Whitethorn Woods
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Whitethorn Woods

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  8,863 ratings  ·  858 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
I love everything Maeve Binchy writes!
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
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
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
Another great book by Binchy. This one started slow with Father Flynn, but it picked up after the first chapter. Every subsequent chapter, except for one in the middle and the final one, were narrated by two different characters that were related in one capacity or another. The switching of characters within and across chapters gave the feeling of reading a series of short stories; however, in true Binchy style, the characters are all interrelated in some way. The chapters about Father Flynn int...more
Elizabeth Quinn
When the prolific and bestselling Irish author Maeve Binchy died last year, I was surprised to realize that I'd never read any of her novels, so when I saw Whitethorn Woods on the lending shelf in the faculty lounge, I picked it up. The setting is a sizeable town in newly-prosperous Celtic Tiger Ireland which is divided by a proposal to build a bypass road that would destroy a beautiful woods that contains a sacred well of St. Ann, the grandmother of Jesus, where people flock in hopes the saint...more
I really don't know what to make of this book. I enjoyed it at parts but the overall format of the story bugged the hell out of me. I don't I think I am the audience that Maeve Binchy writes for. I don't mind some "chick-lit" once in a while but this book took this to a whole new level. I found the plot really cheesy and uninteresting, that by the end of the story I was just happy to be done. The whole idea of a well bringing all these peoples stories and dreams together is just much too mushy f...more
Adam Dunn
Maeve Binchy books are always to be like sitting down for a gossip and a cup of tea with an old friend. Her words are so charming and funny, her characters so endearing, I just love them. As she got older, she was less able to cope with her trademark huge stories and multiple characters and so the books got smaller and more separated. She once said of a book that she organized it by month so she could keep track of it.

This is one of her later books, her second last I believe, and while it could...more
So thus far, this was my least favorite Maeve Binchy, which I expected given that I was rather "eh" about the premise and bought it for $2 Canadian on my last day in Montreal.

The titular woods in Rossmore, Ireland are home to a shrine of St. Ann's that is being threatened with extinction due to a new motorway coming through. Binchy weaves together the stories of dozens of people who live in Rossmore or have prayed at the shrine, leaving the fate of the place itself in the balance until the last...more
I had a chance to purchase this book once before I finally did about two weeks ago. Why was I hesitant? Well I'd read the summary several times before, and although Maeve Binchy is one of my favourite authors, I wasn't quite sure what to make of "Whitehorn Woods". But alas, I really became engrossed in it once I started reading.

Ms. Binchy's writing style in this novel reminds me of her other work "The Copper Beech",in which perspectives of every character is given in a very creative and remarkab...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Day of the Storm
  • An Irish Country Courtship (Irish Country #5)
  • One Last Dance
  • She's The One
  • Other People's Children
  • The Wingless Bird
  • Eden Burning
  • Sheer Abandon
  • Greetings from Somewhere Else
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
More about Maeve Binchy...
Tara Road Circle of Friends Evening Class Scarlet Feather A Week in Winter

Share This Book