This Year it will be Different (by Maeve Binchy)

I've enjoyed Maeve Binchy's writing for many years. She has a great gift for characterisation, and I find her novels warm and often moving.

I have to admit, though, I've been less impressed with her short story collections. I find many of her short stories to be rather abrupt, finishing without any real conclusion. Perhaps the reader is meant to make up his or her own mind, but to me that's unsatsifactory. I want a clear ending with at least a direction in which the main character intends to go.

When I picked up 'This year it will be different' in a charity shop last month, I didn't realise at first that it was another collection of short stories. Nor did I realise that they were all on the theme of Christmas. If I'd done so, I might well have waited to December or January before reading it.

But I'm glad I went ahead and started it, because I've thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were one or two stories which were somewhat inconclusive, which I would have preferred to be longer. But the majority were delightful, well-rounded and satisfying.

Binchy;s gift for characterisation came through strongly in all the stories, as did her talent for creating realistic scenarios. I found the book was warm and inviting. I read just one short story per night for a couple of weeks, and was sorry when I reached the end.

Highly recommended.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 9th May 2010

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