Delaney pulls out all the stops as he tips his hat to two great and all but indistinguishable Irish traditions: the theater and politics. Readers will be enchanted as the author spins a tale so glib, so charming, and so amusing that—begorrah—you can almost imagine him slyly winking as he kisses the Blarney Stone. Set in Ireland in the politically tumultuous 1930s, this rollicking tale, chockfull of Irish wit, superstition, and sentiment, features a larger-than-life cast of suitably eccentric characters. When 18-year-old Ben McCarthy, is dispatched by his mother to fetch home his wayward father, he embarks on an odyssey so wonderfully strange, all-encompassing, and ultimately tragic that it will effectually define his entire life. After Papa McCarthy, a staid and gentlemanly soul, does something as wildly out of character as fall for a beautiful and charming young actress, Ben, too, is irresistibly drawn into the giddy orbit of Venetia Kelly and her Traveling Show. Ben’s bittersweet story plays out against a backdrop of political corruption, personal greed, and high unexpected romance. Expect high demand for this ideal book club selection. --Margaret Flanagan
“Weaving Irish vaudeville and politics of the 1930s into a mix both delightful and astonishing, Frank Delaney devises an engaging saga that will captivate listeners. … The account is magically intimate and emotionally real. Delight in Delaney's feast of hilarious, improbable details; side-story digression taken to a new art form; and memorable characters.” — AudioFile Magazine
"Set against the backdrop of the political and social turmoil of 1932 Ireland, Delaney's latest novel opens with young Ben McCarthy's father abandoning the farm to join a traveling theater troupe. Devastated, Ben's mother sends him off to bring his father home. He finds the troupe and falls in love with the same young actress who seduced his father. Venetia is a stunning young woman, the child of a famous actress and a villainous political opportunist named King Kelly.
Furious that his daughter's affairs with common farm folk might tarnish his political aspirations, Kelly plots revenge against the McCarthys. In the manner of Greek tragedy, he steals their farm, has them set upon by political mobsters, destroys the troupe, and robs himself of the love of his life. VERDICT
Delaney (Shannon ) is a master storyteller, and this expansive tale of politics, tragedy, and revenge is Irish storytelling at its best. Full of vibrant, well-crafted characters and satisfyingly high drama, it will appeal to fans of sweeping Irish sagas."—Library Journal