I read my very first Maeve Binchy book nearly 30 years ago I think. It was Echoes which, having looked back, was the second book she published. I was entranced by the story and kept the book for many years, moving it from house to house and even across continents. Somewhere along the way though we parted company and I don't have that battered paperback anymore.
I have read several more of her novels since then, the Scarlet Feather books which I enjoyed a lot and several others.
When Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy worked its way to the top of my to read pile I was glad to see it and looked forward to starting to read it. I had no expectations of what the story would be about and it seemed to start in much the same way as many of her other books.
At the end of the first chapter I realised that it wasn't the same as the other books I had read by her. It was in fact a series of interrelated short stories. Featuring characters that were all related in some way to Whitethorn Woods and Rossmore where the woods were located and in particular the shrine to Saint Ann. Sometimes characters popped up in others stories, sometimes not.
Each story was interesting in its own right and as I was reading the book at a time when I didn't have much time for reading it worked well for me as I could read one persons tale and then put the book down even for a few days and then pick it up to read another story.
There isn't a tie up at the end where they are all bought together in any specific way, and yet somehow it all comes together and is held together overall by Father Brian Flynn who is dealing with his own feelings about the shrine to Saint Ann and what might be about to happen to it and changes that might come to Rossmore.
Father Flynn doesn't really believe in shrines and all that is going on at the shrine, Neddy Nolan could save the well, but will he, or will money get the better of the situation? We don't know, but in the end we find out and there is a twist in the tale which shows that the old adage is true. Don't judge a book by its cover, or a person by theirs!
I enjoyed the book a lot and this has reminded me that I must look out again for more books by Maeve Binchy that I haven't already read as they are good reads.
My copy is off to the charity shop, due to my lack of space issue, but I hope that someone else finds it and buys and reads it and if you come across a copy I hope you will read it too because it is a very nice book, calm, comforting and interesting too. I think you would enjoy it!
Reading this, and remembering my own love of the first Binchy book that I read got me wondering if there are books that you have carted around with you for years that you didn't want to part with? If so, what are they. I would love to know. Perhaps we have some in common.
You can find my other book reviews by looking at the Reading My Books page, there is a link at the top of the sidebar, or you can click here.
This is a post that I actually wrote in September, but it is only just being published now!