Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review: Tara Road

Book 3/30 in the 2012 Reading Challenge.  Date completed:  February 7, 2012.

I might have mentioned before that my grandma is my absolute best friend in the world.  When I went home in December for a visit, I spent as much time with her as possible, and she sent me on my journey to Europe with a couple of books from her favorite authors.  One of them was Maeve Binchy's Tara Road.

Tara Road is the story of Ria and Danny Lynch's romance and their beautiful and happy home on Tara Road in Dublin.  Well, the first half of the book is the story of their romance.  The second half is about their devastating break-up and how Ria travels to America for a summer to find herself.

This book was a light, easy read.  I enjoyed it a lot and I rated it four stars.  In looking for a picture of the cover on Google, I discovered that it was adapted into a movie starring Andie MacDowell, which I'm pretty excited about - looking forward to checking for it at the library.

Ria is an average girl, and at a young age falls head-over-heels for the dashing and oh-so-charming Danny Lynch when they meet working at a real estate office.  A romance follows, followed by a surprise pregnancy and their quick marriage.  Danny has a lucky run with business and ends up partners with Barney McCarthy, a  tycoon, and also a not-so-sneaky adulterer.  Ria feels continual sympathy for Barney's wife, Mona, but never suspects in the slightest that Danny's not only following Barney's business lead, but also his extramarital one.  Danny is a bit of a snake, and rolls through several affairs unknown to Ria before, at nearly 40 years old, he finally comes clean to her after impregnating and falling in love with a 22 year old girl called Bernadette.

Ria is overcome with grief at his decision to proceed with a divorce and the possibility of losing the home they created together and also a bit in denial that he'll actually follow-through with it.  When an American woman calls her home unexpectedly trying to reach Danny to find out about a home exchange, Ria seizes the opportunity to get away from Dublin and convinces the troubled Margaret to exchange homes with her.

Though they're essentially thrown into a "wife swap" sort of experience when they realize how different their lifestyles are, each of the women eventually finds her serenity and from around the world they develop quite a deep and meaningful friendship with one another.

This wasn't the best book in the world and parts of it made me irrationally mad at my husband on behalf of Danny Lynch (sorry, M!) and very frustrated with Ria for her naïvety, but overall I did enjoy it and was quite refreshed with it after dragging through The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, if for no other reason than it was different.  And because it's my grandma's book.

The other day we were shopping at Tesco - my new favorite store - and as we passed a small book display, I noticed another Maeve Binchy title.  I bought Minding Frankie just out of principle, because I'm going to really enjoy reading more of her work and passing them on to grandma so we can continue to book-share.  :)

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