Book Review: Nights of Rain and Stars

Nights of Rain and Stars
Published By: Dutton Adult
Publication Date: September 2004
Page Count: 304
Source: Library
Audience: Adult - Contemporary

Maeve Binchy doesn't really do series, but some characters do appear in multiple novels. I wish I had done my research and read this one before I read Heart and Soul. The reason behind this is one of my favorite characters from Heart and Soul, Fiona, is a major character in this novel which occurs before the events of Heart and Soul. It would have been nice to fully have Fiona's backstory instead of the snippets provided in the later novel. I found understood her choices so much more after spending time with her in this novel.

Fiona is spending time on a beautiful Greek island with her highly unsuitable and abusive boyfriend, Shane. Fiona has left behind her family and her nursing career to travel the continent with Shane. She refuses to see reason where he is concerned and doesn't see how controlling and dismissive he is towards her. A local tragedy brings the couple to a taverna where they will meet Andreas, the elderly owner who longs to repair a rift with his son. Fiona is instantly taken with Andreas, but Shane views him as a meddling old man. The tragedy will also lure fellow travelers David, Elsa, and Thomas to Andreas' establishment. David, a British man, is visiting Greece in order to avoid taking over the family business. Elsa has left Germany in the hopes of escaping a bad relationship. Thomas, a California professor, is trying to give his son space to adapt to life with his mother and her new love interest. Thomas isn't sure that he has a place in his child's life now.

This motley group bonds over the shared experience of viewing the tragedy and its emotional aftershocks. They forge a bond that will flourish into lifelong friendships - with the exception of Shane. As the novel progresses, each of these characters will find their own life intertwined with the others as well as with the tapestry of the townsfolk.

I loved watching strangers become confidants and friends. This novel also gave me a longing to see the Greek isles for myself some day. My minor one complaint is I missed the Irish setting.

One Last Gripe: I was frustrated with Fiona's choices, but she redeems herself by the end.

Favorite Thing About This Book: The characters

First Sentence: Andreas thought he saw the fire down in the bay before anyone else did.

Favorite Character: Elsa

Least Favorite Character: Shane

In a small Greek island village, a group of travelers from around the world and the local residents they encounter are brought together in unexpected ways when sudden tragedy strikes. In her inimitable style, Maeve Binchy shares with readers the lives of these strangers, learning their hopes, dreams, and fears as they move forward, forever changed by their experience. Here is the story of old Andreas, the gentle taverna owner who has spent many years regretting the argument that drove his only son to America; Elsa, the beautiful German reporter who gave up her television career and the man she loves once she learned the secret he hid from her; and Fiona, the Irish nurse and dutiful daughter, who's gone off to travel with the man everyone says is wrong for her, determined to show them all--even if everyone is right. This is also the story of David, the only son who loves his family but not the family business; Thomas, the Californian who is able to cope with his recent divorce but not with sharing his son with his wife's new husband; and Vonni, who rashly left behind her life in Ireland to follow her true love to this village thirty years ago--and who is wise for everyone but herself. A story that only Maeve Binchy could tell, told with the authenticity, charm, and grace that are her trademark, Nights of Rain and Stars will be rightly cherished by her millions of fans around the world.