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The Matchmaker of Kenmare: A Novel of Ireland

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  608 ratings  ·  176 reviews
In the summer of 1943, as World War II rages on, Ben MacCarthy is haunted by the disappearance of his wife, the actress Venetia Kelly. Searching for purpose by collecting stories for the Irish Folklore Commission, he travels to a remote seaside cottage to profile the enigmatic Miss Kate Begley, the Matchmaker of Kenmare. Ben is immediately captivated by her, and a powerful ...more
Paperback, 393 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2011)
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Sandra Olshaski
The Matchmaker of Kenmare Frank Delaney (Rated:C)
ISBN: 978-1-4000-6784-8
Random House
Published 2011
Hardcover, 416 pages

Reviewed by Sandra

When I finished reading Delaney’s previous novel Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show I remember hoping for a sequel. Well, here it is in all its glory!

The novel takes place in Ireland and Europe during World War II. The story appears to be Ben Murphy’s relentless search for his wife and child (?) who disappeared under mysterious circumstances over a decade earlier. B
I won this book through First Reads! I can' wait to get it and to read it. I will post my review as soon as I can!
This is a book that touches me closely because of the kinship I feel with its hero and narrator, Ben McCarthy. In The Matchmaker of Kenmare, Ben falls under the sway of Kate Begley, a matchmaker and daughter of a matchmaker. She completely enchants him and takes over his life as easily as if he were a pair of gloves she puts on. Ben starts out with a deep vulnerability: His wife, the former Venetia Kelly, has disappeared; and there are no clues as to whether she is among the quick or the dead. T ...more
Ashley Martin
I really love Frank Delaney's books. They are always perfectly written, the stories are so entertaining and gripping, and the characters so round. This book was no different. Kate and Ben's relationship is so confusing and complex, that you can't help but empathize with Ben's frustration. He has two loves in his life, one has been forcefully taken from him, and the other is in love with someone else, someone she barely knows. Ben is a good guy, but he has bad moments, and I really like that in a ...more
I'm sticking with a solid 3 1/2 stars on this one. I wanted to give it 4 stars, but the beginning drove me crazy with all of the foreshadowing and foretelling. I understand that the narrator was telling the story as a memoir, but it took a while to understand who he was telling his story to, and to weave together all of the fragments later on. I understood the reason behind it, but I felt it was a bit too much. Overall, the story was very engaging and interesting. I hadn't known that Ireland was ...more
I didn't fall in love with this as much as I did with the book Ireland by the same author but it was still a good read and I enjoyed it.

Delaney's main skill is that he is exceptional at crafting a genuine Irish environment that it is so easy to get sucked into. And to further attest to this skill, he can do it in seemingly any time period. This specific book takes place in the first half of the 20th century, mostly in the World War II era. Ben comes off as a reliable narrator so it is easy to t
I'm a bit ambiguous on this book. I received it from a giveaway, and it was my first win, so I was rather excited. I found the book interesting enough to keep me picking it up and reading it, but not enough to stop me from putting it down and going to something else. It is a rather tragic story of two people, a man and a woman, whose lives intertwine during WWII. The historical aspect of it was very intriguing, and I liked hearing about those different aspects. That being said, I found the entir ...more
Rebecca H.
Frank Delaney’s novel The Matchmaker of Kenmare didn’t strike me as a particularly good book, although I found myself absorbed in the last 100 pages or so wanting to know how things turned out. It’s set during World War II and tells the story of Ben McCarthy, a folklorist who travels around the country collecting stories and is trying to recover from a broken heart after his wife mysteriously disappeared, and Kate Begley, the matchmaker of the title, a young woman learning how to ply the matchma ...more
This is another one of those books that I just could not refuse after reading that synopsis. I forgive the editors for creating such a long synopsis, because there is so much going on behind the scenes that calling this a World War II love story would be completely remiss. The book is a sort of anomaly for me: vague, opaque, labyrinthine.. yet still hypnotic, engrossing, suspenseful. There is love, romance, whimsy, tragedy, loss, and everything in between. Upon opening the book you are setting o ...more
I've noticed that most of the reviews for this book are four and five stars. Not mine. I found the book disappointing. Reading the jacket, I thought I would like it as much as his other books, and if he had stuck to the love lost and found aspects, I would have. But the war part is boring to me.
If you plan to read this book, I suggest you read Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show first. I really enjoyed that book and this one, although it has a totally different plot, picks up where the Traveling Show
Amanda  Cannady
I have listened to the audio version of Frank Delaney's first in this series, Venetia Kelly and the Traveling Show, and now finished reading The Matchmaker of Kenmare. The experience of listening to Frank Delaney narrate Venentia Kelly book has enriched the experience of both of these books. The Matchmaker of Kenmare is a book that stayed with me and has me on the hunt to find the third in the series. The Matchmaker is suburb because I was allowed into the thoughts and struggles of Ben as he con ...more
Erin Brenner
The Matchmaker of Kenmare is a bit of departure from the other Delaney books I've read, especially "Shannon" and "Tipperary." In the others, the writing was much more lyrical and literary. This was a bit plainer style (but not too much), and perhaps that serves a good purpose. While the tale is told chronologically, there are lots of references early on to later events, both within the book's timeline and beyond it. A plainer writing style eases comprehension.

The tale itself doesn't disappoint.
Elyse Rudin
I had a love hate relationship with this book. A man who writes Irish folklore is looking for his wife who disappeared. He meets a single woman who is a matchmaker and he develops an affection for her. She meets an American intelligence officer, falls in loves and marries. WWII is the backstory and Ireland is neutral. The officer is called away to Europe and his new bride is so worried for him that she takes her male friend to go find him. There were moments of beauty in the telling of this stor ...more
To be fair, I was unable to read the last 10 pages because my dog (yes, my dog) ripped out most of them. It's a slow moving story. I gave it more of a chance than usual, at which point there was enough intrigue on my part to see where this was headed. Then when I really understood where it was headed, I wasn't thrilled about it, but was too invested in it to stop reading. With 70 pages left to go, my 8 month old puppy broke into the bedroom while I was out and tore apart the last 10 pages or so. ...more
This is a warning about Frank Delaney: if you don't like long-winded sagas, especially ones that meander and even go off the tracks at times, then don't read Frank Delaney. Sometimes, you are rewarded by a splendid, multi-layered story. I really liked his other books, "Ireland" and "Shannon". This one, not so much. After the two main characters go through so much, you hope they are rewarded with some joy and happiness in their lives. But, like life, that often doesn’t happen. For me, this is rat ...more
Janet Meissner
World War II in Ireland? A new perspective. The young village matchmaker, apprentice to her grandmother, has a sixth sense about people. Her lonely clients are realistic about their situation and all eventually are pleased with the match she finds for them. When the Americans come looking for spy recruits in this neutral country, the matchmaker matches him to herself. Thus begins the odyssey this woman takes through war torn Europe, in the company of the state-appointed collector of folk-tales, ...more
So, I forced marched my way through this book after the first maybe 25%.

TMoK is a 'bodice ripper' or 'true romance' dressed up as something more. And told from the frustrated but virtuous male point of view.

All this sleeping together nude, but such a gentleman.

All this self searching of his motives, anguish blah blah blah.

We get miles of 'scenery' and pages of 'stories' as well as excerpts from our 'heroine's diary".

I'm sure we'll find out how he came upon her diary....if we can stand to read
Toni Osborne
Set during World War 11 “The Matchmaker of Kenmare” is a lush novel rich in myth, sometime hilarious and at times heartbreaking, a stirring story of loss, friendship, romance and sacrifice. The protagonist Ben MacCarthy, an Irish folklore aficionado, narrates a very touching segment in his life as he wanders the country in search of his missing wife Venetia Kelly (we first met her in “Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show”).

The story has a very slow start and opens with Ben meeting Kate Begley, known a
First, thanks to Leah at Meier for the ARC.

I love Frank Delaney's writing. He creates wonderful atmospheres and gives characters time and room to breathe. Ireland is on my short list of books to share when someone is looking for a well written book. So I was very excited to receive an ARC of The Matchmaker of Kenmare.

Ben Kelly travels Ireland collecting folklore. In the process he meets Kate Begley, and starts a relationship that will take him from neutral Ireland, to the middle of France and t
Frank Delaney has done it again. This book is wonderful and one gets swept into the characters immediately. This book is more than a war story. It is about matchmaking, love, death, grief, and above all....HOPE. Hope for a returning war soldier, hope for a marriage and hope for undying friendship/love.

I loved the characters, especially Kate Begley and Ben. I wanted so much for Ben and Kate to get together in the end and live happily ever after. But, in my heart of hearts, I knew that Charles Mil
Benji Martin
I really love Frank Delaney's books. They are always perfectly written, the stories are so entertaining and gripping, and the characters so round. This book was no different. Kate and Ben's relationship is so confusing and complex, that you can't help but empathize with Ben's frustration. He has two loves in his life, one has been forcefully taken from him, and the other is in love with someone else, someone she barely knows. Ben is a good guy, but he has bad moments, and I really like that in a ...more
Beautiful reminiscents, lyrical prose, funny ramblings, languid pace and slightly ambiguous plot; quite an unusual combination.

Ben MacCarthy of Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show fame returns to narrate The Matchmaker of Kenmare in the form of a memoir to his children. I don't think not having read Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show impeded my enjoyment of The Matchmaker of Kenmare but obviously if you've read the first book then many questions are answered in it's sequel.

Ben & Kate's paths cross a

Ben McCarthy is the narrator in the book, recounting to his two children how he looks back on his friendship with Miss Begley, the matchmaker of Kenmare. He begs their forgiveness for his habit of digression. And digress he does! Sometimes to the point of exasperation but when he reminisces about their dangerous adventures during the war, I was enthralled.

From a historical point of view, the issue of Ireland's neutrality was interesting. Ben and Kate discuss their own feelings of neutrality tow
I won this book on Goodreads and am very thankful to have won. Unfortunately, my review is not a positive one. There are three reasons why this book wasn't for me.

First, I have never read a book with so much foreshadowing in it. There was SO much foreshadowing that I lost track of what I was supposed to be anticipating. I got more frustrated with it the longer it went on and it went on throughout THE ENTIRE BOOK. The book would have been better (and much shorter) if the author could have just g
What a masterful story-teller Frank Delaney is. This novel, set mostly in "neutral" Ireland during WWII, unfolds slowly, making me feel as if I were opening doors in a large, unfamiliar home. I know there is more to this tale than just the basic story-line. So I read it slowly and carefully, attempting a "close reading," to explore hidden shadow stories. I lingered and could almost smell the summer sea at Kenmare and suffer the snow and cold of war-torn Western Europe.

The Matchmaker of Kenmare,
Ricki Jill Treleaven
This week I read The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney. He is one of my favorite writers, and a master storyteller! I have read several of Delaney's other books:
Shannon, &
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show.

The Matchmaker of Kenmare is a sequel to Venetia Kelley's Traveling Show. It begins in mid-1943 during the Great Emergency, or what neutral Ireland called World War II. It is the continuing story of Ben MacCarthy, a story collector for the Irish Folklore Commission. His
Through his work for the Irish Folklore Commission, Ben McCarthy travels around Ireland gathering stories. On one of his trips, he meets Kate Begley, who makes her living as a matchmaker, connection local single men and women. Ben did not realize how the meeting with Kate would define his life from that time on.
World War II is going on but Ben finds himself traveling with Kate from neutral Ireland into European war zones. He allows her to talk him into an espionage adventure into France to res
Readers expecting a cozy Irish novel in the vein of Patrick Taylor may be disappointed at first, but while Delaney's Matchmaker of Kenmare is less warm and fuzzy, it's richer and full of unexpected treats, rather like a piece of Irish soda bread.

Ben MacCarthy is a wandering folklore scholar tracking and tracing the stories and lore of Southern Ireland when he encounters the indomitable Miss Kate Begley, the titular matchmaker of Kenmare. While Miss Begley is indeed a spinster lady whose avocatio
Lindsay Paige
WARNINGS: It goes on forever, it seems.

I was interested in this book because of a few things. 1. Matchmaking appealed to me. 2. I haven't read read anything from that time period before. And 3. The synopsis had my attention nonetheless. I feel blargh about this book. I liked it and I didn't. So let me explain why.

I very much enjoyed the characters and the time period the book at which the book is set. Sometimes I was like, "Woah. I didn't see that coming." (Which was the case for almost the enti
Nancy Oakes
My thanks are to the publishers who sent this to me, and to Leah, who contacted me about reading/reviewing this book. I actually have an ARC, but borrowed the ISBN to list the book.

I'm giving this book a rounded-up 3.75 stars, meaning that I liked it.

I've been following Delaney's series of books about Irish history for a while now, starting with Tipperary, a most awesome book. Then came Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show, which I really liked. Now there's his The Matchmaker of Kenmare, which in par
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It was very good 1 11 Apr 23, 2011 09:50PM  
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'The Most Eloquent Man in the World', says NPR, about the writer, broadcaster, BBC host and Booker Prize Judge, Frank Delaney. Over a career that has lasted more than three decades, Delaney, an international-best-selling author himself, has interviewed more than 3,500 of the world's most important writers.

Frank Delaney has earned top prizes and best-seller status in a wide variety of formats, from
More about Frank Delaney...
Ireland Shannon Tipperary The Last Storyteller: A Novel of Ireland Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show: A Novel of Ireland

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