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Nights of Rain and Stars Paperback – July 29, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Binchy's latest work (after Quentins) would present a challenge to any narrator; the large cast of characters includes tourists from all over the globe who meet and become friends after witnessing a tragic accident in a tiny Greek village. But Donnelly rises to the occasion, delivering a virtuoso performance. The diverse cast includes shy Irish nurse Fiona and her abusive boyfriend, Shane; Elsa, a German TV reporter fleeing a lover she no longer trusts; David, a young Englishman who feels trapped by his parents' insistence that he join the family business; Thomas, an American who feels pushed out of his son's life by his ex-wife's new husband; Vonni, an elderly Irish woman who has lived in Greece for the past 30 years; and Andreas, the old Greek taverna owner who misses his long-estranged son. Even in dialogue-heavy sections involving multiple characters, Donnelly switches effortlessly among voices and accents without missing a beat. She brings each personality vividly to life, evoking the complex emotions within him or her. As a result, this compelling, though simple, yarn is especially satisfying in its audio form.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In perennially popular Binchy's latest, four strangers on holiday in Greece band together after witnessing a tragic boating accident to become friends, and lovers, in an enchanting story that explores the mercurial nature of friendships and the elusive meaning of family. Residents of different countries, the four vacationers discover a commonality: a desire to escape contentious family situations back home. A newly divorced father, Thomas has taken a year's sabbatical to give his young son time to acclimate to his new stepfather. David, a timid Englishman, knows he's disappointing his successful father by not taking over the family business. Elsa, a glamorous German TV reporter, has walked out on a tumultuous love affair, while Fiona is defying family and friends in Ireland by running off with her rebellious boyfriend. Serendipitously, two locals, Andreas and Vonni, befriend the travelers and help them gain perspectives that will put their unsettled lives in order. A beloved storyteller, Binchy excels in the art of the character-driven plot. Although her characters are not necessarily complex, the stories she weaves around them are tales as compelling for their surprises as they are comforting in their sympathetic warmth. Redolent of the life-affirming enthusiasm that is Greek village life, Binchy's newest is a rich homage to meaningful relationships. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; Reprint edition (July 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451224116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451224118
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,366,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Maeve Binchy is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Nights of Rain and Stars, Quentins, Scarlet Feather, Circle of Friends, and Tara Road, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection. She has written for Gourmet; O, The Oprah Magazine; Modern Maturity; and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. She and her husband, Gordon Snell, live in Dalkey, Ireland, and London.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Angela Linton on September 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I seemed to remember that Maeve Binchy said she was giving up writing novels after 'Scarlet Feather' - so far two novels have appeared under her name but to be fair, both appear to have been written by a computer. I can imagine a lot of her fans will gush over NOR&S as it does keep MB's trademark feelgood factor but what it dispenses with is strong well-written characters you can identify with and an intricate and compelling plot. Please don't be hooked into buying this in hardback as I did just because of the Binchy name - this is her worst effort yet (if indeed she DID write it). The plot is completely unoriginal and predictable (in fact there's barely enough material for a short story) and the characters two-dimensional and impossible to identify with. For example it was easy to see why Ria in "Tara Road" fell for loveable rogue Danny, yet impossible to see why Fiona is attracted to her violent boyfried Sean who is simply a charmless oaf. The way the four main characters get together and the attachment they feel for each other I found simply unbelievable - the 'tragedy' which brings them together doesn't affect any of them directly and has only a minor role in the book. Sorry to sound hard-hearted but in reality they would probably have forgotten about it pretty quickly and gotten on with their lives. The only possibly interesting character has her life story told only in flashback (which actually would have made a better story line) while the book focuses on the boring lives and predictable romances of four dreary people who for the most part are totally responsible for their own problems. To make matters worse some of the Non-Irish characters have Irish speech patterns (did no-one edit the book?), at one point a Greek character describes someone as a 'pup'.Read more ›
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By LibraryLady on September 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Maybe I read a different book from the other 5-star reviewers. I've been a die-hard Maeve Binchy fan for at least 15 years. I order her books from amazonUK so that I can get them the minute they're published instead of having to wait for them to be released in the U.S. I think her books set in the 50s and 60s are the best. She seems to be drawing much more on personal experiences in those, and they ring more true. Her newer ones, particularly Evening Class and Scarlet Feather, are also good. I thought her last one, Quentins, was kind of weak, but it was still Maeve. But this one? Didn't even sound like her to me. The characters were one-dimensional and seemed cobbled together from other characters she's written previously, and better. The plot, what there was of it, was unbelievably predictable. Where was the trademark Binchy humour? Where was the Irish poignancy? The characters in Nights of Rain and Stars were unlikeable. The only one I was remotely interested in was David. It pains me to write something negative about my favorite author. But I had to rererereread Light a Penny Candle to get rid of the bad taste of this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By RCM VINE VOICE on October 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Maeve Binchy is a master storyteller. She has a knack for creating entire worlds that her readers are loath to leave. Her characters are real people, whose lives we are involved with; we know each of her creations intimately. We struggle alongside each of them, and rejoice in their successes.

Binchy's latest novel, "Nights of Rain and Stars", takes place on the small Greek island of Aghia Anna. Four travelers are thrown together with the local people, when tragedy strikes the island. Each one finds comfort in the others, and all of them are running away from something. Thomas, the American literature professor, is fearful of his son's relationship with his new stepdad. Elsa, the beautiful German, has run away from the man she loves after learning something dreadful about his past. David, the quiet English boy, has run away from having to take over his father's business. And Fiona, an Irish nurse, has run off to be with her no-good boyfriend, blinded by love and unwilling to listen to anyone's advice. All of them converge on the island of Aghia Anna, and are inseparable friends within days. They tear each other apart, and build one another up at the same time.

Yet "Night of Rain and Stars" is not Binchy's best. The characters seem a little too familiar, as if we've read about them in past books. Gone are the meandering chapters and vivid minor characters who populate Binchy's other novels. The entire book has the feel of a collection of short stories sewn together with some fragile thread. I have read every novel Maeve Binchy has written and buy them as soon as they come out, even in hardcover. Although an enjoyable read for any fan, I feel that I could've waited for this book to come out as a paperback.
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70 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on October 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No, not the person who wrote this book. You couldn't possibly be my beloved Maeve Binchy. Maeve has always given us original Irish tales told with classic twists, memorable characters, and heart-stopping moments. Maeve always left us with something to reflect on and a deep yearning for her next release.

Maeve has obviously been the victim of identity theft and that person has written a contrived situation with paper-thin characters who are not very likeable and whose problems are strictly of their own making. Maeve's characters were always more deeply developed, were good people with a tragic flaw perhaps, but after much soul-searching and a lot of Irish pluck managed to land butter-side up and delight the reader. Not so with this book.

Not only are we given one-dimensional characters, but they are bonded by a situation so far-fetched that I am questioning myself for continuing with this drivel. Only because the cover claims Maeve Binchy wrote this do I proceed. It's entertaining enough for a beach read or an otherwise boring flight. There are moments when I think, "Oh, Maeve did write that part." And there is one character, Vonni, who has a striking resemblance to the unforgettable Signora from EVENING CLASS. But, for the most part, this highly predictable novel falls far short of what Maeve Binchy is capable of.

Four tourists representing the US, England, Ireland, and Germany being thrown together in the Greek isles and mixing with the locals seems a wonderful idea. But perhaps Maeve's greatest strength lies deep in the Dublin she has written about with such love and insight. I hope she takes us back there soon.

If you are new to Maeve Binchy's work, please don't judge her by this one. Read Circle of Friends, Light A Penny Candle, anything else she has written. I love all her other novels and short stories and consider this just a minor blip on the radar screen of a wonderful writing career.
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