Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Monday, April 23, 2012

Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy

Finished another book this weekend. Another one of Maeve Binchy's, Heart and Soul.


Familiar characters from previous books made an appearance again. Brenda and Tom Brennan of Quentins. Maud and Simon (now 17 years old, but still very much the same!), Muttie and Lizzie scarlet, Cathy and Tom Feather of Scarlet Feather.

Photo Apr 23, 5 33 13 PM

This time around the story is all about the people that made up the warm and cozy community of the heart clinic. A specialty clinic attached to a main hospital, specifically setup for patients who may have suffered a heart attack, or are nearly having one.

The story opens with an introduction to Frank, the hospital's finance person – the natural enemy. Then of Dr. Clara Casey who built the center to the dynamic Community it has become. She picks the right mix of people to ever have to come to work together. There's just someone always at hand to handle whatever type of patient there is. Clara is quite the career woman. She has two daughters in their twenties. Their dad is currently in a relationship with a bimbo their age. As wonderful as Clara is, it was her misfortune to have had to hook up with a guy with too much testosterone (important information here on that topic, hehe). But after years and years of being legally separated and giving her ex a hard time getting a divorce, Clara finally moves on and starts on her own quest for the kind of love that would make her heart zing zing! No, she doesn’t just settle for the next man available. Being old doesn’t mean you have to settle.

For her colleagues, and perhaps to the cardiology community, Clara is a visionary, and she has much to contribute yet.

The center is indeed made up of a team of individuals who work together so well to provide the best care for their heart patients. Each one of them gets the spotlight at one point or another in the novel. Come to think of it, Lavander, the dietician and Tim the security guy had the least exposure of all of them. Does it mean they had less interesting lives? I'm intrigued now!

Lavander does demos that teach patients and their families how to prepare healthy food. How to plan it so that it doesn’t get too expensive, or don’t take too much of their time. She does a wonderful service! Tim, eventually finds love in the person of Lidia, the Polish Ania’s flatmate and school friend.

I think I would love to have worked in a place like that. Maybe as an Office manager, or receptionist. Or a case worker that does follow ups with the patients and home visits. It would be wonderful to have a clinic like that that people with high blood pressure and heart ailments can go to. Specially the part where they have exercise and cooking classes, I love that. I could imagine my grandparents probably frequenting such a place. And finding it a fun place to be at actually, rather than such a chore.

Now is there a weight loss clinic just like theirs? Everything you need is there and you visit a few times each week. And it doesn't cost much. And they teach you how to manage it all by yourself. I want that kind of clinic! Maybe someday when I have lots of money, or when I successfully lose weight and keep it off, I'll put up such a place. People would love to go and hangout. And not just fat people too. Skinny girls that need some plumping up will go too. Hehe :)

The hearts of the main characters were looked after too. They found love in the center! It's true what they say, sometimes you find love where you least expect it, or when you're not looking.

I love the story of Ania. I feel bad that she gets to be treated badly just because she's an immigrant. She is very hardworking, she can make more of herself than I can ever do for me. I think she punished herself too much for the mistake of her first love, but it did her well anyway. I thought there was some really big scandal and her mother disowned her but as it turned out it didn't even get blown out like that after all. Still, it propelled her to seek greener pastures, and to work harder. So it all worked out in the end for her. I wonder, will she go back to school? She can go to a secretarial school maybe, or a school for carers, or learn more about sewing and fashion. She has so much potential and she deserves her happy ending. Smile

Again, Binchy successfully reeled me into this wonderful world of the Irish. But what has their stories taught me? We can't be too quick to judge. Some things aren’t what they seem. People can be better or worse than we think they are. All we can do is give them a chance. And we all can do much and be much, with the right motivation. Passion. We just need to find it first, or have it find us. Once unlocked, sky's the limit.