Last June we read Sarah-Kate Lynch’s The House of Peine as part of the book club I belong to.
Then when I was in the library the other night I spotted this one. It fitted into my desire to have some easy, fun reading over the next month leading up to Christmas.
This story follows Corrie and Fee, two elderly Irish cheese makers and their unique household arrangements. Their cheeses, Coolarney Gold and Coolarney Blue, are world renowned and made at their farm in West Cork.
One day the curd turns. The two old men know that this means that one of them will shortly no longer be making cheese any more and they start the search to find a replacement cheesemaker. They hope that Corrie’s estranged granddaughter Abbey might return home and be the cheesemaker.
Abbey is in a dead end relationship with her husband, Martin, and when she is finally forced to see what is right in front of her eyes, her only friends rescue her from the Pacific Island on which she is more or less marooned. Returning home to England after ten years away she heads to her mother in London and is horrified to find her married to Abbey’s first love. Rose, Abbey’s mother, is bitter and hard. She tries to avoid Abbey going to her grandfather, but in the end Abbey gets their address and heads to Schillies, West Cork.
Running alongside this story is that of Kit Stephens who’s life as a hot shot New York broker has crumpled in a drink and drug induced heap. He is fired, evicted and only his Irish assistant Niamh saves him from worse by sending him to Ireland, to Avis O’Regan who is known to dry out alcoholics and straighten them out.
It just so happens that Avis works with Corrie and Fee on the farm, looking after the unique milking system and the milkmaids. The 100 cow herd is milked to the songs of Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music, sung to the cows by vegetarian milkmaids while they are being hand milked. The fact that the old men only employ and provide board to pregnant, vegetarian girls, sounds very odd but it is one of the lovely aspects of this story.
Remember this is chick lit, so of course Abbey and Kit are destined to be for each other, but they take an interesting detour or two along the way. In reality the story is less about them than it is about the love that Corrie and Fee dole out and have done so for 169 young girls in need of a safe, loving, non-judgemental place to live throughout their pregnancies.
I also need to point out that it has been some considerable time since I read any book that made me laugh out loud, and repeatedly. Sarah-Kate Lynch has managed to harness her inner Father Ted and it blossoms in some wonderful dialogue between the two old men. And one ridiculous play on words, which for whatever reason tickled my rather juvenile need for a good giggle*.
I would give this a 4 star rating for the ease of reading. It was also full of very funny and sweet moments.
* perhaps the fact that I was feeling so under the weather while reading, or perhaps I just have the odd sense of humour.
Today in history: 1940 – Bruce Lee was born.
A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.
– Bruce Lee