December 25, 2013 8 Comments
From the publishers: “This Year It Will Be Different brings us the magic and spirit of Christmas in fifteen stories filled with Maeve Binchy’s trademark wit, charm, and sheer storytelling genius. Instead of nostalgia, Binchy evokes contemporary life; instead of Christmas homilies, she offers truth; and instead of sugarplums, she brings us the nourishment of holidays that precipitate change, growth, and new beginnings.
The stories in This Year It Will Be Different powerfully evoke many lives during the one holiday of the year when feelings cannot be easily hidden: step-families grappling with exes; long-married couples faced with in-law problems; a wandering husband choosing between ‘the other woman’ and his wife; a child caught in the grown-up tug-of-war. The time of year may be magical, imbued with personal meaning, but the situations are universal, and Maeve Binchy makes us care about them all.”
This Year it Will be Different: What I thought
This is a typical Binchy read: full of family and friends, close and difficult relationships. It’s not a cozy Christmas book. Instead, it’s full of stories of people who have to celebrate Christmas in a way that they don’t really appreciate. Sometimes it’s because they have had the same Christmas for years, with the same difficult guests spoiling the day. In other stories, people are divorced and have to organise their Christmas plans around their exes, or they are on their own feeling sorry for themselves. Of course, the stories tend to end well although generally not in the standard whole-family-together happy-around-the-dinner-table kind of way.
I loved reading this book. So many different situations are described, and I love how the people in the stories start off with a problem: they don’t want Christmas – or not as they are expecting it to be. And then at the end of the story, they either get quite a different Christmas, or at least a Christmas they can handle.
While Binchy is happy to destroy a few Christmas traditions along the way, one thing is certain: the turkey is always part of the festivities. Even she can’t get away from that old beast, the turkey. I have had many Christmases in the UK, next door to Binchy’s Ireland, and there, too, the turkey cannot, I repeat cannot, be absent at Christmas dinner. Now, I’m sure there are people who don’t do turkey, but I swear, most do, and they can’t even conceive of a Christmas without turkey, sprouts and brandy butter. Oh well, we all have our traditions, I guess. Binchy certainly does.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)
Number of pages: 366
First published: 1996
I got this: via Bookmooch, a book swap site
Genre: short stories contemporary fiction