Title: The Matchmaker of Kenmare: A Novel of Ireland
Author: Frank Delany
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
Hardcover: 416 pages
Genre: Fiction, Literature
From the Publisher:
“And there’s a legend—she had only vague details—that all couples who are meant to marry are connected by an invisible silver cord which is wrapped around their ankles at birth, and in time the matchmaking gods pull those cords tighter and tighter and draw the couple slowly toward one another until they meet.” So says Miss Kate Begley, Matchmaker of Kenmare, the enigmatic woman Ben MacCarthy meets in the summer of 1943.
As World War II rages on, Ben remains haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his wife, the actress Venetia Kelly. Searching for purpose by collecting stories for the Irish Folklore Commission, he travels to a remote seaside cottage to profile the aforementioned Matchmaker of Kenmare.
Ben is immediately captivated by the forthright Miss Begley, who is remarkably self-assured in her instincts but provincial in her experience. Miss Begley is determined to see that Ben moves through his grief—and a powerful friendship is forged along the way.
But when Charles Miller, a striking American military intelligence officer, arrives on the scene, Miss Begley develops an intense infatuation and looks to make a match for herself. Miller needs a favor, but it will be dangerous. Under the cover of their neutrality as Irish citizens, Miss Begley and Ben travel to London and effectively operate as spies. As they are drawn more deeply and painfully into the conflict, both discover the perils of neutrality—in both love and war.
Steeped in colorful history, The Matchmaker of Kenmare is a stirring story of friendship and sacrifice. New York Times bestselling author Frank Delaney has written a lush and surprising novel, rich as myth, tense as a thriller, and like all grand tales—harrowing, sometimes hilarious, and heartbreaking.
The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney is an exquisite story of the life of Ben MacCarthy, an aficionado of Irish folklore, as seen through his eyes as narrator. During the time of World War II, Ben meets Kate Begley, 4 years his junior and known as the Matchmaker of Kenmare. As might be expected, the relationship between these two develops throughout the novel, but feelings for his missing wife, Venetia Kelly, weigh heavily on Ben. Likewise, Kate has her own emotional baggage in her feelings for her missing husband, intelligence agent Charles Miller, someone with whom she feels a very strong emotional bond. Readers are drawn into this developing relationship between Ben and Kate as the two become involved in aiding the Americans in the war effort in Europe. The storyline is masterfully planned out to begin at a slower movement, which gradually picks up as the two go through some rather upsetting experiences in Europe. Grace, sacrifice, and love themes emanate from this story so well written that one is almost transported to wartime Ireland through the expertly crafted prose. I adored Delaney’s previous novel, Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show and highly recommend readers choose to read that book as well. I highly recommend The Matchmaker of Kenmare to all readers and strongly urge book discussion groups to select this book, as there are many themes to discuss.
Frank Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Ireland, as well as Tipperary, Shannon, and Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea. A former judge for the Man Booker Prize, Delaney enjoyed a prominent career in BBC broadcasting before becoming a full-time writer. Born in Tipperary, Ireland, he now lives in New York City and Connecticut.
For further information please visit the author’s website.
I received a complimentary ARC of The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney from Random House to offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.