Book Review: A Week In Winter (Maeve Binchy)

a week in winter

The Sheedy Sisters all lived together in Stone House. As time progressed, the lovely building fell into disrepair due to a lack of funds. Queenie Sheedy got a chance to repair the place by selling it to Mrs. Chicky Starr, who had returned from the United States to Stoneybridge after the car crash that killed her husband.

Assisted by Rigger, Miss Queenie and Chicky set out to open Stone House as a hotel. They are soon joined by Chicky’s niece Orla, who returned from the city life because she was desperately missing her hometown.

Time grows close and their first guests are on their way. Each guest has a secret or sad story, and they are all in various phases of dealing with their lives.

Doctors Henry and Nicola are recovering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – after witnessing a brutal suicide in the ER section of the hospital they both had worked in, they thought becoming medical officers on a cruise ship would suit them perfectly. It did, until they agreed to keep a secret that later claimed three lives. Stone house immediately call to them – they start feeling better and manage to help a person who is suffering from severe depression. When they hear that the local doctor is leaving to take his dying wife back to where she grew up, they are faced with a miraculous hope – can they adapt and stay permanently in the small isolated town?

Hollywood actor Corry Salinas ends up at Stone House by accident. He is quickly faced with his own loneliness and acknowledges that the years of fame only succeeded in making him a very lonely man, but an interesting discussion with Orla concludes that they both start testing new waters. The town seems mainly disinterested in the fact that Corry is famous and only interested in his kind nature, and it becomes a very healing vacation for the famous man.

Winnie’s idea of a romantic week away for her and her new boyfriend falls to pieces when she is forced to spend the week with his obviously disapproving mother. When Winnie and her future stepmom are stuck in a cave during high tide they manage to lay aside their differences and immediately start getting along. Will their new found friendship last or will they return to their previous underhanded catfights?

Rating: 7/10

On my usual weekly stroll of the book store I noticed a very peculiar thing – a MASSIVE mark down on some pretty decent novels that definitely fell in my normal reading range. Particularly, I noticed this Binchy book, BRAND SPANKING NEW, for TEN RAND. If you don’t live in SA you won’t understand this massive bargain in its context, so just trust me when I say it was a massive deal.

I haven’t read anything from this author previously, so I thought why the hell not and bought it. After finish the Green Mile, I started on this (yeah, totally different genres I know) and I was charmed enough to keep reading.

The book is written in a more narrative way, definitely not something I am used to, but still found very much enjoyable. There are a lot of characters but it didn’t get to a point where the characters overwhelmed the story being told.

I really grew to like Chicky, Orla and Rigger. None of them had an easy life but Stone House gave them a common purpose and something to work towards. I sympathised with the two doctors (I just sympathise with people in a medical field easily) and thought their eventual decision was quite touching. The Walls were very spoilt people that I didn’t like particularly, and also the headmistress that came on a vacation that was given to her as a gift was not one of my favourites, though I sympathised with her story.

I will definitely try out more of Binchy’s novels!

Recommendation: Although not for everybody, A Week in Winter will be enjoyed by a variety of female readers.

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