Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Week in Winter - Fiction Review

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. 


  1. I love the sound of this! I've not read any Maeve Binchy but it sounds like this will be a good place to start :)

  2. Katherine, I have read everything Binchy has written and they are wonderful stories. Most of them shift from each character’s point of view. Light a Penny Candle was my absolute favorite but Tara Road and Scarlett Feather are very good as well.
    Well, winter has arrived here, finally. We have started using our heater everyday and had so e freezing nights. How about you? I may need to get a space heater for the office.

  3. I am a little chary about reading Maeve B as I read one of her books that didn't grab me and haven't gone back. Maybe I should try this one, I like Rosalyn Landor as a narrator - she does many English romance stories really well.

  4. Like Tina, I really loved Light a Penny Candle. Circle of Friends was good (and there's a film version starring Minnie Driver).

  5. Having read many of Binchy's other books, but not this one yet, you've sold me. Now I must get my hands on it. Thanks!

  6. I haven't read this one, but I really enjoy her writing - I must get hold of this one. Many thanks for sharing:)

  7. I have only read one or two Binchy books and it was years ago but I do remember enjoying them. I will have to check out this one.

  8. It was Evening Class by Binchy that got me hooked, and it was the same idea - interconnected characters that each get their own chapter, but it all connected. Many of the characters from that book come back in her later books. Enjoy your journey with Maeve!

  9. I read this book some time ago; I gave it 4 stars so it must have been good. I have 2-3 of Binchy's books on my TBR for 2018. I look forward to revisiting her work.