A converted stone farmhouse on the Irish coast is about to receive its first guests in this warmly captivating story for fans of Maeve Binchy and Monica McInerney
With its brightly painted front door, white-sash windows and garden path sweeping down toward the sea, Lizzie O’s guesthouse promises a welcome escape from the world.
Aisling and Mick Fitzgerald are travelling all the way from Tasmania to celebrate their wedding anniversary, courtesy of Mick’s mother. Aisling would’ve preferred a week in Bali, but their anniversary also falls on Mick’s 40th birthday, and he wanted Ireland. They’re both using this trip as quality time together, but Aisling is also burdened with a secret that could ruin their marriage.
Declan Byrne, exhausted from an unhealthy routine of long hours, takeaway and too much red wine, has spontaneously taken the week off to visit the village of his childhood summers. He runs into Edwina and Peru, who he knows from the building he works in.
Katie Daly returns to West Cork after an absence of 35 years to care for her ageing mother only to find she must confront her painful past.
Finally, Mia Montgomery is taking this holiday without telling her husband. She needs time to reflect and make some decisions about her life.
Each of this group of strangers is at a crossroads. And one week in the middle of winter may change all of their lives.
A Week to Remember is the third novel by Irish-born Australian author, Esther Campion, who many compare to the late Maeve Binchy. High praise indeed, and as I’ve discovered here, deservedly so. I’ll admit to a deep affection for Binchy’s books, and A Week to Remember really channels the same sub-genre of heart-warming stories set in small-town Ireland.
But Campion has taken the crown and polished it. Her novels are Australian-Irish stories, brimming with wonderful characters, each with their own issues to confront and compelling character arcs. Her writing sings and is filled with heart and humour. Heavier themes such as infidelity, abuse, ageing parents, and traumatic pasts are all written with gentle wisdom.
The standout here really is the sense of place. Campion’s gift is to draw you into the utterly life-changing week each character experiences, in this truly special place. I wanted to be there. I was there. I now want to go back.
A Week to Remember was like a relaxing weekend away. I enjoyed every well-written page. A total treat.