After reviewing the Maeve Binchy novel A Week in Winter several months ago and admitting that it was the only Binchy novel I had ever read, several people implored me to read Tara Road. I picked up the book, expecting a light-hearted romance novel. I got much more.
In fact, Tara Road might be my favorite read of 2014.
The story begins when Ria Johnson marries the man of her dreams, handsome and charismatic Danny Lynch. They buy a lovely big house on Tara Road in their small Irish town, furnish it in beautiful style, settle down and have kids. Soon the Lynch home becomes the center of activity, full of family and friends coming and going.
Ria’s happiness is eventually tested when she learns secrets about her husband that bring the marriage to an end, shattering her dreams. Trying to escape her unhappiness, she agrees to swap houses for a summer with American Marilyn Vine who has her own reasons to run away from home.
I enjoyed Binchy’s story telling and her character development. Ria and her friends were quirky and unpredictable and, well, likable. Even Danny, despite his serious flaws, didn’t turn into a caricature of a despicable husband. He was who he was, and I couldn’t manage to hate him despite his actions. I think that’s the way Binchy intended it.
The story of the strength women get from friendships with other women isn’t new, but Binchy does it well. Ria and her friends weren’t perfect, but who is? They accepted each other, flaws and all.
This was a beautiful story of hope and strength and friendship.
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