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Finfarran Peninsula #1

The Library at the Edge of the World

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A warm, feel-good novel about the importance of finding a place where you belong - perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy.

Local librarian Hanna Casey is wondering where it all went wrong ... Driving her mobile library van through Finfarran's farms and villages, she tries not to think of the sophisticated London life she abandoned when she left her cheating husband. Or that she's now stuck in her crotchety mum's spare bedroom.

With her daughter Jazz travelling the world and her relationship with her mother growing increasingly fraught, Hanna decides to reclaim her independence. Then, when the threatened closure of her library puts her plans in jeopardy, she finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the fragmented community. Will she also find the new life she's been searching for?

339 pages, Unknown Binding

First published November 17, 2016

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About the author

Felicity Hayes-McCoy

22 books485 followers
USA Today bestselling Irish writer Felicity Hayes-McCoy is the author of the 'Finfarran' novels, set in a fictional county on Ireland's West Coast. Marian Keyes calls her writing "a pitch-perfect delight", Cathy Kelly, bestselling author of "Between Sisters" and "Secrets of a Happy Marriage", has described the Finfarran books as "a delicious feast", and "sunshine on the page", while Jenny Colgan, bestselling author of "The Cafe by the Sea", calls them "charming and heartwarming".

Felicity's latest book, a standalone novel, The Keepsake Quilters (Hachette Irl), was published in October 2022 to critical acclaim. Best-selling Irish authors Roisin Meaney and Carmel Harringon called it "the perfect festive read" and "warm and wise ... an absolute joy"; Claudia Carroll and Patricia Scanlan wrote of it as "warm, funny and full of heart" and "a fascinating, beautifully-written generational saga"; and television presenters Barbara Scully and Mary Kennedy have described it as "a gorgeous novel" and "a beautifully-crafted story."

Finfarran #1, The Library at the Edge of The World, was published in June 2016: The Sunday Times called it "engaging, sparkling and joyous" and The Sunday Independent wrote "If you like reading a feelgood novel, take a journey to the edge of the world. An easy, pleasant summer read for fans of Maeve Binchy".

Summer at The Garden Café, the second in the Finfarran series, came out in the UK & Irl May 2017, The Mistletoe Matchmaker, a warm, empowering Christmas story, in October 2017, and The Month of Borrowed Dreams, in June 2018: The Irish Independent's review called it "a heartwarming novel which will leave you longing to read the earlier ones". The best-selling author Marian Keyes said she was "utterly charmed" by Finfarran #5, The Transatlantic Book Club, which was published in 2019.

A US & Canadian edition of The Library at the Edge of The World, published by Harper Perennial in Nov 2017, was chosen as a LibraryReads Pick. The US & Canadian edition of Summer at The Garden Café was published in 2018, The Mistletoe Matchmaker followed in 2019, The Transatlantic Book Club in 2020, The Month of Borrowed Dreams in 2021, and The Heart of Summer in 2022.

Finfarran #7, The Year of Lost and Found, was published by Hachette Irl in May 2021, and praised as "the perfect, page-turning escape" and "the best book of the year so far for me" by best-selling Irish authors Sinéad Moriarty and Claudia Carroll. It was preceded in 2020 by Finfarran #6, The Heart of Summer, of which Ireland's Sunday Business Post reviewer wrote "This works perfectly well as a standalone novel ... her writing sings", and bestselling author Patricia Scanlan commented "Fans of Maeve Binchy will adore it - she just gets better and better!"

The Finfarran novels have been translated into seven languages and can also be purchased in English as ebooks and audiobooks.

Described as 'wise, funny' and 'blazingly beautiful' by actress and writer Joanna Lumley, Felicity's first memoir, The House on an Irish Hillside was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2012. It takes the author to London, where she worked as an actress and met her English, opera-director husband, and back to Ireland, to a remarkable stone house on the Dingle peninsula.

Enough Is Plenty: The Year on the Dingle Peninsula, a sequel to The House on an Irish Hillside, was published by The Collins Press in 2015. Illustrated with photographs by Felicity and her husband, and with a foreword by the best-selling Irish writer Alice Taylor, it charts the cycle of the Celtic year in Felicity's own house and garden.

A second memoir, A Woven Silence: Memory, History & Remembrance, described by The Sunday Times as 'a powerful piece of personal and political history', was published in September 2015, also by The Collins Press. Inspired by the lost story of her grandmother's cousin Marion Stokes, one of three women who raised the tricolour over Enniscorthy town in Wexford dur

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,381 reviews
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,345 reviews4,865 followers
May 4, 2023

When Hanna Casey discovers that her husband, a hard-hitting London attorney, has been having a twenty-year-long affair, she packs up her teenage daughter Jazz and flees to her childhood home - a purple cottage on the Finfarren Peninsula of Ireland.

Hanna (foolishly) demands nothing in the divorce 😒, and financial constraints make it necessary for her to live with her mother. This is difficult because Hanna's mother, Mary Casey, is a thorny woman who disapproved of Hanna's marriage and has a smug 'I told you so' attitude.

Hanna has a degree in library science, and becomes head librarian in the town of Lissbeg.

In this capacity, Hanna oversees activities in the library building AND drives the library van (bookmobile) up and down the peninsula a couple of times a week. During these jaunts, Hanna stops at schoolhouses and senior daycare centers - where the residents celebrate her visits with homemade cake.

Though Hanna is cordial - and helpful to the borrowers - she's a reserved woman, with no interest in small talk or gossip.

Hanna's part-time assistant at the library is Conor - an enthusiastic young farmer who needs the extra money to help his family.

Conor thinks the library should host book clubs and meetings, but Hanna nixes the idea - wanting to keep a buffer between herself and the general public. When Hanna's out with the bookmobile, though, young moms gather in a comfortable nook.....and who knows what they talk about. 😊

After Jazz grows up, finishes school, and becomes an airline hostess, Hanna feels the time is right to get her own place. As it happens, Hanna's Aunt Maggie left her a dilapidated old clifftop house, and - to the dismay of her mother - Hanna announces she's going to renovate the old junker and move in. Hanna gets a loan from the credit union and prepares to start her project.

News of this undertaking spreads through the peninsula like wildfire, and an eccentric jack-of-all-trades named Fury O'Shea shows up at Hanna's fixer upper with his dog ('the divil') and appoints himself Hanna's builder.

Fury borrows a couple of goats to clear the overgrowth, and proceeds to take charge of the restoration. Hanna gives instructions, Fury ignores them.....and their tug-of-war is quite entertaining. Lest you think this is the beginning of a flirtation between Hanna and Fury, think again.....because attraction lies in another direction.

When Hanna needs information about building codes and permits, she stops by the Planning Office and meets Brian - who provides the necessary particulars.

Hanna and Brian's friendship gets off to a rocky start, but before long the seeds of a (glacially slow) romance are sowed. 💖

The book is not a romance however. It's the story of a community that works together for a better future.

During a civic meeting Hanna learns that the city council is about to consider a plan that would use ALL the peninsula's public funds to benefit a small area.....and put money in the pockets of businessmen and politicians. Wanting to help the entire peninsula - and keep her job - Hanna goes into action. She spearheads a movement that would attract tourists, grow heirloom plants, and bring people together. This leads to friendship and fun - and perks for Hanna's future cottage.

I enjoyed the story, the ambiance of coastal Ireland, and the wide array of characters - including humans, goats, and the divil 🐶 - who made me laugh.

I think many readers would like this book.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for LibraryLaur.
1,427 reviews44 followers
October 30, 2017
This was a bit hard to get into and rather slow-going at times; a lot of characters to keep track of and not all of them were fun to spend time with. I was especially annoyed that the main character, a trained librarian, was opposed to providing her community with the most basic of library programming and services -- she was against book clubs, for heaven's sake. No wonder her library was threatened with closing. Maybe libraries are different in Ireland than they are here in the U.S., but her attitude was baffling to me as a librarian.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books298 followers
August 18, 2017
Who could resist a book with the title of a library at the edge of the world? Not me. The story revolves around Hanna Casey. After separating from her cheating husband, Hanna, in her early fifties, ends up living with her mother on the outskirts of a town in Ireland where she grew up. Her daughter Jazz has a job with an airline company and spends her time flying around the world, coming back every now and then to visit her mother and grandmother or at other times visiting her father in London. Hanna has a job as librarian in the Finfarran Peninsula community. This is a far cry from the lifestyle she lived while married to Malcolm. But given the shortage of jobs in the area, she knows she is lucky to have a job at all. As she drives her mobile library van around the area, Hanna tries to keep herself aloof from the people and even those she works with at the library, like Conor. But then events conspire to change her way of looking at life and of the people around her.
This is a charming, feel good story. The setting was stunning and the characters were interesting. Even though she can be prickly, I felt sorry for Hanna. Her mother Mary Casey is an aggravating character. No wonder Hanna could not contemplate continuing to live with her and decides to renovate the old house left to her by her great aunt Maggie. Some of Hanna’s interactions with Fury, the builder, are classic. There is a hint of romance in the novel, but it is not the main focus. Basically this is a book about relationships, community and working together. I enjoyed this charming read that leaves the reader feeling in a good place.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,345 reviews526 followers
March 27, 2022
A library on the epic, lush west coast out of Ireland. Yes, please! Hanna has returned home to Ireland to live with her mom and raise her teen-age daughter after leaving her philandering husband. Leaving the cosmopolitan environment of London and her dreams to be an art librarian makes Hanna seem unapproachable to the citizens she serves with her library van. When the establishment puts forward a plan that will cause further hardship for many in her service area, Hanna finds herself connecting with a nun from the former convent next to her library and together they energize the surrounding communities to reconnect in a digital world.

What I really love about this story is the way Hanna's library/van began to morph from the old, traditional ways into a more purpose-based library. When the library connects to and with their patrons, everyone benefits. It is also refreshing to see a budding romance avoid insta-love territory.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,062 reviews200 followers
August 4, 2018
My best advice on this book is too stick to it even though you might want to put it aside at first. Hanna is unlikable at the beginning. She is starting over after she discovers her husband in her bed with a friend of hers. She leaves London in a huff without getting any money from her well to do husband and returns to her mother's home in western Ireland with her teen-age daughter, Jazz. Boy, does she really show her husband when she takes nothing from their marriage. That will show him (sarcasm).

She gets a job at the local library and drives the mobile bookmobile. She is standoffish and distant to library patrons and all people she meets. She is sure they are all gossiping about her and making fun of her because of her husband's long running affair. How she thinks people will know this without her telling them is beyond me. It's also important to remember that people don't think as much about you as you think they do but there is no talking to stiff necked Hanna. She also picks fights with her mother for no apparent reason. She is no joy to be around.

Still the drive around the peninsula delivering books is breathtaking. Although the towns are fictional, I am pretty sure it's based on Dingle. As events, unfold Hanna is forced to make some changes to survive. Her job is in danger and she must try to save it. It then becomes a lovely story about a community coming together to make better lives and an area's struggle to thrive while keeping it's history intact. In the end, you shut the book in satisfaction.
Profile Image for Hannah.
396 reviews57 followers
December 1, 2017
Putting this one down early. I cannot stand the main character! I thought with us both being librarians I would really enjoy this but she seems to really hate her job! Perhaps it all changes in the end but I don’t care to find out.
Profile Image for Mallory.
1,121 reviews80 followers
March 27, 2022
I really expected to love this book more. The setting of a made up peninsula in Ireland with the main character being a librarian I felt like it would be love at the first page. I found this book a bit of a struggle to get into and I think a large part of it was that I didn’t care much for the characters. The main character especially is hard to care for - while she is a librarian she doesn’t seem to understand anything about the value of the library (she doesn’t even like people who browse for books!). It was a sweet story about a community coming together, but altogether I’m not sure it’s a story that will be staying with me the way I would like. I did like the Divil, by far my favorite character.
Profile Image for Desiree.
132 reviews8 followers
October 9, 2017
It sure is a feel good book and I especially enjoyed the setting in a small town Ireland. It sounds like a lovely community. The ending is okay as all goes well, but I feel like there are some few loose ends that need to be tied. I guess there will be a sequel to this. I can’t seem to connect to Hanna most of the time and I don’t think it’s because of the age. There are also a lot of characters that it got so confusing to follow who is who. It started painfully slow for my liking that I find myself skimming some pages because it fails to catch my interest. The conflict came later on in which I feel like a good quarter of the book can be shed off.

It is well-written, though, and the main reason that I keep reading. That and the second half of the book is so much better that I managed to get through it until the end. From the numerous characters, there are some whom I enjoyed reading than the others. Sister Michael, a nun in the convent, and Fury, the carpenter who’s fixing Hanna’s cottage, both of them helped Hanna save the library and the community. There’s a hint of romance, too, which is not really the focus of the story, which I like. I also love how everyone banded together to save not only the library but the whole community. With all that, I’d say it is still a good read overall. It just needs the kind of reader who will enjoy not only the writing style but also the lovely setting in Ireland.
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,194 reviews724 followers
September 2, 2020
Oh, what an absolutely wonderful book for every book lover on earth! I adored this story of a public library, a woman starting over, family, friends and community set in rural Ireland. The setting is fabulous, the people make my heart happy and the storyline of a librarian saving a library makes this school librarian jump for joy. Thanks a million to the publisher for sending me a complimentary review copy of this title!

Now, if all of that makes me so happy, just IMAGINE how excited I was to find out that this is actually the first book in a series that was originally published in Ireland and is just now coming to the US from Harper Perennial! AND, the next 2 books in the series are available to buy in the US through Book Depository, so of course I ordered them immediately and can now binge read them the moment they arrive! YAY! The US cover is VERY different from the Irish covers ~ the Irish covers are very much in the "English cozy" style with illustrations and curly cutesy font. Both are great, but I do think this photographic cover will do amazingly well here in the states!
Profile Image for Karina.
820 reviews
May 20, 2018
Brought book on vacation thinking it would be a good poolside book. The title, set in Ireland did nothing for me. Was too slow, repetitive, and would not get to the point! I love Maeve Binchy books. Did not remind me of her. The characters hardly interacted enough for me to appreciate it more and was not interested in lives of characters. Too boring. Had to quit on pg 245...
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,660 reviews26 followers
August 23, 2019
I got this book thinking it was non-fiction. I was wrong, sigh. And on top of that it is romance fiction. Hanna Casey has come back home from London after a divorce. The story purports to be about a mobile library (bookmobile) wandering rural Ireland. In reality, this story hardly figures into the plot. Hanna divorced a very rich man and didn't want any settlement. They have a teenage daughter and she doesn't have a job. This is the first clue that this woman is hopeless. There is a ridiculous episode where she flies to London and gets a hotel room (where does she get the money?) and has her husband meet her in her room so she can ask him again for money. Of course he gets the wrong idea of what she's up to and she gets angry and so on. A wasted trip and a stupid scene which kind of sums up some of the problems I had with the book.
Her personality comes across much of the time as somewhat snarky. In Maeve Binchy fashion (I really liked MB despite her over the top optimistic stories) people collect around Hanna to make her life easier. But she's not nice to them. She decides to renovate a wreck of a family cottage even though she has no job or money. Somehow the bank lends her money and a local builder who she distrusts helps her by finding priceless fixtures and furniture for next to nothing (really?) which she doesn't appreciate. Towards the end of this unsatisfactory story, she meets a possible love interest. This book is labeled the first in a series - oh Lord, protect and save us from more schmaltz.
In the afterward, the author reveals this is a fictional place and even the details of life in rural Ireland don't quite resemble reality. Jeezzzzz.
Profile Image for L.A. Starks.
Author 11 books653 followers
June 15, 2020
This well-written super-cozy spirits readers away to small towns in western Ireland. Its heart is the mother-daughter-grandmother family relationships--Hanna is the librarian-protagonist. Like Alexander McCall Smith's series that introduces a lovely, even-keeled Botswana to the world, perhaps a few readers will find themselves travelling to the Irish peninsulas. For the rest of us, this book is perfect for taking us there.

Very humane. Recommended to readers who like books about family dynamics and/or Ireland.
Profile Image for Book2Dragon.
343 reviews137 followers
April 1, 2020
This is a good book for the beach when you just want to relax, sort of like a Hallmark movie. I am not a fan of romance, but although there are hints and instances of the same, there is actually a story. It can be a bit slow in parts, but the ending is most fun and well crafted. The setting is Ireland, so if you have affection for same, you will certainly enjoy this. Characters are well filled out and not overwhelming (as in some books I've read in the last year). The author is also involved in theater, but her writing is sweet and endearing.
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,640 reviews56 followers
July 11, 2020
Summer reading programs at libraries are fun!

I'm not talking about the required reading for middle and high schoolers during the months of June, July, and August, though those are a big deal at my job (which is at a library, for those who don't know). Instead, I'm talking about the drawings and such they have during the summer months where reading books earn you prizes. Though the 'berry I work for doesn't allow its staff to participate in the same contests as the patrons, I have won prizes as part of the Summer Reading program at another library in my area. One year, I submitted enough reviews to win an Amazon gift card. This year, they gave me a water bottle just for signing up...and, later on, I read so many hours that I won a free book. A few days ago, I ventured over there to pick up my prize; I was allowed to choose one piece of literature from a bin of several...so, I chose this book.

What did I think? Well, the overall story was great; the fact that the protagonist was a librarian, not to mention the references to the Bible and the Christian faith, won points in my book. I was also surprised to see a mention of Daniel O'Donnell; he is one of my mom's favorite singers, but not exactly well-known here in the States. However, there were two serious downsides: the language, which included umpteen d-words and just as many misuses of God's name, and some sexual dialogue. Unless Tinseltown censored it, a celluloid adaptation of this would easily earn a "PG-13" from the MPAA. So, though I had fun with it, I'm probably not going to read it again; it's going in my trade-in bag shortly.
Profile Image for Madeleine (Top Shelf Text).
292 reviews237 followers
January 26, 2018
Note: Top Shelf Text received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

I've been feeling stuck when browsing my shelves for my next read, so I've gravitated towards books that are more inside my reading comfort zone. The Library at the Edge of the World was a perfect choice for me this month as I navigate this season of life & reading. As the title suggests, this is a book for book lovers, but also a book for those feeling adrift in their own communities and are searching for belonging.

The Library at the Edge of the World follows a middle-aged woman named Hanna Casey. While at first glance, Hanna's life may seem picturesque -- a local job as head librarian in her hometown on the gorgeous cliffs of Ireland -- Hanna's life is a bit of a mess. She lives with her aging mother, is always missing her own teenage daughter while she's out exploring the globe, and resents her ex-husband for ruining the life she had built before their divorce. Hanna hadn't planned to live in her struggling hometown of Finfarran -- but when she found her husband in bed with a family friend, thus revealing a twenty-year affair, Hanna uprooted her socialite London life to recuperate in the safety of her childhood home. Now, she's tired of her reserved life and wants a fresh start. An inheritance in the form of a dilapidated cottage presents Hanna with an opportunity to create the home that she's desperately in need of, and gives her an opportunity to put down roots in a community that she's held at arms length.

While the premise of this book is nothing new -- a broken relationship, the need to start over, and a project for the main character to use as therapy -- I really enjoyed reading this story. I loved the unfamiliar setting, and found myself pining for a trip to Ireland to see the gorgeous views that are described throughout. I also liked the rhythm of this story. It was a slower read for me, and more gentle than many of the books I've read lately. I liked rooting Hanna on as she found her footing and gained independence from her former life, and I found myself cheering on her community too. This novel falls into a category previously defined as "chick lit" but now more often referred to as "women's fiction" and although I sometimes scoff at that labeling for obvious reasons, I'm finding myself more open to reading similar books this year! There are two other books taking place in the same location and with recurring characters, so if you pick up the first and like me, find yourself a new fan of Felicity Hayes-McCoy, then make sure to pick up the others too!
Profile Image for Melissa (Catch Up Mode).
4,567 reviews1,873 followers
November 8, 2019
This was an ok book. I wanted more about the library and the librarian and less about the politics, but overall it's a sweet story and I liked the characters.
Knowing that it's the first in the series, I will be glad to get more character development and furthering of the story in future installments.
195 reviews12 followers
June 27, 2018
This was a feel-good book for me. Like the main character in the book, I was a librarian (probably why the title drew me in), and at a point in my life where I was searching to find my place in the world and a community where I belong.
Profile Image for Cherie.
1,286 reviews113 followers
August 3, 2018
It ended the same way it started, in an old house overlooking the sea.
I enjoyed the cast of characters and the story line was very interesting.

Emma Lowe was the narrator of the story. Well done!
848 reviews
March 1, 2018
Fans of Maeve Binchy and Patrick Taylor, rejoice! There's a new Irish author in print and she's taken the best of both these others and added some style and depth of her own to create a really interesting, authentic read.
Divorcee Hanna Casey is the head librarian back in her old home town of Lissbeg, Ireland, but after five years, she is feeling restless, unfulfilled and tired of living with her mother. Hanna's daughter, Jazz, is now an adult and working as a flight attendant with her own life to lead. After an abortive attempt to get her former English husband to finance a small home of her own, Hanna reluctantly considers remodeling an old, broken down shanty on a sea-front lot bequeathed to her long ago by a great-aunt. The builder who basically engages himself on her behalf, is known around the area as being a law unto himself and drives her crazy because he won't be pinned down by minor details like quotes for the work, schedules, or even by cell-phone! To add to the drama, the Lissbeg Library is under the threat of closure by the County Council's new budget and it looks like her job (which admittedly, she doesn't love, but still depends on) will soon come to an untimely end. She joins forces with her lively assistant, Conor, a hidden-from-the-world nun and an unlikely crew of locals who enthusiastically undertake to "fight city hall," as it were. The obstacles and solutions she meets along the way make up the plot of this tale of modern Ireland and the ending is both satisfying and sensible.
December 19, 2017
Hanna Casey is a librarian on Ireland's remote southwestern coast and has returned home after living for some time in England. You see her husband has cheated on her, so she has returned home to start her life over in Ireland. Hanna isn't your regular librarian though. She drives the library van all throughout the coast to the small Irish villages. Hanna currently lives at home with her mother and although she appreciates her, she knows it's time to find her own place. Her great-aunt has left her a run-down cottage on the coast and she decides now is the time to restore it, but it's going to be a big job. Hanna does have the time to focus on this though since her daughter is an adult now and off on her own. Hanna's plans go awry though when she finds out developers want to close the library. She knows she needs the community's help regarding this and she'll have to ask the very people she avoided to help her out for the sake of peninsula and the future of the library. Felicity Hayes-McCoy's The Library at the Edge of the World is a quiet read that will warm your heart.
Read the rest of my review here: http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...
Profile Image for Tracy Hollen.
1,056 reviews3 followers
June 25, 2017
4.5 stars
When I was a student 20 years ago I went to Ireland and subsequently became obsessed with All Things Irish. As an avid reader my reading choices were also influenced, and I read everything I could find by Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy (20 years ago chick lit was HUGE).
Fast forward to 2017. I received an ARC of The Library at the Edge of the World (thanks Netgalley) and hoped it would bring back some of that old Irish magic. It did.
I found the descriptions of the house on the hill so evocative. I actually had a dream while reading the book about having a little cabin of my own somewhere. The characters in the book were outspoken and kind, and life in and around the village seemed charming, despite the challenges. Sometimes I felt that there were too many details about the council's workings but I realize that they were integral to the plot.
I thought this was an excellent feel good story of contemporary life in a small Irish village which is threatened by high level government decisions.
This book is perfect for readers who want the same slice of Irish life feeling as Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes but with less of a romance angle and more of a generic where is my life going angle.
Profile Image for Nancy H.
2,651 reviews
November 29, 2018
This is a really good story about a woman who is trying to re-establish herself in a home in Ireland that she had left years before and where she returns after her life in London falls apart. More than that, though, it is the story of a community coming together to save their way of life and to support and love each other. It is a great story and definitely a feel-good read!
Profile Image for Christie.
749 reviews2 followers
November 28, 2017
Not as good as Binchy and the main character had some inconsistencies that bothered me a bit, but this was still a feel-good story for when I was sick :)
Profile Image for Chaitra.
3,391 reviews
February 19, 2018
I zoned out of most of the book, and based on the reviews, I didn't miss much. It's a pity, because this book does have everything I would normally appreciate - a library connecting its denizens who otherwise have limited opportunities for everything, a complicated, almost curmudgeonly protagonist who learns to live among others, minimal romance and a fight for their way of life. Only, it's extremely boring. Even the narrator's (to my ears) excellent Irish accent for Mary Casey didn't quite pull me into it.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
787 reviews
July 21, 2019
I wasn’t so sure at first as Hanna reminded me of those old(er) librarians of my childhood...rigid, no room for fun or noise or anything non book in their library. But all the accessory characters won me over along with her great setting of place. I’ve read very few books that take place in Ireland.

**read for summer reading program—“Library Reads pick”
Profile Image for Stephanie.
319 reviews18 followers
July 14, 2018
It was a bit predictable, but I didn't mind. Especially when was as warm as a knitted throw around your shoulders. The characters were familiar to me, and well developed. I found myself commiserating with them. This was time well spent.
Profile Image for Morgan .
823 reviews132 followers
March 20, 2021
Hanna has fled her unfaithful husband and her fancy life in London back to her childhood home where she now lives with her disagreeable mother and now her job as librarian at the local library is suddenly in jeopardy.
Never mind that Finfarran, located on a peninsula in West Ireland is fictional. Never mind that this story is set in Ireland, it is a story of every fifty-something woman who has fled an unfaithful husband and had to reinvent her life.
It is a heartwarming story of finding the courage to begin again; the importance of community when time are tough and most of all the will to go forth even when things seem impossible.
Profile Image for Susanne.
368 reviews17 followers
February 21, 2018
My new local bookshop (Whitelam Books) offered a "blind date with a book" table in February -- and serendipity was clearly at work because the brown bag I purchased contained this novel about a librarian, set in Ireland! The story is set in the fictional "Finfarra Peninsula" in the rural west of Ireland, and could easily have been the Dingle Peninsula where my husband's huge extended family lives. What fun! The bold adventure proved more poignant and instructional than light-hearted, however: initially I bristled at the stereoptypical depiction of a stern, judgmental librarian who barely tolerates her work, and local Irish politics can be as tedious as ours. But things picked up pleasantly when the library was threatened and townsfolk banded together to try to help. It wasn't quite the American trope of "Let's put on a show and save the day!" but a more restrained, quirkily Irish variation. The Irish way with words is on full display here ("Ah Holy God Almighty, that I reared an eejit! You're a fool and the whole world knows it!" grumbles her mother, and the librarian consoles herself "It wasn't that the world and his wife were talking about her." Later, when a proper fight is required she considers "Battles aren't won by going at things like a class of a bull at a gate," and goes about organizing her revolution with some subtlety.) I liked the book, relished a realistic visit to a favorite place, and marveled again at the clear differences in temperament between many Americans and the Irish.

It's a good season for lovers of books and small-town libraries, with American Sue Halpern's "Summer Hours at the Robbers Library" coming out later this month.
584 reviews25 followers
March 1, 2018
This is a strong testimonial to the importance of place and especially home. Obviously the author loves Ireland and that love permeates the novel. While the story was shallow and predictable, the
charm for me came in the descriptions of nature. It was nice to be transported away to a rugged rural setting where a community pulls together for the "greater good" and the preservation of the culture that they hold dear. The importance of words and books weave through the storyline. This novel was relevant for me as currently my own community is fighting a new housing development. The power of a united community is strong. We shall see what happens on my own home front.
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891 reviews
August 21, 2017
After separating from her husband, Hanna Casey returns to her mother's home in Ireland and soon finds herself in the middle of a battle to save her rural hometown.

A pleasant story about a town coming together and the ragtag locals who stand up to 'city hall'. Unfortunately none of the characters really grew on me and the main character, Hanna, was borderline unlikable.

However, it does offer a compelling view of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland and its cozy small town setting should appeal to many readers.
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