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I've loved every one of Tana French's Dublin Murder Club books, beginning with In the Woods and I have to confess that there are times when I walk past Dublin Castle and I wonder if some member of her murder team might be loitering inside a window, waiting for that vital call that’s going to break the case.
I fell hopelessly in love with Maeve Binchey's books as a teenager. A visit to Dalkey village, with its small town feel, harbours and mountains at your back is almost like stepping into Tara Road or Kilgarret. The other writer who can create characters to capture your heart has to be Patricia Scanlan. She is funny, warm and The Liberation of Brigid Dunne is probably one of her best books yet.
There is a quaintness about Ardagh Village, particularly in summer when the hedging is neat and the petunias are splendid. It is perhaps a tad too tidy for a story like Listening Still, but I think, if some big Hollywood producer decides to come knocking on the door – it might be a very picturesque Kilcross to this elegant story that centres more on coming to terms with life's bigger questions than speaking to the dead.
Okay, so, maybe none of us actually want to visit the Cloisters, but I'll bet we’re all really excited about the new instalment of this much loved favourite from Marian Keyes – 'wimmen’s fiction' at its very best – bring it on!
Dervla McTiernan has become one of my favourite Irish crime writers over lock down. Her writing is sparse, her characters are immense and her stories are page turners. But it is Galway, which creates an atmospheric and palpable backdrop that will change how you see the city of the tribes forever.
Last year, one of my favourite books was by Eimear Lawlor – Dublin’s Girl is loosely based around the story of the author’s aunt. It is thrilling, romantic and suspenseful. As you walk around the city, particularly in this the centenary year of the War of Independence, it’s impossible not to be moved by the events that have so profoundly shaped the country we live in today.
If there is a doyenne of domestic Dublin dramas it has to be Sheila O'Flanagan. She serves up modern women in everyday situations that could happen to any of us – her characters are brave despite their fears and always manage to win your heart by the end! The question you have to ask yourself as you walk through those leafy suburbs is what exactly is going on behind those curtains right now? Three Weddings and a Proposal is her latest and its sure hold you to the last page.
I have spent a lot of time in Longford over the years, but after reading Patricia’s first book, The Missing Ones when we met Lottie Parker, I don’t think Westmeath will ever be quite the same again. This is a truly cracking series from first to last.Of course, the truth is, that there aren’t too many corners of our little country that can't lay claim to some writer or story and perhaps, it’s this as much as anything that can engage new readers – after all, who doesn't want to read a book that’s written on their very doorstep?
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National Book Tokens are the ideal gift for booklovers and can be spent in bookshops in the UK and Ireland, and online.