Today I’m reviewing We’re With the Band, a new novel by winner of the 2020 Nancy Pearl Award, Johanna Flynn. This book is a departure from the serious tone of her debut novel, Hidden Pictures, taking a hilarious look at renaissance fairs, bands and groupies, and the cultural importance of Ireland’s historical treasures.
But first, the blurb:
We’re With the Band, a novel by Johanna Flynn
Publisher: Palatine Press (November 29, 2021)
Paperback: 322 pages
Lark’s life at fifty is a tour bus with failing brakes.
Failed marriage, failed social work career, failed romance with a renaissance faire knight.
If fifty is the new forty, her future doesn’t bode well.
A job comes along for a three-week band tour as a backup singer and bus driver in her native Ireland. But the country has changed since she moved to the US.
Someone steals priceless artifacts from Dublin’s National Museum, and Lark suspects one of her bandmates is the thief. Can she manage the wild ride through the countryside, survive her quirky bandmates, reconnect with her crazy mom, and find the rare antiquities before they disappear forever on the black market?
We’re With the Band is a comedic romp across Ireland through the eyes of Lark Devlin and her best friend, Bev De Trow.
Lark Devlin is a hilarious modern gal with a healthy appetite for all that life offers. Bev is the voice of reason, not always heeded. The other characters are unique; some are hilarious, and others are a bit scary.
Rhett, the band leader, is a southerner obsessed with all things Irish. He hires Lark based on her Irish birth and accent.
When Lark and Bev meet the band members, they find a mix of people. Some are not as shallow as they appear at first.
Rhett has a secret agenda, and so do the other band members. Fortunately, no matter how cute the accent is, Lark is too smart to fall for a smooth operator.
However, in any group of healthy people, sparks will occasionally fly, and the members of the Band of Pirates are definitely healthy.
I absolutely love Lark’s mother. That woman is a firecracker.
The theft of national treasures upsets Lark on many levels, and she suspects someone in the band might be involved. These fears grow as they travel through Ireland, and evidence against one band member mounts.
The tour of Ireland is fraught with disasters, but the show goes on. I enjoyed seeing a side of the real country, the ordinary people and places we don’t see in movies. This world feels real, and that is because the author has lived in Ireland and knows the country and the people well.
Lark is sometimes impetuous when patience might be a better choice, but that is part of the fun. I laughed so much in places; the humor makes this book wonderful.
Deceit, treachery, a little of this and that—the journey turns perilous for Lark and Bev but always remains fun.
If you love high drama, dark intrigue, raunchy hilarity, and all things Irish, this book is for you.
This review first appeared on Life in the Realm of Fantasy, www.conniejjasperson.com, on Dec. 20, 2021.
You can find Johanna and her books at www.johannaflynn.com
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