79. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy (2012)
Helped out by Rigger, a local bad boy turned good who is also handy around the house and Orla, her niece, a truly remarkable business whiz, Chicky is soon ready to open the opulent mansion to the public. As she and her household make final preparations to welcome their first guests into Stone House’s large, warm kitchen, roaring log fires, and understated, yet elegant bedrooms, Chicky is delighted at the initial interest shown in her little venture. The guestbook is filling out nicely, and the visitors seem to be thoroughly delightful people…
There is John, the American movie star, who thinks he has arrived to Stone House totally incognito. Winnie and Lillian are taking their holiday together; forced into a seemingly intolerable situation not of their choosing: ‘getting to know one another’ under duress. Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have seen so much death while practicing medicine; both doctors have been shaken by their views of mortality and are left feeling overwhelmed and depressed.
Anders hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music. Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, is highly critical of everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s immense relief. The Walls are disappointed with having won this second place holiday in a contest where the grand prize was a trip to Paris. And Freda, the librarian, is frightened by her own psychic visions. Sharing a week with such an unlikely cast of characters should be pure joy, to Chicky’s way of thinking.
This was Maeve Binchy’s final novel and was finished just before her untimely death in July of 2012. I absolutely loved reading this book; it was typical Maeve Binchy for me: poignant, warm, and filled with characters that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. I give this book a definite A+!
A+! – (96-100%)