FCT: A Week in Winter - Maeve Binchy

First Chapter Thoughts for...

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chicky is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s relief; the Walls are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, is afraid of her own psychic visions.

Sharing a week with this unlikely cast of characters is pure joy, full of Maeve’s trademark warmth and humor. Once again, she embraces us with her grand storytelling.

So, since I already was pretty familiar with the premise before I cracked it open, I flipped further back and happened to start reading the part about the famous actor who has come for a week of namelessness. It was very readable, and nice.

To be honest, I know I just finished saying I don’t like reading contemporary books, but I have this odd soft spot for Jill Mansell and other cozy british authors. This is of that same sort of fare. Comfortable dialogue between people who almost always mean well, morally dubious complicity in the status quo, nary a queer person in sight, but nothing bigoted to say about anyone really.

So, I’ll definitely be thinking about this one when I feel in need of something cozy. No doubt that moment will be along soon enough.

Verdict: Absolutely would.

Pages: 326
Year: 2012
Publisher: Knopf