Book Review: Tara Road

Tara Road
By Maeve Binchy
502 pages
Finished 12/14/08


Ria Lynch and Marilyn Vine have never met. Their lives have almost nothing in common. Ria lives in a big ramshackle house in Tara Road, Dublin, which is filled day and night with the family and friends on whom she depends. Marilyn lives in a college town in Connecticut, New England, absorbed in her career, an independent and private woman who is very much her own person.

Two more unlikely friends would be hard to find. Yet a chance phone call brings them together and they decide to exchange homes for the summer. Ria goes to America in the hope that the change will give her space and courage to sort out the huge crisis in her life that is threatening to destroy her. Marilyn goes to Ireland to recover in peace and quiet from the tragedy which she keeps secret from the world, little realising that Tara Road will prove to be the least quiet place on earth.

They borrow each other’s houses, and during the course of that magical summer they find themselves borrowing something of each other’s lives, until a story which began with loss and suffering grows into a story of discovery, unexpected friendship and new hope. By the time Ria and Marilyn eventually meet, they find that they have altered the course of each other’s lives for ever.

I read Tara Road several years ago while I was in college. I remembered liking it quite a bit, so I thought I’d try it again. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as impressed the second time around. I do like Maeve Binchy as an author. She generally takes you through a long period of time in her books, and you build up quite a bit of history with the characters. For that reason, I often feel a bit sad when I come to the end of her books because it feels like I’m leaving friends behind. I felt that way the first time I read Tara Road, and while I felt it again this time, it wasn’t nearly as strong. The premise of this story is a good one…two strangers exchanging homes to get away from some of their troubles for a short time….but I had forgotten how much adultery this book contained (nothing graphic, but very prevalent) and that’s what ruined it for me this time. I enjoyed the characters and the majority of the storyline, but overall I just don’t feel the same about Tara Road as I did back in my college years. I feel like events in the book could have been accomplished without involving so much unfaithfulness, and for that reason, I’m not putting it on my keep list.

2008 Page Count:  10,038


4 Responses to “Book Review: Tara Road”

  1. Beth Says:

    Hey, you hit the 10,000-page mark! Woo-hoo!!
    Got your Christmas card; thanks! It’s so cute and I loved the newsletter.

  2. Halo Says:

    well done, jenn. you made it!

  3. Em Says:

    I’ve never read the book, but I did see the movie. It was an interesting story.

    Congrats on reaching you goal!

  4. Marsha Says:

    Nice job on the 10,000 pages! I don’t think I read that much this year, but I did get several books in. We also got your Christmas card. So cute! Thank you.

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