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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
Paul Alfred’s gold-digging wife and her unscrupulous lawyer lover have fabricated a cast-iron divorce case and Paul must see his business, home and marriage slip away into history. The Girl from Tir-na-nOg by Gary Hope tells how Paul, unwilling to be beaten into the dust, manages to squirrel away a quantity of cash while the divorce proceedings grind on. He then uses this to travel to a remote village in Ireland where he takes a room in a local boarding house, changes his name and determines to start a new life. To acclimatise himself to the weather and the local lifestyle, he spends time in the village pub and looks for work. Drinking Guinness and listening to the nightly music, he gets to know the barman, Ruaraith, (pronounced Rory) who, when asked about finding work, introduces him to Ailin, a somewhat mysterious individual destined to play a pivotal role in Paul’s new life.
Gaining employment by overseeing the management of Ailin’s various local businesses, Paul’s days pass by peacefully until he discovers that his ex-wife and her new husband are trying to get him declared dead so they can collect on a two- million-dollar insurance policy and, to make matters worse, Claire, the manager of the local restaurant, takes to taunting him about his supposed (and unfounded) determination to date her. Finding himself with some free time, he takes a trip to a nearby village where he meets the subject of the book’s title, a stunning green-eyed Irish beauty with whom he falls desperately in love. The fates conspire to keep them apart, however, and as Paul finds himself becoming more embroiled in the local community, is it possible that the two will ever get together?
I enjoyed The Girl from Tir-na-nOg - it is a bittersweet romance which arouses indignation and compassion and at times will make you laugh out loud. The characters are well-drawn, though you should allow for a good deal of artistic licence with the way that Gary Hope deals with the central character’s travel arrangements and his adventures with the IRA. Small town life in Ireland came across well and the quirky, though sometimes profound, observations of the locals often had me in stitches. A worthwhile read, one to curl up with on a rainy afternoon.