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A Week in Winter    by Maeve Binchy order for
Week in Winter
by Maeve Binchy
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Chicky Starr returns to the wild west coast of Ireland to purchase a decaying mansion set high on the cliffs looking over the Atlantic Ocean. She plans to turn it into a holiday place where vacationers can come to unwind from their hectic lives and find some peace.

She is helped in her enterprise by Rigger and Orla - she is a whiz at business and he serves as a general factotum. When all is ready, guests begin to arrive at Stone House. First in is a movie star looking for surcease from the trying world of the film industry. He is entranced. Winnie and Lillian somehow got talked into taking a week together by Lillian's son who is Winnie's fiancÚ. They arrive determined to hold on to their dislike of each other.

Nicola and Henry, both doctors, are weary of the fast pace they must live and the deaths that are inevitable in their profession. Anders works for his father, hating every moment of it. He is happiest when he can play his music. Miss Nell Howe is the only truly unhappy guest, arriving with several chips on her shoulders. Even Chicky's gracious and charming manner cannot soothe the woman. The Walls have won second place in a contest. The prize is a week at Stone House. They are in for a real surprise. Then there is Freda the librarian who has psychic visions that frighten her.

I once stayed in a castle on the south-eastern coast of Ireland that gave the same sense of peace that Stone House achieves. In her delightful story-telling mode, Maeve Binchy once again captures the wonderful ambience of Ireland that crept into my heart so many years ago. Although born in Pennsylvania, each time I landed at Shannon Airport, I felt I was back home - the same way I felt when I opened one of Maeve Binchy's novels.

Unfortunately, A Week in Winter is her last book. She died in July, 2012, just after finishing this work. Thank you, Maeve Binchy for the many hours of complete delight you have provided your fans. I fell in love with your work from Light a Penny Candle to this one, A Week in Winter and all those in between. You shall be missed.

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