Tara Road: Complete & Unabridged
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Oprah Book Club® Selection, September 1999: Against all odds, two newlyweds manage to buy the house of their dreams. In 1982, property speculation is beginning to be a big, big thing in Dublin--and their street is very much in an up-and-coming part of town. "They laughed and hugged each other. Danny Lynch from the broken-down cottage in the back of beyond and Ria Johnson from the corner house in the big, shabby estate were not only living like gentry in a big Tara Road mansion, they were actually debating what style of dining table to buy." But for its various inhabitants, the street is to become a boulevard of dreams--some broken, others created anew. Maeve Binchy has long proved herself a secure hand at multiple story lines, and over the course of 500 satisfying pages she focuses on Ria; her best friend, Rosemary Ryan, a beautiful, endlessly selfish career woman; Gertie, the battered wife of a drunkard; and several other intriguing women, each of whom has secrets not to be shared. There is even an all-knowing fortune teller who early on hints that Ria will travel and start a successful business--two things she knows are definitely not in the offing.
Yet after our supposedly happy housewife and mother of two is confronted by some inexorable home truths, a chance phone call from America will change her life, forcing her to discard her illusions about men, women, and marriage and start all over again. At the same time, the Connecticut caller, Marilyn Vine, has her own lessons to learn when she and Ria swap houses for the summer. Yet there's nothing remotely preachy about this novel--even the bad guys (and yes, they're usually guys) and beautiful mistresses get to maintain some appeal. Instead, Tara Road is a stirring look at the reality behind our consuming fantasies, and a page-turner to boot. --Siobhan Carson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Abandoned by her husband, a Dublin woman named Ria meets American Marilyn via the phone, and they end up swapping houses?with surprise results.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
All the characters are beautifully well-rounded, but there are quite a few of them. For some reason, I kept forgetting who Hilary was...! I went and bought this book, and hope to give it to my mother (though I know it'll take her eons to finish). So I'm here now to encourage you to read it right now, and share the story with me!
If there is any criticism on my part it is that the Americans sound rather English to me, but being a Westerner, maybe New Englanders really do sound that foreign. Nonetheless, a good read, a womanï¿½s story with insight and generosity.
The one flaw I find in Ms. Binchy's writing is the fact that her American characters' speech and thoughts often make them sound as if they were Irish. Which they are not supposed to be.
I think this could be easily solved by having a North American do a quick dialogue edit for her of her North American characters, so they'll ring true. Sometimes you have to backtrack your reading to see who is speaking, which would not be necessary if they spoke the way real people do. Here's an example:
(p. 351) - conversation between two Americans, Greg and Marilyn:
'Anyway, she seems to be getting on very well, she's cooking in John and Gerry's a couple of hours a day.'
'Yes. Isn't she amazing? And Henry told me that he and Heidi were at a dinner party round there ...'
'In the house. In Tudor Drive. There were eight of them apparently and ...'
'In our house? She had eight people in our house? To dinner?'
'Well, she knows them all pretty well now. Carlotta comes in for a swim every morning, Heidi's round there for coffee after work. It didn't take her long ...'
'It did not,' said Marilyn grimly.
This isn't really the way Americans speak. They don't say "round" for "around"; they don't say "in" someone's workplace, but rather "at"; and they never refer to houses by saying "In+the name of the street address".Read more ›
This story of two women swapping houses and thus learning much over the course of one summer about themselves is really quite good. You find yourself cheering for the ladies as you read.
However, the story takes quite a while to get going. But once you start reading it, you get so attached to some of the characters, mainly Ria in my case, that you bear through the longer bits because you just have to know what happens in the end.
Great main character, nice feel-good story.
Most recent customer reviews
So believable and true to life. Not too many characters to follow..Published on July 8 2014 by Ivy Philipps
this is right up there with one of my favourite Maeve Binchy novels. couldn't put it down. good story line, great characters. Read morePublished on May 8 2013 by b author
Very interesting book. At first it took me some time to really get in the book, but then you don't want to stop reading it.Published on Dec 2 2012 by Josee Deschenes
AS ALWAYS, MAEVE BINCHY IS THE BEST STORY-TELLER THERE IS. SO RELAXING, SUCH LOVELY THEMES IN HER STORIES. MUST BUY FOR ANYONE WHO WISHES TO GET OUT OF TODAY'S HECTIC PACE.Published on April 18 2012 by MADMAX
The characters are so rich and life like. I couldn't get enough, even though I was sleep deprived from staying up late to read!Published on Jan. 21 2005 by Nikki M