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A Week in Winter Paperback – January 7, 2014
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“Delightful. . . . Radiates the warmth and charm that fans will recognize and relish.” —USA Today
“A hopeful, loving novel chronicling lives shaped by good deeds, small favors, and honest counsel along the rocky crags of the Irish coast.” —The Daily Beast
“A gratifying, blustery read full of rich characters, a sea-spray setting and a compelling plot that carries the reader from start to end.” —Wichita Eagle
“Reading this novel is like ducking out of a cold rain into a fire-warmed pub filled with laughter.” —People
“If you read this book you will feel like you know every rock and view in Stoneybridge, and will likely wish you could visit this bleak-but-mesmerizing place, perhaps even in winter. . . . If you love Binchy's quiet stories, you will not be disappointed with this one.” —Huffington Post
“A restorative read.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Spell-binding. . . . Shows [Binchy] at the height of her powers.” —IrishCentral
“Maeve Binchy has once again created fully realized characters in quick, short strokes. . . . [The book contains] a philosophy of common sense and wisdom, both of which we’ve come to expect from Binchy.” —The Toronto Star
“All the characters spring to vivid life on the page, and all the stories are engaging.” —The Irish Times
“Heartwarming and spirit restoring. . . . In classic Binchy-style, the gentle story is populated with a large cast of often eccentric, always endearing characters. . . . Stone House, a country inn on the West Coast of Ireland serves as the cozy setting for these interrelated tales of love, loss, friendship, and community. . . . Pour yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up, and prepare to savor this bit of comfort food for the soul.” —Booklist
“Welcome territory for those looking for a feel-good read.” —Publishers Weekly
“Classic Binchy. . . . Peek[s] into the lives of characters from various walks of life brought together at a newly opened inn on the West Coast of Ireland.” —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined the Irish Times. Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982. She went on to write many bestsellers, including Minding Frankie, Heart and Soul, Whitethorn Woods, Circle of Friends and Tara Road, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection. She also wrote for Gourmet; O, The Oprah Magazine; Modern Maturity; and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. Maeve Binchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Book Awards in 1999 and the Irish PEN/A.T. Cross award in 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards by the then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years and died in 2012, shortly after finishing this book.
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a snowy evening, enveloped in a gloriously cozy down duvet, the lamp on, a
warm drink to hand, ready to be swept away to a place of caring and compassion.
Her theme is always the same - people, confronted by difficulties in life, bad
luck or hard times, and how the choices they make lead to a better life, or one
that is (by their own actions) shut down and made smaller.
Ireland is not only the setting, it is also one of these characters - beautiful and
troubled, or glorious and hopeful; more likely all of these.
Maeve has died, and now that I have read this book, there is that sad realization
that there aren't going to be any new characters to meet - but I will be re-reading
all her books, including this one, which I think is one of the best.
If you are a fan of Maeve Binchy's works, you already know these characters, and
the plots. You know the place - only a small part of the book is set in Dublin; most
of it is in the West, in a village on the coast.
As usual, there are a mis-matched group of near-strangers, brought together for an arbitrary
occassion - this time it is the opening of a small inn - each with a life problem
that must be confronted (or, notably for one character, avoided) and how that
The pleasure is in spending time with these people as they face up to their problems,
or fail to, and the understanding (and compassion) for people that Maeve always
Reading Binchy, I always feel more alive, more aware of other people, more as if I have had a glimpse
into their hearts and minds - and that is a great gift, what only the most profoundly
gifted authors, artists and composers ever achieve.
Binchy's works were, in her lifetime, so often dismissed as romances or women's lit -
I prefer to think of her as a reporter and journalist (as she was, and so was Dickens)
reporting on the heart and mind and soul of people in troubling times.
If you have read other books by Maeve Binchy, you don't need reviews to tell you why you
will love A Week in Winter. If you haven't, but read to understand people (and yourself)
and how relationships really work (or fail to), you will love this book!
This book takes place on the western coast of Ireland. Young Chicky Ryan meets an American boy and is swept off her feet. Despite family protest, she moves with him to New York City. But Walter Starr is lazy and he dumps Chicky after a few months. Unfortunately, she lied to her family and said they were married. She lies again and tells them he was killed in a car accident. Widow Chicky Starr eventually returns to Ireland. With the blessing of an elderly spinster in town, Chicky converts the woman's house into a B & B. There are worrisome moments, but the place is a success.
The first chapter tells Chicky's story. The next two chapters focus on her niece and the son of a friend who help her open and run the inn. The subsequent chapters are devoted to each of the guests who come for the opening week. You learn their backstory, the life crisis that brings them to Ireland for a winter vacation, the insight they gain while there, and how their life is improved. Somehow each person gets what he or she needs during their stay at Stone House. Okay, one bitter guest remains unchanged.
This was a book club pick. Though not my favorite book, it is a nice choice for the hectic time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is easy to read, it goes fast, the language is basic, and it mostly held my interest. The basic language and effortless read are also on my negative list. Beyond some mild quirkiness, there is a lack of character development. There is also a lack of plot development with a thin thread that ties some of the characters together. At times I was not sure if this was a novel or a short story collection. The stories are predictable and all the outcomes are happy. There is not much to ponder here and I will not remember this book beyond the book club discussion. Again, if you like Maeve Binchy's other books, you will be well pleased with this.
Set in the fictional village of Stoneybridge located on the west coast of Ireland--where the winds and the waves of the Atlantic create a harsh environment--the various stories are focused around an old house that is renovated as an inn. It opens in the middle of winter (not the most weather-friendly time to visit Stoneybridge), and we learn the secrets, fears, longings and desires of the guests who visit for a week in winter.
Finishing the book is much like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. And this is classic Maeve Binchy! The stories, the characters, the setting, the descriptions...no one writes like she did.