This Year It Will Be Different: A Christmas Treasury
- Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date:
- 04 September 2008
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The first story had me HOOKED. I've read this book probably five times. She has such a way of writing about people and making you really feel for them.
I started off this morning just wanting to read 1-2 stories from this book by Maeve Binchy, and I ended up reading 8!! I really like all the stories in This Year It Will Be Different so far. They’re not warm and fuzzy, but yet they’re not horribly depressing either. They are about people with flawed characters and lives just trying to make the best of things.“The First Step of Christmas”Jenny is a step-parent to Alison, who Jenny believes is quite a nuisance. Yet, it’s Christmas-will that feeling change?“The Ten Snaps of Christmas”Orla is a teenage girl who gets a Polaroid camera for Christmas. When she starts taking ‘real’ photos instead of the ‘fake’ ones people usually do, how will the family react?“Miss Martin’s Wish”Elsa is a teacher who has been jilted 10 days before her wedding. She spends years spending so-so Christmases at other people’s homes. Will this year be any different?“The Hard Core”‘The Hard Core’ is a foursome of obstinate, fussy geriatric patients in a live-in care facility. They’re so objectionable even their families don’t want them for Christmas. But yet, maybe it’ll be a good Christmas after all. . . .“Christmas Timing”A ‘perfect’ couple never gets to spend Christmas together. They each think the other is perfect, until. . .“The Civilized Christmas”A shy wife dealing with a step-son and her husband’s beautiful ex-wife has much to deal with this Christmas.“Pulling Together”Two teachers and a student pull together for the season.“A Hundred Milligrams”A couple ‘get to’ spend time with the wife’s fussy mother over Christmas. Will it pull them apart, or bring them closer together?I really enjoyed all these and can’t wait to read the rest of the stories in this book. Hopefully I’ll be able to post more about them next week!Last Monday, I summarized the first half of the book, so look there if you’d like more info on all the stories in this book. This week, we have:“The Christmas Baramundi”Definitely the most depressing story in the book, and one of the few I really didn’t care for. A woman thinks she meets the perfect man, but then finds out differently.“This Year It Will Be Different”This one is also depressing. A woman thinks her family wants to help her with all the Christmas preparations, but do they?“Season of Fuss”This time, a woman’s family helps with the preparations, but is that what she really wants?“A Typical Irish Christmas. . . ”This one’s nice. A family is reunited.“Traveling Hopefully”A man and a woman are stuck on a long plane ride together. Will the relationship continue after the flight?“What Is Happiness?”A boy is caught up in his father’s infidelity when the mistress stalks the family.“The Best Inn in Town”Two grandmothers fight over their turf in a family that is usually united over the subject.I would have to say I much preferred the first half of the book to the second half. The second half of the book is much more depressing. While the families depicted in the first half were far from perfect, there was at least a little hope involved. Not so in some of these later stories. However, overall I did enjoy the book and would recommend it for the Christmas season.
I’m such a sucker for Binchy’s books. I tend to like her novels more than her short story collections, but this one was perfect for December. There are 15 stories, all with some Christmas theme. That being said, they aren’t sweet cheerful stories, that’s not really her style. There’s the tension of a blended family, a broken heart, a newly married son, an unexpected trip to New York, and so much more. Each one gives us a quick glimpse into the lives of someone new. The way the Binchy writes is just perfect for this medium. You don’t need 300 pages to get to know the characters. In the matter of a few paragraphs she’s given you the flavor of their lives and that’s all you need. I will always return to her books as comfort reads. “It was so easy to be wise about other people's business.”
This Year Will be Different By Maeve Binchy (Book Review)This Year Will be Different is a collection of 15 short stories by Maeve Binchy. It was previously published abroad as The Return Journey. The paperback’s ISBN is 9780752876283 and it is published by Orion in Ireland and the UK. Its theme is Christmas with a twist and it discusses feelings that cannot be hidden. In a warm and sympathic way Maeve introduces power struggles, affairs and unwelcome discoveries. Everything from cranky grandparents, exhausted mums, bold teenagers and mistresses are characters in the stories. Its message is hope and new beginnings. I prefer her long novels but it is great as a bed time read to dip in to and read a very short story each night. Reviewed by Annette Dunlea author of Always and Forever and The Honey Trap.
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