In "A Week in Winter," by Maeve Binchy, we meet Chicky, a young woman in early 1990s western Ireland who falls for a visiting man and follows him back to New York. Deceptions and years later, she returns home to open a hotel in the once-grand house of the region, and she brings in the troubled son of one of her oldest friends and a niece who has ventured to London but needs to get more experience in a less bruising place. Together, they ready the small hotel and welcome their visitors for the first week of its operation: Winnie and her apparent "friend" who is anything but; John who is really somebody else altogether; Henry and Nicola, doctors who are running from too much death; Anders, the Swede who loves music over accountancy, his family trade; The Walls who are fixated on prizes and think this trip is an inferior one; Miss Howe, a school principal finally put out to pasture; and Freda, who has the Second Sight. Together, they inaugurate the hotel, with its searing cliffs and wild ocean.... Another series, really, of novella-length sketches of various people, brought together to a particular place but otherwise unconnected. I really enjoy Binchy's ability to get to the heart of her characters, to describe their lives in such a way that we, the readers, are completely enthralled. This has less of a connection to other books of hers than some that I've read, in terms of characters coming in and out of the story, but that doesn't matter: these "new" characters are as fully human as the ones more entrenched in her Irish world. I wasn't totally captivated this time, but I enjoyed every second of the time I spent with these people (even Miss Howe!). I wouldn't start a reader new to Maeve Binchy with this book, but I'd recommend it after reading three or four of her lengthy oevre; clearly recommended!