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145
4.3 out of 5 stars
Heart and Soul
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90 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2008
It's something comforting about Maeve Binchy's books. The cliché about a book being like a good friend, is so very right in her case. Of course, one is interested in finding out what happens to the characters, but there is no hurry. In the case of this book, it is much more preferable to sit down with a cup of tea and read quietly a couple of hours before going to bed.

"Heart and Soul" is a book to be devoured and there are many actors on the stage in Dublin. First there is Clara Casey, senior cardiac specialist at a new heart clinic at St. Brigid's Hospital, Clara's two daughters Adi and Linda, who in their twenties are having trouble settling down and finally her ex-husband Alan, who is asking Clara for a divorce in order to marry a much younger woman.

Coming to work at the clinic is also Ania, a young girl who has travelled from Poland in order to mend a broken heart. Young Doctor Declan Carroll was originally meant to spend a six-month posting but meats beautiful nurse Fiona. And then there is Father Bryan Flynn, whose life is turned upside down when his reputation is threatened.

Extra spice is added when we also meet old friends from both Scarlet Feather, Evening Class, Nights of Rain and Stars and Whitethorn Woods. Nora who is still always called Signora & Aidan, and Brenda at Quentins, where Declan takes Fiona out to dinner for the first time.

"Heart and Soul" is a book about ordinary people with ordinary lives. Joy and sorrow, struggle and hopes. And as always, the author shows us the importance of the small things in life - which often do not prove so small after all.

Maeve Binchy is a wonderful storyteller, who has once again written a book which grows on the reader and is slowly creeping into our heart and soul.

Enjoy!
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2008
I love Binchy's books and eagerly awaited this one. I wasn't disappointed - soon I was back in her world of quirky Irish characters. I didn't want this to end and felt the book stopped a little too soon. I loved the reference to characters from past books and the overlapping lives, making me remember the characters as friends I'd met long ago and were happy to be re-acquainted with. Binchy weaves a colourful, vivid tale that I most thoroughly enjoyed. If you like character driven novels, this one is for you!
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2008
When I picked this book up, I knew it would contain characters who would become important to me and situations I would think about. I was not disappointed. I found Clara Casey to be a thoroughly engaging central character and the focal point of a clinic was a good choice, with the dramas and lives of the staff and patients providing a great narrative.

However, the real joy was in picking up the threads of other characters from Scarlet Feather, Nights of Rain and Stars and also Whitethorn Woods.

I was hooked until the end and am now almost desperate to book a table at Quentins - Early Bird menu for me though! Thank you Maeve.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 14 July 2009
I'm a huge Maeve Binchy fan as I know everytime I read one of her books, I'll be transported straight over to Dublin and feel as if I'm suddenly a part of the communities she creates. Heart & Soul is based around the trials and tribulations of the characters that visit a new Heart clinic in Dublin. The head doctor, Clara Casey is instantly likeable with her troubled daughters, annoying ex-husband and her no nonsense manner. She hires numerous people to help at the centre so you get to meet Frank Ennis and his old-fashioned ways, Ania, the Polish girl with a heart of gold but many secrets and I have to say that I was thrilled when the twins Simon and Maud from Jarleth Crescent appeared once more. There are ups and downs along the way and the multiple stories keep you hooked. Heart & Soul is a no brainer choice for a holiday read as you'll be entertained for hours.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2009
I feel I owe Maeve an apology after slagging off her last few books as being flimsy and repetitive. I STILL couldn't resist buying this one and actuallly I really enjoyed it. Strong characters, warm storylines, very representative of modern Dublin with its urban backdrop and international cast. A return to form!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2008
I must admit that my favourite Maeve Binchy novel is Scarlet Feather so what joy to see how the twins are getting on. Still completing each others sentances. We meet new characters as well and they each have their own story. I like this format and I also like happy endings, so this book was a winner for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It's difficult to say anything negative about Maeve Binchy books. How can one fault books that are as warm and comfortable as a big fluffy blanket? True, there are some that are definitely better than others, some characters you care about more than others, but when all is said and done you always come away from reading a Binchy book appreciating the humor, compassion and Irish spirit that permeates each page.

In HEART AND SOUL, Binchy utilizes an underfunded heart clinic as the focal point for the intersecting lives of her characters. Although the publishers review would have you believe that this is the story of Dr. Clara Casey whose job it is to set up the clinic, the truth of the matter is that hers is just the tasty crust of this pie. The intersecting stories of the clinic staff and the patients they care for are the sweet and satisfying filling and together they present a tasty treat for your reading palate.

Die hard fans will recognize several characters from previous tomes like Night of Wind and Stars, Evening Class, Scarlett Feather and Quentins. While some make fleeting appearances, others like nurse Fiona Ryan (who was one of the co-stars in Night of Wind and Stars) have their stories come full circle with an outcome tied up in a big red bow. Most interesting among the newcomers are the Polish immigrant, Anya, and the story of her ill fated affair with the man who "used and abused" her. Others like Carl and his overbearing mother Rosemary, Declan the young doctor, and Hillary the physical therapist are ordinary people whose ordinary lives and problems are ones we can all relate to.

Binchy is the queen of multiple story lines and HEART AND SOUL takes the reader on a voyeuristic trip into the lives of its characters that is both enchanted and enchanting. The trip is sure to please and you don't even have to pack a bag.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2009
I absolutly love Maeve Binchy and this stared off great BUT everyone was SO 'goody goody' would have enjoyed a bit more 'intrigue', and I got the feeling all the staff at the heart clinic had way too much time on their hands as everyone was seen so prompt,and no one was ever tooo busy to spend time with patients or family of..-in a perfect world,eh? A more varied plot would be good, though can't say didn't enjoy it.. Clever how Maeve brings in her other novels..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Picking up a Maeve Binchy novel is similar to slipping your feet into your favourite slippers after a day of wearing tight shoes - comforting, familiar and very soothing.

I have been faintly disappointed by some of Maeve Binchy's more recent books, but felt that she is really back on form with Heart And Soul. Set in modern-day Dublin with a cast of colourful characters, it's really a story of everyday people living everyday lives. Each character is rounded and integral to the story line.

I particularly like the way that she included people and places from her earlier novels such as Quentins, Scarlet Feather and Whitethorn Woods and although this is a stand-alone novel, it's great to read more about favourite characters.

A very satisfying and easy read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2009
the book called heart and soul by maeve binchy was a brilliant book it was most enjoyable to read it it only took me a week to read the book as i could not put it down.

yours faithfully L.Farleyxxx
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