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An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War Doctor O'Reilly heeds the call to serve his country in Irish Doctor in Peace and At War, the new novel in Patrick Taylor's beloved Irish Country series Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plans to marry midwife Dierdre Mawhinney. Those plans were complicated by the outbreak o Doctor O'Reilly heeds the call to serve his country in Irish Doctor in Peace and At War, the new novel in Patrick Taylor's beloved Irish Country series Long before Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly became a fixture in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo, he was a young M.B. with plans to marry midwife Dierdre Mawhinney. Those plans were complicated by the outbreak of World War II and the call of duty. Assigned to the HMS Warspite, a formidable 30,000-ton battleship, Surgeon Lieutenant O'Reilly soon found himself face-to-face with the hardships of war, tending to the dreadnought's crew of 1,200 as well as to the many casualties brought aboard. Life in Ballybuckebo is a far cry from the strife of war, but over two decades later O'Reilly and his younger colleagues still have plenty of challenges: an outbreak of German measles, the odd tropical disease, a hard-fought pie-baking contest, and a local man whose mule-headed adherence to tradition is standing in the way of his son's future. Now older and wiser, O'Reilly has prescriptions for whatever ails...until a secret from the past threatens to unravel his own peace of mind. Shifting deftly between two very different eras, Patrick Taylor's latest Irish Country novel reveals more about O'Reilly's tumultuous past, even as Ballybucklebo faces the future in its own singular fashion.

30 review for An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    This is book nine in the Irish Doctor series. It is best to read this series in order as Taylor builds the next story on the past one. In this book Taylor flashes back and forth between Northern Ireland in the 1960s and the Wartime travails of 1939 to 1945 at home and at sea. Dr. Fingal O’Reilly served in the Royal Navy during World War Two. The author tells of O’Reilly’s wartime courtship of his wife, Deirdre. Deirdre was a nurse midwife in training when they met. I found the part of the story a This is book nine in the Irish Doctor series. It is best to read this series in order as Taylor builds the next story on the past one. In this book Taylor flashes back and forth between Northern Ireland in the 1960s and the Wartime travails of 1939 to 1945 at home and at sea. Dr. Fingal O’Reilly served in the Royal Navy during World War Two. The author tells of O’Reilly’s wartime courtship of his wife, Deirdre. Deirdre was a nurse midwife in training when they met. I found the part of the story about O’Reilly’s service on HMS Warspite most interesting. Taylor tells of HMS Warspite’s action in the Battle of West Fjord in Norway and later off Italy. Then he covers HMS Warspite’s in time in Alexandria, Egypt. O’Reilly was a medical officer on the Warspite. The book opens in the 1960s with housekeeper Kinky’s wedding. Young Barry Laverty is back in Ballybucklebo and medical student Jenny is helping out for the summer. The book is well written and researched. I really enjoyed the various Irish accents, the humor and the pithy insights. In this book, aboard HMS Warspite there is a wide variety of accents from Scottish to Cockney. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is thirteen and a half hours long. John Keating does a fantastic job narrating the book. This series works best as an audiobook because Keating does such a great job with all the various accents and the pronunciations of the Irish words. Keating has narrated the series from the beginning. Keating is an Irish actor and award-winning audiobook narrator.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sharen

    The Irish Doctor series makes pleasant reading. However, I admit to feeling extremely distressed by a reference that the author makes to Wilfred Owen (page 317-hardcover). Fingal is reflecting on war: "He could hear the voice of his father, the late professor of Classics and English Literature, quoting Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," 'How sweet and right it is to die for one's country." The hell it was, although Professor Connan O'Reilly could perhaps be forgiven for being The Irish Doctor series makes pleasant reading. However, I admit to feeling extremely distressed by a reference that the author makes to Wilfred Owen (page 317-hardcover). Fingal is reflecting on war: "He could hear the voice of his father, the late professor of Classics and English Literature, quoting Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," 'How sweet and right it is to die for one's country." The hell it was, although Professor Connan O'Reilly could perhaps be forgiven for being sentimental about warfare." This comment does a grave injustice to Wilfed Owen, who wrote some of the finest anti-war poetry of the First World War. Owen railed against the senseless loss of lives. To suggest that the title of his poem is a sentimental tribute to fighting 'for love of King and Country' misrepresents his work. I believe Patrick Taylor owes Wilfred Owen an apology and needs to correct this comment for readers who are unfamiliar with Wilfred Owen's poetry. As one can see from the text below, Owen with bitterness, sadness and regret views "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." as the old Lie. "...If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    This has spoilers for those who have not read the other books in this series. Please start with book #1 before reading this series or you will be completely lost by all of the characters. I have been reading Patrick Taylor for a while. With the ninth book in his An Irish Country series I was looking forward to visiting back with Doctors Laverty and O'Reilly and the fictional village of Ballybucklebo. The last book I read in the series was "Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor". I skipped "The Wily O'Rei This has spoilers for those who have not read the other books in this series. Please start with book #1 before reading this series or you will be completely lost by all of the characters. I have been reading Patrick Taylor for a while. With the ninth book in his An Irish Country series I was looking forward to visiting back with Doctors Laverty and O'Reilly and the fictional village of Ballybucklebo. The last book I read in the series was "Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor". I skipped "The Wily O'Reilly" which was a collection of columns that Taylor wrote about Fingal O'Reilly and published before. With this newest offering we have the book focusing on Final dating and becoming engaged to his first wife Deirdre. We go back and forth between past and present with Fingal now happily married to Kitty but also thinking about some of the things that occurred to him while serving on a warship during WWII. I didn't mind the past and present structure in the last full length book or the one before that. It made sense and it helped to see how Kitty and Fingal first met. And it actually worked quite nicely with the overall present day plot. However this time I see no idea why the book was structured this way. Honestly a novella or just a full length novel depicting Fingal and his early days on the warship, engaged, married, and eventually widowed (not a spoiler, we know from book #1 he was a widower) and just be done with it. Breaking this up into this book and now based on the afterword there will be one more book showing his eventual marriage to Deirdre that I am just going to pass on. The present day plot is not much better. We have Fingal thinking about how he can persuade Colin Brown's (a reader favorite that has been in all of the books) father to let him sit for a test to see about him continuing with his education. And we have Fingal feeling jealous and upset about someone from Kitty's past. That's it. That is the entire present day plot. We don't really have anything on the first part besides O'Reilly have one conversation and then not doing anything about it for several weeks apparently and even when this is resolved he did not one thing besides bringing the conversation about. The second party I thought was just unreal to include. We have a character who got married being upset that his now wife after they broke things off may have someone else that she cared for her in her past. That's it. She's not in love with this person, not going to see them, but this became a thing that actually took up several chapters in the present day side. Readers are cheated of the chance to see Barry Laverty propose, move on from being hurt by the first woman readers will remember and able to be happy for him. Barry lives with Fingal and Kitty and you barely see him in this book. Neither is the new partner Jennifer Bradley shown besides one key scene. The same thing happened with the character of Kinky. She is barely in this which is a surprise since fans of the series knows that she is preparing for marriage. I think that unless this book switches back to the third person and includes the points of view of either Barry or Jennifer I am going to just put this series away and move on from it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Re-read 2018 This book looks more in-depth at Dr. O'Reilly's time on a warship during World War II. It also has some flash-forwards to the late 1960's in Northern Ireland which is the present day for this series. There are fewer patients seen in this book, with more of every day, non-work, issues taking over the narrative. While I enjoyed this book, I didn't like it as much as the earlier books in the series. I'm starting to get into the books that I haven't read before and hope that more of the Re-read 2018 This book looks more in-depth at Dr. O'Reilly's time on a warship during World War II. It also has some flash-forwards to the late 1960's in Northern Ireland which is the present day for this series. There are fewer patients seen in this book, with more of every day, non-work, issues taking over the narrative. While I enjoyed this book, I didn't like it as much as the earlier books in the series. I'm starting to get into the books that I haven't read before and hope that more of the doctor part of the series comes back.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janie

    I still love this series, but this volume was not one of my favorites. The chapters alternate between the current setting of the book and Fingal's time in the war, but the war chapters are somewhat heavy with war details of naval maneuvers and attacks. However, Taylor uses all this to tell the backstory well.

  6. 3 out of 5

    Emily Schmader

    I think this is my favorite of the series so far. The back and forth between WWII and 1960s Ireland kept my interest and gave insight into both periods of history.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula Dembeck

    In this book,the ninth in the Irish Country Doctor series, Taylor moves back and forth between 1960s Northern Ireland and Fingal’s wartime experience in the late thirties and early forties. He continues to move the story forward but fills in some gaps in Fingal’s past. As Taylor brings us up to date from the last book, Kinky and Archie marry and settle in their new home. Kitty and Fingal are very content, are enjoying life and becoming accustomed to the new living arrangements. Jenny Bradley has In this book,the ninth in the Irish Country Doctor series, Taylor moves back and forth between 1960s Northern Ireland and Fingal’s wartime experience in the late thirties and early forties. He continues to move the story forward but fills in some gaps in Fingal’s past. As Taylor brings us up to date from the last book, Kinky and Archie marry and settle in their new home. Kitty and Fingal are very content, are enjoying life and becoming accustomed to the new living arrangements. Jenny Bradley has started her well woman’s clinic and the entire practice is humming along. As Fingal thinks back to former times, we get a glimpse into his early life after he graduated and had joined Dr Flanagan’s practice in Ballybucklbo where he first met Kinky. We read about his engagement to Dierdre MaWhinney, the nurse midwife he fell in love with after Kitty left for Spain. He intended to marry her, but the war interfered and they had to delay their plans. He remembers when he was first called to war and his assignment as a medical officer on the warship Warspite, a huge heavily armoured ship with over a thousand men on board. He was terrified, had no experience treating war wounds and was required to deliver his first anaesthetic for a surgeon carrying out an emergency appendectomy. He learned quickly and although he was terrified most of the time, he did well, earning the praise of his colleagues and subordinates. We also get to meet his friend Tom Laverty, the navigator on the warship and the father of Barry who twenty years later joined Fingal’s practice in Ballybucklebo. Fingal’s life overseas when on land was exciting and he was very tempted by a flirty naval wife named Elly. Like most men at war, he was lonely, frightened and dearly wanted some female comfort. During these times Taylor gives us interesting scenes of Fingal’s time spent in Egypt as well as terrifying descriptions of war at sea. Meanwhile as the story gently moves back to Ballybucklebo, Barry and Fingal continue their practice in the village. Fingal diagnoses a case of German measles, a curious and exotic Mediterranean virus from ticks and delivers a baby with Kitty helping as midwife. Fingal also helps Lenny Brown, a proud worker in the shipyards, to see there might be an alternate future for his son Colin, if he would only allow him to take an exam that would lead to a wider choice of possible careers. And Bertie Bishop seems to be evolving into a new, kinder man after his heart attack. Barry is more in the background in this book, but he does come through finally with an engagement to Sue Nolan after gentle pushes from all his friends. He even has a short encounter with Patricia Spence, the woman who broke his heart and left him high and dry one Christmas. Taylor continues to charm us with the dialect in the story (as always, complete with glossary at the back), his humourous small town characters, his insights into human behavior and Kinky’s lovely recipes at the end. A pleasant and enjoyable read in a series that still holds interest.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Sharone Powell

    Though some books in the series are very enjoyable, this one is not one of them. Simply put, there is no story here, but a mere collection of anecdotes. Fundamentally, jumping from past to present between two stories leaves us with two "wanna be" stories. But there is no inciting incident, conflict, and resolution (an easy example of that is book one in the series: Barry Lafferty needs to decide whether or not he likes to work with Fingal and living in Ballybucklebo - leading to his experiences Though some books in the series are very enjoyable, this one is not one of them. Simply put, there is no story here, but a mere collection of anecdotes. Fundamentally, jumping from past to present between two stories leaves us with two "wanna be" stories. But there is no inciting incident, conflict, and resolution (an easy example of that is book one in the series: Barry Lafferty needs to decide whether or not he likes to work with Fingal and living in Ballybucklebo - leading to his experiences there - culminating with his decision to stay). For fans of the series I'll elaborate on what's in this book: You get to see Fingal in action, operating on Warspite on an English solider and a German one, too, treating them equally, and despising the war in his heart. He remains true to himself by caring about his patients, including the German one. He spends time with Tom Lafferty (Barry's dad). A beautiful, English woman seduces him in Alexandria. Fingal considers betraying Deidre, his fiancee. The excessive trivia is distracting more than ever; Taylor even names many Arabic streets. Talk about distracting. At present, the stories have even less 'meat': Some more ailments here and there; a birth helps Fingal and Kitty get over a hurdle in their relationship (he finds out she had one relationship in the 20 odd years they've been apart (!!) and he's incredibly jealous); Counselor Bishop is a changed man; Fingal tries to convince Colin Brown's da to let him take an important exam; and finally, Fingal, Kitty, Barry, his parents, and Sue, have dinner together, during which they run into Patricia Spence (Barry's love interested before Sue). I guess Patrick Taylor wanted her to eat her heart out when Barry introduced her his fiancee, Sue. As you can see, there were a lot of unrelated threads here that didn't make a story. Much better to focus on one timeline and flesh it out, in my opinion.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

    I actually listened to the audio version of this book, having come across it in our library. The voice actor who read the book did a beautiful job of evoking all the characters - from the rough Irish brogue to the polished "plummy" upper class British accents. This is a charming - and at times thrilling - novel of an Irish doctor who experiences horrific sea battles during World War II in the British Navy - but ends up in a bucolic Irish town later in life. His descriptions of the big guns on th I actually listened to the audio version of this book, having come across it in our library. The voice actor who read the book did a beautiful job of evoking all the characters - from the rough Irish brogue to the polished "plummy" upper class British accents. This is a charming - and at times thrilling - novel of an Irish doctor who experiences horrific sea battles during World War II in the British Navy - but ends up in a bucolic Irish town later in life. His descriptions of the big guns on the warship firing salvos at the enemy - and of the resulting human carnage - do much to bring the experience of war to the reader. As a young ship's surgeon, his heart goes out to his shipmates and the German enemy alike, as he and his fellow doctors must repair the damage done during the battles. His home life is equally entertaining - with intricate and engaging portraits of the townspeople, his work as a country doctor, and the love he rediscovered late in life.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Paul

    This book was not one of Mr. Taylor best books in this series. I found the conversation lacking and trying too hard. I found there was a lot "Remember when..." type dialogue. Instead of just regular discussion. The storyline did not grab me like the previous stories have, it was kind of disappointing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lynnette

    Largely a look back at Dr. O'Reilly's wartime experience, including the beginnings of the story of his relationship with Deirdre (which the author says will be concluded in the next book). And the story of life in Ballybucklebo advances as well, sometimes intertwining with the stories of the past.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

    Some of it was good, but some parts bored me to tears. Sometimes it seems like the author is showing off his knowledge and it gets to be tedious.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Casey

    A very good read filled with human feelings and the anguish of the War. It portrays Fingal and others living their lives , supporting and caring for each other through loss and joy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This book was much more serious than others I've listened to in the series. It did not make me laugh. It was pretty dry. Meh.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    My least favorite of the series so far, due to the emphasis on war story.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Another in the series by this Irish Canadian author, I read this as a light diversion while reading more serious and stress-filled books. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it more than I anticipated, and read it exclusively until it’s end. It is classical Patrick Taylor, and his main character Fingal O’Reilly stayed loyally in character. I’m generally not a fan of war stories, but surprisingly, I found Fingal’s experiences as a medical officer and ship’s surgeon aboard a warship interesting, if at times a Another in the series by this Irish Canadian author, I read this as a light diversion while reading more serious and stress-filled books. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it more than I anticipated, and read it exclusively until it’s end. It is classical Patrick Taylor, and his main character Fingal O’Reilly stayed loyally in character. I’m generally not a fan of war stories, but surprisingly, I found Fingal’s experiences as a medical officer and ship’s surgeon aboard a warship interesting, if at times a bit long winded. This aspect of the story, however, opened my eyes to the sheer scope and breadth of the whole war thing. Who knew. Perhaps if I’d read more or seen more movies of this genre, I’d be more informed. But to what gain, aside from my interest? Anyhow, i digress. I thought this book was well put together for someone like me to learn about WW2. The warship segments taking place in ~1940 were interspaced with the parts of the book that took place in the mid-sixties, a time of relative peace, at least in the lives of the doctors in Ballybucklebo, giving the reader a break from the hostilities of war. All in all, I thought was a good read, and I’m looking forward to reading the next( last?) in the series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    Wonderful writing, as usual by Patrick Taylor. He is quite the storyteller. However, this story is one that, in my opinion, would have been better told strictly in the past, rather than moving back and forth between past and present. The backstory of Fingal and Deidre's marriage and early life together is one I have been curious about, to be sure. Filling in those gaps makes sense. But there really is no need to go back-and-forth between that story and the present in the telling. The "present" s Wonderful writing, as usual by Patrick Taylor. He is quite the storyteller. However, this story is one that, in my opinion, would have been better told strictly in the past, rather than moving back and forth between past and present. The backstory of Fingal and Deidre's marriage and early life together is one I have been curious about, to be sure. Filling in those gaps makes sense. But there really is no need to go back-and-forth between that story and the present in the telling. The "present" storyline just isn't that compelling or urgent; it easily could have waited for another writing. That being said, and I'm going to sound very female now, the descriptions of the warship and its guns, and the battle scenes, did very little for me. I found myself skimming through much of that writing to get back to the storyline. Thus my 3-star rating. Now, on to #10!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Payne

    Another delightful Patric Taylor book. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire read and in this book, parts of previous book's questions were answered, but not all of them. There are still a few questions that need to be answered for all of the pieces to fit into place in the sequence of his many stories. At the end of the book, after Kinky gives out a few of her cherished recipes, there is the section of Author's Notes. I happened to read through them and enjoyed learning how the different characters o Another delightful Patric Taylor book. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire read and in this book, parts of previous book's questions were answered, but not all of them. There are still a few questions that need to be answered for all of the pieces to fit into place in the sequence of his many stories. At the end of the book, after Kinky gives out a few of her cherished recipes, there is the section of Author's Notes. I happened to read through them and enjoyed learning how the different characters or book details were woven into his stories. Delightful, simply delightful. Now my husband needs to finish up the next book so I can have a craic at it!

  19. 3 out of 5

    Joanne

    I had a hard time finishing this book. I love the Irish Country Doctor series, but this one is definitely not Patrick Taylor's best. Although there are a few interesting spots, it is generally very slow-moving. Avid fans will still want to read it, but I don't recommend it for anyone who isn't already into the series. I found there was too much contrived jumping back and forth between the present and the WWII era. And still, there are a lot of questions left unanswered, so I look forward to the I had a hard time finishing this book. I love the Irish Country Doctor series, but this one is definitely not Patrick Taylor's best. Although there are a few interesting spots, it is generally very slow-moving. Avid fans will still want to read it, but I don't recommend it for anyone who isn't already into the series. I found there was too much contrived jumping back and forth between the present and the WWII era. And still, there are a lot of questions left unanswered, so I look forward to the next book in the series.

  20. 3 out of 5

    Melissa Cunning

    The depth of this war story caused me to have to read quite a bit slower just to fully understand everything that was happening, but I'm surprised by how much I'm actually starting to enjoy the history throughout the storyline. This book really seemed to have more of a cliff-hanger ending then any of the others. I'm anxious to find out more about Diedre. And what about the ghosts of the past, like the man in Kitty's life from Tenerife and Patricia Spence? I sense trouble brewing but I can't even The depth of this war story caused me to have to read quite a bit slower just to fully understand everything that was happening, but I'm surprised by how much I'm actually starting to enjoy the history throughout the storyline. This book really seemed to have more of a cliff-hanger ending then any of the others. I'm anxious to find out more about Diedre. And what about the ghosts of the past, like the man in Kitty's life from Tenerife and Patricia Spence? I sense trouble brewing but I can't even begin to guess what it all means!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Toni Laliberte

    I liked this book. There is a lot of British military history and war history in it, and I'm not familiar with that being that I'm American, but I enjoyed learning about it. Patrick Taylor has a way of telling a story, that you feel like you're right in the thick of it, like on the ship Warspite during the air raids, or at Number One Main Street, Ballybucklebo, having dinner. I'm so glad I won the complete series of these books. I shall miss them when I'm done. On to book ten.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mikki Fisher

    A good story which became a bit bogged down with logs of additional, not-really-needed details, but I persevered through the more 'heavy' sections about WWII battleships & airplanes. It didn't make me want to go back to the beginning of the series to read the earlier books, but I will try and get hold of a copy of the follow-up to this one so that a couple of story lines become resolved.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Here is the start of the story of Fingal's time in the Navy in WWII on the Warspite, mixed with the continuing story of Fingal and Kitty, Kinky and Archie, Barry and Sue and the other residents of Ballybucklebo, plus more about Fingal and Diedre. Great read, as usual.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Annemarie Pedersen

    I didn't enjoy this as much as some of the others but it was interesting to read about Fingal's time in the navy and some of the bs l story there. Will get back to the series but saving the last book

  25. 3 out of 5

    Linda Bogaard

    Listened to CD. Another in the series. Didn't like it quite as well. A lot of naval / military description. Enjoyed the backstory and interaction between characters more. Happy Dr. Fingal resisted temptations and stay true to his love.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Didn't care for this as much as some of the other Irish Doctor books, probably because of the scenes of war.

  27. 3 out of 5

    Pat

    Love these books about Ireland.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Vern

    Delightful!

  29. 3 out of 5

    Patricia Van

    Oh, so fine.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Pureokie

    I am always entertained by Patrick Taylor's writing.

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