I do like to read short stories, and I've not read Maeve Binchy before, so I had no preconceived expectations. I picked up the book in the shop, read a story at random from the middle, and had to buy it!
I agree a number of the stories feel unfinished, and drift to an end in an inconclusive way, but many of them are finished and polished and worth the read. They are loosely centered around a fictional street in Dublin, and ramble over several decades from the 1960s to the present. The characters are very ordinary people, mostly - though not always - women of various ages, from teenagers to pensioners, and the format is that Ms Binchy sets up an initial premise for them, then about halfway through the story there's a transformation - sometimes in quite a surprising way.
The little pinches of the repressive nature of Irish life come in here and there, but not excessively. (Eg. a mother disapprovingly comments that her daughter might still be unmarried because she drives a car.) There is lots and lots of infidelity, and it wasn't until a story mentioned an upcoming referendum that I discovered that divorce was illegal in Ireland until 1998.(!!!!!!) Quite a few characters are school teachers, probably because Ms Binchy used to be a teacher herself, and I did giggle when one of them stumbled into a disco by a mistake to be greeted by most of her Fifth Form class - and she also had an armful of beer. Ms Binchy seems to have a distrust of ambitious men who talk a lot and try to get on in the corporate world, as quite a few of them populate the stories, and this is brought to its height in one case where a businessman is ordered to take up flower-arranging by his doctor, and brings to it his same killer instincts. You will never look at floral displays the same way again.
Overall though, what she celebrates are kindness, forgiveness, warmth, love and hope. Misguided hope, often. The story of the window cleaner with the wayward son was heartbreaking.