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Hjerterum (2008)

af Maeve Binchy

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,535558,689 (3.65)44
A story of family, friends, patients, and staff who are part of a heart clinic in a community caught between the old and the new in Ireland.
  1. 00
    The Husband's Secret af Liane Moriarty (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Adults from many walks of life are brought together in these well-characterized novels, though not always for happy reasons. Though both feature large casts of realistic, complex characters, layered plots, and naturalistic dialogue, Heart and Soul is a lighter read.… (mere)
  2. 12
    Damernes Detektivbureau Nr. 1 : roman af Alexander McCall Smith (lahni)
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Engelsk (49)  Hollandsk (3)  Tysk (1)  Finsk (1)  Fransk (1)  Alle sprog (55)
Viser 1-5 af 55 (næste | vis alle)
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. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
I just love the characters in her books. ( )
  nwieme | Mar 19, 2020 |
Let me start by saying that I am a huge Maeve Binchy fan and love her writing. She just draws you right into the story and the characters. That being said, this was not her best effort. I enjoyed it, but then she started incorporating charachters from other book (Scarlet Feather, Quentins, Whitethorn Woods, Nights of Rain and Stars). I thought the book got a little disjointed from there and she lost the focus of the current book. I wished she would have focused on the current book and characters and delved more into their stories rather than reaching back to other books. ( )
  songbird72 | Feb 25, 2018 |
Lovely book, wonderful characters, great narrator (lovely accent). A nice distraction from the crazy world of this moment. I like to relax and escape into this quieter kinder place. ( )
  njcur | Dec 5, 2017 |
The Globe and Mail called this "Binchy's best read in a decade" and I would tend to agree. I didn't read her last book (Whitethorn Woods) because I was so disappointed in Nights of Rain and Stars. In this book Binchy brings together characters from some of her previous books with some new characters. One of the new characters is Clara Casey who is the newly appointed head of the Dublin heart clinic. Clara is separated from her husband but has her two daughters living with her. As if it wasn't stress enough to get the heart clinic up and running her husband wants a divorce so he can marry the pregnant woman (not much older than his daughters) for whom he left Clara. In order to stop thinking about the husband Clara plunges herself into the business of finding the right personnel for the clinic. One of the people she hires is Fiona who had a central role in Nights of Rain and Stars. Clara also hires Ania, a Polish immigrant who shows up in the car park next to the clinic one morning, to be the runner and general dogsbody. Quentins, the upscale restaurant from the book of the same name, makes several appearances and the catering couple from Scarlet Feather also show up. But the characters I was most happy to see were Nora and Aidan from The Evening Class. Aidan has a serious heart attack and they go to the clinic for advice on healthy living although Nora is convinced Aidan is going to die an early death. Clara manages to convince Nora to give the clinic a whole-hearted try for 6 weeks. Of course, before the 6 weeks is up Nora and Aidan are great supporters of the clinic.

There are romances between staff, between children of staff and between one staff member and the child of one of the patients. There are ups and downs in the romances but, in the end, those that should work out do. A very satisfying read. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 8, 2017 |
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In memory of my dear younger sister Renie. And with great love and thanks to Gordon who makes the bad times bearable and the good times magical.
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A story of family, friends, patients, and staff who are part of a heart clinic in a community caught between the old and the new in Ireland.

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