BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Frank Delaney's The Last Storyteller.
In the summer of 1943, as World War II rages on, Ben MacCarthy is haunted by the 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 enigmatic Miss Kate Begley, the Matchmaker of Kenmare. Ben is immediately captivated by her, and a powerful friendship is forged. But when Charles Miller, a handsome American military intelligence officer, arrives on the scene, Miss Begley 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 lush and surprising novel, rich as myth, tense as a thriller, and, like all grand tales, harrowing, sometimes hilarious, and heartbreaking.
In Delaney's panoramic sequel to Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show, matchmaker Kate Begley plies her profession in neutral WWII Ireland. Into her life come Venetia Kelly narrator Ben MacCarthy, whose wife has gone missing, and Charles Miller, a U.S. intelligence officer who sends Kate and Ben on a secret assignment to France. Upon their return, Kate and Charles marry, but after D-Day, Charles disappears while on a dangerous mission, and Kate enlists Ben's help in finding him. They travel to France and Germany, where they stumble across the German army about to launch its last-gasp assault in the Ardennes and end up questioning the wisdom of remaining neutral in the face of overwhelming evil. An expert at mining Irish lore for congenial fiction, Delaney spins an exciting yarn of romance and intrigue, and, in Kate, he has created an indomitable, unforgettable character. Though the novel's leisurely pace is at odds with the wartime plot (and the subplot about Ben's missing wife will be confusing to those not familiar with the previous book), Delaney wrings the pulp out of a Jack Higgins like premise and turns it into something more satisfyingly literary.