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This Year It Will Be Different Hardcover – November 1, 1996

4.0 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Stories from the beloved Irish author.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A collection of Christmas-centered feel-good tales about love and family snarls in the season of comfort and joy. All are rendered in Binchy's popular unglossed style (The Glass Lake, 1995, etc.), and set in England, Ireland, and Australia. Some of the 15 tales have to do with unwise, innocent women carrying torches for the married lovers who take them for granted. Most eventually find the strength to douse the torch they've been carrying and let their own light shine--one is helped along by the plight of a loveless teenager and a sad gambler who's lost all. There are also abrasive relationships with children. In ``The First Step of Christmas,'' a resentful, neglected stepdaughter is lured home by a simple holiday tradition. Two single men with wayward adult children find mutual support and insight in ``A Typical Irish Christmas,'' and two singles in their 50s fly to Australia to meet their children's spouses for the first time--and discover each other along the way. Included as well are amusing tales about ditsy-to-just-plain-awful grannies. In ``A Season of Fuss,'' adult children foolishly try to curb their mother's towering nervous flights of preparation for the holidays. In ``The Best Inn in Town,'' two crazy grandmothers--one with ``a lip that curled all on its own,'' the other possessing ``a tinkling laugh that would freeze the blood''--are about to be dumped in a local inn. But the grandchildren, used to ``the natural order of things'' at Christmastime, have a better idea. There are marital reconciliations, too, and, in the sourly amusing title story, a long-suffering housewife, a good old reliable preparer and supplier of Christmas jollity, plans a surprise for her dense family that will resonate far beyond Christmas. In all, an appropriate gift for the casual reader--a bit of sentimentality and a touch of romance, along with humor and hopeful turns to treat those with cases of the holiday blues. (Literary Guild featured alternate selection) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (November 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385315031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385315036
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,292,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Reviewer Dr. Beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 12, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In her novels, Binchy frequently addresses some of the more tragic aspects of life with humor and grace, and she does the same in this collection of stories. Each tale takes place at Christmastime, but there is little sentitmentality here. Instead, Binchy offers us a peek into the more trying aspects of the holidays: the teenager who captures all of her family's flaws on film, the young woman who realizes that her affair with a married man isn't quite as wonderful as she had been telling herself, the happily married woman who struggles with her rebellious stepdaughter, the wife and mother who is tired of having the entire responsibility for the holidays fall on her shoulders, the group of crotched-y nursing residents who have no families to go to on Christmas day, etc. Although these are not exactly "feel-good" stories, many incorporate an aspect of triumph. This book is likely to be appreciated by anyone who has ever strived for the "perfect" Christmas and has fallen short.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maeve Binchy is one of my all-time favorite authors. There is nothing of hers that I haven't liked and most of her work, I have loved. A while back, I was looking at everything she has written to see if I had missed something and came across this book. Since Christmas was coming up I bought it for my Kindle but waited until December to begin reading.

This is a collection of short stories (which I typically don't like as well as novels) but the author manages to write them so well. The characters are developed in each one and I was totally engrossed in each story quickly so I hardly noticed they weren't full-length stories. In typical Binchy style, the stories are a mixture of good and bad, personal hurt and growth. Unlike most books published geared around the holidays of fluffy stories with happy endings, there is "meat on those bones" with this collection. There are probably more heart-wrenching stories than uplifting ones, but after multiple novels of light and airy narratives, I was actually quite ready for some grittier story lines and this delivered. I think Maeve Binchy is probably one of the few authors that can get away with writing about bad stuff happening during the holidays and still have me loving it.

A wonderful collection of well-written stories. For those looking for the Normal Rockwell version of holiday stories, this definitely isn't for you. For people looking for the stories of things not always going well and families not always getting along (realistic but without being over-the-top), this might be just the ticket. I loved it and plan on re-reading it over the coming years.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Maeve Binchy has povided a series of short stories about the holiday season and how it affects people. Many are bitter sweet, some are just plain sad, while others provide hope and insight. While some people may say that the character development is not what you would normally expect from a Binchy story, the fact that these are short stories make the task all the more impressive. Each story hits a nerve. My particular sensitive spot was relfected in the story of the "difficult" step daughter who eats all of the hors d'oerves to the horror of the step mom only to think that they were going to decorate her bedroom for her. An instant bond is built between the two women, one young and one old. Age differences, women in love with married men, widows dealing with the holidays and people with dreams. This is an excellent book for the holiday season. It is easy to read and would make an excellent gift.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The atmosphere around the end of the year is always peculiar, it is specially "crazy", there's a lot of fuss, people are running here and there with their Christmas shopping, we experiment a plethora of mixed feelings and emotions such as melancholy and excitment, and it's mainly the time to think about and evaluate the finishing year. Binchy is a master at capturing these kinds of mood and expressing them in this outstanding collection of 15 short stories. There are some interesting ones about single women who date married men and their turning points that will arrive with the season. Again, the author offers us dialogues that make the characters real and believable - Binchy proves she is perfect at writing both short compact stories and long, full of details, engrossing novels. Pay special attention to "The Ten Snaps of Christmas", about a teenage girl who gets a Polaroid camera and decides to take some "secret pictures" as her Xmas day goes by. It shows readers how families can be hypocritical. What kinds of snapshots would we come across if we had the chance of taking them? And also enjoy the tale of a hard-working carer in an Australian home struggling with a group of four very difficult old people entitled "The Hard Core".
After a year or so you will probably have forgotten many details, and it will be a pleasure to read these stories again and have some new insights.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me set something straight here ~~ I love Maeve's books. I have read them all and there are several that I re-read over the years simply because they're honest and uplifting. So it was with great anticipation that I sat down with this book ~~ I was expecting something to set my mind on the proper Christmas mood and boy, was I disappointed.

This book is not uplifting at all. In fact, the tone I detected throughout the entire collection of short stories is bitterness. Not bittersweet, just bitterness. Like Maeve has a grudge against Christmas. Maybe she does have a grudge ~~ but anyhow, this entire short story collection is not for the reader who is looking for something to cheer her up before the craziness of the holiday descends. In fact, if you're bitter about the holidays, then this book is perfect for you.

The short stories don't even feel complete nor full ~~ she has written better short stories than this collection so it is very disappointing that I put the book down and say, where's my Maeve?! This one is about women having affairs with married men, parents grown distant from their adult children, women who miss their spouses and lost dreams, and so on. There was nothing, I mean, nothing redeemable about any of these stories.

If you're a die-hard Binchy fan, you might like this collection. But save your money and buy her other books. This one is definitely not going into my personal library.

11-30-07
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