I really enjoyed this book. It’s unlike other Binchy books I’ve read where she follows one or two main characters — this one is more of a collection of short stories told from the perspective of many members of a small community in Ireland facing growing pains. There’s a proposal for a new highway to bypass the city of Rossmore (a good thing to cut out some of the congestion), but the proposal has the highway cutting right through Whitethorn Woods (a bad thing because it would destroy St. Ann’s Well). The local priest, Father Flynn, isn’t sure of the healing powers of St. Ann’s Well, but many of his parishioners are convinced St. Ann listens and answers petitions for health, children, and finding true love. He asks St. Ann to let him hear the voices that have come to the well so he can know who these people are.
The book cleverly ties the stories of residents and visitors together. Husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, friends and strangers – share both happy and tragic stories. The vignettes include romance, mystery and family stories. Points of view change to provide a unique, full picture of everyday events. It was very satisfying to read. The book ends full circle with the results of the highway proposal — but by this time it’s almost incidental information. You just want to step into the local pub and share a drink with your new friends.
Check the WRL catalog for Whitethorn Woods.