An Irish Country Christmas is the third novel in the Irish Country Series by Patrick Taylor. I have not read the other books in the series, but picked up an ARC of this one for a small donation* at the adorable Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge Island in Washington on a recent vacation. The books feature Doctor Barry Laverty and his mentor, Doctor Fingal Flaherty O'Reilly in the Ulster village of Ballybucklebo. (The village is fictional. In case you didn't know, Ulster = Northern Ireland. And the books are set in the 1960s.)
The book covers country life in Northern Ireland and all of the little dramas that the preparation for the Christmas season creates. This is not a fast-paced or exciting book. It is a leisurely stroll through small-town life. I think the book is better to understand if you have ever been to Ireland or Northern Ireland. The Irish move at their own pace, which most Americans would consider slow. There's no rush there, and the book moves at that pace. So, it took me back a little.
My complaints mainly stem from the fact that the book rather reads like it was written by a retired doctor rather than a professional author; never is the reader's memory counted on. Facts that are presented earlier in the novel are brought up with detail again and again. There is also no subtlety in judging emotion or motive--everything is expressly stated. It's not really the style I prefer. I also have to note that most of the medical problems in the book are minor, but there is one very explicit breech birth scene involving an episiotomy. Consider yourself warned.
SO, the book is not bad, but you have to be in the mood for what it is. It was a little slow for me at the time I read it.
*ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) are giveaways; they are not labeled for sale and recipients are not supposed to resell them. But as a thank you gift for a donation to help literacy...well, they're just perfect, aren't they?