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With the insight, humor, and compassion we have come to expect from her, Maeve Binchy tells a story of family, friends, patients, and staff who are part of a heart clinic in a community caught between the old and the new Ireland.
Dr. Clara Casey has been offered the thankless job of establishing the underfunded clinic and agrees to take it on for a year. She has plenty on her plate already--two difficult adult daughters and the unwanted attentions of her ex-husband--but she assembles a wonderfully diverse staff devoted to helping their demanding, often difficult patients.
Before long the clinic is established as an essential part of the community, and Clara must decide whether or not to leave a place where lives are saved, courage is rewarded, and humor and optimism triumph over greed and self-pity.
"Heart and Soul" is Maeve Binchy at her storytelling best.

"From the Hardcover edition."

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Reviews

Binchy delivers another delightful Binchyesque amalgamation of intersecting lives, this time centering on Clara Casey, a cardiologist whose marriage and career have fallen apart. After she accepts an undesirable post at St. Brigid's Hospital, Clara throws herself into work to forget the humiliation of her husband's many affairs, but it's difficult to escape her home life with two adult daughters who still depend on her as if they were children. Though she stands at the center of the book, Clara cedes the stage to others, such as Declan Carroll, a young doctor at the clinic trying to make a life for himself, and Ania, Clara's assistant, whose affair with a married man forced her to leave her Polish hometown. Beautiful, hardworking and humble, Ania attracts the attention of Carl Walsh, the son of one of the clinic's patients. And so it goes in this novel of intersecting lives that keeps daily drama interesting even when it occasionally sacrifices suspense for realism. In spite of a few dull moments, the collective, charming effect of these story lines suggests that individuals are more connected than they might think. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

The newly hired director of a cardiac-care center, Dr. Clara Casey is a strong character, who with great humor and panache manages life as a female medical professional and the single mother of two daughters. Crossing paths in the clinic or via clinic staff are Nora and Aidan Dunne, Father Bryan Flynn, Tom and Cathy Feather, and twins Simon and Maud, among others from various earlier Binchy novels (e.g., Evening Class). In keeping with tradition, several important dinners take place at Quentins restaurant. A nurse in Clara's clinic, Fiona Ryan has rebounded from the disastrous relationship portrayed in Nights of Rain and Stars, and a hard-working Polish immigrant named Ania overcomes her past and blossoms in her adopted country. The novel ranges far and wide, following some recurring characters to Greece, and it is always a comfort to catch up with familiar faces and meet new friends. Binchy fills the book with people finding true love, discovering their niche in life, and taking full advantage of second chances. Binchy's numerous fans will seek this out. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/08.]-Beth Lindsay, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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