Dear Maeve Binchy,

I’m sorry that I never read your books while you were still alive. I committed the book crime of judging books based on covers, dismissing yours as the love of old women, confident that I had all the time in the world to enjoy them in my golden years.

I didn’t know that your books were filled with characters at all stages of life, trying to make the best of what life threw at them. I didn’t know that your stories were such a delight, showing me that anything is possible with a little hard work and the right attitude.

I didn’t know that I would come to view Circle of Friends as one of my favourite books of all time, that I would become personally invested in the lives of Benny and Eve and all of their friends in Dublin and Knockglen. I had no idea that Heart and Soul would provide me with an early glimpse of some my friends on St. Jarlath’s Crescent that I so adored in Minding Frankie. Whitethorn Woods is sitting on my desk right now, waiting for my attention because I know that it will allow me to get to know a character that was passing through in Heart and Soul.

I love that your books make those kinds of connections.

I never knew that your books were like a cozy fire on a grey day. Or that your books would have the power to make me completely forget about my commute, being in very great danger of missing my stop altogether if I didn’t ride the line end to end. I can’t even classify your books as a guilty pleasure because I don’t hide them from anyone. And if anyone asks me about your books now, I make an effort to convert them to my way of thinking, now I know that people that don’t read your books are missing out on one of the great pleasures of reading life.

And I’m sad that I didn’t find all of these things out until you were gone. It was because of your passing that my ignorance of your brilliance was first revealed and in order to please my friends I went to the library to introduce myself to your work.

All the books you will ever write are out there now so I will have to pace myself. I know it was a lovely surprise when your posthumous novel A Week in Winter was released but there will be no more new Maeve Binchys. I know I would have been among the first to buy your new books, even if they were in hardcover.

So I’m sorry that I didn’t know until now. But I swear I’m making up for it.


The Paperback Princess