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Whitethorn Woods by [Binchy, Maeve]
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Whitethorn Woods Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Length: 434 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A proposed highway near the Irish town of Rossmore will mean the destruction of St. Ann's Well, a shrine in Whitethorn Woods thought to deliver healing, husbands and other miracles. The shrine resides in the parish of Fr. Brian Flynn, curate of St. Augustine's. As a fracas erupts between shrine skeptics who want the highway and shrine believers who want the shrine preserved, Flynn, unsure of where he stands on the issue and questioning his place in an increasingly secular Ireland, goes to the shrine and prays that he might "hear the voices that have come to you and know who these people are." Binchy (Tara Road) goes on to deliver just that: a panoply of prosaic but richly drawn first-person characters, such as Neddy Nolan, a not-so-simple simpleton; 60-something Vera, who finds love on a singles trip meant for those much younger; and unassuming antiques magnate James, whose wife of 26 years is dying. Stories of greed, infidelity, mental illness, incest, the joys of being single, the struggles of modern career women, alcoholism, and the heartbreak of parenting span generations, simply and poignantly. Binchy takes it all in and orchestrates the whole masterfully. 400,000 announced first printing. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Nestled outside the once sleepy Irish village of Rossmore in a copse known as Whitethorn Woods is the shrine of St. Ann's Well, which attracts so many of the faithful and hopeful that the little town overflows with visitors. This prompts a controversial proposal to construct a bypass highway that would divert traffic, ironically, right through the Woods, thus destroying the source of the town's popularity. Worried that the shrine's days are numbered, villagers flock to the Well, where they plead for everything from the restoration of a faltering love affair to the recognition of an ancestor's legacy. Foregoing her trademark plot-driven narrative for a tale in which the outcome is predictable (will the shrine be saved? duh!), Binchy instead focuses her prodigious talent on a robust assemblage of characters embroiled in romantic and domestic crises. Inventively and intricately weaving a series of linked vignettes, Binchy astounds with the versatility of the supplicants' voices, from the diabolical machinations of a mother whose daughter has committed murder to the sad serenity of another whose child was kidnapped decades earlier. Binchy is at her best in this tender yet potent tale of a traditional land and people threatened and challenged by the forces of change. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1014 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (March 6 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OI0FNU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I too have read all of Maeve's books, and eagerly anticipate her new releases. This one, I thought, was better than the last few new ones, and I got lots of chuckles and not a few tears from it. Her characters are so human and she gets right inside of them. It seems to me that her insight of human foibles is spot on.

I love the way she pokes gentle fun at the main religion of her homeland, and the way it still influences the lives of the Irish, but perhaps with less painful consequences and outcomes.

I read this while on vacation in Italy, a vacation that was inspired by reading another one of her books: "Evening Class"

I would love to meet Maeve Binchy one day, she feels like a kindred spirit to me...
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 9 2007
Format: Paperback
I think you'll like this book better than any other that Maeve Binchy has written since Tara Road because of its original exploration of deep human emotions.

Before choosing to read Whitethorn Woods, however, please realize that the book is primarily a series of short stories built around the theme of making a wish. In most cases, the stories are tied together more to one another in her version/his version fashion than to the rest of the stories in the book. The ongoing link among all of the stories is that the characters have some connection to St. Ann's Well in Whitethorn Woods, a Christian-themed site of a pagan place of worship. A portion of the short stories also intersect with the theme of whether or not a new road will lead to the demolition of the well and the woods.

In other words, this is not a novel like you are accustomed to reading by Maeve Binchy such as Tara Road, Scarlet Feather, Quentins, and Nights of Rain and Stars.

I mention that point because I know that many readers who love novels aren't nearly as fond of short stories. And those who love short stories usually don't expect to find many connections between the stories in a collection.

There is a benefit, you can read one of these stories while you are in bed and reach a natural stopping point before you nod off. But in some cases, the first story in a sequence may create an irresistible desire to read the next story to see how things turn out. So you may end up being awake for 15-20 minutes longer than you expected.

If you are still interested, let me explain more. St. Ann (if you don't already know) is the mother of the Virgin Mary, who was mother of Jesus. The well in this case has a statue of St. Ann, but the well's connection to the saint is tenuous because St.
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Format: Paperback
The town of Rossmore, Ireland has been growing and a new highway is proposed which will alleviate some traffic problems. But as in all development something else has to go. St Ann's Well, a local shrine, may be the casualty. St Ann's Well has been the place where troubled people go to ask for cures, husbands and solutions to other problems.

This book is a collection of short stories about the people who are connected to the well. Father Flynn is the local priest who does not believe in the well but wants to cover all angles and goes to the well to ask for a sign. There is amiable Neddy Nolan who is billed as a simpleton but is smart where it counts and Dr. Dermot,an old doctor who wants to keep his patients at any cost and Lilly Ryan whose first child was abducted 22 years earlier. These are only a few of the people in Rossmore who have a tale to tell and a lesson to teach.

I am not too much into short stories but some of these were very good and the following story was the same story from a different viewpoint which made it very interesting. I love Binchy's novels but find her collections a little wanting.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book a while ago and have since read three other Binchy books. This one stands out for me because she shows her talent for writing several voices and storylines, which are different yet connected. She also makes some comment on the power of faith, which I found interesting. As a whole, this work was easy to read, easier than some of her other books by virtue of being less repetitive. It had the feel of a group of short stories. The variance in each story shows the depth of her creativity and for that reason, I gave it four stars.
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