Published by: Random House
Published on: February 2010
Page Count: 448
Genre: Literature / Historical Fiction
My Reading Format: Hardcover review copy provided for the tour by the author’s publicist
Available Formats: Hardcover, audio book, eBook
Giveaway: see the end of my review for more information
Today it is my great pleasure to be Frank Delaney’s host on his TLC Book Tour for his latest novel, Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show. I would like to thank his staff for sending me a review copy. I would also like to thank Random House for a copy to giveaway on this blog! Please see the end of my review for a list of the blogs who are on this tour with me.
I have a lot of fun working as a tour host for TLC Book Tours. They always have great books and authors on tour. Check out their website for more information on this tour and the others that they are hosting.
Benedict MacCarthy is forced kicking and screaming into manhood when his father, a seemingly happy Irish farmer and family man, runs off with Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show. When he can no longer ignore or avoid what his mother needs him to do, he begins his reluctant quest to bring his father back home. Ben isn’t the only one coming of age in 1932. Ireland is as well. She is a maturing democracy during an election year that proves to be pivotal. As Ireland is determining its political future, Ben must find the strength to believe in himself and take on the responsibilities of adulthood.
It is very difficult to succinctly summarize Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show. There is so much involved with covering the history of and the relationship between two families and the nuances of the political climate at that time. Additionally, I don’t want to give away any part of the story unnecessarily. It was such a joy to lean forward toward my book in anticipation of what would happen next. One of the most beautiful things about this book as that it continued to reveal itself to me through the last paragraph. I finished the book with a satisfied pat on the cover. I want anyone coming to this book to be able to experience the same thing.
Ben, as narrator, is self-aware and purposeful, the mirror opposite of his 18-year-old self. He is always conscious of what he is doing and how he is doing it, sharing his thought and writing processes along the way. Because he’s looking back at his life at a distance, he never assumes that his readers are overly familiar with the time or place in which he grew to be a man. He continues to provide background information throughout the story. I loved the way that Delaney uses Ben to blends traditional Irish storytelling into his novel. These digressions and the flavor they add to the story are what make it unique and refreshing.
I remember my mother telling me about naptime at her house when she was a little girl. My grandmother wore what Mom called nurse shoes, making it nearly impossible to hear where she was in the house. One day, Mom and my Aunt Donna were not taking a nap. Grandma, in her stealth nurse shoes, caught them before they were able to feign sleep and they were just as quickly punished for not doing as they were told. Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show is like my Grandma and her nurse shoes. It’s not a pushover. It requires you to pay attention at all times. Even still, I found that the story snuck up on me, catching me completely off guard. Its references to Synge and Yeats reminded me of my own years as an undergraduate when I was in love with all things Irish. Instead of being punished, however, I was rewarded with one of the richest reading experiences I’ve had in a very long time. Thank goodness for Frank Delaney and his literary nurse shoes.
I am excited to let you know that Frank Delaney’s publicist is graciously providing one of my readers a copy of Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show in conjunction with my tour stop today. I hope that whoever wins this book will love it even half as much as I did. To be entered in this giveaway, leave a comment here by 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 23rd. I will use Random.org to select the lucky reader. May the luck of the Irish be with you. LOL!
Frank Delaney’s TLC Book Tour Stops
Please be sure to stop by Frank Delaney’s other tour stops:
Wednesday, March 17th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, March 18th: Tales of a Capricious Reader
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