Tara Road, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


A house swap leads to an unlikely and touching friendship, as secrets are unveiled and lives changed.Ria and Marilyn have never met - they live thousands of miles apart, separated by the Atlantic Ocean: one in a big, warm, Victorian house in Tara Road, Dublin, the other in a modern, open-plan house in New England.

Two more unlikely friends would be hard to find: Ria's life revolves around her family and friends, while Marilyn's reserve is born of grief.

But when each needs a place to escape to, a house exchange seems the ideal solution.Along with the borrowed houses come neighbours and friends, gossip and speculation as Ria and Marilyn swap lives for the summer...


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Here's something bizarre: while reading "Tara Road", the lyrics of an old, cheesy pop song kept coming to me. They go something like this: "words don't come easy to me..." Well, these lyrics stuck to my head, I think, because it's the complete opposite with Binchy. Words come easy, very easy to her!! This book is long, & I think definitely too long for the actual content.The story is not bad at all: Two women, Ria & Marilyn. One Irish, living in Dublin. The other American, living in Stoneyfield or whatever it's called. Both trapped in a very bad situation, a life crisis of some sort. So far, so good. There's also a large supporting cast of characters, which are all vividly drawn, as are the main characters. One basic characteristic of all Binchy's books is the fact that the reader is instantly drawn in the characters' world, in their everyday lives. This happens in "Tara Road" too...But there's a catch: these everyday lives of these everyday people are, I'm afraid, not that interesting.One thing that disappointed me is Ria's stupidity, or naivite (if I want to be kinder). All sorts of cheating & infidelity & deceit happens under her nose. But Ria, angelic Ria, doesn't understand a thing. She keeps on cooking & baking in her delightful, homey, filled-with-people kitchen, & doesn't have a clue about anything. This to me is, to say the least, insulting to the reader's intelligence. I mean, come on, how stupid can this woman be? And OK, she's naive, she's innocent, she's angelic & only thinks kind thoughts. But Binchy could at least give us a satisfying ending. I won't go into details, but I can say this: there's no sense of closure in the end, no sense of understanding or seeing things clearly. Yes, Ria has grown & changed after coming back from the States. But her blindness when it comes to her husband is very much the same.As for the other main character, Marilyn, I think she's probably thrown in the story to (supposedly) make it more colourful, more international. But, as many reviewers have noted, Marilyn & her American friends use, surprisingly, Irish expressions! Plus, there's essentially no description of America & Ria's surroundings there, except of course a detailed description of Marilyn's house.It may sound that I didn't like the book: it's not true, I did enjoy it & read it easily in a couple of days, at the beach. But if I had to say one thing about it, it would be that this is a retelling of the same old story that Binchy writes. After reading some of her other books, "Tara Road" seemed like words, words, words that came to no satisfying conclusion...

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