Leisure, Dec 2001, 5.99, 378 pp.
In 1875 County Galway, Ireland, Callie O'Doule lives at home with her widowed father and earns chump change toiling as a laundress mostly for the Connemara old squire Kevin Callahan as she has since she turned thirteen. However, Callie worries about making legitimate money ever since the squire died six weeks ago. American Trent Lanigan, handling the estate of the old squire, hits Callie with a broadside when he tells her that she is Callahan's daughter rather than the child of her beloved “Da” and will inherit a fortune once he teaches her how to act like a lady.
Trent hid one stipulation of the will from Callie. She must marry his choice of a spouse. However, Trent falls in love with his Pygmalion even as Callie becomes the toast of the season. Callie loves her Professor Higgins even if he tries to dampen anything between them. He knows she must marry someone else or lose everything.
LANIGAN'S LADY is an Irish equivalent of My Fair Lady with the prime difference being Callie starts much closer to being a lady than the Cockney Eliza. The story line is fun though one twist too many will leave the audience wondering why. Still the characters entertain the readers with a special battle of the sexes that never eases up until Trent and Callie must decide whether she should be LANIGAN'S LADY. Sonya Birmingham takes quite a risk updating a tale that has twice become a classic story, but does a fine job so that even GBS would join in the accolades.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner