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Taylor's third volume of Irish reminiscence evokes the history, landscape, and sometimes dotty citizenry of tiny 1960's Innishannon, where the author raised five children, opened a guest house and manned the local post office and grocery store. Set on the wooded banks of the Brandon River, Innishannon once served the grand estates of wealthy British and Irish families, but 20th-century uprisings and industrialisation had rendered it a small, sleepy hamlet whose residents knew every detail of each others' lives. An entertaining and thoroughly charming memoir.
Alice Taylor lives in the village of Innishannon in County Cork, in a house attached to the local supermarket and post office. Since her eldest son has taken over responsibility for the shop, she has been able to devote more time to her writing. Alice Taylor worked as a telephonist in Killarney and Bandon. When she married, she moved to Innishannon where she ran a guesthouse at first, then the supermarket and post office. She and her husband, Gabriel Murphy, who sadly passed away in 2005, had four sons and one daughter. In 1984 she edited and published the first issue of Candlelight, a local magazine which has since appeared annually. In 1986 she published an illustrated collection of her own verse. To School Through the Fields was published in May 1988. It was an immediate success, launching Alice on a series of signing sessions, talks and readings the length and breadth of Ireland. Her first radio interview, forty two minutes long on RTE Radio's Gay Byrne Show, was the most talked about radio programme of 1988, and her first television interview, of the same length, was the highlight of the year on RTE television's Late Late Show. Since then she has appeared on radio programmes such as Woman's Hour, Midweek and The Gloria Hunniford Show, and she has been the subject of major profiles in the Observer and the Mail on Sunday. To School Through the Fields quickly became the biggest selling book ever published in Ireland, and her sequels, Quench the Lamp, The Village, Country Days and The Night Before Christmas, were also outstandingly successful. Since their initial publication these books of memoirs have also been translated and sold internationally. In 1997 her first novel, The Woman of the House, was an immediate bestseller in Ireland, topping the paperback fiction lists for many weeks. A moving story of land, love and family, it was followed by a sequel, Across the River in 2000, which was also a bestseller. One of Ireland's most popular authors, she has continued writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry since.