A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy

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A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy

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Category: Short Stories
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Kate Jones
Reviewed by Kate Jones
Summary: A treat for all Maeve Binchy fans; a brand new collection for when you want to curl up and enjoy a good, escapist read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: September 2015
Publisher: Orion
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1409161417

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I was excited at the prospect of reviewing a brand new collection of Maeve Binchy short stories and I wasn't disappointed. As her widower states in the introduction, Binchy had an extraordinary talent for telling powerful and compassionate stories and was a true storyteller with an amazing output.

From the opening two stories of Georgia Hall – a tale of insecurity, female jealousy and misunderstandings, and The Afterthought – cleverly revealing a mother's infidelity through her young son's eyes – these stories have the Binchy hallmark themes of infidelity, difficulties of getting men to marry and the frailties and misunderstandings of human relationships. The stories dance off the page with Binchy's unique storytelling ability to draw the reader in close, giving the impression that you are eavesdropping on a private conversation between close friends.

Often, the stories involve revelations and epiphanies, such as The Mirror and Georgia Hall, and all the stories offer short, simple slices of life, teeming with gentle humour and reality. One of my favourites from the collection, Be Prepared, tells the story of Girlie, an elderly, rich and interfering aunt who comes to stay for Christmas and effectively opens the family member's eyes to the realities they have been avoiding. The story is revelatory and humorous in the way it reflects how families often carry on doing things a certain way, without stopping and being honest with one another. As is commonplace with Binchy's stories, you often find yourself nodding along, recognising yourself or people you know in the characters. Binchy's characters are often likeable, generally flawed, and always human and therefore totally believable.

Whilst the stories range in setting, the abiding settings and backgrounds of the characters as Ireland and the Irish is recognisable and remains a constant in many of the stories. Kiss Me Kate is like a love letter to Dublin when a new boyfriend falls in love with the central character at the same time as he falls in love with the city of Dublin.

A couple of the stories, such as Giving Up Men, did seem a little rushed and not quite as complete a read as you would usually find with her stories, but overall, this collection is a treat for fans of Maeve Binchy's short, easy to read stories and ideal for dipping in and out of when you want a quick read. The hardback edition would make a lovely gift for a Maeve Binchy fan.

If you like this collection, you might like to try A Bunch of Fives by Helen Simpson. You might also enjoy Alice by Judith Hermann.

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Buy A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy at Amazon.com.


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