Maeve Binchy's last book is to be published on November 8 and bookshops are placing huge orders for what is expected to be the biggest seller this Christmas.
Originally scheduled for publication on October 11, this was cancelled after Binchy's death last month. There was some doubt about whether the book would appear at all because she was still editing the text before she died.
Publisher Orion said after Binchy's death that the finishing work on the book would be done by Carol Baron, Binchy's editor for many years, and that the final decision on publication would be taken by Binchy's husband, the writer Gordon Snell.
In the past few days, Mr Snell has cleared the book for publication. Titled ‘A Week in Winter', it's a 464-page book of interlinked short stories about a mixed group of people enjoying a winter break in an old hotel on the west coast of Ireland.
Orion publishing director Susan Lamb said the book was “absolutely terrific, it's vintage Maeve, showing again what a brilliant observer she was, full of empathy but never sentimental”.