• This Year Will Be Different and Other Stories

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Fionnula Flanagan
  • Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
  • 3.2 out of 5 stars (54 ratings)

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This Year Will Be Different and Other Stories  By  cover art

This Year Will Be Different and Other Stories

By: Maeve Binchy
Narrated by: Fionnula Flanagan
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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Circle of Friends and The Glass Lake comes This Year It Will Be Different, a stunning work that brings us the magic and spirit of Christmas in 15 stories filled with Maeve Binchy's trademark wit, charm, and sheer storytelling genius. Instead of nostalgia, Binchy evokes contemporary life; instead of Christmas homilies, she offers truth; and instead of sugarplums, she brings us the nourishment of holidays that precipitate change, growth, and new beginnings. 

In "A Typical Irish Christmas", a grieving New York widower heads for a holiday in Ireland and finds an unexpected destination not just for himself, but for a father and daughter at odds. 

The title story "This Year It Will Be Different" also delves into the emotions of a person at mid-life - a woman with a complacent husband and grown children who are entering a season that can forever alter her life, and theirs. 

In "Pulling Together", a teacher not yet out of her 20s sees her affair with a married man at a turning point as Christmas Eve approaches - and she may be off on a new direction with some unusual friends. 

And in the delightful tale "The Hard Core", the four most recalcitrant residents of a nursing home are left alone at Christmas with the owner's daughter in charge: the result is sure to be disaster - or the kind of life-affirming renewal that only the spirit of the season can bring. 

The stories in This Year It Will Be Different powerfully evoke many lives - step-families grappling with ex's, long-married couples faced with in-law problems, a wandering husband choosing between "the other woman" and his wife, a child caught in grown-up tugs-of-war - during the one holiday when feelings cannot be easily hidden. The time of year may be magical, imbued with meaning. But the situations are universal. And Maeve Binchy makes us care about them all. As the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, "Maeve Binchy's people come to life fully. They make you laugh and cry and disturb your sleep." They do precisely that in this extraordinary collection, on the night before Christmas when we are snug in our beds, or anywhere, any time of the year.  

Please note: This is an historical recording. The audio quality represents the technology of the time when it was produced.

©1996 Maeve Binchy (P)1996 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.

What listeners say about This Year Will Be Different and Other Stories

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Easy Christmas Entertainment

Each of the short stories have a bit of a lesson to them, and you'll find the same charming kind of characters that appear in so many of Maeve Binchy's books. Not everything is perfectly heartwarming, but that makes it more realistic.

I just wish this one were available with higher audio quality - it's only available in audio formats 1 and 2, and thus a little scratchy-sounding for those of us who use format 4. I burned cds of this to listen to in my car on a long roadtrip and it sounded horrid.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Great Stories and Narrator Lost in Bad Recording

I absolutely adore the stories and bought this so I could listen while I baked or traveled. Fionnula is a great narrator that brings life to the story but the recording sound/engineering itself is quite horrible. It sounds like it was recorded using tin cans. It is hollow, fuzzy, and muffled. I am very disappointed in the recording.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Quality of Sound

was disappointed in the quality of sound, it was scratchy and noisy which took away from the stories...

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

VERY POOR QUALITY!!!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Usually, I love Maeve Binchy, especially the lovely, lilting, Irish accents! This one is recorded with terrible sound quality, though. I couldn't even listen to it! I could barely understand it! It might have been a 4 or 5 star experience if it had been a tolerable recording!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Kind of depressing but insightful

This is also a Christmas book for those of you who may not have noticed.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Poor quality audio

I really wanted to hear all the stories but didn’t even make it through the first. Reminds me of how we used to play a cassette tape on one player and record with another in an attempt to make a “copy”. I don’t understand why this would even be offered given today’s audio capabilities. Don’t waste your credit.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Terrible audio quality

The audio quality of this recording is terrible. Muffled and muddy. It made it very difficult to hear.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Audio was terrible

Love the stories. Love the narrator. The sound was terrible.

Since the author has passed away, I hoped for more unabridged books to become available.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

5 stars except the audio is horrendous

As always, I love Maeve Binchy, & especially her short stories (I wish “The Lilac Bus” was on audio!); they always give you something to think about, & are either heartwarming or make you smile with a bit of an impish grin thrown in.

HOWEVER! The audio throughout this book is horrrrrrendous. It sounds as if someone used an old-style cassette player (w/the built-in microphone), held it up to a radio, & taped this book off that radio - a radio station that wasn’t tuned correctly & was crackling & hissing. Very muffled & noisy; I’m surprised Audible would charge us for such a poor recording as this.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

sounds like it was recorded in a phone booth

through a tin can but otherwise I love this author's works just wish the recordings were a bit better

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Profile Image for amanda
  • amanda
  • 12-10-13

Do not buy this the sound quality is appalling

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Rerecording the sound quality is truly awful and detracts from the stories which are charming

What will your next listen be?

Pass

How could the performance have been better?

Rerecording

What character would you cut from This Year Will Be Different and Other Stories?

None

Any additional comments?

Good stories spoiled by the sound quality