You want to know what I love about Frank Delaney? He’s Irish. And like a lot of the Irish, he’s a born storyteller. And he’s a good storyteller. No, a great one. He has a way with words, a way with a story, and a way with history that is not to be missed. I first read him when he published Ireland (which I have read at least twice and am thinking is due another read) and I’ve loved him ever since. So when I got the email asking if I wanted to read this for the tour I was just a *little* bit excited. What impresses me the most however, is how he is telling the tumultuous story of Ireland herself through of his books Ireland, Tipperary, Shannon and now Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show.
Venetia Kelly brings us to 1932. Ireland is heading into the most important national election in the Republic’s history and Ben MacCarthy doesn’t know it yet, but is getting ready to be thrust, kicking and screaming, into adulthood. For while attending Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show is father delivers a crippling blow; he’s not going home. He’s going on the tour. With Venetia Kelly. And Ben has to tell…his mother.
She tells him to go. Go and find him. Go and find him and bring him home.
So Ben sets out on his own on a journey to find his father and bring him home to his mother; not an easy task. His quest crosses Ireland and politics, his path met with politicians, actresses, acrobats and a ventriloquist’s dummy. His story is populated with such historical figures as W. B. Yeats and Eamon de Valera (an important figure is Ireland’s politics). The novel teems with intrigue and Delaney’s trademark humor and explores two of the things Ireland is famous for: theater and politics.
Honestly, the politics part kind of left me cold. I’ve never been very interested in it. But Ben’s story, that, I loved. It’s a coming of age story, the coming of age for the newly young, newly independent, Ireland and a young man who must grow up much faster than he should. This is not a quick read. Delaney is a true Irish storyteller. He takes his time and tells the story proper and meanders through little side journeys along the way. I don’t always like such a nonlinear book, but when it’s Frank Delaney and he’s telling me the story of Ireland, I don’t care. My own Irish blood sings to hear the story of one of the many places my ancestors came from. Like Ireland, Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show left me yearning for more. As the jacket copy says:
Frank Delaney once again delivers an unforgettable story as big and boisterous as the people and events it chronicles.
Also the publisher is offering an extra copy of the book to each of you as a giveaway to you, my readers! (US/Canada only). If you would like to win a copy of the book, please fill out the following form and I will pick a winner on Monday. Thanks and may the luck of the Irish be with you!
Author: by Frank Delaney
Category: Historical Fiction
Published by: Random House
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
On Sale: February 23, 2010
This also counts towards the Ireland Reading Challenge!
Other reviews on the tour:
Tuesday, March 16th: The Literate Housewife Review
Wednesday, March 17th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, March 25th: Trish’s Reading Nook
Monday, April 5th: Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-holic
Wednesday, April 7th: My Two Blessings
Wednesday, April 14th: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Thursday, April 15th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Monday, April 19th: Fizzy Thoughts
Tuesday, April 20th: Rundpinne
Wednesday, April 21st: Worducopia
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