Friday, May 27, 2011

Read Alike: Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy is one of Ireland's most popular authors. Her heartwarming stories of life in a changing world, and the relationships her characters build appeal to readers around the world. While not a proper series, her books often feature an interwoven cast of characters, adding a depth to her characters' stories. Ms. Binchy's novels have a quieter, more relaxed pace, which allows her readers to immerse themselves in the lives of her characters. Her most recent novel, Minding Frankie, has several characters return from past books in this story of redemption, family, and a baby named Frankie.

Ms. Binchy started her writing career as a newspaper columnist when her parents submitted her letters home from adventures abroad to the newspaper. She's also the author of an award winning play, "Deeply Regretted By," and a few non-fiction titles as well. Her most recent non-fiction title, The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club, is a charming collection of letters to fledgling writers offering advice on writing interspersed with contributions from other authors, editors, and publishing experts. You can read more about Maeve Binchy on her website:

If you enjoy Maeve Binchy's novels, you may also enjoy these authors:

Rosamunde Pilcher's stories are similar to Ms. Binchy's in their upbeat tone, leisurely pacing, and focus on the character's relationships, though with a greater focus on romance. Her novels also have a similar emphasis on setting, though she favors rural locations in Cornwall or Scotland. Her last novel, Winter Solstice, features five very different characters who come together to face their troubles .

Cecelia Ahern is the daughter of a former Prime Minister of Ireland. Her first book, P.S. I Love You, is the story of a young widow's struggle to overcome her grief, and was made into a movie starring Hilary Swank. Ms. Ahern's novels, though somewhat more modern in tone, share a leisurely pace, a focus on relationships, and an Irish setting with Ms. Binchy.

Sarah Woodhouse is an English author who specializes in similarly paced, upbeat novels that focus on the characters' emotional relationships. The titular character of My Summer with Julia, is the long lost childhood friend of Annie, a painter with a happy home life, who is surprised to receive a box of mementos after Julia's death.

Elizabeth Cadell died in 1989 after a long and productive career as a novelist. Her novels are light and romantic with eccentric characters and European settings. The Past Tense of Love is the story of a woman who goes to France for her career and finds her long lost mother.

Marcia Willett dreamed of becoming a ballerina before she became an author of gentle romances set in the countryside of the English West Country. Maudie Todhunter, main character of A Week in Winter, is an aging widow who decides she must sell the family's country home, which stirs up old family secrets and new love.

J. Lynne Hinton is an ordained minister who writes Christian Fiction featuring strong female characters, the complications of family and friendship, and a relaxed pace. In Friendship Cake, the first book in her Hope Springs series, five women are brought together when they work to create a church cookbook.

Joanna Trollope's character-driven novels share a similar pacing and focus on the characters' relationships as they are faced with unforeseen difficulties to Ms. Binchy's novels, but some of her books tackle more controversial topics, such as homosexuality. A Spanish Lover is the story of twin sisters who are approaching middle-age, when one faces financial hardship and the other starts a relationship with a married man.

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!

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