Published by Random House LLC on 2013-02-12
Genres: Contemporary Women, Cozy, Fiction, Literary
Source: Owned Audible Book
Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chicky is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders hates his father’s business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone’s relief; the Walls are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, is afraid of her own psychic visions.
Sharing a week with this unlikely cast of characters is pure joy, full of Maeve’s trademark warmth and humor. Once again, she embraces us with her grand storytelling.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time now, but I was just so sad over the death of author Maeve Binchy that I just couldn’t do it. When a favorite author dies unexpectedly it’s only natural that we readers take time to grieve a little. I probably still wouldn’t have read this if the elderly client I look after hadn’t been assigned this book for her book club. Sadly, her memory makes reading pretty impossible these days, but I still enjoyed listening to the audio version (although I did read a little on my Kindle in the beginning).
Like all Binchy books, we have some strong characters who’ve made mistakes but found the means to put their lives back together- this time in an inn by the sea. There is a lot of back story before we get the week in winter, but it’s full of all the things I love about these books- Chicky runs off with an American, leaving small Irish town Stoney Bridge behind her, only to find out that sometimes mam and da are right. Because Chicky is strong and stubborn she manages to keep up the illusion of a happy life in America until she sees a way to come back to Stoney Bridge and buy the Stone House, turning it into an inn. Chicky’s story of rebuliding her life after a poor choice is echoed in Jagger’s story too- he’s a bit of a punk until he comes to help Chicky fix up Stone House.
By the time the guests begin to arrive, you’ll be thoroughly charmed by Stone House. I wish the Hubs and I could fly to Ireland and stay there! Most of the guests find whatever they were looking for, or didn’t know they were looking for, during their week’s stay. The guests are made up of so many different characters and their difficulties- but my favorite were Winnie and her future monster-in-law Lillian, and Anders, whom I felt so sorry for as he tried so hard to ignore his dreams and live out the life that was expected of him. Like most Binchy novels, this is one that I will re-read some snowy night when I’m in need of something to warm me.
Technically this is not the first novel narrated by Rosalyn Landor that I’ve listened to- the first being an assemble reading of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I love that version hardcore, even if I only recently realized that it was severely abridged. Sigh. Back to Landor though- she’s got a wonderful voice and talent for accents and giving characters individuality. There’s more than just the Irish accent she has to tackle in A Week in Winter- there’s American accents, and Ander’s accent (because for the life of me I can’t remember where he’s from right now and I am way too lazy to look it up!).
Rosalyn Landor does a lot of romance novels and a few books that I either own in my Audible library or are in my wish list to own, so yes, I would recommend her as a narrator and she will definitely be a narrator I add to my favorites list!