Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Synopsis: Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know each other. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Stone House is finally ready to welcome its first guests to the big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. Laugh and cry with this unlikely group as they share their secrets and—maybe—even see some of their dreams come true. Full of Maeve’s trademark warmth and humor, once again, she embraces us with her grand storytelling.

__________________________________________________________________

I’m not going to lie; I didn’t want to have anything to do with this book, but I’m so very glad I picked it up! I recently moved, and my new neighborhood has a book club, which I was eager to join to hopefully begin making friends in the area. That being said, the current novel they were reading and about to meet to discuss was A Week in Winter, published post-humanously after the death of Maeve Binchy. Having been out of the book world for so long, I’d never heard of this well-established author, and in checking her covers and synopsis, I feared this was a hallmark novel trap–that I was going to have to read something so vastly different from my tastes and walk into my first book club meeting less than pleased with the book. However, we’ve all heard not to judge a book by its cover, and I was absolutely pleasantly surprised by how much I adored this novel!

Chicky Starr is a vivid character that the reader can’t help but love. We meet her as a whimsical young woman, swept off her feet by an American and whisked off to the USA, where, of course, years pass, and things don’t go as planned. Armed with a plan, she finally returns to Ireland and takes over Stone House, slowly putting everything together in order to open to her first guests. From there, Binchy expertly weaves the tales of the rest of the people involved with, and staying at, Stone House, dedicating one long chapter to each of the 9 remaining people in the novel.

I think, by far, my favorite chapter was that of Rigger, a young boy born out of wedlock and hidden from his extended family. Although it’s the latter half of the 20th century, we quickly learn that Rigger’s mother cannot bare what she feels is shame for having a child without a father, so she hides him away. Doing her best to raise Rigger in Dublin, working many jobs just to put food on the table, Rigger soon finds himself wrapped up with the wrong type of folk, and after a stint in juvie and a robbery gone wrong, ends up at Stone House with Chicky. I loved his story of redemption, and how realistic Rigger is. And while it is true that many of the characters within the novel do find a type of redemption, or solace, making this into a definite hallmark feel-good novel, I loved it!

I thought it was especially intriguing how Binchy chose to weave all the character’s stories together, and she ordered them so perfectly that each character builds off the next in some way, without overdoing it, or rehashing too much. Each character, from the movie star John to the psychic Frida, has a role to play in this story, and how they all arrive at Stone House, and their previous plights are all nicely wrapped with a bow at the very end… all save one character, who I tend to believe couldn’t have a happy ending without making the novel too touchy-feely, and for which I give kudos to the author.

For me, this definitely classifies as a beach read, or better yet, a Christmas read, one where you can sit leisurely and read, or as in my case, listen in chapter increments. Rosalyn Landor was a phenomenal narrator, and her voices and accents really helped me visualize and dive deep into the stories; I found it quite uncanny how well she did male voices versus female, and Irish accents versus American. I definitely recommend this novel, which you can get on Kindle for just $3.99 at the time of this review release, though I recommend the Audible even more.  Five stars.

I purchased this novel from Audible.

Did you know that you can try a FREE TRIAL of Audible for 30 days? Try it today!

Kindle | Audible | Paperback | Hardcover

 

 

 

Advertisements


et cetera
%d bloggers like this: