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Whitethorn Woods

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,833 Ratings  ·  1,014 Reviews
The people of Rossmore are divided, particularly since the road will go right through the Whitethorn Woods and the well dedicated to St. Ann, a well thought by some to have spiritual properties, and by others dismissed as a superstition.
Paperback, 449 pages
Published June 27th 2007 by Orion (first published 1996)
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Apr 05, 2007 Jenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2008 J rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 11, 2008 Sandie rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Apr 14, 2008 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 24, 2008 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 20, 2008 Cathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 09, 2007 Emily rated it liked it  ·  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
Feb 04, 2012 Kay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 17, 2014 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
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
Apr 17, 2016 Phil rated it really liked it
Much more short story like than her other books I've read so far.
Oct 19, 2014 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ireland
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
May 12, 2016 Evelyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting format, like a series of short stories about people from the same town. Sometimes a character from a different story pops up in another story, which lends some continuity to the tale. The town priest knows everybody, so his three chapters encompass many of the other characters. Each chapter also had two voices, two different people's point of view, and the different ways two people see the same event can be anything from touching to hilarious.
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
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.
The small town of Rossmore in Ireland is divided on the issue of whether they should allow a highway nearby which would bypass the town. Some shop owners fear that their businesses would go bankrupt while others feel that the road would bring more people their way. The price of putting in the road would mean the loss of St. Ann's Well, a place thought to have magical, spiritual powers by the townspeople who have prayed there for generations. Author Maeve Binchy introduces readers to the citizens ...more
Jan 17, 2016 DMREAnne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
his book was given to me by a good friend, but the blurb on the back did not catch my interest, and it sat on my shelf for 1-1/2 years before I decided I really aught to give it a try, especially since my friend has a masters degree in English Literature. Was I ever glad I finally decided to give it a read! This book really was not one story, but a large number of short stories, all linked together in some way to St. Ann's Well. Each chapter is the story of one character linked in some way to St ...more
Oct 19, 2015 Monkeyface rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Listen to Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy
Maeve Binchy once again brings us an enchanting book full of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that have made her one of the most beloved and widely read writers at work today. 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
May 22, 2014 Ali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 13, 2015 Lois rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like her books. This is like a collection of short stories that are related. It takes some time go realize this. Enjoyed them, but I like her full length novels much better.
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
Jan 07, 2015 Leigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maeve Binchy is one of the world’s great literary treasures. I’ve never been disappointed with any Binchy book, and Whitethorn Woods is no exception.

The fate of beloved St. Ann’s Well, deep within Whitethorn Woods, is ostensibly the central conflict in the story. A proposed highway bi-pass would destroy the lauded site, but improve the economic outlook for rural Rossmore, Ireland. Superficially, this contentious issue is promoted as paramount, as the book opens and closes with the status of thi
Boots S
aeve Binchy once again brings us an enchanting book full of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that have made her one of the most beloved and widely read writers at work today. 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 19s Well, which is set at the edge of the woods and slated for destruction. People have b ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 19, 2011 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 20, 2011 Fedora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
These Maeve Binchy books are a real delight! I liked how she introduces St. Anne's Well in Whitethorn Woods and then creates a myriad of characters whose individual stories sometimes intertwine, but always connect somehow to the well. Some of the stories really spoke to me - I loved Barbara, whose co-workers, after she suggested a great place to spend a long weekend, all join together and make arrangements to go, but deliberately do not invite her, thinking she is too proper for that kind of hol ...more
Mar 04, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2014 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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. Although she described herself as an overweight child, her parents' attitude gave her the confidence to accept herself for who she was.

She studied at University College Dublin and was a teacher for a while. She also loved travelin
More about Maeve Binchy...

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