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Whitethorn Woods | [Maeve Binchy]

Whitethorn Woods

When a new highway threatens to bypass the town of Rossmore and cut through Whitethorn Woods, everyone has a passionate opinion about whether the town will benefit or suffer. But young Father Flynn is most concerned with the fate of St. Ann's Well, which is set at the edge of the woods and slated for destruction. People have been coming to St. Ann's for generations to share their dreams and fears, and speak their prayers.
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Publisher's Summary

When a new highway threatens to bypass the town of Rossmore and cut through Whitethorn Woods, everyone has a passionate opinion about whether the town will benefit or suffer. But young Father Flynn is most concerned with the fate of St. Ann's Well, which is set at the edge of the woods and slated for destruction. People have been coming to St. Ann's for generations to share their dreams and fears, and speak their prayers. Some believe it to be a place of true spiritual power, demanding protection; others think it's a mere magnet for superstitions, easily sacrificed.

Not knowing which faction to favor, Father Flynn listens to all those caught up in the conflict, and these are the voices we hear in the stories of Whitethorn Woods: men and women deciding between the traditions of the past and the promises of the future, ordinary people brought vividly to life by Maeve Binchy's generosity and empathy, and in the vivacity and surprise of her storytelling.

Binchy is at the very top of her form in this irresistible tale.

©2006 Maeve Binchy; (P)2007 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"Binchy deliver[s] a panoply of richly drawn first-person characters....[She] takes it all in and orchestrates the whole masterfully." (Publishers Weekly)
"Binchy focuses her prodigious talent on a robust assemblage of characters....Inventively and intricately weaving a series of linked vignettes, [she] astounds with the versatility of the supplicants' voices....Binchy is at her best in this tender yet potent tale." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (157 )
5 star
 (56)
4 star
 (65)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
4.2 (49 )
5 star
 (18)
4 star
 (24)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.4 (48 )
5 star
 (25)
4 star
 (18)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Claire Pittsburgh, PA, USA 07-20-07
    Claire Pittsburgh, PA, USA 07-20-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    132
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Not up to par for Binchy"

    Although Binchy delivers lots of engaging characters in this book, it's really more of a collection of short stories than a novel. Obviously, the well in Whitethorn woods is the thread that loosely binds the characters together. She presents the stories in a chain -- one character's story leads to the next character's story, but often, those characters are not brought together. We see the link between the characters because we saw it from each character's perspective, but we didn't see them together. (This is hard to explain!) An interesting way to develop characters, but I would have loved it had she integrated the characters at some point in the story.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Clearwater, FL, United States 06-27-07
    Deborah Clearwater, FL, United States 06-27-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    74
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    67
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Not a Favorite"

    I have read two other books by this author and liked both. I wish I could say the same about this one. It was somewhat interesting which was why I gave it 3 stars but I have to say that most of the time I didn't care much about these people. I would have rather had more main story and less individual character development/personal stories. The only reason I stuck this one out to the end was because I had paid for it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Gulf Shores, AL, USA 01-22-09
    Suzanne Gulf Shores, AL, USA 01-22-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    483
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Whitethorn Woods"

    This book felt like some short stories very loosely pulled together. This NOT Ms. Binchey's best work.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Park City, KS, USA 09-20-07
    Cindy Park City, KS, USA 09-20-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Love the narrators!"

    As some other reviewers have indicated, this is a very different style for Binchy, which makes it a little more difficult to follow, but the accent of the narrators really brings the characters to life!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Culver, OR, USA 07-07-07
    Cheryl Culver, OR, USA 07-07-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    740
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Not typical Binchy"

    I didn't finish listening to this boring book, only about half. Characters and their backgrounds were still being introduced and they weren't very interesting or compelling. I'm a huge Binchy fan. Sadly this is no Tara Road or Circle of Friends. Maybe next time.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Needham, MA, USA 05-17-07
    Mary Needham, MA, USA 05-17-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Loved it!"

    This was wonderful. I found myself watching how much time was left because I hated for it to end. I love Binchy, have read all of her books. I wasn't sure I would like this because of the format but it was delightful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen New York, NY, USA 04-24-07
    Kathleen New York, NY, USA 04-24-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Fabulous book"

    This is a wonerful book--rich, diverse character portraits delicately interwoven. It reads almost like a collection of short stories. I have listened to most of it several times, catching nuances I missed the first time around. The narration is also well done. Don't pass this one up!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy DULUTH, MN, United States 08-24-12
    Kathy DULUTH, MN, United States 08-24-12

    Always reading. Audiobooks in the car, in the kitchen, in the sewing room, and paper books in every room in the house.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Maeve Binchy always delivers"

    I always enjoy Maeve Binchy's poignant, intimate portrayal of the lives of her characters. This book is very entertaining and well read. I will listen again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mary j aboughadareh Reston, VA USA 08-16-07
    mary j aboughadareh Reston, VA USA 08-16-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    187
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    343
    89
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    12
    0
    Overall
    "Good Story"

    I admit I did start it over after the 1st hour or so just to get a fix on the characters. I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of stories rolled into one. It was funny, sometimes sad and even thought provoking at times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 04-11-07
    Rio Delta Wild Harlingen, TX 04-11-07 Member Since 2004

    I enjoy mysteries, NOT thrillers, contemporary fiction, especially about diverse cultures, and sometimes history, if it doesn't involve too many dates. I often listen to a book multiple times, discovering unnoticed details in the retelling.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    147
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    161
    86
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    13
    6
    Overall
    "keep writing, Maeve, please!"

    I'm already on my 3rd listen to this interwoven delightful telling of people's lives and desires. Maeve Binchy is up there with my all-time favorite writers, and I'm always sad to reach the end of her novels, though they always hold heart-warming content and marvelous vignettes. I can't recommend a better peek into conditions in today's Ireland. I was well ready for last summer's visit to London and Dublin after listening to Maeve's recorded pieces of contemporary fiction. Excellent narration does justice to her work in this high-quality recording.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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