AN IRISH VILLAGE, A WISHING WELL, & QUIRKY CHARACTERS — A REVIEW

One of the best things about Maeve Binchy’s books is her ability to incorporate richly detailed and sometimes quirky characters into gorgeous settings–usually in Ireland.

In WHITETHORN WOODS by Maeve Binchy, the setting is Rossmoor, a small Irish village centered around a “wishing well” type sanctuary; there we meet a variety of characters whose lives have been impacted in one way or another by the presence of the well.

Each character is introduced in a series of vignettes told from that individual’s first person perspective. Some of the characters’ lives intersect throughout the book, but often there is no attempt to show how the characters are connected to one another. The primary connection is the St. Ann’s well and its fate, since there is an issue of whether or not a road should traverse the town and “cut off” the well.

Except, of course, for some recurring characters, like Father Brian Flynn, Neddy Nolan (described as “not the sharpest knife in the drawer”), and a few characters connected to them, these series of individuals could be passersby in the drama of this village and its events.

While I enjoyed the usual Binchy-style characterizations and the lovely settings, the cast of characters felt too large and disconnected, and the point of the book seemed lost along the way. Therefore, while enjoyable, I would grant this story 3.5 stars and recommend it to those seeking lively vignettes that one might find in a short story collection. Those expecting the usual Binchy drama will probably be disappointed.

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7 thoughts on “AN IRISH VILLAGE, A WISHING WELL, & QUIRKY CHARACTERS — A REVIEW

  1. Your review could have been mine! I totally agree, Laurel-Rain. I didn’t like all these individual characters, there wasn’t enough connection between them. And no, I don’t like short stories too much so this didn’t work for me.

    Such a pity, I used to read lots of Maeve Binchy books and loved them!

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Judith. I don’t think that most of Binchy’s works are like this. In the others I’ve read, the characters are connected and the stories are focused and cohesive. I still have a couple of other books on my stacks, so hopefully they will be like most of the ones I’ve read.

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  2. Pingback: SUNDAY POTPOURRI: A LITTLE IRISH — FEB. 24 | POTPOURRI

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