Book Beginning (from the first story "Dolly's Mother"):
It was all the harder because her mother had been so beautiful. If only Dolly's mother had been a round, bunlike woman, or a small wrinkled person, it might have been easier for Dolly, this business of growing up. But no, there were no consolations on that score. Mother was tall and willowy and had a smile that made other people smile too and a laugh that caused strangers to look up with pleasure. Mother always knew what to say and said it; Mother wore long lilac silk scarves so elegantly they seemed to flow with her when she walked. If Dolly tried to wear a scarf, either it looked like a bandage or else she got mistaken for a football fan. If you were square and solid and without color or grace, it was sometimes easy to hate Mother.
The Friday 56 (from "Nessa Byrne" at Page 56 in my hardback):
[Nessa's family is preparing for the annual visit from their Aunt Elizabeth, a woman who "... knew all about everything and she was never wrong."]
Aunt Elizabeth's bedroom was emptied of all the clutter that had built up there in the year since her last visit. They touched up the paintwork and lined the nice empty drawers with clean pink paper.
Nessa's mother often said with a weary laugh that if it hadn't been for Elizabeth's annual vacation the whole place would have been a complete tip.
Genre: Women's Fiction / Family Life
Amazon Link: Chestnut Street
Length: 368 Pages
Author's Website: Maeve Binchy
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Maeve Binchy imagined a street in Dublin with many characters coming and going, and every once in a while she would write about one of these people. She would then put it in a drawer; “for the future,” she would say. The future is now.
Across town from St. Jarlath’s Crescent, featured in Minding Frankie, is Chestnut Street, where neighbors come and go. Behind their closed doors we encounter very different people with different life circumstances, occupations, and sensibilities. Some of the unforgettable characters lovingly brought to life by Binchy are Bucket Maguire, the window cleaner, who must do more than he bargained for to protect his son; Nessa Byrne, whose aunt visits from America every summer and turns the house—and Nessa’s world—upside down; Lilian, the generous girl with the big heart and a fiancé whom no one approves of; Melly, whose gossip about the neighbors helps Madame Magic, a self-styled fortune-teller, get everyone on the right track; Dolly, who discovers more about her perfect mother than she ever wanted to know; and Molly, who learns the cure for sleeplessness from her pen pal from Chicago . . .
Chestnut Street is written with the humor and understanding that are earmarks of Maeve Binchy’s extraordinary work and, once again, she warms our hearts with her storytelling.