Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Book for Today: Blessed are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch ****

Continuing with foreign authors, Sarah-Kate Lynch is from New Zealand, even though Blessed Are the Cheesemakers is set in Ireland, with some action on a primitive island off Australia and at a Wall Street firm in NYC.

In a optimistic and cheery kind of magic realism, where two old men, Corrie and Fee, run an artisan cheese operation at Coolarney House producing such fantastic cheeses, such as one that can cause two people to instantly fall in love. Much the story involves hiring personnel for Coolarney House. The first challenge is to hire a dairymaid. The time honored advert reads:
Must have short nails, a good singing voice and enjoy a strict vegetarian diet.
Part of the interview process is to listen to The Sound of Music for three hours. All of this seems unnecessary because Fee will know as soon as he sees the right girl. Incidentally, all of the hired dairymaids always turn out to be pregnant.

Fee knows everything from what bottle of wine Corrie will select for the daily wine and cheese, to the important news that he and Corrie have lost their touch and must be replaced by a new generation of cheesemakers.  As might be expected in a book like this, on that very day, Corrie's granddaughter Abbey from the aforementioned primitive island, and the disgraced Wall Streeter name Kit Stephens, arrive at Coolarney House. You might guess the rest from here.

This is a delightful tale, except for the plot twists, some of which seem not so much like plot twists but total surprises neither foreshadowed to explainable by anything that came before. Regardless, an enjoyable read.

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