Oprah Book Club® Selection, September 1999:
Against all odds, two newlyweds manage to buy the house of their dreams. In 1982, property speculation is beginning to be a big, big thing in Dublin--and their street is very much in an up-and-coming part of town. "They laughed and hugged each other. Danny Lynch from the broken-down cottage in the back of beyond and Ria Johnson from the corner house in the big, shabby estate were not only living like gentry in a big Tara Road mansion, they were actually debating what style of dining table to buy." But for its various inhabitants, the street is to become a boulevard of dreams--some broken, others created anew. Maeve Binchy has long proved herself a secure hand at multiple story lines, and over the course of 500 satisfying pages she focuses on Ria; her best friend, Rosemary Ryan, a beautiful, endlessly selfish career woman; Gertie, the battered wife of a drunkard; and several other intriguing women, each of whom has secrets not to be shared. There is even an all-knowing fortune teller who early on hints that Ria will travel and start a successful business--two things she knows are definitely not
in the offing.
Yet after our supposedly happy housewife and mother of two is confronted by some inexorable home truths, a chance phone call from America will change her life, forcing her to discard her illusions about men, women, and marriage and start all over again. At the same time, the Connecticut caller, Marilyn Vine, has her own lessons to learn when she and Ria swap houses for the summer. Yet there's nothing remotely preachy about this novel--even the bad guys (and yes, they're usually guys) and beautiful mistresses get to maintain some appeal. Instead, Tara Road is a stirring look at the reality behind our consuming fantasies, and a page-turner to boot. --Siobhan Carson
From Library Journal
Ria Lynch is a charming woman who seems to have everythingAa great marriage, family, and a beautiful home in Dublin. The bottom drops out of her world when her handsome husband leaves her for his young, pregnant girlfriend. Three thousand miles away in Connecticut, Marilyn is trying to cope with the death of her beloved teenaged son. The two women exchange houses and, in a sense, experience a summer that gives each a new perspective and begins the complex processes of healing. Binchy (Evening Class) is a master at drawing readers into her beguiling domestic romances. The characters are distinctly and vividly drawn, and there's even a fortuneteller who appears from time to time in the women's lives to add a few wisps of magic. The Irish voice of Terry Donnelly is a beautiful match to the story's location and strong characters. Donnelly is especially skilled at interpreting the voices of the several children who live at Tara Road. Though some of the novel's pacing is lost in the abridgment, this is still a fine production and sure to be popular with listeners.ABarbara Valle, El Paso P.L., TX
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.