Book Review: A Week in Winter, Maeve Binchy

| 8 February , 2013 | Reply

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The Sydney Sun Herald said this novel was “An absolute gem”. The reviewer got it absolutely right!

Maeve Binchey is rightly considered the Queen of Irish popular fiction and enjoys a huge following in Australia. Irish-born, Binchey was a teacher, journalist, speaker and writer of short stories, dramas and novels – 16 in all. These novels were translated into 37 languages and sold over 40 million copies, outselling fellow Irish writers Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Edna O’Brien and Roddy Doyle, among others.

Born in 1940 in County Dublin, Binchey died in 2012 after completing “A Week in Winter”. For fans, her passing is a huge loss, made all the more bittersweet because her final novel is arguably her best.


Her talent for character description sparkled from the first paragraph. Her love of cities and small villages came alive as we’re taken from Stoneybridge to New York and Dublin. She paints the landscape with brushstrokes as colourful and explicit as an artist recreates a detailed photograph. Maeve captures the light, the air in her language. You can smell the sea as you stand on the cliffs of Western Ireland and hear the traffic on crowded New York and Dublin streets, shiver in the cold winds.

And her understanding of human nature makes us smile, cringe, sigh and cry. Her characters can frustrate and anger you; you want to shout at them, or give them a hug, a smack, a cheer! They’re foolish, stingy, stupid, generous, naïve, silly, reckless, hopeful. They’re REAL ! And you know someone that resembles each and every one of them.

“A Week in Winter” is the book you finish and want to begin again….but it is more than “an absolute gem.”  It’s a precious jewel in the crown of Ireland’s lovely lady of letters. Thank you for all the hours of delight you’ve given (and will continue to give) the world, Maeve. We’re in your debt and will miss you greatly.

Vale Maeve Binchey.

Available now: Hachette RRP$32.99



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