Downloadable Audiobook - 2007
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While in Paris, during Oscar Wilde's last days, Charles O'Brien, a forty-year-old rake who fancies himself a healer, meets a beautiful, young woman from Tipperary, Ireland. He offers to find and restore her estate and her fortune, with hopes of sharing in the benefits, but she wants nothing to do with him. His efforts and her fate embody the larger story of the Irish reclamation of property and their heritage in the early part of the last century. As in his critically acclaimed bestseller Ireland, Frank Delaney conveys a chapter of Ireland's fascinating history through the epic and compelling stories of farmers and landlords, rebels and lovers.
Publisher: Books on Tape,� 2007
ISBN: 9781415940112
Branch Call Number: REM
Characteristics: 1 sound file (16 hr., 46 min.) : digital, WMA file

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Jul 07, 2008

Tipperary tells the life of Charles O'Brien, an Irishman, traveling healer, proponent of Irish independence and man of some passion. His story is told by the 21st-century narrator who finds some of Charles' personal effects in an old trunk donated to a library and, curious, begins to research his life.

From with his childhood on an Irish farm and apprenticeship to a local herbalist, we follow Charles to France where he attends Oscar Wilde at his sickbed and also falls in love, and back to Ireland where his life's crowning achievement is overseeing the restoration of an ancient Irish castle fallen into disrepair and ruin. Meanwhile, the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War are transpiring in the background and, on occasion, in the foreground as well.

I found this an enjoyable read, with just a one small quibble. Having the narrator, who punctuates episodes from Charles' life with additional historical information of interest to the reader as well as an account of how his research is progressing, is a bit confusing and somewhat jarring initially. Just as the reader is becoming engaged with one storyline, the perspective changes and one must guess who's speaking. Otherwise, this period in the history of Ireland is fascinating and was almost entirely new to me, having very little idea of Irish history prior to independence. The parallels to slavery in America ? Irish Catholics were forbidden to write and could be deported for owning books ? were a complete surprise. I would definitely read more of Delaney's works.

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