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Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy
Published by Orion Publishing Group Ltd., London

This is the thirteenth novel which Maeve Binchy has written. Her fans may be a little disappointed in this book as it has not got the same gripping power as some of her previous work. This book is set in a small Greek village and the cast of characters is an international one, thrown together by chance or fate. They come from Ireland, England, Germany and America, each with personal issues to resolve, which they hope to do in the idyllic surroundings of a Greek island. They become unintentionally involved in the life of the village of Aghia Anna because they witnessed a tragedy which affected both the villagers and tourists to the area.

Maeve Binchy’s strength is her ability to present a recognisable character with a few well chosen descriptive phrases – everyone has met a German girl “tall, tanned, with hair streaked by the sun or a very expensive hairdresser” or an American “wearing those shorts that only Americans” wear. Her characters are all individuals, wickedly observed and presented with all their petty vanities and self deceptions. They are brave, funny, exasperating, annoying but very few are completely unlikeable.

The plot in this book is a slight one but Maeve Binchy carries us along to a reasonably satisfactory outcome for all the characters in the book. She does not give everyone a happy ending but gives the possibility of some redemption to her nastier characters. Overall this is a good read, even if it is not quite up to her usual standard – it is miles better than many other henlit writers.

Reviewed by a Clare County Library Staff member.