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4.1 out of 5 stars
Tara Road
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105 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 1999
I am giving TARA ROAD three stars because it is not my favorite Maeve Binchy novel - I don't think the secondary characters were developed as well as in some of her other books. Yes, the story has elements of a soap opera, but please don't compare it to anything written by Danielle Steele. I have never been able to get through one chapter of any of her books that have come my way. Okay, I did read MESSAGE FROM NAM, she must have had a ghost-writer. Excuse me, I digress. TARA ROAD is an enjoyable read. The main character, Ria, changes throughout the book, and I really liked her. She seemed very real to me, like a good friend. My only complaint about this book is at times it was a bit slow, and not 100% believable, but so what, it's a novel. The story itself is actually very inspiring, about friendship as well as self-reliance. I definitley recommend TARA ROAD to all Maeve Binchy fans, and for those who've never experienced Maeve, if you like good stories with characters who become like friends, please give her books a try. However, for first time readers of Maeve, you might want to start with ECHOES or EVENING CLASS, which are two of her best!
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2000
I haven't really enjoyed many of Oprah's selections, but decided to give this one a chance anyway. After reading the book, I was sorry it had to end, but at the same time I asked myself, why? It's dificult to put your finger on why the book is great. I didn't find the plot to be overly exciting, but I found that the characters were. I think this book is well worth a read just because you tend to fall in love with the characters and genuinely "care" what happens in their life. Just a nice read; nothing earth shattering.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 1999
I just finished reading this book in three days - I actually got up early on a Saturday morning to continue reading! Sure, it is light reading, and most of it is dialogue with little variation in phrasing or language usage from character to character. (Also, she uses UK terms of speech in the dialogue of the Americans, but I only noticed that because I am an American in a foreign country and am very aware of this difference.) However, with all that said, it is still a good story. I loved the descriptions of the homes and people's varied attachments to them, as well as the exploration of the paths, morals and variety of social relationships that these modern families experienced. The characters and situations are very real and believable - she has captured a good slice of life of women in the 90's. I am left with the inspiration to try an international house swap if the occasion should ever present itself...!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2002
Maeve Binchy weaves another strong Irish tale of love, life, despair and renewal. Tara Road is a contemporary novel set on the streets of Dublin. The story pivots around the life and love of Danny and Ria, from their beginnings through their troubled times. They start their life with the purchase of a beautiful older home that Danny foresees as a house of possibilities and immense potential, just like he views his own life, starting from nowhere and reaching the highest peaks. Maeve Binchy creates people that strike a chord in our hearts. Rosemary, so beautiful and committed to work, Gertie, married to an abusive alcoholic, Marilyn coping with a sad past, Colm and his sister, hiding a secret while running a restaurant, Hillary, thrifty in life, in love and in her dreams, and Ria's mom, a woman of strong opinions freely shared. Danny and Ria's children are almost too real, mothers everywhere will recognize a touch of their own children in them. All the "sidestories" bring a fullness to the story and open your eyes to a world of love, despair, hope and inner strength and the value of true friendship.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 8, 2006
How disappointing it is to read a book with such weak female characters portrayed as heroines. I imagine the theme of this book is supposed to be handling adversity, learning to stand on your own feet and overcome a terrible situation. However, Ria is the most appalling main character I've ever been expected to like. She is oblivious to everything going on around her and has her feelings hurt far too often--by her teenage daughter, her jealous sister, or friends whose compliments Ria is skillfully able to twist into slights. On the one evening of her adult life when she can't find anyone for whom to cook an elaborate dinner, Ria very nearly has a nervous breakdown. She is an insecure child playing at adulthood.
Most horrifying, of course, is the way Ria reacts toward her husband. First she decides that it will solve all of the problems in their marriage if she has another baby. Then, when he announces he is leaving her for his pregnant girlfriend, she falls apart. Several times. Instead of clinging onto any dignity at all, Ria repeatedly begs Danny to come back to her and tells him she will always be there for him. Is there anything more humiliating than a woman who throw herself at a man who has made it clear he doesn't want her?
This character made me cringe, and the other women in the story were a list of female cliches--interfering mother, obnoxious teenager, domestic victim, man-stealing witch, penny-pinching shrew, etc. In the end, it was all just very tiresome. I'm not clear on where the "heartwarming" part of the story was, but I certainly missed it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2000
On my way back from a wonderful family Christmas in Washinton DC I bought a couple of books at Dulles Airport to fill in the long flight to Denmark - and the following jetlag days.Tara Road is my first, but definately not last Maeve Binchy book. Through two days and nights I laughed,cried and enjoyed these Irish - American everyday characters. Tara Road could quite well be a small road in Denmark, as well - and the Irish characters are quite similar to Danish everyday people. I hope to find a new MB book soon.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 1999
I generally really like Oprah's picks. That's why I read them. This one was different. It was hard to read more than 30 pages at a time. The pace of the book all of a sudden greatly increased after about 400 pages - that's where I found the most compelling reading. To give credit to the author, the visualizations that the book invokes are wonderful and that was quite enjoyable as well. Read the book, but don't expect to fly through it. I think it would be more like a fine wine to be sipped and slowly enjoyed.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 1999
I've been a Maeve Binchy fan since she wrote Circle of Friends, but she has, admittedly, been a little too romantic for my taste on some rare occasions...but THIS is an excellently written book. I don't want to go into detail, but trust me--it'll keep you enthralled. Maeve has a way of twisting her stories to the degree in which even the reader is perplexed (who WAS in the summer house with Rosemary when Annie stumbled across them? ) For those of you that are new to Maeve Binchy, try reading Circle of Friends first...You'll be hooked!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2000
Tara Road is a book of true life. You can not trust most friends, your husband can cheat on you, your children aren't prefect and you can change your life course at 40. The book was easy to read and you really don't want it to end. You want to find out what happens to Ria and Colm and all the people on Tara Road. A good book with realistic life experience.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 1999
I just finished this book last night and loved it. I loved the relationships, they felt very real to me, not sugar-coated. I could not put this book down and am sad that it is over.
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