The Return Journey
In this extraordinary collection of stories, New York Times bestselling author Maeve Binchy once again reveals her incomparable understanding of matters of the heart with powerfully compelling stories of love, loss, revelation, and reconciliation.
A secretary's silent passion for her boss meets the acid test on a business trip. . . .
A man and a woman's mutual disdain at first sight shows how deceptive appearances can be. . . .
An insecure wife clings to the illusion of order, only to discover chaos at the hands of a house sitter who opens the wrong doors. . . .
A pair of star-crossed travelers take each other's bags, and then learn that when you unlock a stranger's suitcase, you enter a stranger's life.
In their company are many more, whose poignant, ironic, often humorous stories—unforgettable slices of life—make up The Return Journey, a spellbinding trip into the human heart.
Not without reason is Binchy (Evening Class; Circle of Friends) most popular for her novels, as this unimpressive collection of short stories linked by the theme of travel-and-learn indicates. Although the time is now and the place usually Dublin, the writing is dated, dependent on such romantic-comedy movie devices as mistaken identity, switched suitcases, confidante becoming lover, the stranger who upsets all the old balances, the surprise presence of Mum at the restaurant of the out-of-the-way hotel intended for a tryst. The most promising of the batch is the title story, a series of letters between a mother who left Ireland and her daughter, the young woman who has gone there to see the village her mother grew up in. The characters here have depth and secrets not immediately apparent. The conflicts between mother and daughter mirror the conflicts the mother has about her homeland. Unfortunately, the remaining 13 stories touch on formulaic generational and gender misunderstandings. The characters are established early, the predictable plot mechanisms uncoil like the proverbial spring and the conclusions are socked home, often in a chirpy manner.
Enjoyable collection of Binchy’s well-written quotidian stories about characters from the UK.