A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy (Amazon Link)
Rating: Loved It
Source: Library (Audio)
Description: Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chicky is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s relief; the Walls are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, is afraid of her own psychic visions.
Sharing a week with this unlikely cast of characters is pure joy, full of Maeve’s trademark warmth and humor. Once again, she embraces us with her grand storytelling.
Genre: Fiction - Contemporary
Why I Picked This Book: I've wanted to try a book by Maeve Binchy forever and the blurb of this one just pulled at me.
My Impression: Maeve Binchy is one of those authors that I've known about forever but for some reason just never made time to read. This was my first book and I am completely in love. I'm not sure how it compares to her other books but for a first time reader this gave me all the warm fuzzy feels. Really my only negative about this book was that it ended and I don't get to spend any more time with these characters (well except for Miss Howe. I think I spent enough time with her).
The structure of the book was a little unusual. It's kind of a series of very closely connected short stories and it works beautifully. We start out with the POV of Chicky Starr and follow her journey to America and than back home to Ireland and the beginning of Stone House. From there the POV switches to each of her two employees and than each guest for that first week of winter. For each character the journey starts before their arrival to Stone House and ends at some point during the week. I really felt like I goy to know each of the guests with their own particular path. I didn't love them all but I enjoyed each chapter completely. If Stone House was a real place I would be booking my stay as soon as I could. This was one of those rare books I really didn't want to end and the only thing that makes it better is that I have so many Binchy novels to explore.
The audio was very good. Rosalyn Landor's accent was pronounced but never felt like it overshadowed the characters. Her inflections for each character was well done and not overly dramatic.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely! I've heard this one isn't her best but I loved it so much I'm almost scared to try another.
Would I Recommend this Book? I would - especially if you like Rosamunde Pilcher. It reminded me quite a bit of her book Winter Solstice though I think I enjoyed this one more.