'Heart and Soul:' A look into Irish culture

Sonderbooks.com photoSonderbooks.com photoNew York Times bestseller Maeve Binchy surprises readers with a thoughtful, warm story with her newest novel, “Heart and Soul.”

Set in Dublin, Ireland, “Heart and Soul” tells the account of a cardiologist named Clara who is opening a heart clinic that no one seems to want, least of all the hospital that is funding it.

On top of this, she has two grown daughters and an ex-husband who give her trouble.

The novel looked at the ever-increasing issue of immigration, and the effects it has on immigrants and citizens alike with the character Ania, who emigrates from Poland to find work and is plagued by racism.

Even with all these issues, the first half of the book was happy-go-lucky to the point of being sick. I’m not the type of reader who enjoys depressing, miserable stories, but a fan of realism. And for the first 200 pages, this novel was not realistic.

But as I read more, I truly began to enjoy all of the characters and their private struggles, although I still am not so enthusiastic about Binchy’s writing style.

From the unique names of the characters to the Irish words in the text, I really took pleasure in reading about Irish culture, as this novel seems to be a description of modern Irish life.

Her simple sentence structure and word choice made her novel easy to read and is something you could read if you just want to relax.

If you are looking for the next Harry Potter in the way of plot, this isn’t for you. While the characters did run into trouble throughout the book, their individual problems were solved within the same chapter of the introduction of the problem, which is part of what made this such as easy, relaxing read, and also made for tremendously long chapters.

Maeve Binchy is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction and two nonfiction, including “Circle of Friends” and “Aches and Pains.”