Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Week in Winter

by Maeve Binchy
April-May 2013

Waaaay back in the mid-90s, just as I was starting my "adult life" after college and working full time, I discovered Maeve. My friend Beth and I carpooled aaaall the way to the east side; we both still lived at home with parents who were shocked we would even accept a job so far from Lakewood and North Olmsted, respectively. But hey, we were young and had recently discovered books on tape. We would meet in the morning, exchange a brief greeting, and pop in a book (Yes, they were cassettes!). Circle of Friends was one of the first audiobooks we listened to, and from there, we were hooked. Since then, I've listened to or read all 18 of her novels, plus a few collections of short stories. I adore Maeve. Beth even named her daughter after our beloved Irish author!

About 10 years ago, I was surprised to hear the Maeve had retired from writing. What would I do without her recurring characters and unique charm? I was frantic. But since then, she released 3 or 4 more books. I must not have been the only one who wouldn't accept her retirement! And in July 2012, just by accident, I read that my endearing storyteller had died. I was surprised that this news received little to no press in the US. But lucky for us loyal readers, Maeve still had one more tale up her sleeve.

Released posthumously in February 2013, A Week in Winter is Maeve Binchy's swan song. And while I wasn't the biggest fan of Minding Frankie, Winter was exactly the voice of the Maeve I knew and loved all these years.

Chicky Starr has grand plans to open a bed and breakfast on the coast of Ireland, and her friends and family think she is crazy. As the plans come together and the guests start to arrive, the reader is treated to a wide variety of characters, all with great stories; as well as a few favorites from previous novels. 

Maeve's final words didn't fail to delight. I will certainly miss her storytelling.

Maeve Binchy

* * * * *