Leslie's Reviews > The Matchmaker of Kenmare

The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney
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's review
Aug 01, 2011

really liked it

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 avocation is to put couples together, she in no way resembles the stereotype Ben expects, being young, pretty, and vivacious. The two become friends as Miss Begley tried to help Ben overcome his long held grief at the disappearance of his pregnant wife. In return, Ben feels himself duty-bound to assist Miss Begley any way he can - even when that means traveling into France during the German occupation and becoming embroiled in an Allied intelligence operation - despite Ireland's proclaimed neutrality.

Delaney's prose is lovely, and his characters' voices ring true, so when the plot becomes darker than one wishes, the reader is carried along on a sea of words - until the wink of an ending.

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