Earlier this month, Adam and I went on a trip to Ireland! Travel is something we prioritize when budgeting our time and money, and the more we do it the more I fall in love with seeing new places and cultures and learning about the world. It’s the same thing I’ve done all my life through books, after all!
If you’re interested in photos, videos, and the nitty gritty details of our trip, like where we stayed, what we ate, and what we did, Adam has set up a travel blog which you’re welcome to check out. :) I’ve also posted some photos from our trip on my Instagram.
As with all our trips, I wanted to read some books by Irish authors or set in Ireland to enhance my travel experience. I read quite a few, but as always, I’ve pared down the list to just the titles I genuinely recommend. Sláinte!
Evening Class by Maeve Binchy
If you like stories with lots of quirky characters who wouldn’t normally be friends coming together for a common goal, you’ll like Evening Class. Maeve Binchy is a name that came up over and over as I searched for Irish authors, and I can see why her books are so popular. I loved the warm tone and the generosity she showed her characters, even those who maybe didn’t deserve it. A disheartened teacher sets up a night class for adults in the community who want to learn Italian, with the ultimate goal of a trip to Italy. Not everyone gets along, and it seems everyone has a different motivation for joining the class. Fireworks are inevitable, but the way the classmates support each other and the way learning a new language opens doors for them was lovely to read about.
The Write Escape by Charish Reid
I was so excited to read The Write Escape that I came out of a two-year Netgalley retirement to request the ARC. I could NOT resist a romance set in Ireland, especially an interracial romance written by a black author. (As you might guess, lots of the Irish books I found were by and about white people.) And there's so much good book nerdery going on--the heroine is an editor turned novelist, and the hero is an English professor. They have a fun, banter-y chemistry that I loved. There is flirting in a grocery store! And cozy drinks in a pub! And friendly Irish people! Anyway, it’s out now and I highly recommend it.
The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
I’ve already read all of Tana French’s mystery novels, so when I went looking for a mystery/thriller to add to this list, I wanted to try a new-to-me author. I am so glad I branched out and gave Dervla McTiernan a chance! The Ruin, for my money, is every bit as good as the Dublin Murder Squad series. At the beginning of the book, Cormac Reilly is a wet behind the ears cop who responds to a call where a woman has overdosed, leaving her two children alone in a crumbling mansion in the middle of nowhere. Years later, one of the children from that incident turns up dead himself. Reilly is now in Galway, relegated to cold cases and feeling some ennui about his career. The two cases may be connected, and Reilly seems to be the only one willing to take a closer look. I found this book extra compelling because it deals with people in power doing corrupt shit, and it all felt very #relevant. I’ve already added the sequel to my list.