Heart and Soul
By Maeve Binchy
Alfred A. Knopf
Dr. Clara Casey was passed over for the position of head cardiologist at the hospital. Instead, she ends up appointed the director of the new heart clinic and she’s less than thrilled about the prospect. She promises herself it will only be for a year, she’ll get through it, and move on.
The new job is just the beginning of her troubles. She has two selfish daughters who are wrapped up in their own lives. Her estranged husband, who left her to live with a much younger woman, is finally asking for the divorce she won’t grant, and Frank Ennis, the hospital board member overseeing the clinic, is an incredible thorn in her side.
At the clinic, she begins assembling a diverse and wonderful staff. Clara is a force and you begin to see the clinic find its home in the community and become a touchstone for so many of the characters in this book.
Maeve Binchy is a comfort read for me. She creates such immensely likable characters that I want to pick up and go to Dublin to meet these people. In this book, as with most Binchy novels, the story is told from several perspectives and you know what’s going on in the lives of all the characters. Some of their stories are more interesting than others but it’s the way they are all tied together that makes it work. Binchy does a good job of folding you into the story and you’re hooked before you know it. The ending of this one felt a bit abrupt and the characters all work out their problems fairly quickly but that may also have been me not wanting to see this story come to an end at all.
This book does include characters from previous novels but you don’t need to have read them all to understand what’s going on here. It stands on its own but if you’ve read the other books, it’s nice to see the characters you’ve met before are all doing fine.