What I loved the most about this novel is the way it slows time to a standstill, allowing you to focus on this one village in North Ireland and this one distinct time. I felt like I was looking through a portal into the past. I believe this was a point of contention for some people when I was reading reviews of the book. However, what they consider negative, I consider positive. I really felt like I got to know these characters. I found myself wanting to live in Ballybucklebo and take part in their distinct culture.
I’m not sure what kept me from giving this a five-star review. I did only “really like” this book instead of love it. Perhaps it’s because I was more attached to Fingal than I was to the main character, Barry. I found Barry’s character a little flat at the beginning. He’s unsure of the path he wants to take; he’s not sure he wants to have a career as a general practitioner in a small country village. The only thing he does know is that there will be no other Patricia. However, by the end of An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor, I found myself more attached to Barry. He removed that “by the book” stick out of his backside and really started to enjoy life in Ballybucklebo.
I think what I most loved about An Irish Country Doctor are the unique characters. I come across authors who try to create quirk but end up creating these caricatures of people who you can’t possibly think could exist in life. The beauty about Patrick Taylor is that he’s created these unique characters that are still believable. He’s pinpointed all the quirks of living in such a small town and folded them into characters like Kinky Kincaid, Seamus Galvin, and Fingal O’Reilly. They really jumped off the page and into my heart.
This is a great beach read if you’re looking for something lighthearted to read over the summer and/or on vacation. I think you’ll fall in love with Ballybucklebo just like I did. I highly recommend it.