I think that I have finished the last of the Maeve Binchy books in my book stash - unless there is one hidden at the back that I am unaware of - which makes me rather sad. I think that I have written before that I first started reading her with her second book, Echoes, which was published in the 1980's. As she is sadly now no longer with us, I think that I have now read all of her works that I care to read.
That said, I am glad that I finished with this one, it was a good book and a nice story that I enjoyed. What was this book I hear you ask. It was Nights of Rain and Stars.
This is what the blurb has to say:-
"Four strangers meet in a Greek tavern high above the small village of Aghia Anna. From Ireland, America, Germany and England, they have each left their homes and their old lives, when a shocking tragedy throws them unexpectedly together.
Fiona is trying to make her family understand her need to follow her own path. Thomas desperately misses his young son and fears that his ex-wife will come between them. Elsa abandoned a successful career, but someone from her past refuses to let her go. And shy, quiet David is determined to make a stand against his overhearing father.
Nights of Rain and Stars is the story of one summer and four people, each with a life in turmoil. With the held of Vonni, an Irish woman who lives in the village and is now a near native, they find solutions - although not necessarily the ones they anticipated..."
Firstly, after several complaints recently about book blurb grammar, I have to say that the blurb on this book is definitely an improvement. If you overlook the fact that one sentence starts with "and".... Although the blurb makes the story sound far more dramatic than it actually is. There is a tragedy, it does affect the four strangers who have come together one night under the stars, but initially at least, not as closely or personally as the blurb would lead us to believe. For me that was a good thing. I was worried that the story was going to take an unnecessarily dramatic turn, but as that didn't happen I was able to just relax and enjoy the story. The tragedy is more of a vehicle to start the story than the main substance of the book.
The story does indeed tell us about the lives of Fiona, Elsa, David and Thomas as well as the life of Vonni and several of the other residents of the village of Aghia Anna. Each has their own problem to overcome and as the story comes to a close their issues are resolved as they support each other and their friendship grows. In the end everything is fairly nicely tied up, but not completely so we still have to imagine what might happen next. I have never been to Greece, but there were some lovely descriptions of the small town and I could picture it in my minds eye. I love it when a book brings a place to life for me.
I could imagine that Binchy was setting this book up to have some sort of a sequel as she has done with some of her other books, we could have followed the ongoing journeys of any of the characters in these books. It was not meant to be though, so instead we can use our imaginations and allow the characters to have the lives we wish for them.
Once again I enjoyed this book. It was a good read, well paced, well written. No gory bits, overly intimate bits, no swearing and nothing that wasn't necessary to the storyline. As you know those are all things that I object to in a book, so when they are missing I am always happy!
Would I recommend this book. Definitely. It is an interesting story, the characters are well developed and it makes for a good read. I give it 9 out of 10, the one point is missing because I want - totally unfairly! - a sequel and although I happy not to have everything tied up, there was one thing that I wanted to be resolved and that made me sad.
My copy is, due to the ever present space issue, off to the charity shop for someone else to enjoy. If you see a copy out there, pick it up and have a read. I think you will like it.
p.s. as always my other reviews can be found here, or by clicking the Reading My Books page in the sidebar.