“A Week in Winter” (Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95) is author Maeve Binchy's final novel. She died shortly after finishing the book.
Her fans will not be disappointed, as it is written in the classic Binchy style, filled with eccentric and endearing characters.
Chicky Starr grows up in Stoneybridge, on the west coast of Ireland. When she is a young woman, she meets an American traveling through the area. Against her family's wishes, she follows him to New York.
They live a hippie lifestyle with other young people, until one day the American moves on without her.
Rather than tell her family the truth, she pretends to be married to him for 20 years.
In reality, she works at a boardinghouse all that time, until she saves up enough money to return to Ireland and buy Stone House, an imposing but rundown mansion, previously owned by the Sheedy sisters.
She tells her family that her husband was killed in a car accident.
Starr desires to turn the house into a hotel, and with the help of friends and family, the house is refurbished and readied for guests.
Her first guests come during winter to commune with nature and enjoy the comfort and peacefulness.
The author tells their stories, one by one.