"And there's a legend - she had only vague details - that all couples who are meant to marry are connected by an invisible silver cord which is wrapped around their ankles at birth, and in time the matchmaking gods pull those cords tighter and tighter and draw the couple slowly toward one another until they meet." So says Miss Kate Begley, Matchmaker of Kenmare, the enigmatic woman Ben MacCarthy meets in the summer of 1943.
As World War II rages on, Ben remains haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his wife, the actress Venetia Kelly. Searching for purpose by collecting stories for the Irish Folklore Commission, he travels to a remote seaside cottage to profile the aforementioned Matchmaker of Kenmare.
Ben is immediately captivated by the forthright Miss Begley, who is remarkably self-assured in her instincts but provincial in her experience. Miss Begley is determined to see that Ben moves through his grief - and a powerful friendship is forged along the way.
But when Charles Miller, a striking American military intelligence officer, arrives on the scene, Miss Begley develops an intense infatuation and looks to make a match for herself. Miller needs a favor, but it will be dangerous. Under the cover of their neutrality as Irish citizens, Miss Begley and Ben travel to London and effectively operate as spies. As they are drawn more deeply and painfully into the conflict, both discover the perils of neutrality - in both love and war.
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"Though the novel's leisurely pace is at odds with the wartime plot... Delaney wrings the pulp out of a Jack Higginslike premise and turns it into something more satisfyingly literary." - Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Delaney re-earns his reputation for total reader engagement with his latest deeply thought-out novel...As artillery guns fire overhead, hearts ache: a compelling combination." - Booklist
"One of the best fictional wartime couples animates veteran Delaney's darkly wistful novel." - Kirkus Reviews
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Frank Delaney was born in Tipperary, Ireland. A career in broadcasting earned him fame across the United Kingdom. As well as being the author of more than 21 books, he has interviewed more than 3,000 writers for his BBC and international television and radio shows.
Some of his prominent works are The Last Storyteller (2012), The Matchmaker of Kenmare (2011), Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show (2010), Shannon, A Novel (2009), Tipperary, A Novel (2007), Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea (2006), Ireland, A Novel (2005), Jim Hawkins and the Curse of Treasure Island (2001), Desire and Pursuit (1998), The Sins of the Mothers (1992) and My Dark Rosaleen (1989).
A judge for the Booker Prize, several of Delaney's nonfiction books were bestsellers in the UK, and he writes frequently for ...
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No Man's Land
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