Maeve Binchy – A Week in Winter

79. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy (2012)

Length: 326 pages 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 
Started: 4 December 2015
Finished: 8 December 2015
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 2 December 2015
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.
Stoneybridge is a small resort town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. During the summers, the picturesque town’s beautiful beaches are filled with tourists and their families – all carrying buckets and spades to play in the sand; building towering sandcastles and searching the shore for seashells. In the winters, few people would venture out into the frigid wilderness; yet those who brave the cold weather to walk along the beach and look out over the exposed windswept cliffs that make up the Atlantic coastline can’t help but notice the dilapidated house on the cliff known as Stone House.
Against the sage advice of many, Geraldine ‘Chicky’ Starr has bought Stone House and has begun renovations of the old decaying mansion. Her plan is to turn the ramshackled house into a thriving vacationer’s paradise, specializing in restful holidays by the sea. Not everyone believes that Chicky is entirely capable of turning Stone House into a lucrative business, but she has a vision for the place and is certain that she can make it work.

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%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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