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Whitethorn Woods

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  13,961 ratings  ·  1,314 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 2006)
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Annie The list of characters is too numerous to list! There are a few that come back together in the end, but truly it's just story after story about people…moreThe list of characters is too numerous to list! There are a few that come back together in the end, but truly it's just story after story about people you may never hear anything about again throughout the book.(less)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,961 ratings  ·  1,314 reviews

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Mar 28, 2007 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 06, 2008 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
Debbie Zapata
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Sept 17 ~~ Review asap. Really.

Sept 18 ~~ This is the book that my Mom has in paperback with print so tiny I ran screaming into the night instead of reading it. When I saw it on the Binchy shelf at the library I grabbed it, so here we are. (By the way, the last time I noticed, there were shelves and shelves of Binchy at my library. Now that I want to re-read many of them there are only a few titles. Rotten timing!)

There are a lot of people here, and they all have one thing in common: St.Ann's We
Mar 05, 2008 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 14, 2008 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.
Nov 11, 2008 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
Miranda Reads
3.5 stars. The characters were so compelling but the plot was so slow.

Still enjoyed it.

Review to come

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Jan 23, 2012 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
Apr 20, 2008 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. ...more
One of the best things about Maeve Binchy's books is her ability to incorporate richly detailed and sometimes quirky characters into gorgeous settings—usually in Ireland.

In "WHITETHORN WOODS," by Maeve Binchy, the setting is Rossmoor, a small Irish village centered around a "wishing well" type sanctuary; there we meet a variety of characters whose lives have been impacted in one way or another by the presence of the well.

Each character is introduced in a series of vignettes told from that indivi
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Whitethorn Woods, Maeve Binchy strings together a series of short stories centered around the small but expanding rural town of Rossmore that depict the tension between traditionalism and modernization in Ireland. Reminiscent of her earlier novel Copper Beech, the overall narrative of the story gets bogged down by the number of characters and perspectives included in the book. While Copper Beech does switch between different narrators frequently, these smaller stories overlap frequently enoug ...more
Sonali Dabade
I had loved 'Scarlet Feather' so much that I was absurdly excited for this one. But though this book isn't bad, it isn't great either.

It seems like a collection of short stories set in the same place and very loosely connected to each other. By the time you get to the end, thanks to the number of characters, you just forget what is going on in which track.

I wish I liked it better but you know what they say. Not everything works out the way you want it to. 🤷‍♀️
Jul 02, 2007 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
rachid  idjiou
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read Maeve Binchy for the first time in 2013, a novel called Tara Road it was a good book I enjoyed it very much, I like her style: simple phrases with warmth, emotion and compassion, a beginner an understand her novels easily. So I decided to add her name to my list to read every year. I read the copper beech in 2015, evening class in 2016, Quentins 2017, Heart and soul in 2018. For this year I have chosen Whitehorn Woods, Rossmore is a quiet town in Ireland. It's a pretty sleepy place to be ...more
Carol Douglas
Maeve Binchey was a popular Irish novelist who died a few years ago. Her stories are warm and rather gentle. But her characters have real problems. Often they are about small-town Irish people confronted with a changing world.

In Whitethorn Woods, a town is divided over whether to sell property to allow a highway to come through it, particularly because its woods holds a shrine to Saint Ann, the mother of the Virgin Mary, that people believe provides miraculous help. The local priest, Father Fly
Nancy Cook-senn
A variety of characters -- some likable, many not, and a few truly endearing -- live and mingle and affect each other in a contemporary Irish town.
Krisette Spangler
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I absolutely loved reading this novel from start to finish. Ms. Binchy did a masterful job of telling a story through the eyes of so many people affected by the happenings in Whitehorn Woods. The ending was extremely satisfying. I would put this book in the category of great vacation and beach reads.
Izabella (Pages Full of Stars)
Book #5 for the March 2018 Irish Readathon which I participated in and found through Aoife's youtube channel - for the prompt "read a book by a female Irish author" and "read a book with green on the cover" :)

My very first encounter with Maeve Binchy's works and I finished reading with very mixed feelings. The first few stories were good but I found myself losing interest as I kept on reading. I enjoy short stories collections and this one had a very intriguing set-up, because all stories were t
May 29, 2014 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
Aug 29, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Pleasant but not one of her best, and spoiled for me by the fact that she never


reunited the kidnapped child and her birth mother.
Lisa Wroble
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightfully fun yet powerful

It's been a long while since I enjoyed a fiction story this much. It's really a series of character sketches or vignettes centering around a shrine to St. Ann tucked in the Whitethorn woods around the town of Rossmore in Ireland. The town is entering upheaval as plans for a bypass come into play, which would ease congested traffic to those coming from all over to visit St. Ann's Well, but which would likely run right through the shrine itself. Fr. Flynn tries to go a
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-clubs
People in and around the town of Rossmore (Ireland) tell their stories in paired sets.

This is the first fiction book I've read by Maeve Binchy (I've read a book of her essays which I enjoyed). I've often wondered if I'd like her works but there were so many I had no idea where to begin. A book club nudged me into this one. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the people, the town, and their interactions. It wasn't an idealized small town - it included jealousy, alcoholism, and even a murder - but it made
Rosemary Orme
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First completed book of the year. Been suffering with sickness and no central heating or hot water for a week. Struggling to paint and set up a new, giant bookcase for Terry Pratchett and J K Rowling collection. I found this book as I staggered around moving books . I have been reading the Science of Discworld books, but they are hard work if you are unwell.

Felt as though I was sliding into a depression and Whitethorn Woods was the turn around. Maeve Binchy loves her characters and is a complete
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Nearly the entirety of the book is snippets of people's lives in the town of Rossmore. Every chapter presents two new characters. And then the last chapter is the denouement of the entire story. It was a very odd read, but very enjoyable :) ...more
Alice Neilson
I finally figured out that I had read this a while ago. Nice light read.
Jane Santillo
This is not Binchy’s finest.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-book-fair
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read with many characters tied together in an enduring tale!

Excellent story with many mini stories within the main story.
Maeve does it best!! I would recommend this story to anyone who has a heart for small town lives.
SandyFrom Nj
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable story with different characters that intertwine.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just did not get this book. I have read other Maeve Binchy books and enjoyed then and was excited to read another but unfortunately I did not enjoy this one. The story seemed very disjointed with many short stories of characters that never came together at the end in a successful way.
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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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