Chestnut Street ~~ Maeve Binchy

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Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy
Maeve Binchy imagined a street in Dublin with many characters coming and going, and every once in a while she would write about one of these people. She would then put it in a drawer; “for the future,” she would say. The future is now.

Across town from St. Jarlath’s Crescent, featured in Minding Frankie, is Chestnut Street, where neighbors come and go. Behind their closed doors we encounter very different people with different life circumstances, occupations, and sensibilities. Some of the unforgettable characters lovingly brought to life by Binchy are Bucket Maguire, the window cleaner, who must do more than he bargained for to protect his son; Nessa Byrne, whose aunt visits from America every summer and turns the house -- and Nessa’s world -- upside down; Lilian, the generous girl with the big heart and a fiancé whom no one approves of; Melly, whose gossip about the neighbors helps Madame Magic, a self-styled fortune-teller, get everyone on the right track; Dolly, who discovers more about her perfect mother than she ever wanted to know; and Molly, who learns the cure for sleeplessness from her pen pal from Chicago . . .

Chestnut Street is written with the humor and understanding that are earmarks of Maeve Binchy’s extraordinary work and, once again, she warms our hearts with her storytelling.
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Time Period
  • Contemporary


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Chestnut Street is the final book by popular Irish author, Maeve Binchy. It is a collection of thirty-six short stories, all with some relation to Chestnut Street, Dublin (just around the corner from St Jarlath’s Crescent, another address well-known to Binchy fans). Most of the stories have not been published previously, but some have a rather unfinished feel, as if they are the first chapter of a longer story. This idea is reinforced by the inclusion of the first chapter of Star Sullivan (a first chapter which promises more than the rather mediocre final version that was published as a Quick Reads story) and the first 3 chapters of The Builders (a wonderful piece of Binchy gold published in the Open Door series). There is a forward by Binchy’s husband, Gordon Snell, outlining her intentions with this collection. While Binchy fans will enjoy most of the stories, a few are decidedly unsatisfying, meaning that this collection is a bit of a mixed bag: most of the stories are true Maeve Binchy diamonds; a few are just stones.
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