Maeve Binchy finished her final novel, A Week in Winter, just before she died in July 2012. This is a bittersweet review for me, because I have been a Maeve Binchy fan for over 20 years. I saved reading her last book for nearly a year, not wanting to face our final journey together.
I first discovered Maeve Binchy when I was commuting between DeWitt, Iowa and Moline, Illinois in my first job after graduate school. The DeWitt Library had a great audiobook collection and I loved the Irish narration and stories. I fell in love the the strong sense of place, good character development, and the feeling of escape to Ireland I felt while listening on my commutes.
Fast forward over 20 years and I’m still enjoying Maeve Binchy. A Week In Winter is set in small town on the west coast or Ireland. This is place where there are long & desolate beaches, pounding waves, fierce winds, welcoming pubs, warming sunshine, and a strong community. There are two groups of people – the first is led by Chicky Starr who decides to buy a rundown house and turn it into a restful inn by the sea. She enlists help from friends and family to bring her dream to reality. The second group is the guests who stay at the Inn the first week it is open.
Characters develop, acquaintances become friends, problems are sorted out, delicious food is served & enjoyed, music is shared, and pubs are visited. Maeve Binchy weaves the story of each character with her signature warmth and humor. During our recent Polar Vortex, I knew it was the perfect time to read this book and enjoy one last Maeve Binchy escape.
Cheers to Maeve Binchy and thank you for the hours of reading pleasure we’ve shared over the last two decades!