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Review: Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show

May 6, 2010

When a traveling show, featuring the irrepressible Venetia Kelly, comes to town, Ben McCarthy’s father is instantly drawn to her.  When the show leaves town, Ben’s father goes along with it and Venetia.  Ben’s mother is devastated and can’t get access to their money due to the laws in Ireland at the time.

Desperate, and not knowing what else to do, she sends Ben after his father and instructs him not to come home without him.  Ben sets out after his father and ends up embarking on the journey of a lifetime.

I listened to the audio version of Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show, which was read by the author, Frank Delaney, and let me tell you, it was a fabulous way to experience this story.  If this writing gig doesn’t work out for him, Frank should turn to reading audio books for a living.  He has a fabulous voice and listening to him read this book was like listening to a wonderful storyteller.

And, what a story it is!  Set in Ireland in the 1930’s, the story weaves Irish politics, love, petty crime and humor, among other things.  The story rambles at times, which usually drives me crazy, but it works very well in this case.    Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show is really Ben’s coming of age story and I found it fascinating.  Ben is a great character and it was such a pleasure listening as he traversed the Ireland of the day, even though things didn’t always turn out like I hoped they would.  I have to admit that I knew very little about Irish politics of the time and I found those parts particularly interesting.

There’s a lot going on in this book, so there’s a lot to talk about, making it great for book clubs.  Those who enjoy a good story set in Ireland will love this one like I did.Shop Indie Bookstores

I won this book in a contest on Savvy Verse and Wit.   I am an Indiebound Affliate.


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33 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2010 5:22 am

    This sounds like a great read. I love reading stories about life in Ireland. I’ll have to add this to my wishlist.

  2. May 6, 2010 6:22 am

    I downloaded this title right after I first heard of it (from Jill??) — so glad the audio is fabulous. Maybe that will be my next listen.

  3. May 6, 2010 6:37 am

    I’m off to see if my library has it! You know I can’t refuse a good audio book. I think I have enough loaded on my iPod to last 6 months, but at least I know I won’t ever run out!

  4. May 6, 2010 6:43 am

    Kathy, I am so excited (audio version is waiting for me at the library for pick up). I am so glad to read your rave review. great job

    I’m just finishing up the audio of Beatrice & Virgil; Martel — VERY GOOD.

  5. May 6, 2010 7:14 am

    Hahaha, like this one. Your too funny. Good review.

  6. May 6, 2010 7:20 am

    I just got this book a few days ago and am looking forward to reading it. Glad to hear that you liked it.

  7. May 6, 2010 7:43 am

    For some reason that I haven’t yet figured out (I have absolutely no ties to Ireland that I know of), I’m a sucker for books set in Ireland. This one sounds like fun. Thanks for the review.

  8. May 6, 2010 7:48 am

    I’m always on the lookout for good books for book clubs. Thanks!

  9. May 6, 2010 7:58 am

    Great review. I’ll be looking for the audiobook!

  10. May 6, 2010 8:06 am

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed this book. I really loved it. I would love to listen to it on audio at some point. I think that would just add to my love for it.

  11. May 6, 2010 8:28 am

    I just won this one and I’m so looking forward to reading it. The reviews have been fantastic!

  12. May 6, 2010 8:59 am

    My Irish grandmother would have loved this one!

  13. May 6, 2010 9:35 am

    I love books about Ireland, and read and loved his first book, so this one sounds great to me. I know what you mean about the sometimes rambling style of Delaney’s writing. For some other authors and books it doesn’t work, but for him, it seems pitch perfect. Great review, I am glad that you liked it!! I will have to let you know what I think of it when I finish with it!

  14. May 6, 2010 9:49 am

    I thought this book sounded interesting, but chose not to accept it for review because I wasn’t sure about it. You definitely made me regret that decision!

  15. May 6, 2010 10:45 am

    I’m glad you liked it. I am so in the minority on this one. Normally I love this kind of book, but I couldn’t even finish this one!

  16. May 6, 2010 11:11 am

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Great review. When I first read traveling show I instantly thought of Water for Elephants, which I really loved. This sounds like another good book about traveling shows.
    I haven’t listened to an audio book since I was in elementary school, but reading your review makes me want to listen to it rather than read it. That might work out better for my eyes anyways since I feel like I’m going blind reading all these books.

  17. May 6, 2010 12:01 pm

    Frank Delaney is a delightful reader, isn’t he? I loved his narration of Ireland, which remains one of my favorite books. Venetia Kelly was quite good too; I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  18. May 6, 2010 1:10 pm

    I hope to get to this book soon. I am so glad you enjoyed it, Kathy!

  19. May 6, 2010 1:58 pm

    Great review! I love any and all things Irish, and I LOVE audiobooks read by the author – who better to know how the book “should” sound?

  20. May 6, 2010 2:40 pm

    I keep seeing this one around and will definitely add to my list. I love books set in that time period.

  21. May 6, 2010 2:56 pm

    I read his book Ireland a few years ago and absolutely loved it! This sounds just as good.

  22. May 6, 2010 3:22 pm

    I’ve only read a couple of books set in Ireland. Perhaps it’s time to read another. Terrific review! 🙂

  23. May 6, 2010 3:38 pm

    Sounds fun..now if I could just find a book club!

  24. May 6, 2010 3:59 pm

    Excellent review, Kathy! I’m drawn to books set in the 1920s and 30s, and this one sounds like a winner.

  25. May 6, 2010 8:06 pm

    So glad you liked this audio. I’m going to see if I can get it! Since I am not a big fan of audiobooks, I’ll go by recommendation! 🙂

  26. Heather J. permalink
    May 6, 2010 10:03 pm

    I really liked this one too!

  27. May 7, 2010 11:28 am

    This sounds great! I love Ireland stories.

  28. May 7, 2010 12:01 pm

    I love it when you really love a book. In this case I won’t even try to find the hardcover. It has to be the audio version. Thanks for the recommendation.

  29. stacybuckeye permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:33 pm

    This is not the story I expected from the cover! Looks good.

  30. May 8, 2010 10:15 am

    It was pretty terrific, wasn’t it? 🙂

  31. May 8, 2010 9:20 pm

    I read the book and loved it! I have heard Delaney’s readings of his own books are excellent – I think I may listen to some of his earlier books rather than read them.

  32. May 9, 2010 11:45 am

    I love stories that are set in Ireland! Thank you for the review, Kathy.

  33. May 14, 2010 12:52 pm

    Glad to see you enjoyed this one as much as I did. I bet the hearing the author read it was a treat!

    –Anna

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