Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: The Last Storyteller

The Last Storyteller (Ben MacCarthy Trilogy - Book 3) by Frank Delaney

Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Genre: Historical Fiction, Irish
Pages: Hardcover, 385pp
ISBN-13: 978-1400067855
ISBN: 1400067855

(Received for an honest review from Random House)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Frank Delaney on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Books in the series: Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show (2010), The Matchmaker of Kenmare (2011), The Last Storyteller (2012)

CoverArt: Click on the picture for a larger, clearer image of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from The Last Storyteller (Amazon Look Inside Feature)


"Every legend and all mythologies exist to teach us how to run our days. In kind fashion. A loving way. But there's no story, no matter how ancient, as important as one's own. So if we're to live good lives, we have to tell ourselves our own story. In a good way." So says James Clare, Ben MacCarthy's beloved mentor, and it is this fateful advice that will guide Ben through the tumultuous events in Ireland in 1956.

The national mood is downtrodden; poverty, corruption, and a fledgling armed rebellion rattle the countryside, and although Ben wants no part of the upstart insurrection along the northern border, he unknowingly falls in with an IRA sympathizer and is compromised into running guns. Yet despite his perilous circumstances, all he can think about is finding his former wife and true love, the actress Venetia Kelly.

Parted forcibly from Ben years ago, Venetia has returned to Ireland with her new husband, a brutal man and coarse but popular stage performer by the name of Gentleman Jack. Determined not to lose Venetia again, Ben calls upon every bit of his love, courage, and newfound gun-running connections to get her back. And as Ben fights to recapture his halcyon days with Venetia, he must finally reconcile his violent and flawed past with his hopes for a bright and loving 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. 


Frank Delaney's final book in the Ben MacCarthy trilogy, The Last Storyteller is full of rich period detail and gives the reader a view of Ireland that is hard to forget. Delaney's ability to use words is mesmerizing. His use of Irish legends and folklore is authentic and real. His bardic style is almost hypnotic. Historical fiction fans, Irish novel and author fans, and those who love a good story will fall in love with this book for so many reasons. A can't miss book, from an unforgettable Irish author.

This is a book that readers will come away from feeling better about themselves for having read it. The richness of the prose, the sheer creativity in the use of the words and the unbelievable descriptive prowess that Delaney employs all work together to give the reader an experience that is often hard to find in contemporary fiction. History comes alive in it's pages and readers will be completely lost in the story. I think I probably loved every single word!

I love it when an author is able to convey even the most minute of feelings in such a way that the words almost take on color. The story and the meaning are so vivid that readers can see the green meadows and hear the night sounds of Ireland. Ireland has always been a place I wanted to visit and Delaney's writing makes me envious. He is a true wordsmith and his descriptions of the ordinary as well as the extraordinary are unparalleled in any genre.

I really enjoyed reading about the legends and folklore of Ireland. Being of Scottish descent myself I was quite familiar with the idea of passing down stories from pub to pub so to speak. Stories are an important part of the culture. John Jacob was such a wonderful storyteller. He really made the book for me. 

As always Ben is completely drawn to Venetia, whether they are miles and years apart or whether they end up back together after a very long wait. I was glad to see that Ben has changed so much from the first book to the last. His growth was amazing to watch and in the final book, he kind of comes full circle. Readers will see his heart, his determination and his desire to be a better man. I loved the character and believe Delaney has created a character that will resonate with readers in a very profound way.

Venetia has always been a bit of a puzzle to me. I know she has been waiting and hoping for Ben to rescue her, yet when he does, it's almost like she can't believe it's real. Her relationship with Ben is very endearing and tender. But they both have issues that they have to resolve. Ben's past won't stay hidden forever and Venetia must learn to trust again. Delaney weaves a poignant love story against the backdrop of a chaotic Ireland. 

The IRA is just beginning to surge against English power and aggression and Ben has somehow become embroiled in the battle for freedom. I loved the fact that Delaney is able to impart so much history into his work. Ireland in the late 1950's was no picnic and Delaney doesn't shy away from the facts. The Irish people suffered greatly during this time and I thought the author did a fantastic job of portraying their plight through this book.

I can't say enough good things about this one. If you love Ireland, this is a must read. If you love words, this is a must read. If you love a good love story, this is a must read. In short, you gotta read this one! Highly recommended. It can be read as a stand alone as well as part of the trilogy. But it's certainly not one you want to miss.

The Last Storyteller is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!


Frank Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Ireland, as well as The Matchmaker of Kenmare, Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show, Tipperary, Shannon, and Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea. A former judge for the Man Booker Prize, Delaney enjoyed a prominent career in BBC broadcasting before becoming a full-time writer. Born in Tipperary, Ireland he now lives in New York City and Connecticut.

1 comment:

Peggy Ann said...

Deb, this one sounds right up my alley! thanks!