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Whitethorn Woods

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  9,382 ratings  ·  895 reviews
When a new highway threatens to bypass the town of Rossmore and cut through Whitethorn Woods, everyone has a passionate opinion about whether the town will benefit or suffer. But young Father Flynn is most concerned with the fate of St. Ann’s Well, which is set at the edge of the woods and slated for destruction. People have been coming to St. Ann’s for generations to shar ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published January 29th 2008 by Anchor (first published January 1st 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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J
Starts with short stories. You don't know whether you should keep track of all of the characters because they all might join up together. Eventually there are so many, and the stories are so short, I stopped caring what happened to any of them. Then they do meet up, but not all of them. I would think of one from the the first half (or I hoped it was the same book, I couldn't keep track of the names!) or a situation would sound familiar and I would realize it's picking up that story. A couple of ...more
Jenny
I don't know why i feel a loyalty to Binchy. Whenever a new book comes out I usually buy it even though I haven't enjoyed one of her books in years. She's switched from straight novels to collections of short stories, all related to another in some way. In this, her latest, the connections are a stretch, and the stories are so short it is hard to feel connected to a character or even interested in their plight. Plus, when she writes of modern ireland, which she has for a while now, it lacks the ...more
Sandie
Nov 11, 2008 Sandie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes books with multiple story lines
From the time she began writing her novels some 30 years ago, Maeve
Binchy has chronicled the changes in Ireland and the life and loves of its people. The once heavily Catholic and superstitious land has become more affluent, has embraced multiculturalism, and is slowly turning its' back on "the old ways". Whitethorn Woods is the next chapter in the narrative of this ever-evolving land and takes us on a wonderful journey into the lives of the citizens and visitors to the towns of Rossmore and Do
...more
Kristin
I am a Maeve Binchy fan, and enjoyed this one. Set in Ireland (of course), each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character, and the chapters are paired so that you get one side of the story, and then the other person's side. All the characters have a connection to Rossmore, where a road is going to go through the woods and take out a well and a statue of St Ann, who has reportedly answered many prayers for her petitioners. All the character's stories weave this well into their ...more
Cathy
Binchy's books tend to fall into two categories: novels and collections of stories. This one is the latter. She writes stories about a bunch of loosely connected individuals. If you're not into that, this would be frustrating. But her writing is entertaining and generally pleasant. Some books are more upbeat and "happy endings" than others. But mostly, she makes for fun, relaxing reading that's fairly easy. Fun character studies.
Melissa
I am usually a big fan of Maeve Binchy, but I just could not get into this book. It was not really a full novel, but a collection of short stories. It is just not the type of writing I am in to. I like when I can watch a character grow and develop. This book was lacking that quality.
Sue
A big new road is planned to ease traffic in Rossmore, but this road will cut through Whitethorn Woods. In Whitethorn Woods, there is a cave with a well which has become a shrine to St. Ann. Here countless numbers of people come to pray and find their own miracles. The town is divided: some want the road to ease congestion, others can't bear the thought of the shrine being destroyed.
I struggled with the first third of this book because I couldn't see how anything fit with the town. Once in awh
...more
Emily
Jul 09, 2007 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love Irish people!
Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite writers, though recently she has been letting me down. My last favorite of hers was Scarlett Feather--I cried at the end of that book, and I am not really a book cryer. Not because it was so sad, but because I didnt want the book to end! I felt like the characters were my best friends! In Whitehorn Woods, Binchy continues her quaint Irish story-telling, but for me, I dont love Binchy's books that dedicate each chapter to a new character-she does this alot. Each ...more
Nicole
Didn't finish this one, as I really didn't care about the characters or the story. She introduces SO many characters and the story line that connects them is thin and uninteresting. She gives me little reason to care about whether this road goes through their town or not. When I'm past the halfway point and I begin forcing myself to pick up and read and I'm hoping every time that NOW I'll get lost in the story, but then don't, it's time to pick a new book. As both a student and teacher, my discr ...more
Kay
This book was an exercise in frustration for me. I was relieved to finish it. I don't think that's the emotion you should feel when you finish a book. It wasn't a novel, really. It was a bunch of little stories, with the characters all having some connection to a place in Ireland- Whitethorn Woods. Some of the stories and characters intertwine, but it's very hard to keep track of everyone. Though Binchy is good at characterization, I kept forgetting them before they came up again, so I felt like ...more
Grammarsheriff
Oh Maeve Binchy, I had such high hopes.

I've read several of Maeve's books and I've liked all of them. Up to this point. I know that she generally introduces a boatload of characters, then about 3/4 of the way through the book, she'll start intertwining them so you understand how they all relate.

Unless you're reading this book. She introduces like 30 characters and by the end it feels like she's intertwined 4 of them. I was left feeling lost, lacking the robust ending I typically expect from he
...more
Lori Emilson
I love the way Maeve Binchy writes. I love her character development most of all. Unfortunately, in a collection of short stories, the characters don't have much time to develop. I kept thinking she was going to come back to the characters and tell the end of their story, and she does with some of them, but not all. I was frustrated. It's hard keeping track of so many characters. It took me a long time to read this story.
Ali
I know I am late to the party but I have always avoided Maeve Binchy assuming that her books were a bit twee. This year I decided to challenge myself to read authors who I have previously dismissed without reading first. So this is my first ever Maeve Binchy.

I really enjoyed the strong character portraits that she makes in the book. Lots of lovely little vignettes of people that I feel I may have known, complete with all their eccentricities and human failings.

If I was to criticise anything abou
...more
Carolyn
This is the fifth Binchy book over the past twenty years. This is about a community in Ireland with the Catholic Church as a centerpiece. Father Flynn ties all the community into the story even though most citizens are not the faithful as much as in earlier days. The question in the town is the possibility of a road that would bypass them and remove a much loved grotto and well that has a legend regarding St. Ann the grandmother of mother Mary. It is a tourist attraction for all and people "pray ...more
Kathy
Feb 26, 2014 Kathy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: audio
I don't usually pick up books by authors who have written more than 10 books, but I have liked what I've read by Binchy. I think I liked this one the best. I enjoyed listening to most of it, but when I got to the last CD it didn't work. I'd already decided I wanted to buy the book because I was slow to catch on to the fact that chapters or stories were related to each other and told by a different person with another perspective. I wondered if I saw the chapter titles and paid more attention I w ...more
Cathleen
A set of interconnected vignettes of people living near a shrine, threatened by rumors of a proposed highway that would cut through the town and the shrine itself. It was a pleasant read, but the plot was wafer-thin and the characterization was done in broad brush strokes. It reminded me of eating a Rice Krispie treat: light, sugary air.
Mandy
I think I now understand what the term "character-driven" means. The plot of this book could be summed up in one sentence, but it is the characters in the Irish town and their surprising connections to one another that make the story interesting. Great fun to listen to once you stop expecting the chapters to connect right away.
Fedora
I enjoyed this a lot--rather that one big plot, this was more a series of loosely connected vignettes of a number of the residents of Rossmore, a little town in Ireland. Ms. Binchy's writing is clean and pleasing, and it's a pleasure to get to meet (and then catch up with) so many of the people who live in this area.
Nancy
Maeve Binchy's books are very character driven. This book is written around the St. Ann's well, a spot in the Whitethorn Woods, where people came to ask St. Ann's help with their desires. I listened to this book at bed time, and sometimes lost sight of the characters. One character's story might connect in some way with another character. The story would continue with another character, and then another characters story pops up. After a while there is a pattern of consecutiveness of the characte ...more
Jen
The synopsis on the back of this book gave me a false impression of what I would find inside. Gladly, I can say, it was much better inside than what I was promised. To be clear, rather than a book with a single plot twisting and winding to a clear finish, this book is a series of short stories. With overlapping details and settings, but stand alone stories in their own right. Not dependent on each other perse, although they do build on each other to create for your mind an overall picture of a l ...more
Dale Safford
A little slow at first, but it finally got going with intertwined stories of several prople in a small Irish community. Each chapter is a different person's story. The end leaves one wondering how the people who have bought up all the land will feel about their fortunes being changed, and I wonder why the story of the stolen baby did not get sufficiently resolved.

When a new highway is planned to go through their small town in Ireland, Whitethorn Woods and St. Ann's Well where people go to pray w
...more
Michele
Ordinarily, I really enjoy Binchy's way of telling the stories of a group of people in a town or an area and then linking them all up. She does it within books and across books. When I read of people in another book that were mentioned in a previous book, it is as though I am hearing the story of an old friend or of the friends of friends. I think the problem with this book is that there weren't enough link-ups for me. I also found that the stories all had the same voice. Even the ones that were ...more
Wanda
This was a collection of stories about people living in and around Rossmore, Whitethorn Woods, and St Ann's Well. They were, supposedly, brought together when a new highway threatens to bypass the town.

The book was more about the personal lives of each of the characters. I did not see the "passionate opinion" the jacket indicated about the book.

Not a favorite Maeve Binchy of mine. I gave it three stars because, even though I did not enjoy the story, the classic Maeve Binchy writing style was the
...more
Doris
I love everything Maeve Binchy writes!
Hannie
Whitethorn Woods is een verzameling korte verhalen die toch bij elkaar horen vanwege het dorpje Rossmore en St Ann, een bron die volgens sommigen bijzondere krachten heeft. In elk hoofdstuk speelt de bron een rol. De bron is in gevaar, want er zijn plannen om een rondweg aan te leggen, die dwars door de bossen van Whitethorn komt, waar de bron is. Een deel van de mensen is voor de rondweg en een deel tegen. Het verhaal wordt vanuit verschillend perspectief verteld. Elk hoofdstuk bevat een of twe ...more
Susan
Not my favorite of Binchy's but still good. The thing I was missing was the familiar characters from other books. I love how she weaves in characters not only through the story, but also from other stories, like the Scarlets and Señora and the people at Quentins. This one did have a COUPLE of characters I think I recognized, like Father Flynn, but for the most part they were new. There's nothing wrong with that and the new characters are fascinating, it's just a bit of a let down if you are expe ...more
Sally906
Opening Sentence: “…Father Brian Flynn, the curate in St Augustine’s, Rossmore, hated the feast day of St Anne with a passion that was unusual for a Catholic priest…”

The story opens with the explanation that when a proposed highway is built to bypass the Irish town of Rossmore it will mean the destruction of Whitethorn woods that surrounds St. Ann’s well. The well is a well loved shrine as it is believed that St Ann answers prayers. The shrine resides in the parish of Father Brian Flynn, curate
...more
Jacqueline
Maeve Binchy's books are known for their many characters and interlinking stories, and this book is certainly no exception. The central character is Father Brian Flynn, the curate of a town called Rossmore, who is struggling with the town's ever decreasing need for the church. He is also concerned with their ever increasing need to pray to the statue of St. Anne by the well in the woods...a well that was present long before Christianity reached Ireland's shores.

But the talking point of the town
...more
Charlotte
This novel is set in Ireland in the town of Rossmore. The base for the story is set by Father Flynn, the curate of the local Catholic Church. In a day of visiting with parishioners and community folk, readers learn that while he likes his job and is obviously good with people, his greatest frustration is St. Ann's Well in the nearby Whitethorn Woods where people come from all over the world to pray and believe the prayers have been answered. Father Flynn is often called to speak there and strugg ...more
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Maeve Binchy was born on 28 May 1940 in Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland, the eldest child of four. Her parents were very positive and provided her with a happy childhood. Despite the fact she describes herself as an overweight child it was her parents attitude that gave her the confidence to accept herself for who she is today.

She studied at University College Dublin and was a teacher for a while.
...more
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