Compulsive Overreader

Along with borderline hypergraffia, my other literary disorder is -- I'm a compulsive overreader. I'd like to say that I'm trying to get it under control, but I'm clearly not. Check out the archives here to find what I'm reading and what I think of it. If you came here directly through blogger --if your page has no yellow frames and no pretty pic of me in the top left corner -- you may want to visit my main site at, where you can read this blog and much much more.


I'm Trudy Morgan-Cole, a writer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. My books include "The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson," "Esther: A Story of Courage," and "Deborah and Barak." I'm also a married mom of two, a teacher in an adult-ed program, and a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist kind. I blog about writing, reading, parenting, teaching, spirituality, and shiny things that catch my eye.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Whitethorn Woods, by Maeve Binchy

Now I know there are some literary types who look down their noses at Maeve Binchy (of course, they'd look even farther down their noses at the "inspirational romance" category I've been reading, so that's OK). However, I have to say I thoroughly enjoy a good Maeve; she's always readable, has an unerring eye and ear for human behavior and dialogue, and is witty and insightful. Some of her earlier novels, such as Echoes and Circle of Friends, are enduring favourites of mine.

The really good thing with a Maeve Binchy novel is that you know what you're getting. No unexpected twists and turns; a straightforward ride through a good story with engaging characters and a heartwarming ending. I rarely miss one of her books.

But ... here's the problem. The last few Maeve Binchies I've picked up have not been novels, even though they've been packaged to look like novels. Whitethorn Woods, whatever its pleasures (and they are many) is clearly not a novel. It is a collection of loosely linked short stories, the link being a common place (a shrine to St. Anne at a place called Whitethorn Woods). The connections between characters and stories are tenuous, but once I was willing to drop the expectation that I was getting a novel and read them as short stories I thoroughly enjoyed them. They are good, thought-provoking, heartwarming and insightful stories set in modern-day Ireland. But what I would enjoy even more would be a good thick Maeve Binchy novel in the style of Circle of Friends, where I would get attached to a small group of characters in the beginning and follow their fate over a period of months and years, rather than jumping off to get to know new people all the time.

Maeve, tell me you haven't stopped writing novels! Give me something to look forward to!


Blogger Mimi said...

Maeve can either be good or bad, and I also don't like this collection of short story thing she's been doing.

1:18 PM  

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