Maeve Binchy

One of my book clubs has Maeve Binchy’s Quentins as the focus for discussion this week. I used one of Binchy’s books (Copper Beach) to prepare for a trip to Ireland years ago, and, of course, remember Minnie Driver as Benny in the movie adaptation of “Circle of Friends.”

Margalit Fox noted in her New York Times obituary of Binchy:

Though her pages were rife with faithless lovers, alcoholism, unwanted pregnancies and even murder, Ms. Binchy resisted being described as a romance novelist. For one thing, she pointed out, her heroines were less inclined to win the dashing hero than they were to learn to live, quite capably, without him.

In response to criticism of her as a commercial rather than a literary writer, Binchy noted…

“I’m mainly an airport author, and if you’re trying to take your mind off the journey, you’re not going to read ‘King Lear,’ ” she told The Irish Times in 2000. “I’ve seen a lot of people buy my books and then fall asleep on the plane soon afterwards.”

I just downloaded her last book – A Week in Winter – finished before she died in July 2012 – to my Kindle. A feisty heroine converts an old house on the west coast of Ireland into a hotel… secrets, families, and local lore. Might be good reading for my next trip.