own.

"Good. So we’re all in agreement then?"

"Yes, Mrs. Kincaid," a chorus of voices replied.

"I’m glad to hear it." She lowered her voice and let her gaze wander over the group, looking this one, then that one, right in the eye. "Because my own mother was a good witch, so. My very own mother, and she got it from her mother, my granny."

"Does that make you a witch too, Mrs. Kincaid . . . since your mammy was one?" Colin had his head cocked to one side, his eyes narrowed. "You’ve no warts on your nose, like."

"Don’t be impudent, Colin Brown." She put her face closer to his, flared her nostrils, and widened her eyes. "Or I’ll turn you into a tooooadstool."

The communal "oooh" was much louder.

Seeing the look on Colin’s face, Kinky softened. "I’m only pulling your leg, son, so, for I’m not a witch at all. I couldn’t turn you into anything." Even if I did get the sight to see the future from my mother, Kinky thought, but that’s none of their business. "And if I was . . . if . . . I’d be a good witch and lift spells or smell out bad witches or cure people with herbs or find water wells—"

"With a hazel twig?" Billy Cadogan interrupted.

"Or a Hazel Arbuthnot," Colin said, then sniggered and stuck his tongue out at Hazel.

"Less of that, Colin, or I’ll not tell you any more," Kinky said.

"Sorry," Colin said. "I’ll houl’ my wheest. Honest."

"You do that, so," said Kinky. She let a silence hang, and hang, until Hazel said, "Pay him no heed, Mrs. Kincaid. He was just acting the lig. I don’t mind. Go on, please tell us more."

Several other children added, "Please . . . please."

Kinky smiled. The sight wasn’t the only thing she’d got from her family, and that was a story in itself. Her Da, God rest him, had been a famous seanachie, a storyteller, and Kinky Kincaid, when given an audience, liked nothing better than to spin a good yarn.

"So, it’s a story you want?"

"Please." She saw the expectation on the rosy-cheeked faces.

"Very well," she said. "Take off your hats and coats and hang them there, now." She indicated the hall coat stand. "Then go on up to the lounge. The fire’s still lit from this morning, and it’s warm. Doctor O’Reilly won’t mind, seeing it’s Christmas Day. There aren’t enough chairs for you all, so some will have to sit on the floor. Mind you’re careful with your mugs of juice as you go up the stairs, now. Leave a chair for me, and don’t be annoying the animals. Arthur Guinness and Lady Macbeth do be upstairs."

The hall was filled with a babel of excited voices as the children struggled out of their outer clothes.

"Now hush. Hush." Kinky had to raise her voice. "Do as I bid," she said. "I’ll be up in a shmall little minute with more mince pies."

"Yo-o-o-oh."

She waited for quiet. "And then I’ll tell you a story of faeries, and the banshee, and the Saint Stephen’s Day Ghost, and if we’ve time—but remember I’ve a dinner to cook, so only if we’ve time—I’ll tell you how the Saint Stephen’s Day Ghost came back four years later."

Excerpted from An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor.

Copyright © 2009 by Patrick Taylor.

Published in 2009 by A Tom Doherty Associates Book.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 81 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 82 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    super cozy

    In Ballybucklebo, Ireland, Kinky Kincaid serves as housekeeper to small village's two doctors (Dr. Barry Laverty and Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly). On Christmas Day, Kinky turns storyteller as she spins a spellbinder to the children with the tale of the St. Stephen's Day ghost.

    When she was a child the age of her audience, Kinky was known as Maureen O'Hanlon. She had the unique skill of seeing the future. As Kinky tells about dark fairies to enraptured fans, back then Maureen must choose between her heart and her career.

    The latest Ballybucklebo Irish County cozy (see An Irish Country Christmas, An Irish Country Doctor and An Irish Country Village) is another superb tale with a neat twist as the previous support player housekeeper takes the lead effortlessly. The story line has two key plots one of which is Kinky's past when she had to make up her mind and choose one of two roads and the present when she tells the ghost tale. Fans will relish this terrific twist as Kinky proves to be a superb storyteller as the top banana title lead character.

    Harriet Klausner

    23 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2010

    A lovely way to spend a day.

    Patrick Taylor has given us a village full of interesting characters (and I do mean Characters), developed in the first book, and successfully maintained their honesty, charm and realistic nature throughout the series. In Irish Country Girl, Patrick Taylor has told Kinky's tale through that lovely lyrical gift of Irish story-telling developed over the centuries. It is definitely a keeper, a book to be read and re-read on a cold winter night with a fire in the hearth, and a cup of tea or hot cocoa on the side. I wish I could hop on a plane and visit Ballybucklebo, but since I can't I will be very happy to dive into my copy now and then and stop in at No. 1 Main street for a cup of hot black currant juice, a piece of mince pie, and a chat with Mrs. Kincaid.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    KINKY STARS IN THIS ONE !

    Narrator Terry Donnelly is a deft voice performer who easily segues between accents from American to English to Irish. And when her text calls for Irish her voice is as authentically Irish as it can be. Her accent is true, crisp, and her voice is often lyrical as she switches to different characters by changing pitch. Thus, her reading of the fourth in Patrick Taylor's Irish Country series is a delight.

    With AN IRISH COUNTRY GIRL we learn more about a favorite character, Kinky Kincaid, housekeeper for Drs. Laverty and O'Reilly. We have come to know her as reliable, resourceful, and almost as if she had always tended to the doctors, Not so we learn as Kinky takes us back in her memory to when she was Maureen O'Hanlon, the young daughter of a farmer in County Cork.

    She was an unusual girl in many ways, but most certainly due to her gift of being able to see what others could not - the mystical world of fairies, spirits, and (shiver) the Banshee. Kinky is reminded of her girlhood when children come to visit on Christmas and are rewarded not only with sweet treats but also a tale of spirits - a true one.

    It is the story of Conner MacTaggart who chopped down a Blackthorn tree despite being warned that dark fairies live underneath it and will surely avenge themselves. That is precisely what they do, which is sad news for Maureen's older sister who wanted to marry Conner. From this reminiscence Maureen who is now Kinky remembers how she met her own husband.

    Fans of this series will enjoy the opportunity to know more about Kinky and how she came to Ballybucklebo.

    Enjoy!

    - Gail Cooke

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2013

    I love the whole sires 

    I love the whole sires 

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Irish Country Girl a wee taste of Ireland

    Irish Country Girl brings to life the novel beliefs in the little people by weaving it into a good love story. Very true to life, and just the right touches of Irish history to satisfy and lend realism.

    The main character, Kinky, Maureen Kincaid, is housekeeper for a doctor, and recalls events in her past that led her to this station in life and why she is at peace with it.

    Love found and lost, fairies, and many details that make the book authentic and interesting. Good read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

    Excellent!

    I really enjoyed this book, if you liked the Irish Country Dr. Series, you are already familiar with Kinky Kinkaid, as a housekeeper, this book tells her story. It was wonderful. I think I even liked it better the the Doctors.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    Terrific

    This is the fourth in a terrific series!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Irish Country Girl

    This book was a disappointment. It did not have the charm of the story contained in the previous Irish Country books. I know of three people who felt this book was published mainly on the basis of Mr. Taylor's previous books of Ireland.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2014

    Good story, well written.

    Enjoyable to read, makes you feel like you were there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Interesting read

    Liked the previous books better. Too much superstition for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014

    3 stars, tops.

    It had way too much history about the countryside and every little detail for my tastes. It made the story drag on and on.

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  • Posted February 14, 2014

    Highly recommended

    I love the story telling of Patrick Taylor. Having visited Ireland I relate to the scenery too. Easy, relaxing reading with a feel good effect.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Irish country girl

    This was a short book but a long read. It gives details on how Kinky came to be the housekeeper for the doctor.

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  • Posted March 3, 2013

    5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    It was very nice to learn about Kinky, i like hercharecter

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    What a shame!

    I enjoyed Kinky's story but felt that only devoting a couple of pages to her life between the ages of about 20 to her late 50's kept her two dimensional. A bit more effort could have made this a five star book.

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  • Posted May 9, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I enjoyed this book so much I just purchaed his other's from this series!

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  • Posted April 14, 2012

    Very good read

    As always in this series of the Irish Country doctor this is one for the record books. I love how his books read. And how they give you a glossary in what the different words mean. What a great way to learn Irish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Highly recommend

    A very good follow on to the Irish Country Doctor series. An extremely interesting time in a country of which I was not very knowledgeable. I hope there will be more books by this author. I recommend the series to those involved in medicine or interested in Irish background.

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  • Posted April 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fun and Quick

    An Irish Country Girl was a fun, quick read. It took me some time to finish the book because I had to keep putting it down to do homework and tend to my family. Every time I had to put the book down I kept thinking about the characters and what would happen to them next. I thought Patrick Taylor did a good job with writing this story. He starts out having Mrs. Kinky Kincaid telling children a story she expierenced when she was a teen and then when the kids go home, the story is continued with her thinking of everything that took place all those years ago. I wished I was more like Ma. She seemed to be well organized and know how to handle a crisis. She always had fresh healthy meals ready for her family and company. Other characters have admirable traits as well, but it was Ma that I admired most.

    This story really takes you back to a time when cold breakfeast was unheard of, and people worked hard but played just as hard and really spent time as a family. I also liked how Taylor gave some suggested readings if people were interested in reading more about Iraland. This book also contains some Irish recipes that I cannot wait to cook.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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