Sunday, 26 October 2008
MAEVE Binchy, founder of Irish chicklit, has written the book that will steal Christmas.
These loosely linked stories fan out from the central theme of a struggling new heart clinic. Here, kindness and hard work are rewarded and the bad punished. Very satisfying.
Some of the stories are amazing. My favourite is about the priest stalked by a determined woman ready to lie, blackmail and steal to get her way - and about how his friends get him out of this scrape.
It's laugh-out-loud funny, it's heartwarming, and it's a pageturner. And for fans, some of the characters from earlier Binchy hits make a new appearance here - like the staff of Quentins, and the ditsy twins from Scarlet Feather.
The new characters are some of Binchy's best. Anya, a sweet, tough-minded Polish girl, starts work as a general dogsbody in the heart clinic, and makes herself indispensible. But as she and the son of a social climber fall in love, things get rocky.
Down-to-earth doctor Declan falls madly for nurse Fiona the first time he sees her. Ah, but Fiona has a past...
Binchy has only got better since the days when she started her writing life as an affectionately gossipy journalist and then wrote the first girly bestsellers - can it be 26 years since Light a Penny Candle?
A lovely book.