Firefly Summer, by Maeve Binchy

Patrick O'Neal returns from the US to the village from which his grandparents were evicted, to buy up the ruins of the old house and build the finest hotel in Ireland. But this will have a great impact on the lives of the villagers, most notably Kate and John Ryan, who run a pub just over the road.

This is the first Maeve Binchy book I've read, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I think it felt a bit like a watered-down version of the Cazelet Chronicles: a book about a set of related characters, which concentrates more on their lives and dreams than the story which holds them together.

The book was fairly long (20+ hours) and took a while to get going: to start with it was not exactly gripping. But after a while as you start to feel more familiar with the characters it drew me in and from about a third of the way in I was fairly hooked.

I liked most the relationship between Patrick and his mistress, which seemed quite plausibly described, and felt quite upset when things didn't work out for them.

The ending was rather abrupt, and a bit of a let-down, but overall it was a satisfying read.

Completed : 21-Feb-2006 (audiobook, read by Kate Binchy)

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