A Week in Winter

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Orion, Nov 8, 2012 - Fiction - 464 pages
3 Reviews

The Sheedy sisters had lived in Stone House for as long as anyone could remember. Set high on the cliffs on the west coast of Ireland, overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean, it was falling into disrepair - until one woman, with a past she needed to forget, breathed new life into the place. Now a hotel, with a big warm kitchen and log fires, it provides a welcome few can resist.

Winnie is generally able to make the best of things, until she finds herself on the holiday from hell. John arrived on an impulse after he missed a flight at Shannon. And then there's Henry and Nicola, burdened with a terrible secret, who are hoping the break at Stone House will help them find a way to face the future...

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A Week In Winter is the 17th novel by popular Irish author, Maeve Binchy, and was completed days before she died. It is the story of an old family home (Stone House) on the West coast of Ireland, which is turned into a hotel where guests find a warm welcome and the peace to face their troubles. Binchy’s strength is her characters and their interactions, and she gives a potted history of the crew (Queenie Sheedy, Chicky Starr, Chicky’s niece Orla, Chicky’s friend Nuala’s son, Rigger and his young wife, Carmel ) and the cast of guests (nursing sister Winnie and her formidable prospective mother-in-law, Lillian, American actor, Corry Salinas, doctors Henry and Nicola, Swedish accountant Anders Almkvist, competition aficionados, Ann and Charlie Wall, retired headmistress, Miss Howe and librarian, Freda) as she weaves their stories together. Along the way, Binchy gives beloved characters from many previous novels a small cameo or a mention, a device that always delights fans, who come to think of her books as a comfort, like a favourite pullover and a warm cuppa. These novels have that distinctly Irish feel and one can almost hear the Irish lilt in the dialogue. Binchy’s characters always have plenty of depth and appeal, and face real life problems and dilemmas. But for Binchy’s death, this could easily have become a series along the lines of Macomber’s Rose Harbour. Wonderful, as always.  

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About the author (2012)

Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined the Irish Times. Her first novel, LIGHT A PENNY CANDLE, was published in 1982 and she went on to write over twenty books, all of them bestsellers. Several have been adapted for cinema and television, including TARA ROAD. Maeve Binchy received a LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at the BRITISH BOOK AWARDS in 1999 and the Irish PEN/A. T. CROSS AWARD in 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the BOB HUGHES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at the BORD GAIS IRISH BOOK AWARDS by the President of Ireland. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years, and died in 2012. Visit her website at www.maevebinchy.com

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