Saturday, February 7, 2009

Heart and Soul-Maeve Binchy

Heart and Soul
Maeve Binchy
Knopf, Feb 17 2998, $26.95
ISBN: 9780307265791

Cardiologist Dr. Clara Casey knows how far she has fallen from grace with her new position as the head of t St. Brigid’s Hospital. She agreed to a one year stint at the always in financial need clinic while trying to resuscitate her medical career. She does no care about revising her dead marriage as she knows it collapsed due to her cheating spouse’s wandering penis. She also has two adult daughters who are demanding and spoiled and her ex keeps sniffing around her.

Clara plans to do the best she can at St. Brigid’s and ignore her family as much as possible. She finds her staff hardworking and cheerful in spite of lousy hours, crappy pay, and fractious patients. Her Polish assistant Ania is bright and hardworking although Clara knows if she had been in Ireland she could have been one of her former husband’s trophies. Instead she is an indispensable addition to the staff. Nurse Fiona Ryan brings professional care taking to the patients having moved past her personal disaster of NIGHTS OF RAIN AND STARS. Outside the clinic Clara meets friendly people especially at a local restaurant. Clara is having the time of her life and considers extending her stay though her daughters and her ex object; like they have a vote on her life.

The fascination with this fine entry by Maeve Binchy is that the star of the story line Clara is off page more often than not as the spotlight is frequently on the support cast in and out of the hospital; the amazement is how well the plot stays focused even meandering to other countries. The cast is strong as always and their lives interweave in a much more complex convoluted intricacies that make the DNA matrix look like a preschool puzzle. With the return of characters like the nurse from previous novels, fans of Ms. Binchy will have a wonderful time reading her latest multifaceted look at relationships.

Harriet Klausner

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