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VINE VOICEon February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
***this review is based on an uncorrected proof of the soon-to-be-published hardcover edition***

A big thank you to Gordon Snell, Maeve's beloved husband, and to Alfred A. Knopf for allowing us to enjoy another brilliant short story collection by Binchy. 'Chestnut Street' (due to be released spring 2014) isn't a novel, but rather 36 short stories written by the author over a period of years about the residents of a fictional neighborhood in Ireland. Since my sons were very young, I've told them every person they'll ever meet has a story to tell. Everyone is someone's family member or friend, and we all lead interesting lives in one way or another. No one is insignificant. Maeve Binchy had a unique gift; the characters she wrote about felt real... as if the reader knew them from some facet of daily life. Such is the case when you read 'Chestnut Street'.

Joyce, for example, could be a friend or co-worker as she gets ready for a dinner with Leonard and Sally, who are trying to fix her up with new neighbor, Norman. Or there's Kevin, who drives a cab... how often do we wonder about the lives of those working jobs that often render them too easily invisible? Molly is trying to regain her footing after a heartbreaking divorce. Nuala can't quite accept her daughter, Katie's, fiancé. 'Chestnut Street' illustrates everyday events so we readers can still glimpse the magic in the mundane Binchy was so expert at describing. She understood life and people as few people do.

I highly recommend adding this short story collection to a shelf of Maeve Binchy's best works. You'll want to hang on to 'Chestnut Street' long after you've finished reading it the first time, because you'll pour a cup of tea or mug of coffee, open its pages again, and snuggle in for quiet, peaceful moments throughout the years. Much in the same way we revisit photo albums or scrapbooks and smile at remembered stories.
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VINE VOICEon March 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
.... then you know what to expect & you will enjoy this book. What the reader should know is that this isn't a novel, but a collection of short stories about people who live on Chestnut Street. The stories don't really intertwine much, other than a random comment about a neighbor mentioned in a prior chapter. If you are someone who has heard about the wonderful books written by Maeve Binchy and want to read your first, I would recommend you start with a different book - one of her complete novels. While Chestnut Street is standard Maeve Binchy with unique but believable characters, her novels are much more engrossing with interwoven stories and you're not starting and stopping with each chapter.

I enjoyed Chestnut Street for several reasons - first, it was no different than the previous books written by Maeve Binchy with all her insights about people and characters and giving you a lot of story in a short shapter - what an imagination and knowledge of people the woman had! While reading this book, I realized that one of the things that I liked about her books was that the really good, humble and often largely overlooked or used people seemed to triumph in the end and the not-so-good, self-satisfied or bad people typically got their just desserts, sometimes served by the really good people - and this is most satisfying.

I knew this book had been put together after her passing and was a little afraid it wouldn't be up to her usual storytelliing standards, but I have to say it drew me in and kept me happily entertained on a long day when I needed something that would hold my interest - and I was not disappointed. I am sad that there will be no more Maeve Binchy books to look forward to, but am glad they gave us Chestnut Street. So as I started my review - if you're a Maeve Binchy fan, you'll enjoy this one - maybe not as much as we'd have loved to have had a complete novel, but this was a nice, unexpected gift.
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VINE VOICEon March 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Maeve Binchy passed away in 2012, but, fortunately, her husband Gordon Snell decided, after many “not now’s” from Ms. Binchy while she lived, the time was right to publish this collection of short stories.

CHESTNUT STREET is a collection of thirty-six short stories all set on Chestnut Street, which, as Mr. Snell points out in the preface, is a fictional street in Dublin. Each story is from the point of view of a different resident on this horseshoe-shaped street, some adults, some teenagers, some children. Those who are familiar with Binchy’s work have met a few of these friends before and should be happy to see them again. The stories vary in length; one is a mere five pages, but some are almost novellas. I would say that the average length is about ten to fifteen pages – a fairly typical length for a short story. The stories are all about life itself and often have a lesson, but they aren’t preachy – simply warm and wise, in Binchy’s singular way.

Readers will have to keep in mind that these stories were not all written at the same time; some are older than others. Mr. Snell notes in the preface that Ms. Binchy wrote these stories over a long period of time. Ms. Binchy gives readers just enough information to let us know when we might be in the 1960’s or when we might be in the 2010’s, and many of the character types, incidents, and lessons learned hold true for any time.

I had hoped that Mr. Snell would find some more of Ms. Binchy’s work lurking in her desk drawer or computer files, and I’m glad he did. I hope he’ll keep looking for even more!
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I picked up this book at a bargain price and even though this kind of book is usually not my cup of tea; nevertheless, I did find it a compelling read. The late Irish author (Maeve Binchy) is best known for her many novels. This book (Chestnut Street) relates her many interesting experiences living in Dublin, Ireland on Chestnut street. There are 36 stories in this collection and a few of these are as follows:

Dolly's Mother, It's only a day, Fay's new, A problem of my own, All that matters, Liberty green, Star Sullivan, The gift of dignity and numerous other stories.

Those who are fans of the author may want to pick up a copy of this book, which I believe is the last one before she died.

Rating: 4 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Haiku Moments: How to read, write and enjoy haiku).
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on July 1, 2014
If you're a fan of Maeve Binchy's novels and prefer novels to short stories, you probably won't like this posthumous collection as well as her earlier works. These are loosely connected through the taxi driver character, who eavesdrops on his passengers while taking them back and forth to Chestnut Street. For instance. he discusses Ireland's referendum on divorce as a means of commenting one passenger's life: "if the referendum passes, many men will be expected to divorce their wives and marry their mistresses, but of course, they won't have to." "No,," the passenger replies, "they won't." This the driver, who transports both the wife and the mistress but likes the wife better, makes his point, while the reader learns something about life in a changing Ireland. The passenger leaves the taxi somewhat relieved on referendum day.

I liked this very much. I picked up Kindle whenever I had a few moments to spend in Ireland with Maeve. I did miss dialog, though. It's as if reader is told the story by the narrator. This book would work really well on audio.
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on November 24, 2017
Some of these stories are so heartbreaking and typically Maeve that this compilation reminds me of other well known anthologies. Nothing can beat Tara Road, but this comes close.
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on October 10, 2017
A book of short stories. I must admit I picked it up and just started reading not realising it was all short stories, not really related to one another. Although there were a couple that kinda related (mentioned characters from other stories). I just felt that each story was finished quite abruptly, actually didn't really finish to any great conclusion. It definitely wasn't my favourite Maeve Binchy book. But, it was a light enough read, particularly helpful when I couldn't get to sleep.
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on November 9, 2015
I put off reading this book for ages because I hated to admit that it's the end and that Maeve Binchy, my favorite author, really is gone. She was more than an author - I thought of her as a friend. All of her characters came alive as I read; she had a gift like no one else. It's difficult to say goodbye, but her books and the characters she loved will live on. Maeve's novels are the only ones I'll ever reread. This collection of short stories is a fitting farewell to a lovely lady.
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on September 25, 2017
I love Maeve Binchy books and this is not an exception. Her books are like a soft comforter and a cup of my favorite hot chocolate in the winter.
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on May 14, 2014
who never thought we'd hear 'from' her again - 36 very short stories, all very Maeve, with little if any connection between them, but that's ok... I did relish this as an unexpected bonus from Irish heaven :) Since it's stories, first- time readers may not be caught up in the usual charm of a Binchy novel, and if you are not, please do yourself a favor and try her full novels, which are so satisfying - the earlier novels are the best, I feel. I've often tried to explain what it is about her books I so enjoy, as I typically dont read similar genre authors. I think it is not just the stories, but her character development, which is complete and deep, and perhaps unusual , as she always portrays people the way we really are - not black, not white, but gray. Good people who occasionally do or think or feel 'bad' things, and bad people who have some 'good' qualities as well......... and isn't that the way the world is? Most of us are gray.
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