Pootle List #1: 2 of 250 book reviews
I was pretty sure that Nights of Rain and Stars was one of Maeve Binchy’s earlier works. Authors have a phase when they are finding their voice; their writing is yet to be completely formed, but you can see flashes and glimmers of what is to come. Surprisingly, this was one of her later works. So with this book, Maeve Binchy, for me, has officially jumped the shark.
As in most of her books, Maeve writes not one tale, but several, connecting and weaving the parallel tracks of many characters. Set on a small island in Greece (Aghia Anna), with a cast assembled from several countries, the book seems shallow and strained.
- Made me want to travel to Greece, spend the day rowing around small islands, stopping for a picnic lunch, and finishing off with some retsina or ouzo
- Inspired me to attempt making loukmades – deep fried dough puffs bathed with honey syrup and cinnamon
- I lasted through to finish it
Bottom line, only read the book if you have absolutely nothing else to do. Then, too, consider taking a nap instead. And that is why, I give the book two, rather tired, stars.
If you want to read Binchy – and she writes quite well, really! – you could begin with Tara Road, Scarlet Feather, or even Evening Class. The books I have read are usually set in Dublin, have believable characters that you will relate to (many of them making appearances across books) and strongly feature food. Ordinary people living ordinary lives, but with extraordinary tales of discovering love and the power of family, vanquishing demons, and finding friends. Now you know why I really like her.