Author: Maeve Binchy
Publisher: Orion, 2012
Format: Audiobook, Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
I feel as if I’ve just had a week’s vacation in Ireland. I spent a week listening to the lilting voice of Rosalyn Landor as she read Maeve Binchy’s last novel. I swear I saw the craggy landscape and smelled the scent of the ocean, and talked with all the people I met there.
The story revolves around Chicky Starr who grew up in a small Irish town on the west coast of Ireland. She left her home for America when she was in her twenties. She worked hard in a boardinghouse and took baking and cooking classes. In addition, Chicky was careful about saving her money.
After about twenty years Chicky went back to her small hometown in Ireland with an idea. She wanted to create an expanded bed and breakfast. Her dream was of a home for visitors wanting a restful week’s vacation in this beautiful country. It would be a place for people to rejuvenate from their busy lives.
Chicky partnered with an elderly woman who owned Stone House. Together they restored the house to its original beauty. Chicky created menus, a list of things to do in the area and other thoughtful touches around the house.
I enjoyed the story of Chicky that took up the first half of the novel. Equally enjoyable was the second half which contained the stories of each one of the guests who came to the Stone House during the first week Chicky was open for business. Here are my favorites:
- The young librarian who created a club within the library for people of varying interests,
- the two doctors who had seen too much death,
- and the young man with a passion for music, but who was expected to devote his life to his father’s business.
The author did a great job of filling me in on the backstories of all the guests. Each person had some sort of conflict in their lives that needed to be resolved. Although there were quite a few characters in the book, I felt they were all fairly well developed in a short time frame.
This is the first time I’ve read a Maeve Binchy novel. Friends have told me her books tend to be formulaic. Intellectually I can see what they mean. I had no complaints, but this is my first book. I intend to read at least one more. Then, perhaps, I can comment on the formula.
I truly love novels that make me think, but every once in a while I like reading a book that just makes me feel. That’s exactly what happened to me during my Week in Winter.