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
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.