March 8, 2009

Heart and Soul - Maeve Binchy

Opening up a Maeve Binchy book is like curling up under a blanket with a steaming mug of tea - comforting.

This book lived up to all of my expectations.  There is no dramatic plot, but the pages are full of characters that could be my next-door neighbour, or the person in line next to me at the shop, or sitting next to me in the office.

The book centres around a cardiac rehab clinic in Dublin, and reads like a collection of related short stories that are not told sequentially, but are rather are intertwined with each other.  There is some mild drama - a few accidents, a wedding that almost doesn't happen, allegations of impropriety made against a priest - but of course it all works out in the end.  The typical "Binchy bad-guys" make an appearance - the selfish and self-centered boyfriend, the haughty mother-in-law - but most of the characters are sympathetic.

True Binchy fans (like myself!) will recognise characters from some of her other books popping up in this one, usually in a secondary character role.  Aidan and Nora Dunn (Evening Class), Tom and Cathy Feather and the twins (Scarlet Feather), and Fiona and the gang (Nights of Rain and Stars) all pop up in this book.  It is almost as if she has created her own city (which I call Maeve Binchy's Dublin), populated with real people who, of course, will run into each other and interact with each other.

Finishing 2 books in 2 days is a record, even for me, but I was about 2/3 of the way through this book when I got the e-mail saying that Scarpetta was waiting at the library for me, so I really can't brag!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was debating on picking this one up. I tend not to like her short story type books as much as the longer stories. And the back didn't sound that interesting. Maybe I'll pick it up after all...