“Riveting . . . Readers will quickly warm to [Frank] Delaney’s vividly described Ireland of the 1950s, its fully realized inhabitants, and the dynamic political and personal relationships that make for a remarkable story.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“If we’re to live good lives, we have to tell ourselves our own story. In a good way.” So says Ben MacCarthy’s beloved mentor, and it is this fateful advice that will guide Ben through the tumultuous events of Ireland in 1956. The national mood is downtrodden; poverty, corruption, and an armed rebellion rattle the countryside; and although Ben wants no part of the insurrection, he unknowingly falls in with an IRA sympathizer. Yet despite his perilous circumstances, all he can think about is finding his former wife and true love, Venetia Kelly, who after many years has returned to Ireland with her brutish new husband, a popular stage performer. Determined not to lose Venetia again, Ben calls upon every bit of his passion and courage to win her back, while finally reconciling his violent past with his hopes for a bright future.
Brimming with fascinating Irish history, daring intrigue, and the drama of legendary love, The Last Storyteller is an unforgettable novel as richly textured and inspiring as Ireland itself.
“A colorful, leisurely tale, with dark moments as well as humor and grace.”—The Star-Ledger
“A magical tale [that] weaves in a jackpot of Irish myths.”—Bookreporter
“Character-rich and dramatic.”—Library Journal
The riveting final installment of Delaney's Ben McCarthy trilogy (after The Matchmaker of Kenmare) explores the protagonist's relationship with lost love Venetia and his folklore studies with legendary storyteller John Jacob Farrell O'Neill. O'Neill's gift for spinning a yarn is a powerful one, and McCarthy discovers that O'Neill's stories verge on the prophetic, lending this engaging historical a shade of magical realism. McCarthy opens up to O'Neill about Venetia (whom he impregnated when he was much younger), but who is now married to an abusive, deceitful performer Gentleman Jack. McCarthy also finds himself unwittingly involved with IRA revolutionaries determined to reunite north and south Ireland, even if it means disturbing the countries' young peace. McCarthy finally resolves to liberate Venetia from her cruel husband during one of his hypnotic performances, but the troubled Venetia soon flees her rescuer. Both men desperate to right the wrongs for which they hold one another responsible escalate tensions to dangerous levels, while McCarthy struggles to assume O'Neill's mantle as preeminent storyteller and locate his beloved Venetia. Long-time fans of the trilogy will relish its conclusion, while new readers though likely to feel lost at the outset will quickly warm to Delaney's vividly described Ireland of the 1950s, its fully-realized inhabitants, and the dynamic political and personal relationships that make for a remarkable story.