I decided to do something a little different this month. I was reading A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy, and was pleased to see there was a story title perfect for “Taming of the Shrew,” a square name I had picked based on my reading last month. I then thought it would be fun — and would make the bland collection more interesting — to see if I could fit a story from the book into every square! (Definitely a little challenging, since Binchy sex is always off-page. 😉 ) I’ll also do a regular reading round-up at the end of the month and see if I can fill my card the usual way.
There are more than 25 stories in the book, so a few aren’t mentioned here.
Christmas Gifts *wink wink nudge nudge: “Forgiving.” A woman estranged from her family decides to forgive them and visit for Christmas
Do You Remember: “The Sensible Celebration” A woman recalls the repercussions of the very foolish parties her friends have thrown.
September: “Be Prepared.” To truly prepare for Christmas, you have to buy your cooking foil in September.
A Woman in Her Prime: “A Few of the Girls.” This was a hard story to place because I don’t think I really got it, but the character of Nicola seems to really have her shit together.
Balance: “The Mirror.” A disastrous evening is balanced out by a happy realization.
Where There’s a Will: “Audrey.” For fans of sentient cat stories.
Taming of the Shrew: “Kiss Me Kate.” Just the title really, but it’s enough!
BIRTH DAY: “The Custardy Case.” Bernard thinks all the drama in the house is a surprise for his seventh birthday. 😦
You Complete Me: “Chalk and Cheese.” Linda doesn’t appreciate how much her perfect life runs smoothly because of her friend Chalkie.
Twenty Fifth: “The Consultant Aunt.” 17 year old Sara gets romantic advice from her 25 year old aunt.
Coupling: “The Bargain.” A meh little romance.
Gush: “The Afternoon Phone-In”. Rory thinks that radio host Fiona is amazing, far too special for an ordinary bloke like himself.
Swooning: “New Year’s Eve and the Garden”. Instead of her traditional New Year’s Eve party, a newly widowed woman reads her late husband’s journal and gains a sweet legacy from him.
Naked Truth: “Falling Apart.” A woman realizes that her chance at happiness depends on being very firm and honest with her alcoholic mother.
You’re History: “The Foul-Weather Friend.” A friendship that will only last as long as you’re miserable.
69: “Picnic at St. Pauls.” Catherine is very disappointed when the attractive stranger in town who phones her turns out to be “in his late sixties, at least.” (This is Binchy, that’s the closest I’m gonna get!)
Somewhere Around the Corner: “The Afterthought”. A man having an affair dreams about how it could all be perfectly resolved someday.
Ravish: “No Tears in the Tivoli.” The main character is a trophy wife, so presumably pretty ravishing. Sorry, that’s all I got.
HATE: “Giving Up Men.” Ironic Binchy at her most aggravating.
Cool Dude: “Sandra’s Suitcase. A friendly tour guide helps out when a tourist loses her suitcase and changes her forever.
Flip Back: “Living Well.” No, THIS is ironic Binchy at her most aggravating.
HOME cooking: “Catering for Love.” Ronnie is a caterer, hired to pass off food as home-cooked, with unfortunate results.
Pillow Talk: “A Tactful Conversation.” A tough square, because sex is only alluded to in Binchy. But the couple has conversations and they could certainly be having them in bed!
Subtle: “Someone’s Got to Tell Her.” A one-sided conversation in which the narrator gradually becomes aware that not all is as she thought.
Gamma: “Mr. Mangan.” The definition of gamma is somewhat confused, even in romance terms, but one generally accepted definition is a sort of Alpha/Beta combo — a hero who is confident and top dog, but also sensitive and not arrogant. Mr. Mangan is quite the guy.