Sunday, January 10, 2016

Maeve Binchy. A Week in Winter

     Maeve Binchy. A Week in Winter (2012) Chicky returns to Stoneybridge, buys Stone House from the remaining Sheedy sister, and turns it into a boutique hotel. The book tells us the stories of the first week’s guests, in typical Binchy fashion: sketches that rely on plot lines the way a sketch relies on pencil lines. There’s the juvenile delinquent that becomes man, the fading actor comes to accept the company of ordinary folk, the girl deceived by a psychopathic manipulator, the woman holidaying with her  future mother-in-law who hates her, the young man unwilling to succumb to the family tradition and take over the business, and so on.
     Binchy’s characters are flawed and damaged, but for the most part prevail. Life, that is their socio-economic contexts and other people, treats them capriciously and sometimes cruelly. But most of them come to some safer harbour, and that is Binchy’s main appeal. She dispenses hope. That, and her remarkably clear and economical style. She can tell more in two or three sentences than many writers can say in two or three paragraphs. I’ve become mildly hooked on her, but not to the extent that I seek out her books. **½

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