A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

A quick rundown…A new hotel offers A Week in Winter to attract its first guests. All the visitors (and staff) have had some sort of problem – can a holiday sort it out?

Strengths: It’s Maeve Binchy, sweet, thoughtful and with a lot of characters from previous books making an appearance.

Weaknesses: It’s the last one!

Why I read it: Christmas present

Pages: 361

Published: 2012

Publisher: Orion

Setting: Ireland, London

Rating: 9 out of 10

This is the last book written by Maeve Binchy before her death last year so it was somewhat of a poignant read. However, it is just as heart-warming as we’ve come to expect from her, although it’s sad that the characters from A Week in Winter won’t pop up in the background of future books!

The premise of the book is simple – Chicky returns from a life in exile in New York back to the village of Stoneybridge in the wild west of Ireland. With the blessing of the three Sheedy sisters, she converts Stone House into a hotel, advertising her first week of trade as ‘A Week in Winter’. After describing Chicky’s background, the book goes on to discuss her workers and eventually the guests. It could be described as interlinked short stories, but it’s so much more than that.

The book is as full of hope and promise – but surprisingly enough, it doesn’t end happily for all characters. I suppose it demonstrates that there are some people who are even out of Maeve Binchy’s reach. I enjoyed each character’s quirks from the compulsive competition entering couple who are devastated to win second prize to the secret movie star’s epiphany. It’s all delightful and uplifting, but without being saccharine or preachy.

For the fans, there are also brief appearances from characters in Minding Frankie and mentions of Quentin’s, the heart clinic and that little sun drenched island. It’s somewhat like farewelling an old friend and caused a few sniffles.

Vale Maeve Binchy.

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9 thoughts on “A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

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  1. It is sad knowing that there won’t be any more of her books. They were always very enjoyable. I haven’t read this one yet but it on my ‘definitely must read’ list.

  2. I read a few Maeve Binchy books years ago, and enjoyed them all very much. It is sad that her many characters won’t pop up in any more stories – that was always one of my favourite things about her books.

  3. I love Maeve Binchy. Even though she’s ‘quaint’, and ‘homey’, those are the very qualities which make her writing shine! Somehow, she carries off family, love, and heartwarming feelings with brilliance. I’ve just checked out The Return Journey from our library as it is a collection of stories I want to read for March and Mel’s(The Re-Reading Life) Irish Short Story challenge. But, I’d like to read this one you reviewed as well. Isn’t it sad there will be no more?

  4. I have read only a book of short stories by this author, and I was delighted with it, so I’m looking forward to reading more of her books. She is not very popular in Spain, but all the people who has read her, recommend her novels. I’m sure I will like them!

  5. I have at last read this book and I really enjoyed it. I love her descriptions, I can so easily visualise the Irish countryside she writes about. Her characters seem so ‘normal’.

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