Ms. Binchy blessed us with one final book and was released earlier this year, after her death. And A Week in Winter is pure & classical Maeve Binchy. I had the great pleasure of losing myself in it for one full day. My birthday landed on a Friday this year and I determined that a day off was required. Of course a Hoarder is going to use a nice quiet day at home spent reading, and what a perfect story to spend the early (and quietest) part of the day with. I seriously gobbled it up in one sitting.
Chicky Ryan grew up in Stoneybridge, West of Ireland. As a young woman she shocked and saddened her family when she made a swift and abrupt decision to run off to America with a handsome young man. Although she wrote long tales about her time in New York, it was purely fantasy and fiction and each year Chicky would return to Stoneybridge to take respite in the waves and salt air while adventuring on long walks along the cliffs.
Queenie Sheedy is the sole remaining sister of the three sibling “Miss Sheedys” now living alone in the Stone House. On one of Chicky’s return trips home, Queenie asks if she would consider buying the Stone House and turning it in to a hotel. At first taken aback, Chicky realizes this could be precisely what she needs and will secure her return to Ireland. She sets off to turn the Stone House in to a wonderful and warm retreat offering its guests a place for calm and peace, just as she found upon each visit home.
Chicky has enlisted the help of a few locals, and some family to refurbish and prepare Stone House for guests. Each of these helpers have all required some healing of their own, and along the way have attached themselves to Queenie, Chicky and Stoneybridge. With their help, Chicky is now able to advertise a “Week in Winter” at Stoneybridge, and helps to welcome a diverse guest list, all with their own private reasons for needing a week away in a warm, quiet hotel for something offered no where else.
Once again, Maeve has shown that a quiet week in winter at the Stoneybridge Stone House is all that is required to set one’s priorities in order, find the peace and solace one has been seeking and to find new purpose in life. Each chapter devotes itself to the one character that finds themselves at Stone House. Thank you Ms. Binchy for allowing us to spend one more moment immersed in what is a completely classic Binchy-tale. Another perfect read for a perfectly enjoyable day off from the daily grind. 4 stars!