Cathy's Reviews > Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy
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May 11, 11

Read in May, 2011

I enjoyed this book, but it definitely wasn't among Binchy's best works. Like her previous book, Whitethorn Woods, this novel is a series of vignettes around one central location, in this case a clinic. Some of the characters have appeared in previous works, including Whitethorn Woods, Quentin's, Evening Class, The Scarlet Feather, and Nights of Rain and Stars, but you probably don't have to read the previous books to keep up with this. My issue with Heart and Soul is that there isn't any central conflict. While Whitethorn Woods was in the same format, many of the central characters' problems and stories were directly related to the St. Ann's well which connected them. In Heart and Soul, the clinic happens to be where the central characters have met, but their issues are mostly with their own families, in a series of will-they-or-won't-they-end-up-together subplots. There is not anything that even resembles Freytag's pyramid, as the mini-conflicts are usually resolved in a chapter or two, and everything in between is filler (usually gossip between observing characters). Instead of typical story structure, Heart and Soul is more "boy meets girl" story after "boy meets girl" story, with an occasional boy losing a girl for a few minutes thrown in.
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