R.I.P. Maeve Binchy

As you may already know, women’s fiction is my thing. And in general, the books I choose to read need to be entertaining and unpretentious.  Enter Maeve Binchy, who passed away 7/30/2012.  Binchy’s gentle stories of family and friends, set in Ireland,  rank high on my list of comfort reads– likely because, as Binchy told the BBC,  she wrote the way real people speak. “I don’t say I was proceeding down a thoroughfare, I say I walked down the road. I don’t say I passed a hallowed institute of learning,  I say I passed a school. You don’t wear all your jewellery at once – you’re much more believable if you talk in your own voice.”

And what a comforting voice it was.  Her many fans will miss her delightful tales and the large casts of true-to-life characters she created.


Readalike authors for Maeve Binchy include:
Elizabeth Cadell
Cadell is known for writing gentle romantic family stories.  The plots of her novels often involve eccentric characters and an independent heroine.  While they are more romantic in tone than Binchy, her characters and realistic situations will appeal to Binchy fans.

Fannie Flagg
Flagg’s stories may not be set in Ireland, but her small Southern towns featuring eccentric oddball characters are a good match for Binchy readers.  Gentle and humorous, they evoke the same sense of community that Binchy is known for.

Cathy Kelly
While Kelly’s novels are more contemporary and less gentle than Binchy, they do a wonderful job of capturing modern Ireland.  Fans of Binchy will appreciate Kelly’s touch with relationships and the everyday trials and tribulations of modern Irish women.

Rosamunde Pilcher
Pilcher’s novels feature large casts of characters – often extended families.  This is very similar to Binchy.  The English and Scottish settings will also appeal to Binchy fans.

Marcia Willett
Willett’s novels, set in the rural West Country English countryside, feature mature women and their families.  Her sense of leisurely pacing matches Binchy’s gentle style.  



About the Author:

Rebecca Vnuk is the editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist. She is also the author of 3 reader’s-advisory nonfiction books: Read On…Women’s Fiction (2009), Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (2014), and Women’s Fiction Authors: A Research Guide (2009). Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_RVnuk.

2 Comments on "R.I.P. Maeve Binchy"

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  1. Karen says:

    Binchy was one of my absolute favorite go-to’s for “I just want a good book” readers’ advisory. She will be missed.

  2. wkdwitch2222@yahoo.com' shannon says:

    I loved Maeve Binchy. She was one of the first adult fiction authors I read and feel in fan-fiction-love with as a teen. The settings of her stories have always thrilled me and awakened my desire to visit Ireland. She will be missed.

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