This collection of short stories is interesting, entertaining, and insightful—at times. Nineteen tales range from clever to downright boring. The premise behind Irish Girls are Back in Town seems only to be that the authors are Irish chick lit authors. The stories themselves don’t seem to have any cohesive theme, although putting in a “twist” appears to be de rigeur. Since I’m not generally a short story fan, I may be a bit biased, but this collection could have been improved by cutting down the number of stories and lengthening some of them.
standouts include “At Least There’ll Be Diamonds” by Martina Devlin, in which
Crystal flies to Amsterdam to marry Terry—who isn’t exactly as we might picture in our heads. “Part-Time Lover” by Tina Reilly is one of my favorites, with Abby celebrating Valentine’s Day in an unusual way. The story is heart-tugging yet also hopeful. It’s written concisely but feels like a completed tale.
“Facades” by Patricia Scanlan has potential but ultimately fails to deliver a good punch at the end. It’s only about a third of the way into the book, and by that time I was expecting a really good twist for each story since it seemed to be the rule rather than the exception. It is a decent story, though. My overall favorite story reflects the title of the book, “Irish Girls Are Back in Town” by Suzanne Higgins. It combines all of the ideal elements of an excellent chick lit story with humor, romance, and a sense of family.
“Flesh and Blood” by Marita Conlon-McKenna is another well-written tale. It follows Christine, who is searching for the daughter she gave up for adoption. The book culminates with “The End (of Their Affair)" by Aine Greaney, following two people who have been carrying on an affair for years and who are each moving toward ending it. It’s a fitting cap on this collection, which is uneven but has its bright points.