Saturday, December 13, 2008

BOOK: Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy

Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy, 452 pages

genre challenge: romance

Fiction or non-fiction? fiction

What led you to pick up this book? I love Maeve Binchy, and it is her newest release. A staff member at school brought it in and I scooped it right up.

Summarize the plot, but don't give away the ending!
Following the lives and loves of the staff of a cardiac clinic in Dublin, Ireland.

What did you like most about the book? What did you like least?
I loved that characters from many of Binchy's other books were in this one. It gives an update on some characters from Evening Class, Scarlett Feather, Quentins, Whitethorn Hills and Nights of Rain and Stars.
The characters are realistic, modern people that fight with their family, have good friends, and hope for a better life and love.
That was only a problem in that it has been many years since I've read some of the books. It isn't necessary to know all the back story, but it provides a sense of remembrance. There are so many characters that if feels a bit like a series of short, interconnected stories. I would just get to know a character and then their part of the story was done.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? I've read all of Binchy's books, she's one of my favorite authors.

What did you think of the main character? I guess Clare was the main character. She was strong in her job and inspired loyalty, but didn't get along with her daughters. Fiona was also a main character and she was also a wonder woman type, everyone loved her and she knew how to deal with everyone, but was fighting some internal battles.

Any other particularly interesting characters?
The twins, Maud and Simon are quite amusing and I foresee a story of their own soon.

Share a favorite scene from the book. The wedding at the end, with all the characters.

What about the ending? Aw, wonderful ending all tied up with all the characters. You don't read Maeve Binchy to have the characters end up unhappy.

Which of your readers are most likely to enjoy this book? Why?
If you haven't read any Binchy, I wouldn't start with this one. Evening Class, Whitethorn Hills and Nights of Rain and Stars are more stand-alone stories and would be what I would recommend. If you've read Binchy before, I don't have to tell you to read this one. You've already got it.
I would recommend Binchy to fans of LM Montgomery. They both set a location and character so well, with star-crossed lovers, pride and honor getting in the way, and then pretty much perfect, idealized endings. I get the same sense of comfort reading both authors.