'A touching, funny, optimistic book full of wonderful, well observed characters' Daily Mail
'Maeve Binchy at her best' Choice
Everything is changing in small Irish town of Rossmore - and when a new road threatens to cut through Whitethorn Woods, everyone has a passionate opinion about whether the town will benefit or suffer.
At the heart of the conflict is the fate of St. Ann's Well. People have been coming to St. Ann's for generations to share their dreams and fears. Some believe it to be a place of true spiritual power, demanding protection; others think it's a mere magnet for superstitions, easily sacrificed.
When one man is offered compensation for his land - but has a personal reason to save the well - and a childless London woman comes to Whitethorn Woods, begging the saint for help, the consequences are not as anyone anticipated . . .
A proposed highway near the Irish town of Rossmore will mean the destruction of St. Ann's Well, a shrine in Whitethorn Woods thought to deliver healing, husbands and other miracles. The shrine resides in the parish of Fr. Brian Flynn, curate of St. Augustine's. As a fracas erupts between shrine skeptics who want the highway and shrine believers who want the shrine preserved, Flynn, unsure of where he stands on the issue and questioning his place in an increasingly secular Ireland, goes to the shrine and prays that he might "hear the voices that have come to you and know who these people are." Binchy (Tara Road) goes on to deliver just that: a panoply of prosaic but richly drawn first-person characters, such as Neddy Nolan, a not-so-simple simpleton; 60-something Vera, who finds love on a singles trip meant for those much younger; and unassuming antiques magnate James, whose wife of 26 years is dying. Stories of greed, infidelity, mental illness, incest, the joys of being single, the struggles of modern career women, alcoholism, and the heartbreak of parenting span generations, simply and poignantly. Binchy takes it all in and orchestrates the whole masterfully. 400,000 announced first printing.