Kellie Delaney is grief-stricken when her twin brother Connor and his young son are killed in a sudden car accident in Wales. She later makes the shocking discovery that her brother had been working undercover for British Special Forces and that his death was no accident! While going through his records, the name of an Irishman, Tom Whelan, pops up more than once and Kellie starts to believe that he had something to do with Connor’s murder. When the British Intelligence shows a negligible amount of interest in Whelan as well in trying to solve Connor’s murder, Kellie becomes incensed and decides to make her own inquiries about Whelan. A teacher by profession, Kellie has no skills at investigating but her soul craves resolution and her desire to exact justice and revenge leads her to the sleepy little Irish town of Banburren.
There she takes a room in the B&B run by Tom and contrary to her expectations, he turns out to a simple poetic man with an adorable little daughter - he seems to the very antithesis of a killer. That is when a stunned Kellie finds out about his criminal record! As she spends more time in Banburren, her growing feelings of attraction towards Tom make things very complicated. Meanwhile Tom is curious about Kellie, a woman whose unwillingness to reveal anything about herself makes him intrigued and wary. He also feels attracted towards her, but how much of it is due to Kellie herself and how much of it is due to the fact that Kellie is his wife’s look-alike is a matter of debate! Can Kellie stand the truth? What will happen when she learns about Tom’s wife, who’s incarcerated in prison?
An expatriated Irishwoman, author Jeanette Baker’s writing is heartfelt especially when she’s trying to describe the desolation and wreckage that the war between the Protestants and Catholics has wrought on Ireland and its populace. She also beautifully contrasts Ireland of the bleak IRA era with the Ireland of today which is an upcoming and progressive nation. Through Kellie and Tom, she shows the way people’s lives have been affected and continue to be affected from a war that nobody wants and which still shows no sign of ending. The plot is unique, the story is exciting and the pace is sometimes crisp, sometimes meandering, but the story is interesting all the way through. The characterizations are simply out of this world and are greatly poignant and realistic. Kellie comes to life under the author’s capable hands, and though she does behave a bit erratically, it can be excused due to her distraught state. Tom is an enigma for he keeps his feelings and emotions hidden under a veneer of suspicion – he’s a bit harder to understand as well as relate to, but he shapes up wonderfully towards the end. The romance between them is varying and to say more would be to give away the story! The conflicts between the people in the story as well as those between the various differing ideologies are vigorous, lively and affecting. In troubled times like these, ‘The Delaney Woman‘ strikes very close to home. Very moving.