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Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy Unabridged CD Audiobook

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Unabridged CD Audiobook 12 CDs / 14.5 hours long Narrated by Maureen O'Brien Unabridged CD Audiobook 12 CDs / 14.5 hours long Narrated by Maureen O'Brien


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Unabridged CD Audiobook 12 CDs / 14.5 hours long Narrated by Maureen O'Brien Unabridged CD Audiobook 12 CDs / 14.5 hours long Narrated by Maureen O'Brien

30 review for Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy Unabridged CD Audiobook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    *Currently reading* status update - Yeah, I'm reading a Maeve Binchy novel, what of it?! Seriously, why do I have this guilty/embarrassed feeling like the time when my mom caught me looking at the lingerie section in the Sears catalogue? *Read* review - After hearing an author's name mentioned on the radio and seeing it pop up at shops and the library, there comes a point when I bow down to the coincidences of the world that are "telling me something" and finally read something by that author. Coup *Currently reading* status update - Yeah, I'm reading a Maeve Binchy novel, what of it?! Seriously, why do I have this guilty/embarrassed feeling like the time when my mom caught me looking at the lingerie section in the Sears catalogue? *Read* review - After hearing an author's name mentioned on the radio and seeing it pop up at shops and the library, there comes a point when I bow down to the coincidences of the world that are "telling me something" and finally read something by that author. Couple that with the fact that Maeve Binchy died just a month prior and if that's not enough to get one's attention, I don't know what is. I picked up Heart and Soul, it being the first thing handy. Well I can tell you, it was not the cozy Miss Marple mystery I was expecting from the things I'd heard. It starts off with a headstrong woman taking over operations of a new heart clinic and the newly christened reader is led to believe that the plot will focus on the clinic's potential survival or failure. Not so, as the narrative soon shifts focus on to the relationships of an ensemble cast of characters and suddenly I felt like I was watching an episode of General Hospital. Will the charming doctor fall in love with the plucky nurse? Will the widower head-of-the-clinic settle for the boring guy or even relapse and take her cheating husband back? And what of that poor little ugly duckling/swan immigrant girl? Nothing too earth-shattering or even terribly titillating, but Binchy is a good enough writer to keep the reader's interest, mainly by keeping the story moving. Days and scenes pass within the brief mention of a sentence and that's just as well. No need to read the dull bits! Will I be reading another Binchy novel? No. I have nothing against the relationship genre, but as the kids say, it's not my cup of tea.... The kids never say that, do they?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Wonderful! Wonderful! Reading this was like falling into a warm and cozy bath with great chocolate to eat. Some characters from previous books make appearances and even have greater parts in this novel. I am so glad I ordered it early from Amazon U.K. This novel centers around a heart clinic and the people who work there and the patients who go there as well for treatment. The usual blend of small mysteries and entertwined lives as only Maeve Binchy could do.This was definitely worth the wait!On Wonderful! Wonderful! Reading this was like falling into a warm and cozy bath with great chocolate to eat. Some characters from previous books make appearances and even have greater parts in this novel. I am so glad I ordered it early from Amazon U.K. This novel centers around a heart clinic and the people who work there and the patients who go there as well for treatment. The usual blend of small mysteries and entertwined lives as only Maeve Binchy could do.This was definitely worth the wait!Once again, I have devoured a book that I wish I could read all over again as if for the first time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I really enjoyed this book -I couldn't wait to to listen to it and I was so sorry when it was finished. Binchy tends to write her books as a kind of series of short stories that all link together. It's a compelling family drama with tears,tantrums and happy endings. Pure comfort reading. I love that all her books link together with overlapping characters and so many topics are covered - these are everyday people and she makes you love them - even the awful people! On the negative side (which I can i I really enjoyed this book -I couldn't wait to to listen to it and I was so sorry when it was finished. Binchy tends to write her books as a kind of series of short stories that all link together. It's a compelling family drama with tears,tantrums and happy endings. Pure comfort reading. I love that all her books link together with overlapping characters and so many topics are covered - these are everyday people and she makes you love them - even the awful people! On the negative side (which I can ignore quite frankly) there is a lot of repetition and simplification. There is some stereotyping although that's life isn't it?! But yes it is completely predictable. If you don't like cosy, comfort reads then this will not be for you. I don't care - I love Maeve! For audio info : I was worried as the audio version was not narrated by Kate Binchy as I am used to but Maureen O'Brien - don't worry she was superb!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lanette

    Ugh... this was a SLLLLOOWWWWW read. It's not my favorite Binchy book by any stretch of the imagination. I know some of the characters have been recycled from other books, but I can't remember which books, so that's a little frustrating. I wish there was a cheat sheet somewhere to jog my memory about who they are. Ugh... this was a SLLLLOOWWWWW read. It's not my favorite Binchy book by any stretch of the imagination. I know some of the characters have been recycled from other books, but I can't remember which books, so that's a little frustrating. I wish there was a cheat sheet somewhere to jog my memory about who they are.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    I actually raised this up a star on my re-read. This was actually a nice book to settle in with this weekend. I wasn't in the mood for a read that was going to give me a headache. I do miss Maeve Binchy's books especially when she would continue on with some characters. I still say the amount of jobs that the character Ania was working was beyond ridiculous and were not possible. The flow still didn't work for me either but this time I knew what was coming, so it didn't bother me. Previous revie I actually raised this up a star on my re-read. This was actually a nice book to settle in with this weekend. I wasn't in the mood for a read that was going to give me a headache. I do miss Maeve Binchy's books especially when she would continue on with some characters. I still say the amount of jobs that the character Ania was working was beyond ridiculous and were not possible. The flow still didn't work for me either but this time I knew what was coming, so it didn't bother me. Previous review. It's weird. I started off reading this book years and years ago. It was published back in 2008 and I just didn't like how it ended much. Binchy ended up changing up the ending, but I don't have that version in my Kindle version (grrrr) so I do know that she had a new ending that worked a lot better. That is the main reason why I gave this one 3 stars. We end up leaving a lot of characters in the lurch I thought. I also thought the whole thing with Clara and Hilary needing to "get" their two kids together was ridiculous. Additionally, the amount of jobs that the character Ania was working didn't even make sense since it sounded like at best she would only be getting about 2-3 hours of sleep. I know it was to show the contrast between Clara's one daughter, but it was a bit much. Heart & Soul follows characters that many Binchy fans have been reading about for years. We have Aiden and Signora popping up (Evening Class (96) and Quentins (2002), Brenda (from Evening Class and Quentins), Grania and Tony (Evening Class), Fiona, Barbara, David, Vonni (Nights of Rain and Stars 2004), Maud, Simon, Cathy Feather (Scarlett Feather 2000) and Father Flynn (Whitehorn Woods 2006) and probably a whole host of other people I have forgotten. We also have some new ones like Clara Casey, the new director of a heart clinic and Ania, a young Polish immigrant living in Dublin. Though Binchy doesn't call out characters by chapter heading in this one, we do go back and forth to characters within chapters sometimes. So if we start off with Clara, we may also include another character like her daughter, her ex-husband, etc. I didn't mind it at all in this one, but I think I miss that we could just stick with a character through one sitting instead of bouncing around a lot with them. I found all of the characters to be good, but I was really happy with the follow up to Fiona and Barbara. I had really liked Fiona in Nights of Rain and Stars and we see that she has totally changes from who she was after the events from her last relationship that was depicted in that book. As I said above though. I had a bit of an issue with Clara in parts of this book. We find out that she has been long separated from a cheating spouse who wants to divorce and marry his partner of several years. I know it wasn't great, but her reaction to it wasn't great either. I liked that she realized that her friends and family were tired of her hanging on to the guy and she needed to move on from him. She starts a new relationship in this one, that left me feeling meh, and it was good to see her realize that too. Her fighting with her daughter Linda though made me scratch my head. Her thinking that she needed to get married and settled with Hilary's son made me want to go huh. This was written in 2008, not 1988, so I didn't get why she thought her 21 year old daughter needed to settle down. Ania's story was sad at first. We meet her and she's barely hanging on doing odd jobs in Dublin to obtain money to send back to her mother. We don't know what happened to her in Poland, but hints are it wasn't great. When Binchy reveals her tale, it was okay and all, but not Earth shattering. I just thought it was a bit much that Ania works at the heart clinic, at the laundromat, at a restaurant, helps with landscaping, etc. At one point I felt myself getting panicky at her jobs that she was doing. And her acting as if everything was super expensive (like some lace for sleeves on a dress) was making me go okay after a while. Ania is set up as some perfect person, but I was left a bit cold towards to her while reading. We follow a new doctor named Declan in this one and we get to see his romance with someone that readers are familiar with (no spoilers). I liked Declan okay, but liked to see him push back on things later on in the book. He seemed a bit too perfect to me at first. Hilary's story I found sad. I don't know if Binchy was going for clueless with her, but I definitely felt she was. We find out that she married a perfectly charming and handsome man who never worked. Her poor mother went and got more jobs to support them all (Hilary and her son Nick too) and Hilary works more to help. Things don't go well in Hilary's life I thought when we see that her mother is having some medical issues. Father Flynn who popped up in Whitehorn Woods shows up here and his whole storyline was weird I thought. Leaving that one alone. The book going back to Vonni in Greece and Aiden and Signora caused it to drag for me a lot too. The writing was okay, but I am realizing that the flow wasn't great. Binchy jumping from character to character within a chapter didn't work as well for me in this one. I was looking forward to the ending which isn't like me usually. The setting of the book revolves around the heart clinic doctors, patients, and friends of patients or doctors working there. Maybe if we stayed focused on the staff it would have worked more. It would still be nice to read about characters that were introduced in prior books still, but we could have focused on new characters more. The book ends with a wedding and just kind of ends. I liked the new ending ( I happened to read it in a new paperback release one day at the bookstore) that showed some characters after the wedding and what something new is going on with all of them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    paulinereidbookreviewer

    Book Review, Heart And Soul By Maeve Binchy. . Whoever has read Maeve Binchy books will know that alot of her books centre around an eating place, called, Quentins. This book is no different. I'm only going to touch very briefly on characters within this book, due to Maeve Binchys style, she has alot of characters in her books, so much so, that it's amazing how she managed to keep a track on which characters were doing what, she must have had a good memory, that, or, very well organised in her wri Book Review, Heart And Soul By Maeve Binchy. . Whoever has read Maeve Binchy books will know that alot of her books centre around an eating place, called, Quentins. This book is no different. I'm only going to touch very briefly on characters within this book, due to Maeve Binchys style, she has alot of characters in her books, so much so, that it's amazing how she managed to keep a track on which characters were doing what, she must have had a good memory, that, or, very well organised in her writing. . A good part of this book is about developing a new heart clinic on a new developmental building site. Frank Ennis the brains behind the operation of it all, employs Dr Clara Casey, as a Senior Consultant. Dr Clara Casey has a whole lot of complicated issues of her own, one of which is, Alan, her so called ex. We also meet, Declan, who is added to the team at the hospital as a GP, who rides to work on his bicycle. Then we have Fiona, a cardiology nurse. Declan has eyes for Fiona and plucked enough courage to take Fiona on a date at Quentins, serious as their friendship goes, as time goes by, Declan introduces Fiona to his side of the family. These two go on some very interesting adventures, some, of which, are to do with the hospital, some just plain, personal, one which ends Declan in hospital..... however they do tie the knot, with a beautiful opal ring as an engagement ring, but then a catastrophe happens and Ania (the Polish girl) is thinking, for "heavens sake" (p472). We have the two twins, now bless their souls, a familiarity from other books, their flippant nature and saying the wrong things ... a laugh and a half!!!! Then of course there is Father Brian Flynn, who has to guard himself against a stalker, one of his church "ladies" , who has become slightly mad and thinks she is married to him. . I adore Maeve Binchys style of writing, it is .... light, easy reading, hilarious in places due to the authors Irish humour which does shine through like a ray of sunshine in this book. The only criticism I have, is her chapters are so damn long!!!! Some are like, over 22 pages, ok, they do have breaks in the chapters, but there is nothing worse than not being able to read a whole chapter without getting up and doing stuff!!! . I whole heartily recommend this book to anyone who likes a good old light hearted read, who likes the Irish humour and who likes a continuation of a theme running through a book collection.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Zapata

    This book is both dangerous and comforting. Dangerous because you simply cannot put it down once you start and you may stay up long past your bed time like I did. Comforting because it is like reading a letter from home. The characters were familiar to me from recent readings of other Binchy titles, and once I worked out a mental timeline (what happens here takes place after both Evening Class and Whitethorn Wood) I was quite happy catching up with many of my old friends from those two books. Thi This book is both dangerous and comforting. Dangerous because you simply cannot put it down once you start and you may stay up long past your bed time like I did. Comforting because it is like reading a letter from home. The characters were familiar to me from recent readings of other Binchy titles, and once I worked out a mental timeline (what happens here takes place after both Evening Class and Whitethorn Wood) I was quite happy catching up with many of my old friends from those two books. This time the central location is a heart clinic. We get to be involved even before the clinic opens, because we get to watch Dr. Clara Casey create a perfect place for her patients to learn how to live with their heart conditions. We get to help hire staff, deal with the hospital administrator, who of course doesn't want to spend any money and did not really want the clinic in the first place. We see a mini-community taking shape, and with nearly every new person that comes along, I was able to say 'wasn't she from...' or 'oh, I remember him from...' and that made the whole book feel special. I liked also the sort of open ended final chapter. Many of the characters had their loose ends tied up, but others finished the book with their stories uncompleted. There is a wonderful sense of more to come in the final chapter, and yet there is also the closure for this particular phase of people's lives. I have been undecided in the past about Binchy's style of loosely connected stories woven into a whole, but even though that was the basic workings here too, this book seemed more smoothly constructed than others have been. I marked it for my dar shelf, which means I won't be keeping it, but since I am giving it to my mother, the book won't be going very far and if i ever want to read it again I will know exactly where it is.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Denise Smith

    I love Maeve Binchy and this is another charming character driven story. I love the way she brings back characters from previous novels for cameo appearances, like an old friend stopping by to say hello. If you're looking for a gentle and enjoyable read this is a great choice. I love Maeve Binchy and this is another charming character driven story. I love the way she brings back characters from previous novels for cameo appearances, like an old friend stopping by to say hello. If you're looking for a gentle and enjoyable read this is a great choice.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rosalee 'Leah' Thrum

    So many times I was tempted to stop reading this book. Usually I give a book 100 pages, I finished it, but even at page 308, I truely contemplated giving it the unfinished flick. The only reason I finished it, in the end, was I had nothing else I wanted to start reading, before our book club met again this week. I am glad that this wasn't my choice to read. I found Heart and Soul was like reading a soapie. The most climatic event was a girl going home to her mother. Nothing really happens, and i So many times I was tempted to stop reading this book. Usually I give a book 100 pages, I finished it, but even at page 308, I truely contemplated giving it the unfinished flick. The only reason I finished it, in the end, was I had nothing else I wanted to start reading, before our book club met again this week. I am glad that this wasn't my choice to read. I found Heart and Soul was like reading a soapie. The most climatic event was a girl going home to her mother. Nothing really happens, and it gets frustrating as she adds more and more characters, which I felt gave it a very superficial insight to the story and to the characters. The digression from the heart clinic to then a priest wasn't necessary, and I just found it frustrating. Didn't like it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Una Tiers

    This book had a strong start, but disappointed after the first 100 pages. The huge amount of characters and the stereotype of the Polish immigrant became tiresome. I've enjoyed several other books by this author, but found it hard to finish. This book had a strong start, but disappointed after the first 100 pages. The huge amount of characters and the stereotype of the Polish immigrant became tiresome. I've enjoyed several other books by this author, but found it hard to finish.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shiloh

    I have to quit reading these old lady romances! I knew I couldn't read anymore when the guy was staring at the girl's "little ringlet" next to her ear--- she had just gone to the salon?!?? What nurse goes to the salon in the middle of the day and gets an updo? With ringlets? No more mauve binchy for me. I have to quit reading these old lady romances! I knew I couldn't read anymore when the guy was staring at the girl's "little ringlet" next to her ear--- she had just gone to the salon?!?? What nurse goes to the salon in the middle of the day and gets an updo? With ringlets? No more mauve binchy for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sariah

    One of my all-time favorite authors, Maeve Binchey, does it again with a novel that lets me completely escape into someone else's life for a while. I've been reading Binchey for a long time now, and I love what her novels have evolved to. She used to write the huge, coming-of-age novels. I loved them. And while they always ended well, with closure, I always wonder what happened to these characters I had grown to love so much. I don't have enough curiosity about them to wish for a sequel, rather One of my all-time favorite authors, Maeve Binchey, does it again with a novel that lets me completely escape into someone else's life for a while. I've been reading Binchey for a long time now, and I love what her novels have evolved to. She used to write the huge, coming-of-age novels. I loved them. And while they always ended well, with closure, I always wonder what happened to these characters I had grown to love so much. I don't have enough curiosity about them to wish for a sequel, rather I just wanted to know the highlights. Are they still happy? The last several novels by Binchey are all new stories, but we get little "guest appearances" (I guess you could say) of characters that we grew to love in previous novels. "Heart and Soul" centers around a new heart clinic in Dublin and the doctors, nurses, staff, and patients that work there. In a lot of ways, it's like several short stories woven together to make one big novel. We meet several new characters, but we also get to see characters from "Quentin's", "Scarlet Feather", "Night of Rain and Stars", and more. Binchey seems to have gone away from telling a story about a woman who meets and falls in love with a wonderful man, only to be betrayed by the man. This story starts after the betrayal has already happened and is over with. :) We also get a bunch of really decent men such as Declan and Father Flynn. I like it. So overall, great story. A lot of fun. Great escape. (Now I wish Maeve Binchey would write something that lets us know how the characters of her earlier novels turned out. I'd love to know what happened after "Circle of Friends", "The Copper Beach", "Light a Penny Candle", "Firefly Summer", and more!!)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Audio book read by Sile Bermingham. This is a story of family, friends, patients and staff whose lives intersect at a heart clinic in Dublin. Dr Clara Casey has taken on the job of director of this underfunded but much needed clinic. She agrees to a one-year contract because she has plenty of other issues in her personal life – two adult daughters with whom she has a difficult relationship, and an ex-husband who is trying to worm his way back into her good graces. The staff she assembles is eclec Audio book read by Sile Bermingham. This is a story of family, friends, patients and staff whose lives intersect at a heart clinic in Dublin. Dr Clara Casey has taken on the job of director of this underfunded but much needed clinic. She agrees to a one-year contract because she has plenty of other issues in her personal life – two adult daughters with whom she has a difficult relationship, and an ex-husband who is trying to worm his way back into her good graces. The staff she assembles is eclectic and not without their own issues. Ania is a Polish émigré looking to escape her disgrace and find a way to help her widowed mother. Dr Declan Carroll is still in training and doing a rotation at the clinic; he has a natural empathy that helps both patients and other staff members. This is my first Binchy book, though her books have been on my TBR list for ages. This was the right book for me at the right time – a gentle, engaging story that focuses on relationships. It is a sort of snapshot of a year in these people’s lives. We learn of past heartaches, their insecurities, their strengths, and emotions. Sile Bermingham does a fine job of reading the book. Her pacing and inflections are right on target, and she brings the many characters to life. Update, Oct 2017 - I re-read this one to fulfill a challenge. Despite its length, it's a fast read. I've read other Binchy books since first reading this one, and now realize that it is a sequel of sorts to Nights of Rain and Stars, with most of those characters appearing here as well.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    I would not have picked this book to read on my own. It was the book choice for my Ladies' Book Group. I thought the book, about a woman who gets a position heading a heart clinic in Dublin, was much too saccharine. Clara, the main, well mostly main character, since there are myriad characters, comes into the clinic and has everything quickly fall into place for her. She quickly finds great, friendly, efficient (that is, perfect)staff within a couple of days. They all have their own side stories I would not have picked this book to read on my own. It was the book choice for my Ladies' Book Group. I thought the book, about a woman who gets a position heading a heart clinic in Dublin, was much too saccharine. Clara, the main, well mostly main character, since there are myriad characters, comes into the clinic and has everything quickly fall into place for her. She quickly finds great, friendly, efficient (that is, perfect)staff within a couple of days. They all have their own side stories, which at times takes away from being able to really connect with one character. At least, this was the case for me. Things happening in the various characters lives, like Hilary's ill mother, are slashed and burned in just a few pages. And on we go, tra-la-la... It was not a terrible read, by any means, just one for a lazy mind day. This is one of my firsts "reviews" on a book, so I am by no means someone to judge a book by; we all have our different tastes/feelings on books. This was mine on my 1st Maeve Binchy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ruthiella

    I think I have grown out of her now, but I still find Maeve Binchy’s books to be comforting. Her stories are fairy tales for adults in that characters face obstacles and learn their lessons and that while getting there might be bittersweet, the ending is always happy. Heart and Soul is about the women and men who establish a heart clinic at a major Dublin hospital and tangentially about their friends, family and patients. I did notice that this book and some of the characters seemed to be connec I think I have grown out of her now, but I still find Maeve Binchy’s books to be comforting. Her stories are fairy tales for adults in that characters face obstacles and learn their lessons and that while getting there might be bittersweet, the ending is always happy. Heart and Soul is about the women and men who establish a heart clinic at a major Dublin hospital and tangentially about their friends, family and patients. I did notice that this book and some of the characters seemed to be connected to previous novels. I suspect for long time fans of Binchy, that was probably more satisfying that for the casual reader.

  16. 5 out of 5

    SherryRose

    Maeve Binchy is a good story teller. She's always down to earth and her people seem real. I like this group of people from the heart clinic. Good stories but a bit draggy in places. It's 3.5 for me. Closer to 3 than 4. Maeve Binchy is a good story teller. She's always down to earth and her people seem real. I like this group of people from the heart clinic. Good stories but a bit draggy in places. It's 3.5 for me. Closer to 3 than 4.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy Vandermeer

    I love how Maeve develops characters individually, then ties them all together.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maitê

    I really loved my first Maeve Binchy book and still recommend it to a lot of my friends, so understandably, I had high hopes for this book and to my surprise, it seemed to me it was written by a completely different author. At times I caught myself wondering if maybe this wasn't one of those books that have a secret ghost writer imitating the style of the original author, and at times I wondered if it wasn't a problem with the translator, maybe he had taken some liberties and ended up deconstruc I really loved my first Maeve Binchy book and still recommend it to a lot of my friends, so understandably, I had high hopes for this book and to my surprise, it seemed to me it was written by a completely different author. At times I caught myself wondering if maybe this wasn't one of those books that have a secret ghost writer imitating the style of the original author, and at times I wondered if it wasn't a problem with the translator, maybe he had taken some liberties and ended up deconstructing the narrative style? But now that I have finished I'm certain that what was bothering me the most was the complete lack of a cohesive plot, a general disregard for character construction or growth. Along with the absurd and unnecessary frequent change of point of view, especially when she wastes or time changing a POV of a character nobody cares about and has absolutely nothing to say or to add to the story. It's just plain to me she wanted to write a long novel and had nothing to fill it with so she just made up a bunch of characters, that seems more likely caricatures of people, and added some characters from another novel that only served to make me not want to read that other novel at all. Ania is, in my opinion, the perfect representation of how disastrous this book is, she clearly wanted to represent with this character the discrimination foreign people suffers when starting a new in a different country, for that she created another character who's entire purpose it's to be an escape goat antagonist. We are supposed to few sorry for poor Ania, and in truth, most of the characters treat her with pity, constantly objectifying her, but instead of making her a strong character, she is exactly what the author thinks all foreigners from poor countries are. After, nearly 500 pages of no plot or direction, the author decides to create some inexplicable drama that is also inexplicably solved. She won't even bother trying to explain the drama or its solution, things just magically happen. A lazy book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    Pop sugar 2018 challenge: book set in a country that fascinates you (Ireland) This is my first book by Binchy and it was really enjoyable. It’s a cozy read/listen where you get wrapped up in the character’s lives. I enjoyed how she wove them all together but allowed each character to be set apart. I really enjoyed Anja’s story and her new-found independence. I would definitely read more by Binchy in the future!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    I'm a great fan of Maeve Binchy but this wasn't one of my favourites. She has set her story around a Dublin heart clinic and tried to work in many characters from previous novels such as Scarlet Feather, Evening Class and Quentins; even if they just have walk-on roles, her readers will be interested to see their progress. I disliked that the main characters are extremely unprofessional in manner. Even if the setting is Dublin, a doctor in charge of a clinic does not grouse and namecall about the I'm a great fan of Maeve Binchy but this wasn't one of my favourites. She has set her story around a Dublin heart clinic and tried to work in many characters from previous novels such as Scarlet Feather, Evening Class and Quentins; even if they just have walk-on roles, her readers will be interested to see their progress. I disliked that the main characters are extremely unprofessional in manner. Even if the setting is Dublin, a doctor in charge of a clinic does not grouse and namecall about the hospital administrator to all and sundry, including general assistants. It's just too unprofessional to be real. This lady is also derogatory of her posting, having hoped for better; she should be glad to have a prestigious, well-paying job with a pension in this day and age. A nod is given to multiculturalism with a young Polish woman who is a hard worker and has her own sub-plot. That's about it though, the odd glance at others but no persons of colour. We take side trips with the characters to Greece, England and even Poland, some of which scenes come across as padding to a degree but they add variety. Relationships good and bad are a central theme of course, with parents and young adults in the same house a common cause of issues. However we also get smatterings of good sense and advice about heart conditions and how to keep healthy through exercise, diet and de-stressing. There are so many characters and most called by first names, that I left the book for a day and when I came back to it I had no idea who most of them were or who was whose partner. If we are told that Fiona went shopping and saw a lovely dress for Gerry's wedding, we need a clue reminding us as to who Fiona is and where we saw her last, and what Gerry does for a living. Following just a couple of characters is easier. Maeve had a habit of writing short story style books, giving first one character's point of view and then another's, which makes the most of her immersive personal style. This book keeps picking up a new character and dropping them, and continuing to do this, which doesn't weave as well as usual. Of course any fan of Maeve will want a read and enjoy another Dublin tale. I actually got an American edition which was most peculiar as not only were there spellings like 'realize' and 'Guards car' instead of Garda car, but the people actually saw the word 'Center' at the heart clinic. Most odd.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sandie

    It’s difficult to say anything negative about Maeve Binchy books. How can one fault books that are as warm and comfortable as a big fluffy blanket? True, there are some that are definitely better than others, some characters you care about more than others, but when all is said and done you always come away from reading a Binchy book appreciating the humor, compassion and Irish spirit that permeates each page. In HEART AND SOUL, Binchy utilizes an underfunded heart clinic as the focal point for t It’s difficult to say anything negative about Maeve Binchy books. How can one fault books that are as warm and comfortable as a big fluffy blanket? True, there are some that are definitely better than others, some characters you care about more than others, but when all is said and done you always come away from reading a Binchy book appreciating the humor, compassion and Irish spirit that permeates each page. In HEART AND SOUL, Binchy utilizes an underfunded heart clinic as the focal point for the intersecting lives of her characters. Although the publishers review would have you believe that this is the story of Dr. Clara Casey whose job it is to set up the clinic, the truth of the matter is that hers is just the tasty crust of this pie. The intersecting stories of the clinic staff and the patients they care for are the sweet and satisfying filling and together they present a tasty treat for your reading palate. Die hard fans will recognize several characters from previous tomes like Night of Wind and Stars, Evening Class, Scarlett Feather and Quentins. While some make fleeting appearances, others like nurse Fiona Ryan (who was one of the co-stars in Night of Wind and Stars) have their stories come full circle with an outcome tied up in a big red bow. Most interesting among the newcomers are the Polish immigrant, Anya, and the story of her ill fated affair with the man who “used and abused” her. Others like Carl and his overbearing mother Rosemary, Declan the young doctor, and Hillary the physical therapist are ordinary people whose ordinary lives and problems are ones we can all relate to. Binchy is the queen of multiple story lines and HEART AND SOUL takes the reader on a voyeuristic trip into the lives of its characters that is both enchanted and enchanting. You'll enjoy the trip and you don't even have to pack a bag.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie Kenig

    While this book was a slow starter, it had a nice payoff in the end. Heart and Soul centers around a Irish clinic that treats patients with heart disease, helping them to learn to live with their condition, rather than dying from it - dietician Lavender holds cooking workshops, trainer Jimmy puts them through their paces in the gym, Dr. Decklan monitoring their health, nurses Fiona and Hillary minding the patients, clerical Anya working her behind off in every way, and administrator Clara oversee While this book was a slow starter, it had a nice payoff in the end. Heart and Soul centers around a Irish clinic that treats patients with heart disease, helping them to learn to live with their condition, rather than dying from it - dietician Lavender holds cooking workshops, trainer Jimmy puts them through their paces in the gym, Dr. Decklan monitoring their health, nurses Fiona and Hillary minding the patients, clerical Anya working her behind off in every way, and administrator Clara overseeing them all. The chapters are divided into the stories of different characters, so that you are changing perspectives off and on. The book starts with Clara, and while I can't remember the exact order, I do know that I was pretty bored until Anya's story was picked up in Chapter 4. I was considering giving up on the book, to be honest, but once I got into the tale of this lovely Polish immigrant and her troubled background, I was hooked! The story is very character driven, and there seems to be someone to relate to for everyone who might read this book. There are some hints that several characters are reappearing after being highlighted in other books Binchy has written, but I haven't read enough of her recent work to have known who they were or what the connections might have been. It didn't detract too much from the story, but did pique my curiosity. If there had been more information about the other books, I probably would have picked them up to see the background, but I can't seem to find much info on that. If you have any - let me know! By the end, I was very wrapped up in this story and stayed up late to finish it. Though parts of the book dragged, overall I really enjoyed it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    LindyLouMac

    Each chapter is written as episodes in the lives of the characters and it all seems to link together into a relaxing if not a somewhat predictable read. If you have read previous novels by this author you will also enjoy catching up with characters you met earlier and once again visiting the restaurant Quentins, also a title of one of Maeve Binchy’s earlier novels. It doesn't matter if you are new to this author though as it stands alone easily as well. It is not a novel that I am gong to rave ab Each chapter is written as episodes in the lives of the characters and it all seems to link together into a relaxing if not a somewhat predictable read. If you have read previous novels by this author you will also enjoy catching up with characters you met earlier and once again visiting the restaurant Quentins, also a title of one of Maeve Binchy’s earlier novels. It doesn't matter if you are new to this author though as it stands alone easily as well. It is not a novel that I am gong to rave about and say how fantastic it is or anything but it definitely has a feel good factor about it, a novel to relax with on the beach or curled up next to a roaring fire. There always seems to be a large cast of characters in Maeve Binchy’s novels and this is no exception. The story hinges around Clara Casey, a cardiac specialist as she takes charge of a newly opening heart clinic in Dublin. As well as meeting her family, two daughters Adi and Linda, her ex husband Alan there are the staff and patients at the clinic, as well as the old friends I mentioned from previous novels. They are all ordinary people with sorrows and joy in their everyday lives and as you read you find yourself drawn into the events that unfold. Nothing dramatic or particularly thrilling to keep you guessing but tales that just reach into the Hearts and Souls of the characters.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Dr. Clara Casey takes on the role of setting up the Heart Care clinic connected with the hospital in Dublin. She doesn't want to, but agrees for one year. She hires a staff and sets up the facility. What happens next is that the staff come together to really care about one another and the patients. The patients begin to see how they can manage their heart health and lead productive lives. In short, it's not as horrible as she thought it would be. I enjoyed this one. The last couple of Binchy bo Dr. Clara Casey takes on the role of setting up the Heart Care clinic connected with the hospital in Dublin. She doesn't want to, but agrees for one year. She hires a staff and sets up the facility. What happens next is that the staff come together to really care about one another and the patients. The patients begin to see how they can manage their heart health and lead productive lives. In short, it's not as horrible as she thought it would be. I enjoyed this one. The last couple of Binchy books I've read have been full of whiny characters complaining how bad everything is. Of course this one has a couple characters you love to hate but there is nowhere near the drama that I've read in her other books. Just the fun of a bunch of people(complete with past baggage) who care for each other helping one another through the day to day stuff and the situations that come up. One comment: some of the chapters start with brand new names that seem not to fit at all with what was just happening. Hang in there, because somewhere in the chapter someone from the clinic will be involved and it will all make sense and fit with the story line.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    My wifi has been acting up, so this is my third try at this. A gentle woman's read. Binchy's stories always turn out well, like a fairy tale, which I have a sneaking fondness for. This one is about the formation and first year of a Heart Clinic, formed to help people who have had heart attacks get follow up care in a non hospital setting. Most of the characters are sympathetic types. Even the bad ones come to sort of a resolution in the end. There's a women who is the head of the clinic; a hospit My wifi has been acting up, so this is my third try at this. A gentle woman's read. Binchy's stories always turn out well, like a fairy tale, which I have a sneaking fondness for. This one is about the formation and first year of a Heart Clinic, formed to help people who have had heart attacks get follow up care in a non hospital setting. Most of the characters are sympathetic types. Even the bad ones come to sort of a resolution in the end. There's a women who is the head of the clinic; a hospital administrator that she fights tooth and nail for funding, a nurse whose past comes back to bite her at the worst time, a priest who's the target of a female con artist, an immigrant who gets a job as a gofer and becomes integral to the clinic, as well as finding romance, and the wife of a heart patient whose superior attitude brings everyone down and almost loses her the love of her son. Her stories always bring in charactersand settings from other novels, and furthers their stories. All in all an enjoyable read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wallace

    Binchy does a wonderful job creating a community in Dublin, Ireland, of exactly the kind of people you would want to find there. In her own words, " I wanted to make it cheerful and positive and funny, which is what we all need." She did it smashingly. It was like visiting somewhere and staying long enough to become familiar, but leaving while you still like it enough to be eager to plan your return. I hear people describe Binchy's novels like a warm bath, or a comfortable chair with cozy blanke Binchy does a wonderful job creating a community in Dublin, Ireland, of exactly the kind of people you would want to find there. In her own words, " I wanted to make it cheerful and positive and funny, which is what we all need." She did it smashingly. It was like visiting somewhere and staying long enough to become familiar, but leaving while you still like it enough to be eager to plan your return. I hear people describe Binchy's novels like a warm bath, or a comfortable chair with cozy blankets. So far, I agree; and this will not be the last of Binchy on my bookshelf. Heart and Soul was pleasant and enjoyable. One would think that a story in which there was nothing particularly suspenseful would lose it's hold on the reader. Not so in this case, and what's more--I was sad to leave it. I am thankful for the lack of tension in the reading. If there had been more, it would have been impossible for it to be so charming.

  27. 5 out of 5

    LibraryCin

    This novel centers around a newly built heart clinic. Like with all Binchy's novels, there is a big cast of characters, and we get a glimpse into a lot of different characters' lives. Clara, separated from her husband and with two grown daughters who still live at home and have issues of their own, runs the clinic. Declan is a young doctor who lives with his parents who never had a lot of money and think the world of their son. Aina, a Polish immigrant to Ireland, has a past she is ashamed of an This novel centers around a newly built heart clinic. Like with all Binchy's novels, there is a big cast of characters, and we get a glimpse into a lot of different characters' lives. Clara, separated from her husband and with two grown daughters who still live at home and have issues of their own, runs the clinic. Declan is a young doctor who lives with his parents who never had a lot of money and think the world of their son. Aina, a Polish immigrant to Ireland, has a past she is ashamed of and wants to make a new life for herself. And there are many more... I really enjoy Binchy's novels – the ones I've read. Although there are always lots of characters, she spends enough time introducing each of them that it's easy to remember who's who and they are interesting. I also like that she brings in characters from previous novels as part of the community, as well.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I liked the stories in this one more than most of Binchy's other books that I've read, but the large cast of characters revolving around an Irish heart clinic are pretty similar to the other books she's written, and I'm afraid I will quickly forget them - there's more than average niceness here. Part of the good feelings of this book are the kids described as sounding like robots. I listened on audio, and that was the right little comic touch for the story. I usually listen to Binchy's books on I liked the stories in this one more than most of Binchy's other books that I've read, but the large cast of characters revolving around an Irish heart clinic are pretty similar to the other books she's written, and I'm afraid I will quickly forget them - there's more than average niceness here. Part of the good feelings of this book are the kids described as sounding like robots. I listened on audio, and that was the right little comic touch for the story. I usually listen to Binchy's books on audio for the Irish accented narrators, and this was no exception. The narration was excellent, but only when played sped up about 30%. Played at regular speed, the narration was slow and plodding, making this seem too reflective. Sped up, the characters had energy and purpose, and that's really what this story needs.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    A lovely book, I greatly enjoyed reading about the family relationships, the way that the Polish and Irish communities have so many commonalities. So many unpromising relationships that worked so well, Declan and Fiona, for example. Dysfunctional families that proved to be anything but with Clare´s Daughters who proved to be well rounded individuals.7 The work offered to Ania from Poland that proved to be the making of her, and her past difficulties that made her a stronger person ultimately. I lo A lovely book, I greatly enjoyed reading about the family relationships, the way that the Polish and Irish communities have so many commonalities. So many unpromising relationships that worked so well, Declan and Fiona, for example. Dysfunctional families that proved to be anything but with Clare´s Daughters who proved to be well rounded individuals.7 The work offered to Ania from Poland that proved to be the making of her, and her past difficulties that made her a stronger person ultimately. I loved the characters, with their past histories that proved that good people suffer but are able to come through their difficulties and are improved by their experiences. A great novel that reveals the strength and resilience that lies within us and that good will prevail. I can recommend this as a form of reading therapy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Maeve Binchy is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. All of her novels genuinely have "heart and soul." I am in love with her humor, the Irish dialogue, and the characters you grow to love despite or because of their eccentricities. I am so grateful that she makes the stories about normal people undergoing everyday tragedies and the tales are so uplifting, primarily because of the wonderful relationships between the characters. I also appreciate how she brings central characters from one Maeve Binchy is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. All of her novels genuinely have "heart and soul." I am in love with her humor, the Irish dialogue, and the characters you grow to love despite or because of their eccentricities. I am so grateful that she makes the stories about normal people undergoing everyday tragedies and the tales are so uplifting, primarily because of the wonderful relationships between the characters. I also appreciate how she brings central characters from one novel and uses them as minor characters in other novels. She has created a very real neighborhood and I, for one, would love to go live there and share a pint with the people she has created.

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