An excellently told Irish saga-ette, just what you need on a cold night in with a nice glass of something. You'll get totally hooked on this, though, nothing will distract you.
Maeve Binchy does what she does best here: tells an engagingly interwoven story about the lives and careers of a couple of children from Castlebay. In the 1950s boys went into good, solid professions like their fathers and girls stayed at home and got married. Clare is the one who's not going to settle for that, it's secondary school and university for her, even if that means secret studying with her teacher and fighting the pressure to help run the family grocer's shop.
All goes swimmingly as far as university, but then fate kicks in and life takes a more traditional turn - marriage and children.
The author explores the tensions within families in a small community and shows that traditions may still assert themselves in spite of every effort to escape them.
Castlebay almost becomes a character itself: head of a family over which it exerts control. It is so recognisable of those growing seaside resorts of the 50s and 60s, as well as the type of place where everyone knows everyone else's business and each type fits in somewhere.
A good relaxing read.