Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy


I am thrilled to have finished a book so soon after the first one for the year. But I already knew I wouldn’t need a month to go through this one, the week it took was actually super long already. This weekend I added another Maeve Binchy title to the already-growing list of books I love:

The Glass Lake

Binchy - The Glass Lake

Set in 1950s Ireland, the Glass Lake is a big lake in Lough Glass, a small county. It was typical in Lough Glass to be born, live, and die, in the same house on the same street. Everyone knew everyone else. I loved this setting!

Kit McMahon is of Lough Glass but her mother isn’t. Her mother Helen was from Dublin and she was very beautiful and elegant. She wasn’t like the other mothers in Lough Glass. She loved walking by herself, up and down the road, and by the lakeside. She was the pharmacist’s wife and didn’t have to work herself although she would have wanted to. Instead, she spent her days keeping their home beautiful and mentoring young Rita, their maid, and encouraging her to make something of herself too someday.

One could say that Helen was a modern woman in a place that was very traditional. Though small, there are two schools in Lough Glass – the Brothers ran one for boys, and the sisters at the convent ran another for girls. On Sunday, everyone can be found at church hearing Mass, after which the priest would shake everyone’s hand and could identify each person. Although the small community had its merits, Kit’s mother just didn’t belong there. Her heart was far away – with the only man she had ever loved.

The book tells us more about Helen McMahon, her death, and how her kids, husband, and the whole of Lough Glass coped with the events of that fateful evening. But we also get to know Lena Gray who builds a whole new life with the man she had always loved and then takes on correspondence with young, impressionable Kit McMahon.

Kit McMahon. This was really her story. Of how one night changed her life forever, and of growing up to be a fine young woman, in many ways like her mother.

I got the book at a second hand bookstore for 85 pesos. That’s just about US$2.00. Money well spent. Smile