From Publishers Weekly
Four strangers cross paths in a tiny Greek seaside village in this thin but engaging new novel by bestselling Binchy (Quentins
; Circle of Friends
). When tragedy strikes the smalltown of Aghia Anna in the form of a devastating fire on a tourist pleasure boat—24 people are killed—elderly barkeeper Andreas and craft-shop owner Vonni find themselves host to a random assortment of travelers who watch the conflagration from Andreas's taverna. There is Elsa, the German beauty who is trying to flee from love; David, the quiet young Englishman whose demanding father wants him to go into the family business; Thomas, the American professor who struggles to share his son with his ex-wife's new husband; and Fiona, the Irish nurse who follows her abusive boyfriend despite the warnings of her friends and family. As these strangers become friends, the mysterious Vonni, an Irish woman whose Greek is fluent and whose respected position in town is unquestioned, explores her own memories of heartache, as does Andreas. Unwilling to see their new friends repeat their mistakes, Andreas and Vonni set out to influence the hearts of this motley bunch of foreigners before they leave the village. The setup is flimsy, and the bonds the characters develop are too slender to provide much emotional texture, but Binchy's fans will enjoy this summery page-turner.
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In perennially popular Binchy's latest, four strangers on holiday in Greece band together after witnessing a tragic boating accident to become friends, and lovers, in an enchanting story that explores the mercurial nature of friendships and the elusive meaning of family. Residents of different countries, the four vacationers discover a commonality: a desire to escape contentious family situations back home. A newly divorced father, Thomas has taken a year's sabbatical to give his young son time to acclimate to his new stepfather. David, a timid Englishman, knows he's disappointing his successful father by not taking over the family business. Elsa, a glamorous German TV reporter, has walked out on a tumultuous love affair, while Fiona is defying family and friends in Ireland by running off with her rebellious boyfriend. Serendipitously, two locals, Andreas and Vonni, befriend the travelers and help them gain perspectives that will put their unsettled lives in order. A beloved storyteller, Binchy excels in the art of the character-driven plot. Although her characters are not necessarily complex, the stories she weaves around them are tales as compelling for their surprises as they are comforting in their sympathetic warmth. Redolent of the life-affirming enthusiasm that is Greek village life, Binchy's newest is a rich homage to meaningful relationships. Carol HaggasCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved