Silver Wedding follows the silver wedding anniversary of Deirdre and Desmond Doyle. All of the characters in this story are linked to them some way. I liked some of the characters and despised others. And the ending did not really work, you have to pretty much just guess what is going to come next.
The book is broken up looking at Deirdre and Desmond's three children (Anna, Brendan and Helen). Then we go into Desmond. After him we follow Father Hurley (he married Desmond and Deirdre). Then we follow Maureen and Frank (maid of honor and best man at Desmond and Deirdre's wedding) and finally Deirdre. The last portion is on the silver wedding celebration itself.
So my favorite character chapters were definitely Anna, Desmond, Father Hurley, and Maureen.
Anna is the eldest of the children and you get to read about her romance that is not everything she hopes it to be. But a chance ride with a long time customer she knows opens her eyes to her parents and to her own relationship. A few times I was surprised by things Anna was hiding from her parents, but this book takes place during the 1980s, so I had to recall a few times that things today would not be acceptable to people back then.
Desmond we get to see how tired he is by what his life has become. He works at a store that his best friend runs (Frank) and realizes that he is going to keep getting shuffled around and is trying to figure out what his dream is. He's a really good guy, and when you read the parts with Deirdre you wonder at how they work as a husband/wife.
Father Hurley we find out is puzzled about being asked to be there to officiate between Desmond and Deirdre, and even hints at knowing why the two of them had a rushed wedding (rhymes with wegancy). But he is pretty content and happy with his family and his nephew Gregory. But this whole chapter was a cautionary tale against staying silent when you know someone has done something wrong. I really did want to follow up with Father Hurley and see what happened to him and his family.
Maureen is a successful business woman who has the wind knocked out of her when she realizes her mother who she has long admired, was not who she thought she was. I didn't really care for Maureen when we get to the silvery wedding portion because she seemed hell-bent on trying to tempt Frank away from his wife. We find out these two used to date, but Maureen dumped him due to her mother's influence.
I felt sort of meh towards Brendan's whole story-line. You find out he is pretty selfish and seems to think less of his family for trying to hide things from others. I guess because I grew up in a family like that, ie you keep family business to family, don't go out running your mouth, I thought his dislike of his family was not that intriguing.
Helen's story-line was infuriating and sad at the same time. You realize that her running away to join a convent was due to an incident that occurred between her and her father's best friend Frank. Helen keeps messing up every step of the way and you realize why a nun would be tempted to smother her when you read about all of her messes she keeps getting into.
I despised Frank's whole story-line. Finding out what kind of man he is just made me ill, I think that Binchy tried to paint him as some noble guy, but based on the silver wedding chapter we know that he is going to get up to something that will involve Helen that I am sure is going to end poorly.
Deirdre you quickly find out is so worried about what others think she has become paralyzed by it. After meeting up with her widowed mother she has her eyes opened about her long held beliefs about people. But you realize that Deirdre felt and still feels forced to pretend to be happy even when she's not.
Usually Binchy is better at tying things up, but a lot of things are left at loose ends when the book finishes. I can imagine though that some people Anna and Desmond are going to be happy in the future based on decisions that they made.
A really nice look into a family. The writing was typical Binchy (not a bad thing) and the flow was actually really good. I think that Binchy lined up the stories for a reason like this and it actually works not having all of the family stories first and then others.