I recently bought 4 books with short stories by Irish and Scottish women -- and the first two were a disappointment. Then I started reading the third one, IRISH GIRLS ABOUT TOWN, and what a difference! Now, this was exactly my cup of tea :)
I especially enjoyed three stories -- The 28th Day by Catherine Barry, The Union Man by Tina Reilly and The Ring Circle by Martina Devlin. (I was disappointed by the fact that Maeve Binchy's story seemed to be an extract from one of her novels...)
"The 28th Day" is a fantastic description of PMT. How clever to think of that subject matter! Yes, really! You have to read it to see what I mean. Barry treats her character with such humour and understanding. An absolutely wonderful short story -- and I am most definitely going to order Barry's novels, now that I have "discovered" her!
The same goes for Reilly. After reading her brilliant story, "The Union Man" (about a woman married to a "mother's boy"), I want to read more of her work. Both these writers have a way of getting a serious point across by using humour and irony. And they write about things so many women have experienced, no matter what country they live in. Perfect!
I loved Devlin's "The Ring Circle" for similar reasons as the first two writers I mentioned. She deals with such an ordinary subject matter (what to do with the wedding band after a divorce) in such a comic way. I'm sure many of us have been in that situation. What DO we do with the ring when the marriage is over?
Oh, these are writers you simply MUST get to know. I discovered them by chance ... and I am sooooooo glad!