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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, as always
A Week In Winter is the 17th novel by popular Irish author, Maeve Binchy, and was completed days before she died. It is the story of an old family home (Stone House) on the West coast of Ireland, which is turned into a hotel where guests find a warm welcome and the peace to face their troubles. Binchy's strength is her characters and their interactions, and she gives a...
Published 16 months ago by Cloggie Downunder

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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Her last, but sadly not her best
Let me start by saying that Maeve Binchy is without question my favourite author. I was devastated when she died and the one consolation was that a new book was waiting. Maybe because I wanted it to be the most fitting swansong possible my expectations were too high, but I regret to say I was a little disappointed by 'A Week in Winter'. I'd love nothing more than to give...
Published on 30 Nov 2012 by Smurfy


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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Her last, but sadly not her best, 30 Nov 2012
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This review is from: A Week in Winter (Hardcover)
Let me start by saying that Maeve Binchy is without question my favourite author. I was devastated when she died and the one consolation was that a new book was waiting. Maybe because I wanted it to be the most fitting swansong possible my expectations were too high, but I regret to say I was a little disappointed by 'A Week in Winter'. I'd love nothing more than to give it a glowing review - I genuinely want to love it - but there was just something missing compared to her other books. Others reviews have criticised the format (several strands interlinked rather than one cohesive 'story'), but I don't think that's the problem; Maeve Binchy has used that technique several times before and often to great effect. It's more that, while there are several likeable characters in the book, there isn't really one I could say I loved. Chicky Starr comes the closest, but she doesn't have the indefinable quality of a Benny Hogan, Cathy Scarlet or Clare O'Brien; that something that draws you in entirely and makes you genuinely sad when her story ends. It's also shorter than it could have been, with the ending feeling a little rushed and a key plot point never resolved.

I should emphasise that 'A Week in Winter' is far from bad - below par Binchy is better than most authors on top form. I might have given it four stars had anyone else written it. But it's hard not to judge an author on their track record, and I simply can't see myself re-reading this time and time again in the way I have 'Circle of Friends' and 'Light a Penny Candle'. Binchy fans should definitely still read this, but if you're new to her work, I'd recommend trying one of the other titles I mention first.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, as always, 28 Aug 2013
By 
Cloggie Downunder (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Week in Winter (Paperback)
A Week In Winter is the 17th novel by popular Irish author, Maeve Binchy, and was completed days before she died. It is the story of an old family home (Stone House) on the West coast of Ireland, which is turned into a hotel where guests find a warm welcome and the peace to face their troubles. Binchy's strength is her characters and their interactions, and she gives a potted history of the crew (Queenie Sheedy, Chicky Starr, Chicky's niece Orla, Chicky's friend Nuala's son, Rigger and his young wife, Carmel ) and the cast of guests (nursing sister Winnie and her formidable prospective mother-in-law, Lillian, American actor, Corry Salinas, doctors Henry and Nicola, Swedish accountant Anders Almkvist, competition aficionados, Ann and Charlie Wall, retired headmistress, Miss Howe and librarian, Freda) as she weaves their stories together. Along the way, Binchy gives beloved characters from many previous novels a small cameo or a mention, a device that always delights fans, who come to think of her books as a comfort, like a favourite pullover and a warm cuppa. These novels have that distinctly Irish feel and one can almost hear the Irish lilt in the dialogue. Binchy's characters always have plenty of depth and appeal, and face real life problems and dilemmas. But for Binchy's death, this could easily have become a series along the lines of Macomber's Rose Harbour. Wonderful, as always.
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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A WEEK IN WINTER, 14 Nov 2012
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Amanda "sac" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Week in Winter (Hardcover)
When Chicky meets an American man named Walter and falls in love she finds herself leaving her beloved Ireland to be with him in New York. However her marriage fails and Chicky returns home where circumstances prevailing she opens up a hotel.
I have enjoyed many of the novels written by the late Maeve Binchy, but if I am being honest I have to say that in my opinion it was not as good as some of her other books. On saying that it was an easy and comfortable read full of likeable characters that are very much the trademark of this popular author.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, 30 Nov 2012
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This review is from: A Week in Winter (Kindle Edition)
Took a little while to get into - but didn't want it to end
(especially as its her last book)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AS ALWAYS, MAEVE GIVES YOU THE WARM, FUZZYS, 4 Nov 2014
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Red Rock Bookworm (St. George Utah USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Week in Winter (Paperback)
Written with the humor and understanding that are trademarks of her writing, Maeve Binchy's final tome A WEEK IN WINTER takes the reader to the west coast of Ireland where a woman named Chicky Starr has returned to her hometown of Stoneybridge and begins to restore an old, decaying mansion and turn it into an inn where folks can come to escape the problems and hustle-bustle of their everyday lives. Once again she has populated her story with a large cast of often endearing, sometimes quirky and always beautifully developed characters that are a joy to get to know. The inn, Stone House, serves as the meeting place for this diverse group of players and even minor characters are an important part of these inter-related stories. Doctors, a psychic, a frustrated musician, a retired headmistress, a couple whose main occupation is entering and winning contests, and of course the bad boy with the heart of gold are just a few of the folks who populate the pages of this enchanting tale.

I have loved Maeve Binchy's books for years. Her gentle, charming tales illustrate the attitudes, ambitions and relationships of her characters while exploring the effects of contemporary and traditional Irish customs and lifestyles on the folks who inhabit and visit her windswept Emerald Isle. Reading her books gives one the warm, cozy feeling felt when visiting an old friend. So snuggle up with the warm beverage of your choice and settle in for A WEEK IN WINTER, another pleasant visit to the time-honored, vivid and definitely unforgettable Binchy style.
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bittersweet......., 14 Nov 2012
This review is from: A Week in Winter (Kindle Edition)
.........because it's her last. I feel sad that I'll never again have the pleasure and contentment of opening a new Maeve Binchy. I read it as slowly as I could to make it last. It was as warm and wonderful a read as her other books and existing fans of her work won't be disappointed. New readers of Maeve- I envy you for having all the joy of reading her books still to come.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful farewell novel, 5 Dec 2014
This review is from: A Week in Winter (Kindle Edition)
4.5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. This is my first Maeve Binchy read, and I am so happy to have discovered her. I usually read thrillers and this book fit the bill for a satisfying change of pace. From what I see from other reviewers, I am very fortunate to have all the rest of her books to enjoy!

The story revolves around a group of people who meet at a lovely Irish holiday/vacation house during one week in winter. The owner (Chicky Starr) and the main employees (Rigger and Orla) are also featured. The tale is clearly totally character-driven, and I do love that style of book. Ms. Binchy uses a clever mechanism to give each person’s story. Each chapter is devoted to one person (or one couple in the case of the doctors) and towards the end of the chapter, the character’s experience at the vacation home and interactions with the other members of the cast is described. To my delight and surprise, Ms. Binchy was able to pull me into each new chapter with each new character quickly, within a page or two, captivating me for the entire novel. Though some reviewers thought this story-telling technique led to a book of short stories, I found the characters to come together nicely.

I was saddened to see that Ms. Binchy passed away shortly after finishing A Week in Winter at the relatively young age of 72. I very much look forward to reading many more of her books. I recommend her final novel to anyone who loves character-driven fiction and a good story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book this year., 5 Dec 2012
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This review is from: A Week in Winter (Kindle Edition)
A beautifully written book as always, one I just cannot put down. She always re-introduces characters from previous books, which makes me want to read them again.
Maeve will be sorely missed. I always looked forward to her new book in the autumn. Have shed tears at her loss.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Week in Winter, 3 Dec 2012
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This review is from: A Week in Winter (Hardcover)
As I expected this was a fantastic read. I love the way Maeve introduces each character and then places them in the story. Couldn't put this down. A really good book, easy reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle, feel-good story, 13 Aug 2013
By 
June Doll "June" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: A Week in Winter (Paperback)
I am a fan of Maeve Binchy and have read most of her novels. In this book, as with all her books, we get a cosy, rose-tinted view of Ireland. It is a land of beautiful scenery and warm-hearted, charming people. It is a world where every problem has a solution and usually the solution is a very simplistic one. When you read this novel it is important to just accept this idealised view of Ireland and just sit back and enjoy the ride. This is a warm-hearted, feel-good read. It is escapist and sometimes that is all you want.

The central character is Chicky who was born in the remote village of Stoneybridge but who moved to America when she was young. She has now returned to her place of birth and has bought an old house which she is converting into a small hotel. We learn about Chicky's past and also about the past of the various members of staff whom she employs. Each of them has a story to tell.

The conversion of the property is finally completed and the hotel is scheduled to open for business in the middle of the winter. On the week in which the hotel opens, a group of disparate people arrive to stay for the week. All of them have a problem in their lives and all of them are seeking a solution. They all hope that in this remote and peaceful place, they will find what they need. The gracious and charming Chicky guides each of them towards a solution.

This then is the crux of the novel - each of the guests tells their own story, in their own words and we empathise with them as they work their way towards a solution.

Altogether this is a very enjoyable read. The various characters are all very real and very believable. If you are prepared to forgive the somewhat simplistic view of the world, you cannot help but enjoy it. For a short period of time you will forget about all the troubles which exist in the real world and simply wallow in the cosy world portrayed in the novel.
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A Week in Winter
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy (Paperback - 24 Oct 2013)
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