I first became acquainted with Maeve Binchy's work many years ago when I was reading a memoir by Barbara Bush. Mrs. Bush was a big fan of Maeve Binchy, and after reading about Binchy's novels, I decided to try one. I was instantly a fan. Binchy's work has let me live on Tara Road and meet a whole new Circle of Friends (the book is much better than the movie). I have studied Italian in an Evening Class and spent Nights of Rain and Stars in Greece. I have attended a Silver Wedding and stood under a Copper Beech. Through Binchy's novels I have eaten at Quentin's and been to events catered by Scarlet Feather. This amazing Irish author consistently crafted wonderfully companionable novels that occupied me for many an hour.
Author Maeve Binchy
Maeve Binchy passed away in July 2012. I was sad to learn of her passing, and didn't write about it at the time as I was recovering from cancer surgery, but I have thought of her and her contributions to my library many times since. I recently read her last novel, A Week in Winter, and it does not disappoint. This final book is Binchy at her best. Main character Chicky Starr falls in love and leaves Ireland to go to America with her lover. When the relationship ends, Chicky can't face telling her family back in Ireland the truth. She remains in New York, gains work experience, and tells the family back home about her married life in America. Years later, when the facade threatens to come crashing down, Chicky lets everyone know her fictitious husband has died, and she returns home to Ireland. There she takes on a wonderful old home, and converts it to a holiday retreat called Stone House, offering a week of vacation on Ireland's Atlantic coast. In succeeding chapters, Binchy introduces a wonderful cast of characters who come to stay for the opening week. In another author's hands, telling the stories of so many people could be clumsy at best, and fail to move the book along. Not so under Binchy's experienced, talented hand. A Week in Winter was a treat from start to finish, and I will vacation at Stone House in Ireland again and again. The storylines of the different characters weave together seamlessly in this last work, in the way only Binchy could do so well. Maeve, you will be missed! Thank you for a last, wonderful read.
This wonderful quote is on Maeve Binchy's website, and I have included a link to her site here. If you are not acquainted with this best-selling author, you might want to put her on your summer reading list.
"I'd like people to think I was a good friend and a reasonable story-teller and to know that thanks to all the great people, family and friends that I met, I was very, very happy when I was here."