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The Return Journey

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  7,333 ratings  ·  491 reviews
In this extraordinary collection of stories, the New York Times-bestselling author of Evening Class and This Year it Will Be Different once again reveals her incomparable understanding of matters of the heart. In The Return Journey, Maeve Binchy brings us sons and lovers, daughters and strangers, husbands and wives in their infinite variety--powerfully compelling stories o ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Dell (first published 1998)
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Shelley Last winter I read Circle of Friends and liked it enough to pick up a couple other Binchy books I found in a thrift store. I did not care for this one…moreLast winter I read Circle of Friends and liked it enough to pick up a couple other Binchy books I found in a thrift store. I did not care for this one as much.(less)

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Debbie Zapata
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019sundaze
My mother wanted me to read Maeve Binchy: The Biography. She had bought it and knew I would be interested. And reading that book made me want to revisit Binchy's work. Many many years have passed since I have read anything by Binchy, so I planned to head to the library asap and get a few.

Turns out I only had to look on Mom's bookshelves. She is like many of us: once she finds an author she likes, she grabs anything she sees by them at the library sale shelves. She got quite a few at one of the B
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not too much to say. Binchy does a great job with her short stories. The only reason why I gave this 4 stars is that it feels like the collection just ends a bit abruptly.

The Return Journey (3 stars)-Not bad, but it's just letters going back and forth between a mother and daughter. There's a lot of things said and left unsaid.

The Wrong Suitcase (4 stars)-I loved this one and it's a story following a man and woman who accidentally get each other's suitcases which leads to them finding out about e
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading a Maeve Binchy book is like cuddling up with a fire and cup of tea! I put one of hers on my TBR list each year. She's written so many that I think I will have forgotten the first ones I read decades ago.

This is a collection of short stories about traveling, from those actually traveling, to those who housesit and work on the boats. Even though they're all about Irish or British citizens all the characters (especially the older ones) "ring true", their actions make sense to me.

Thanks to
Apr 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-stories
Normally I LOVE Maeve Binchy. I love the style she has of intertwining characters and stories, showing that the world is really a small place. I love her warm, friendly characters who all seem so real it makes you want to know them, to be friends with him, to be included in their circle. But this one was a disappointment. There was no intertwining of stories, no characters who at first seem random, but somehow become connected in some way later on. It is several small sections, each with its own ...more
Lisa Dunckley
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I rarely read short stories, but for Maeve Binchy I will make an exception! These stories are mostly set in Dublin Ireland, like most of her books, but have unique characters and are completely independent of her Dublin series (Tara Road, Scarlet Feather, etc). Most of the tales are about 15 pages, so ideal for a quick break. Despite being so short, they are still warm and engaging and you immediately care about the people and their situations. There’s some romance, some unrequited love, some mi ...more
Jan 04, 2010 rated it liked it
I have read a number of Maeve Binchy stories, both novels and short stories in collections. This was the first collection I had read of just her work. At first I was confused not realizing that these were not one cohesive story. I like seeing how characters develop over a longer period, not that some of these stories didn’t traverse months or more. The Return Journey walked the reader through the lives of many people sometimes their interaction was indirect and accidental, sometimes it involves ...more
Alison C
The Return Journey is a collection of short stories by Maeve Binchy, stories published between 1994 and 2004 as far as I can tell. Keeping the title in mind, they are all tales about travel - people going somewhere, people returning from somewhere, people in the middle of their journey, people just trying to get started. A couple that moved me the most include "The Crossing," in which two women, strangers, chat companionably while on the ferry crossing from Ireland to Liverpool; they tell each o ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Adventures of the timid. Binchy does a thing where two people meet, strike up an immediate friendship, and proceed to give one another excellent advice about managing their lives. She does that here, and it is really good, pragmatic advice. Anyway, stories about middle class adults and their working class parents, with some affairs included to keep things dramatic, to amusing effect in Excitement. And no one else has done a better job of portraying just how tiring it can be to be a modern woman ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
These stories were too sad.
Maureen Grigsby
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
What is more cozy than reading a book by Maeve Binchy?
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
I picked this up at the library last week because it looked like a quick, easy read; in that I was not disappointed. The writing is good and each character lends something interesting to the stories.
However, a lot of the writing is abstract, so I never really felt deeply drawn into the characters' lives. It was like a collection of character sketches, actually. I was interested enough to finish but will likely not buy the book. This is my first sample of Maeve Binchy's work, and I will say that
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If I say that "The Return Journey" is typical Maeve Binchy and you don't know who Maeve Binchy is, you might decide not to read this remarkable treasury of short stories. But if you have ever experienced the wonder of Binchy's writing, you'll run right out and pick it up.

The fourteen stories which comprise this volume are quite different from one another in tone and theme. But they all have certain things in common. All deal in one way or another with travel. All show the profound understanding
Chloe (Always Booked)
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I hate short stories, so I don't know why I keep trying with them. These are all short stories about relationships, travel, etc. Each one is 20 pages or less I think, and just like with other short stories, I feel like it finally got to the point when it ended. I enjoyed some stories more than others, but overall I felt like it was a sludge to get through it. I considered DNF'ing it because even the most enjoyable stories weren't ones that I really cared about or got too invested in, but I'm ter ...more
Preethi Venugopala
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely delicious collection of short stories from Maeve Binchy.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Maeve Binchy was an absolute master at telling short stories that all link together and read as a novel. I've never seen it done better, and this book is a shining example of that art. She was also a master at making ordinary lives and ordinary places read as extraordinary. I never, ever tire of her books. There are a few on my shelves that have been read upwards of a dozen times, and I greet them like old, best friends come to spend time with me again. I can't think of anything finer to say of ...more
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Maeve Binchy was a master of the short story as demonstrated in The Return Journey, published in 1998. The collection, built loosely around travel, still reads fresh and intriguing now, fully human, with somewhat flawed characters just like us, our neighbors, family members, coworkers, landlady or boss. Many characters are looking for love, but often in the wrong places, or finding love late in life, like the apartment manager Miss Vogel in "Miss Vogel's Vacation." Binchy has a light touch with ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
For the most part I enjoyed these travel related short stories which is why I rated them an overall score of 3 1/2 stars. If you are looking for the same interweaving tales that you get from a Maeve Binchy novel, you won’t find that in this collection. For that you either need to invest more time and read her novels or if you prefer short stories, maybe read something from Isak Dinesen instead. However this is perfect if you are looking for something light that you can read while waiting at the ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Charming short stories!
One of the best short story collections I've read. But, Maeve Binchy is also one of my absolute favorite authors. :) Her characters are always well-defined and complex. This was total enjoyment! ...more
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Maeve Binchy packed more life into her characters and short stories than a lot of authors put into their novels.
Warren Hall
Apr 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shelved
Currently on page 165.

Maeve Binchy's The Return Journey is a collection of short stories broadly focused on thematic revelations given through stories of (often ordinary) people. Most of the stories deal in love to some extent, but the themes do vary; they are also told with Binchy's easy-to-read style and humor, which make her works so quick to devour, even if they have added complexities. With that being said, below are review/discussion/summary of each story:

The Return Journey:

The Wrong S
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun collection of short stories. Found it in on free library shelf at a campground we are staying at. I really enjoyed the writing style, the overriding message of the grass not always greener on the other side, and her general commentary on relationships.
Stephanie Holcomb
Maeve Binchy can infuriate me sometimes. It's like she has a contract for 3 books, and the first is well thought out with an interesting story and characters you can relate to and sympathize with, unique in all aspects and with some twists and turns you don't expect. But maybe that first book takes a lot of time to write, so she contractually has to write 2 more, and they are hurriedly written with no core, characters and stories that are boring and really normal and nothing exciting, so when yo ...more
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes short stories
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
This is a collection of short stories in which Maeve Binchy introduces us to sons, brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters and lovers. She looks at the relationships and the affect of love on her characters. I have to say that although I usually love Maeve Binchy as an author and am definitely willing to give anything she has written a fighting chance to take me away; I found this particular book lacking in parts.

I had read this book before several years ago and of course had forgotten what it was l
Yvonne Mendez
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite authors and continues to be. Normally her stories include many unique characters who are interrelated to each other. In this case, each chapter is an unique story, all of the stories have to do with vacations and in them you feel like you're getting a quick peek at people's lives. This book reminds me a lot of real life, you may meet someone and get to know their present and past, but you might never know what happened next and you move on. This is a light read ...more
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I recently read a short story collection that was published after Maeve Binchy's death and was really underwhelmed by it. This collection though is what you would expect.
The stories are all extremely well crafted and leave you with Maeve's hallmark of the feel good factor. Relationships form the basis of all the stories and the mess we all get into at times. They are all unique, but come together as a very satisfying read.
I am reading my mother's old collection of books at present and I really f
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I'm not a short story fan, but I love Maeve Binchy's style and since there won't be any more novels, I thought I'd give this a shot. The stories are quite short, tiny snippets of people's lives dealing with very particular situations, sometimes covering a mere few hours, and yet each one feeling complete. And they are absolutely wonderful. The characters are poignantly real with problems that are ordinary and familiar, but made fresh and fascinating by Maeve Binchy's brilliance. It's a small boo ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

The stories are quite short, tiny snippets of people’s lives dealing with very particular situations, sometimes covering a mere few hours, with the plot in mind at the back of the novel I thought this was about one main story. They introduce you to these characters, tell you a bit of a plot, then just as you are about to get into it, it’s finished. I found this to be pointless as there was no message to each story. Not satisfying at all.
Noura Al-jabeli
Jul 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
It's books like these that make me remind myself to never pick a book in a hurry no matter how reputable the bookstore seems or how interesting the summary is.
I literally had a headache reading the back and forth letters between whiny whatshername and her characterless mother and the summary style of this book made me feel like the author just wanted to finish writing this book in a couple of hours.
Shonel Teke
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When you feel low and in need of some motivation, or a simple reminder of how wonderful life is, I have just one recommendation—Maeve Binchy! I picked up this novel looking for a heart-warming book that I can curl up and read. And you know what?

Just as expected, Binchy delivers a soul-stirring collection of short stories all related to a vacation, the holiday season, and perpetual plans of ordinary people. There is a story for every single person out there — a mother-daughter duo, a search for
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Review Return Journey. 1 2 Jul 13, 2016 04:39AM  

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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

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