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Nights of Rain and Stars Paperback – July 29, 2008
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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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading this book. Maeve Binchy is a wonderful writer.Published 12 days ago by Catherine Kehoe
I have never been to Greece and this novel really gave me a taste. Loved the characters. vonni was so special. All of them from all over the world. Each trying to escape. Read morePublished 17 days ago by lynee
Wonderful images of Greece and intertwined lives and loves. Great personalities woven into the lovely setting without everything being resolved.Published 1 month ago by cmmc
As always, great characters & plot--Binchy sucks you into a rich tapestry of storytelling. A good read.Published 2 months ago by mainepat
The book didn't captivate me, as do most of the author's books, but it may well be any other reader's "cup of tea". Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ladybug
A group of self-absorbed white people meet by chance at a Cliffside taverna on a beautiful Greek island, eat local delicacies and drink wine while callously watching as a boat in... Read morePublished 5 months ago by returnServiceRequested