Monday, March 17, 2008
Review of Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy
Whitethorn Woods reminds me of O. Henry...with a double twist. Set in and about the Irish town of Rossmore, the center of the story is St. Ann's Well, "a holy shrine of dubious origin," where petitioners come to ask for a great many things, including success in marriage, children, miracle cures, faithfulness, love, and more. The book begins in the third person, then shifts seamlessly to a series of coupled vignettes in which one person tells a story and then a second person tells more of the story. The second person is not always the person the reader expects. And each version ends with a twist. The amazing thing about Whitethorn Woods is the scope of issues Binchy manages to speak of through her characters, covering birth to death and everything in between. The human condition is dissected compassionately, often humorously, and always observantly. Binchy's "heroes" are unlikely: an aging woman on a singles tour; a simple-minded man whose simplicity may be more related to kindness than lack of intelligence; a deaf girl whose "hearing" of the heart is acute. And Binchy's "villains" are just as unlikely: a country doctor; a young woman in love; an infertile woman who comes to St. Ann's Well to ask for a child. Only Maeve Binchy can present even the villains so clearly that I found myself in sympathy with them. I was only sorry when the stories came to an end. But how can I object? Maeve Binchy has said it all in every voice possible in Whitethorn Woods.
Whitethorn Woods (2007)is available in six ebook formats including the Sony Reader and Amazon's Kindle. Ebook formats and seller links are shown at this Random House link
The sites that sell it are listed below.
eBooks About Everything