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A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

A Week in Winter (edition 2012)

by Maeve Binchy

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889729,938 (3.75)67
Title:A Week in Winter
Authors:Maeve Binchy
Info:Orion Publishing (2012), Hardcover, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Ireland, linked novellas

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A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy



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Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite authors. Her books are always a pleasure to read, this one included. I always feel as if I am right there in Ireland enjoying the land & people. ( )
  Erika.D | Jan 28, 2016 |
This is a special book, the last one Maeve Binchy wrote, published posthumously. There are no real surprises in it, no serious conflicts, no mysteries to solve. It’s character-based, as so many of her books are, and weaves together a series of cameos featuring a group of loosely connected people. It’s a device she used before to good effect; each chapter is almost a short story in itself, yet each one relies on prior knowledge from previous chapters.

It’s a cosy world; supposedly set in the 21st century, it’s a much gentler environment than would be found in most parts of the world. I enjoyed the slow-moving dialogue, the friendly interactions and the general trust in human nature. There are occasional references to people from previous novels, but only in passing: as owner of a restaurant or perhaps a next-door neighbour.

In one sense I liked the first half of the book best, as it charted the main character's life of deception and struggle and her eventual return to her own country where she renovates an old mansion and opens a hotel. But the second half, introducing each of the guests with their stories, made good bedtime reading. I liked the way the author looked at each person or pair, at the varied reasons for them being in the hotel, and the circumstances of their very different lives.

The writing is good, as I expect from Maeve Binchy, and while it isn’t the most exciting book, it's warm and relaxing. Not one to choose if you haven’t read any of her books before, or if you prefer books with a good plot; but for fans of this author, I would certainly recommend it to read at least once. Ideal for holiday or bedtime reading. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
I always enjoy a Maeve Binchy novel. Her characters are well-developed and very interesting. This was a heart-warming tale and does not disappoint. As this was Maeve Binchy's swan song, I will sorely miss her humour and entertaining novels. Looking forward to reading a couple more of her books in the near future.
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  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
Book on CD performed by Rosalyn Landor

Everyone knows everyone in the small town of Stoneybridge, on Ireland’s west coast. Still, when Chicky Starr buys Stone House from the last remaining Sheedy sister and announces she will turn it into a special kind of inn for paying guests, most everyone is certain the plan will fail. When the young people of town are leaving for the big city, who would want to come to tiny Stoneybridge? But Chicky assembles an eclectic group of travelers for her opening week, and begins a new chapter in her life and in the future of Stoneybridge.

This is Binchy’s last novel, published posthumously. It’s evident that she loved the landscape and the people of Ireland and she conveys that beautifully. This is an ensemble piece and there are sections devoted to each of the major players. From Chicky Starr (who comes back to Stoneybridge after decades in America) to Rigger (bad-boy turned general manager) to Freda (librarian and psychic), the reader gets to know each of the characters dreams, disappointments, strengths and flaws.

Rosalyn Landor does a wonderful job performing the audio version. She is a gifted voice artist and has a wide repertoire of voices and accents which allows her to bring the many character’s to life. My only disappointment is that it is Binchy’s last work – I would love to be able to look forward to a sequel.
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  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Stoneybridge is a small resort town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. During the summers, the picturesque town's beautiful beaches are filled with tourists and their families - all carrying buckets and spades to play in the sand; building towering sandcastles and searching the shore for seashells. In the winters, few people would venture out into the frigid wilderness; yet those who brave the cold weather to walk along the beach and look out over the exposed windswept cliffs that make up the Atlantic coastline can't help but notice the dilapidated house on the cliff known as Stone House.

Against the sage advice of many, Geraldine 'Chicky' Starr has bought Stone House and has begun renovations of the old decaying mansion. Her plan is to turn the ramshackled house into a thriving vacationer's paradise, specializing in restful holidays by the sea. Not everyone believes that Chicky is entirely capable of turning Stone House into a lucrative business, but she has a vision for the place and is certain that she can make it work.

Helped out by Rigger, a local bad boy turned good who is also handy around the house and Orla, her niece, a truly remarkable business whiz, Chicky is soon ready to open the opulent mansion to the public. As she and her household make final preparations to welcome their first guests into Stone House's large, warm kitchen, roaring log fires, and understated, yet elegant bedrooms, Chicky is delighted at the initial interest shown in her little venture. The guestbook is filling out nicely, and the visitors seem to be thoroughly delightful people...

There is John, the American movie star, who thinks he has arrived to Stone House totally incognito. Winnie and Lillian are taking their holiday together; forced into a seemingly intolerable situation not of their choosing: 'getting to know one another' under duress. Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have seen so much death while practicing medicine; both doctors have been shaken by their views of mortality and are left feeling overwhelmed and depressed.

Anders hates his father's business, but has a real talent for music. Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, is highly critical of everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone's immense relief. The Walls are disappointed with having won this second place holiday in a contest where the grand prize was a trip to Paris. And Freda, the librarian, is frightened by her own psychic visions. Sharing a week with such an unlikely cast of characters should be pure joy, to Chicky's way of thinking.

This was Maeve Binchy's final novel and was finished just before her untimely death in July of 2012. I absolutely loved reading this book; it was typical Maeve Binchy for me: poignant, warm, and filled with characters that I couldn't help but fall in love with. I give this book a definite A+! ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Dec 10, 2015 |
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Book description
The Sheedy sisters had lived in Stone House for as long as anyone could remember. Set high on the cliffs on the west coast of Ireland, overlooking the windswept Atlantic ocean, it was falling into disrepair - until one woman, with a past she needed to forget, breathed new life into the place. Now a hotel, with a big, warm kitchen and log fires, it provides a welcome few can resist. Winnie is generally able to make the best of things, until she finds herself on the holiday from hell. John arrived on an impulse after he missed a flight at Shannon. And then there's Henry and Nicola, burdened with a terrible secret, who are hoping the break at Stone House will help them find a way to face the future ...A WEEK IN WINTER is full of Maeve's trademark warmth, humour and characters you want to spend time with.
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Follows the efforts of Chicky who, with the help of Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the place) and her niece Orla (a whiz at business), turns a coastal Ireland mansion into a holiday resort and receives an assortment of first guests who throughout the course of a week share laughter and the heartache of respective challenges. John, the American movie star thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian, forced into taking a holiday together; Nuala and Henry, husband and wife , both doctors who have been shaken by seeing too much death; Anders, the Swedish boy, hates his father's business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired school teacher, who criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone's relief; the Walls who have entered in 200 contests (and won everything from a microwave oven to velvet curtains, including the week at Stone House); and Freda , the psychic who is afraid of her own visions.… (more)

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