Tara Road, on my shelves for years, but never seemed to pick it up (probably because of the length and probably because I'm a sucker for listening to Binchy books in audio form so that I can enjoy the Irish accent in the narration). Then, a few weeks back, my library decided to do a major purge of their books in audio-cassette form. They were offering them ... for free! I kicked myself, after leaving with the bulky audio of Tara Road, for not picking up two Rosemary Pilcher books for my mother (Pilcher is one of her favorite authors).
I absolutely loved listening to this lengthy book. The length (fifteen cassettes long) turned out to be no problem at all. I didn't want the book to end. I relished my morning walk and even drew out the time longer, bringing my boom-box into the kitchen for my morning dish-washing chore, as well. I was swept up in the story and wanted to go on eavesdropping on the characters' lives endlessly. They feel as if they are real people I have known for years (surely the mark of a skilled author).
The tale begins with an introduction to Ria, a young woman who finds herself magically blessed with the love of her dashing, young husband, Danny Lynch, and with the acquisition of their dream home on Tara Road (a prosperous location in Dublin). After life settles in, with the birth of daughter, Annie, and son, Brian, Ria begins to feel restless and hopes that another baby is the solution. Sadly, there will be another baby for her husband, but it won't be hers.
Wishing to flee the devastation of a life which now feels like a lie, Ria immediately accepts the proposal of a young American woman, Marilyn Vine, for a home exchange over the summer. Marilyn, who is fleeing her own secrets and catastrophes, takes up residence in Tara Road. In typical Binchy fashion, a wide cast of characters weave their way in and out of the lives of these two lonely, desperate women. Personal drama abounds. There's nothing like being a fly on the wall in a Binchy-crafted world.
This book was chosen for an Oprah-Book-Club selection. I'm not surprised. Plus, it was made into a movie in 2005. Here's the trailer: