NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “Maeve Binchy is a grand storyteller in the finest Irish tradition."—The Plain Dealer
The Journey . . . Every Friday night a lilac-colored minibus leaves Dublin for the Irish country town of Rathdoon with seven weekend commuters on board. All of them, from the joking bank porter to the rich doctor’s daughter, have their reasons for making the journey.
The Destination . . . Rathdoon is the kind of Irish village where family histories are shared and scandals don’t stay secret for long. And this weekend, when the bus pulls in, the riders find the unexpected waiting for them . . . as each of their private lives unfolds to reveal a sharp betrayal of the heart, a young man’s crime, and a chance for new dreams among the eight intriguing men and women on . . . The Lilac Bus
In the first eight interrelated stories of the dozen that comprise her new collection, Binchy ( Circle of Friends ) introduces eight people who travel on a lilac-colored bus from Dublin every Friday night to spend the weekend in their hometown, Rathdoon. Each of the seven passengers and the bus driver is the protagonist of an individual story; taken together, the tales have the cohesion of a novelette. Though these people have known one another for years, they are totally unaware of the compulsions, anxieties, heartaches and dreams of their fellow travelers. As is gradually revealed, everyone on the bus has a secret; thus the stories have the pull of taffy: having finished one, the reader is hooked on discovering the essence of yet another protagonist's existence. Each story delivers a kick of surprise--and often more than one--as Binchy peels back the layers of her characters' lives with empathy, compassion and not a little humor. In the process, the tales coalesce to portray the social order of Rathdoon. The last four stories are set in Dublin, with a new, equally engrossing cast. Although the pieces differ widely in social setting and circumstance, each features a woman who learns the strength of her mettle through adversity. This gallery of memorable characters again confirms Binchy as a beguiling raconteur. BOMC featured selection.
I feel like I read authors notes for stories, not a finished product. Multiple storylines that don’t segue or tie back to each other. I kept looking back to see if I somehow skipped over parts or ending of storylines. But the stories and characters were interesting and I would have liked to see them completed.
I usually just love books by this author, sometimes reading them more than once. The second half of this book was not good, as if someone else had written it.
The Lilac Bus
What started out with great promise fell woefully short in the second half and ended very flat. There seemed to be a plot building in the chapters about the people on the lilac bus, but rather than tie them together, Ms. Binchey just tacked on more chapters about people not associated with the bus and only very indirectly associated with any of the riders. No point ever emerged. What a letdown.