Green Giants–Irish Author Spotlight: Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy

April 30, 2014 Book review, Green Giants 10 ★★★★

Green Giants is my feature where I share some of my favourite books by Irish Authors.   I’m passionate about Irish Authors, there is a great and exciting mix of books to choose from, hopefully you will find something new to try.  Today, it’s one of Ireland’s most beloved authors – the one and only Maeve Binchy.

green giants

 

This is a collection of short stories and I could count on one hand the number of authors I’d read short stories from. Maeve Binchy though would be top of that queue. Whether it’s a full length novel or a quickie, she always managed to capture that special ‘Maeve’ feeling. You could blindfold me and read a few pages and I would immediately identify it as a Maeve Binchy novel.

Green Giants–Irish Author Spotlight: Chestnut Street by Maeve BinchyChestnut Street by Maeve Binchy
Published by Orion Publishing Group on 22 Apr 2014
Genres: Chick Lit, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Womens Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Maeve Binchy imagined a street in Dublin with many characters coming and going, and every once in a while she would write about one of these people. She would then put it in a drawer; “for the future,” she would say. The future is now.

Across town from St. Jarlath’s Crescent, featured in Minding Frankie, is Chestnut Street, where neighbors come and go. Behind their closed doors we encounter very different people with different life circumstances, occupations, and sensibilities. Some of the unforgettable characters lovingly brought to life by Binchy are Bucket Maguire, the window cleaner, who must do more than he bargained for to protect his son; Nessa Byrne, whose aunt visits from  America every summer and turns the house—and Nessa’s world—upside down; Lilian, the generous girl with the big heart and a fiancé whom no one approves of; Melly, whose gossip about the neighbours helps Madame Magic, a self-styled fortune-teller, get everyone on the right track; Dolly, who discovers more about her perfect mother than she ever wanted to know; and Molly, who learns the cure for sleeplessness from her pen pal from Chicago . . .

Chestnut Street is written with the humor and understanding that are earmarks of Maeve Binchy’s extraordinary work and, once again, she warms our hearts with her storytelling

First Line of Chestnut Street:

“It was all the harder because her mother had been so beautiful.”

My Thoughts on Chestnut Street:

If you want a glance at Irish life, Maeve Binchy is invariably a good place to start. This collection features the various inhabitants of a Dublin street and is set over a number of decades. Through all the colourful characters; you can see the changes in values and beliefs through the generations. People change but the worries and themes stay familiar and it all just feels so relatable.

When reading this book, I felt as warm as if it had pumped a warm glow straight to my heart and all around my body. It was uplifting and touching and I couldn’t help but be moved by the various people and situations. Comfort wrapped up and bound in a book.

So many of the stories struck me as poignant and it reinforces yet again what a skill Maeve had as writer. She was so observant and could capture in a few words a scenario that just rings true. So many of the problems that the characters face just work themselves out with a bit of out-of-the-box thinking or plain old common sense. And others never get resolved. The characters have fenced themselves into a certain way of thinking and nothing changes their views and so nothing changes for them.

In a few lines, Maeve can sketch a character that becomes memorable and that you feel you know intimately. And that just pull you in and make you care. This isn’t something that normally happens to me in short stories but it does here. I will always prefer her older novels (Light a Penny Candle, Echoes,etc) but that is only because I just want to know more and more about her characters and spend as long with them as I possibly can.

And knowing this book is published posthumously is just so bittersweet. This really is the last Maeve Binchy book and there will be no more new tales from this born storyteller. Thankfully I have all my old ones to treasure forever and I’m delighted to have this one to add to them.

 

Rating Report
Characters
four-stars
Setting
four-half-stars
Pace
four-stars
Did I feel it?
four-stars
Overall: four-stars

 

Who should read Chestnut Street?

All Maeve Binchy fans need to grab this one to add to their collection. And if you are looking for a short story collection that features strong characters and that will wrap you  up in comfort and nostalgia; then I can’t recommend this one to you highly enough.

Thanks to NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

four-stars

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10 Responses to “Green Giants–Irish Author Spotlight: Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy”

  1. Lark

    I’m sad there’ll be no more new Maeve Binchy books; she’s one of my favorite authors. I love the way she writes characters. Not much needs to happen for me in one of her novels, I just love journeying along with her amazing characters. Great post!
    Lark recently posted…Wouldn’t It Be Great….

    • trish

      If you’ve enjoyed previous books Kim, then I know you’ll enjoy this one too. I love how Maeve sketched characters to life with her words.

    • trish

      I’d highly recommend reading a Maeve Binchy book sometime Anna. Her characters are amazing and her books just evoke such pleasant, feel good vibes in me.

    • trish

      What is cool about this book Anna is that it covers a large span of time, so you get a glimpse of Ireland from decades ago and also contemp Ireland. Loved it!

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