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Maeve Binchy's books are like wrapping yourself in a duvet
on December 2, 2012
I always fall into a book by Maeve Binchy like falling into a warm bed on
a snowy evening, enveloped in a gloriously cozy down duvet, the lamp on, a
warm drink to hand, ready to be swept away to a place of caring and compassion.
Her theme is always the same - people, confronted by difficulties in life, bad
luck or hard times, and how the choices they make lead to a better life, or one
that is (by their own actions) shut down and made smaller.
Ireland is not only the setting, it is also one of these characters - beautiful and
troubled, or glorious and hopeful; more likely all of these.
Maeve has died, and now that I have read this book, there is that sad realization
that there aren't going to be any new characters to meet - but I will be re-reading
all her books, including this one, which I think is one of the best.
If you are a fan of Maeve Binchy's works, you already know these characters, and
the plots. You know the place - only a small part of the book is set in Dublin; most
of it is in the West, in a village on the coast.
As usual, there are a mis-matched group of near-strangers, brought together for an arbitrary
occassion - this time it is the opening of a small inn - each with a life problem
that must be confronted (or, notably for one character, avoided) and how that
The pleasure is in spending time with these people as they face up to their problems,
or fail to, and the understanding (and compassion) for people that Maeve always
Reading Binchy, I always feel more alive, more aware of other people, more as if I have had a glimpse
into their hearts and minds - and that is a great gift, what only the most profoundly
gifted authors, artists and composers ever achieve.
Binchy's works were, in her lifetime, so often dismissed as romances or women's lit -
I prefer to think of her as a reporter and journalist (as she was, and so was Dickens)
reporting on the heart and mind and soul of people in troubling times.
If you have read other books by Maeve Binchy, you don't need reviews to tell you why you
will love A Week in Winter. If you haven't, but read to understand people (and yourself)
and how relationships really work (or fail to), you will love this book!