Tuesday, April 06, 2010

HEART AND SOUL by Maeve Binchy

Fans of Binchy's novels will feel the Dublin familiarity of the posh neighborhood restaurant Quentin's in this most recent tale about a middle-aged cardiologist who is raising her 20-something daughters by herself while her estranged husband begins a second family with his twenty-something girlfriend.

Many of the relationships are cliche and the almost-tragedies predictable as the folks with the hearts of gold face obstacle after obstacle before realizing that not all nice guys and dolls finish last. There is class tension thrown in for good measure to show that the Anglo-Irish aristocracy really isn't consigned to the past. New prejudices form with the influx of cheap labour from Eastern Europe and a priest who is being stalked by a sociopathic parishioner.

Binchy's compassion rings true nonetheless and she manages to show that even the most unlovable among us are worthy of love.

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