Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton

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Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton

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Buy Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An engaging story which perfectly captures the Irish voice and a way of life. An author to follow.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 236 Date: March 2015
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0990304258

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Hailey was on a sabbatical from her job in the music business in Los Angeles and taking the holiday of a lifetime to Ireland, when she walked into the Galway Music Centre and found a job which she simply couldn't turn down. She also found a home in a local village, a liking for the rural life and a man whom she could love. Liam Hennessy was a talented accordion player: music was his life and whilst he was more attracted to Hailey than he had ever been to another woman it wasn't entirely clear whether 'love' could ever be on the cards for him.

I didn't intend to read this book: I opened it with the intention of getting an idea about which of the Bookbag reviewers might find it interesting. I read a few pages - and then a few pages more, purely in the interests of research, of course and then it was obvious who was going to review the book. I rather surprised myself - you see, I usually enjoy a plot-driven book - preferably a police procedural - and Dancing to an Irish Reel is very much about character and location. It's also about the quality of the writing, which is superb.

Claire Fullerton perfectly captures the Irish voice and neatly - through the ears of an American coming to terms with Irish phraseology and the lilt of the language - lets the voices sing in your ears as you read. Too often I've seen the Irish dialect degenerate into caricature or the suggestion of a lesser person, but Fullerton never comes anywhere near the trap: these are real, intelligent people with valid hopes and aspirations - and living a good life. All the characters come sharply to life: Hailey and Liam are centre stage but they don't dominate the story. I was particularly taken with Adrian, who 'volunteers' at the music centre, occasionally seems to be a bit of a nuisance, but is actually a very talented poet. At the other end of the likeability scale there's Declan, who runs the centre, but lacks the backbone to face up to problems.

Liam Hennessy is probably the most intriguing character: good looking and talented he nevertheless has almost no experience with women. He's not against having a relationship - it seems that he simply lacks the ability to organise and engage in one. The interaction between Liam and Hailey is well done, with both of them not being quite prepared to take the step forward which might bring them together. It felt very real.

There's a real feel for Ireland too - the weather and the countryside. I loved the thought that heaven would be Ireland with Los Angeles weather, but hell would be LA with Irish weather. For a book which I didn't expect to read, I thought it was particularly enjoyable and I'd like to thank the author for arranging for a copy to be sent to me.

If you really wanted a police procedural set in Galway then we can recommend The Guards by Ken Bruen. For a more literary book, try Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell.

Buy Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton at Amazon.com.

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