The guidelines for the challenge were to read 1-3 books, but I actually made my list of four. Unfortunately, I didn't get to A Christmas Carol this year, but I have read it several times in the past and I watched about ten movie versions AND saw a live play so I think I'm good with ole Dickens this year!
The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor Matchless by Gregory Maguire
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Barry Laverty, M.B., is looking forward to his first Christmas in the cozy village of Ballybucklebo, at least until he learns that his sweetheart, Patricia, might not be coming home for the holidays. That unhappy prospect dampens his spirits somewhat, but Barry has little time to dwell on his romantic disappointments. Christmas may be drawing nigh, but there is little peace to be found on earth, especially for a young doctor plying his trade in the emerald hills and glens of rural Ireland.
Along with his senior partner, Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, Barry has his hands full dealing with seasonal coughs and colds, as well as the occasional medical emergency. To add to the doctors' worries, competition arrives in the form of a patient-poaching new physician whose quackery threatens the health and well-being of the good people of Ballybucklebo. Can one territory support three hungry doctors? Barry has his doubts.
But the wintry days and nights are not without a few tidings of comfort and joy. Between their hectic medical practice, Rugby Club parties, and the kiddies' Christmas Pageant, the two doctors still find time to play Santa Claus to a struggling single mother with a sick child and not enough money in the bank. Snow is rare in Ulster, and so are miracles, but that doesn't mean they never happen. . .
This is a long book for a Christmas read. It's 471 pages not including the Afterword, Author's Note and Glossary. However, although it was long, it was not boring. Taylor has captured the charm of an Irish country village in the mid 60s during Christmas. Ballybucklebo is a close knit community and everyone there knows the true meaning of Christmas. Looking out for each other and showing good will towards ALL men, despite it being a struggle at times. This is a warm, cozy read that is excellent for Christmastime. Taylor's skillful writing of the Irish brogue makes you really hear it in your head as you're reading. Being a fan of the Celtic cultures, I truly enjoyed this. There are other books in the Irish Country Series--An Irish Country Doctor, An Irish Country Village and An Irish Country Girl (2010). I own Village and I'm really looking forward to picking up the other two. Put this on your list for next year...I highly recommend it! Also there is a bonus in the Afterword of Kinky Kincaid's delicious Christmas recipes (although I'm not sure if I have the skill to pull them off...LOL!)