I’ve always enjoyed authors who continue to write about the same characters in new novels. Sometimes this is a significant work, like Hilary Mantel’s current trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, and sometimes it’s just the fun of a good writer developing character with new adventures. We all loved the whole Harry Potter series, didn’t we?
I have enjoyed, for the most part, Sheila Connolly’s County Cork mysteries. Her protagonist, Maura Donovan, has been thrown into the life of Irish pub owner after an inheritance comes her way, leaving Boston for the small Cork village of Leap. It’s a nice plot premise, and I have mostly enjoyed these books. The characters are interesting and the village life is full of twists and turns.
I just finished the newly published eighth installment, Fatal Roots, and I think I may be done with this. I have continued to be annoyed at her attempt at dialect, which is to only have the Irish refer to people in conversation as “yeh.” I get what that sounds like, but I wish she had used some descriptor to note that people speak English differently there and let the reader put the sound to it. As I noted, the premise is good with Maura making her way from big-city American Boston to small village Irish life. But Connolly’s style tends to be what I call the Dan Brown way of doing plot: “‘What’s that?’ ‘It’s the Mona Lisa.’ ‘What is that?'” You get the drift. It really got out of hand in this latest book. I really grew weary of hearing that Maura was from Boston (we got that the first time!) and about her ongoing attempts to figure out Irish life. (We also got that the first time.)
I did stick it out to the end (these are quick reads) as the plot does draw you in and I wanted to know how it all came out. But I’m not sure I can do another one of these unless Ms. Connolly learns to trust her readers more.
Here are the books in order:
- Buried in a Bog (2013)
- Scandal in Skibbereen (2014)
- An Early Wake (2015)
- A Turn for the Bad (2016)
- Cruel Winter (2016)
- Many a Twist (2018)
- The Lost Traveller (2019)
- Fatal Roots (2020)
I remember that the first chapter of every Nancy Drew book managed to work in that her father was a lawyer, that her mother was dead, that they had a housekeeper named Hannah Gruen, that Nancy’s best friends were the tomboyish George and the girlie Bess. And then good old Ned. There was something very reassuring about this recurring cast of characters.