Taylor's latest book takes an in-depth look at Fingal O'Reilly, the doctor. Having graduated from medical school in Dublin in the 1930s, O'Reilly signed on to a job ministering to the very poorest of Dublin's disenfranchised lower class. The experiences of that time changed the course of his medical life, his romantic life, and his friendships. It's probably very helpful to any reader of this book to have started at the beginning of the series, or at least go back and read them all. Taylor's greatest strength, IMHO, is in the way he makes the village and the villagers come to life. Knowing all the players is not at all essential to enjoying this book, but is a delightful backstory not to be missed.
Anyway, back to this book. With well-crafted storytelling, Taylor shows us how the newly-married O'Reilly and his wife (Kitty O'Halloran O'Reilly, his true love from 30 years ago) weathered the storm of Fingal's early days of 24/7/365 doctoring and how that experience has made their marriage such a sweet reward. To tell both of these stories, he magically weaves incidents of O'Reilly's time in the trenches of the Dublin tenements into his contemporary (1960s) life as the beloved and revered doctor in a small village in Ulster. Och, sure, aren't there just a few wee bits of loads of medical jargon, but, then again, isn't this O'Reilly's story to tell? And isn't he a doctor? And didn't he participate in, or witness, some history-making advances in medical care in both time spans? Away off with ye if the details bother yer path through the book. Gut it out, it's worth the work.
Some very skillful editing makes the time transitions back and forth not hard to follow, although I confess to skipping through near the end, 'cause I wanted to finish up with Kinky's news.
My only wish as I finished this book was that the next one was ready, already. I feel as if I could walk up to any of the characters in the book, know them by sight and voice, and walk into the nearest pub (women are allowed now) for something to quench my thirst. I'm hoping the next book gives us more news of the well-drawn and delightful characters in the village who were really background actors playing bit parts in this book which delved into, um, the title of the book: Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor.
Tip o' the pen to ya, Patrick Taylor. Well done!