Maeve Binchy's heartwarming tales of love, life, and loss made her one of America's best-loved storytellers. Her novels, which sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, captured imaginations on both sides of the Atlantic in a way that most authors only dream of. Seared with a truth and honesty that leapt from the page, her stories capture the imagination and continue to win her legions of loyal fans.
In this extraordinary biography, Piers Dudgeon reveals that the inspiration for many of her stories came from Maeve's own hard-won experience growing up in Ireland. In the land of her birth and what would become the setting of her novels, Maeve suffered through a difficult adolescence and famously lost her faith before coming to terms with who she was and expressing at last the qualities that would come to define her as both a writer and a person.
Drawing on extensive research and humorous personal anecdotes, Maeve Binchy: The Biography celebrates the life of a compassionate, down-to-earth and charming woman who touched hearts around the world and left behind an incredible legacy.
Dudgeon (Neverland) begins his narrative of bestselling author Maeve Binchy with novelistic flair, but, once past the familiar-sounding details of her early life and career, struggles for a conventional plot formula to fit the mature Binchy's life. He labors to attribute Binchy's "authentic" style to her ancestry, in particular an "indigenous Irish culture" built on music and storytelling. Yet Dudgeon also grounds the international success of her emotionally-driven, female-centered novels in modern vogues for psychology, feminism, and women's fiction. Beside the reminiscences of friends and occasional attempts at amateur psychoanalysis based on her fiction, the biography relies on personal stories that will amuse the casual fan but which Binchy's loyal followers may recognize as culled with some embellishment from her Irish Times columns. Her mature, most beloved novels merit barely a mention as Dudgeon muses on Binchy's appeal as an "intuitive" writer channeling "the collective unconscious of her people." While the biography does sensitively capture her "exhilarating, joyful spirit" as well as her vulnerabilities, Dudgeon's Binchy ultimately never seems as fully-realized as one of her own characters testament, perhaps, to the unique talent that "made people feel happier for reading her."