A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

17978421I was wrong in my last Binchy post as THIS is the last book Mrs. Binchy wrote before she died. According to the dust jacket, it was completed just a couple weeks before she passed. It feels little different than her previous works and I wonder if she had the chance to edit it properly. Her website is gone (sniff!), so there’s no further information to find.

There’s a long run up to the actual “week in winter,” where we learn more about our heroine, Chicky Starr, than anyone else in the book knows, but time pass very quickly and oddly. The meat of the story comes when Chicky comes home to Stoneybridge and ends up buying a small mansionhouse on the coast to turn into a bed and breakfast. We do get to check up on the Binchy’s Dublin in a couple of chapters, so it was nice to know that the door to that universe wasn’t completely closed, even though this book takes place on the Atlantic coast.

Each chapter is the story of a character who inhabits the world and after the midway part of the book, we start to get to know the guests during that first week. The writing is SO good and like Mrs. Binchy’s Dublin books, this one makes me wish Stone House existed, so I too could spend a cold wintery week in a tiny coastal town, eating delicious Irish food and lounging with Gloria the cat in the Miss Sheedys room. And I hate being cold in winter! The book ends rather abruptly, though not at all unhappily, so I wasn’t quite prepared for the last page to arrive.

I have decided that I want to read and re-read all of Mrs. Binchy’s novels this year. Some of the earlier works I’ve not read at all and some of them I haven’t read since I was a preteen, though I count them among my very favorite books. I’m hoping to read them in order of publication, if for no other reason than I’m a completist and I’d like to see if there are other characters besides our Dublin set that appear or are mentioned in other books and I had no idea. Mostly, I’m just not ready to let Mrs. Binchy’s books go quite yet.