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Circle Of Friends


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An enchanting novel of fierce loyalty and love in changing times, from the bestselling author of Light a Penny Candle

About the Author

Maeve Binchy was born in Dublin, and went to school at the Holy Child Convent in Killiney. She took a history degree at UCD and taught in various girls' schools, writing travel articles in the long summer holidays. In 1969 she joined the Irish Times and for many years she was based in London writing humorous columns from all over the world. She is the author of five collections of short stories as well as twelve novels including Circle of Friends, The Copper Beech, Tara Road, Evening Class and The Glass Lake. Maeve Binchy died on 30 July 2012. She is survived by her husband, the writer Gordon Snell.


The charm of Binchy's novels ( Silver Wedding ; Light a Penny Candle ) lies in a seductive readability that draws one through hundreds of pages as surely as a mackerel at the end of a hooked line--contrived plot thickeners and stock characters notwithstanding. In this lengthy story of a friendship and love and loss, there are no lapses or lulls. Benny, plain daughter of a merchant, and Eve, a proud orphan raised by nuns, are close friends growing up in the Irish village of Knockglen in the 1950s. When they go to university in Dublin together, their loyalty is tested by the addition of others to their circle, most notably the beautiful, mysterious Nan, an ambitious young woman determined to rise above her working-class origins. While Nan seizes opportunities, friendships and romances are kindled and damped; ugly duckling Benny becomes a swan, and true love almost conquers all. Everybody has a colorful way with words, and if the prose is sometimes careless, this is still Irish storytelling at its contemporary best; small flaws are easily overlooked in a book that is itself so generous. BOMC featured selection. (Jan.)

It's an absolute classic and belongs in the annals of Irish literature with all the greats. * VIP Magazine *
'I find myself yearning for the rain-soaked watercolour writing of Maeve Binchy [...] Circle of Friends is a good place to start' -- Jenny Colgan * Guardian *
'What better books to raise the spirits than the gentle, insightful Irish tales of Maeve Binchy' * Hello! Magazine *
A beloved classic [. . .] the central themes of friendships and first loves remain relevant at any age. This nostalgic, coming-of-age tale is always worth another read. * Image Reads *
Maeve Binchy has a gimlet eye for the seething cauldron of emotions which lies beneath the surface of everyday life * Irish Independent *

YA-- Binchy transports readers to the village of Knockglen in Ireland to meet Benny, the only child of doting parents; Eve Malone, an orphan raised by nuns; and a host of local characters. The girls form a lasting friendship that continues when they go on to college in Dublin. There they meet beautiful Nan, who tries to hide her poor background and drunken father; Jack Foley, a doctor's son; and all their university friends. Provincial Knockglen and fast-paced Dublin become intertwined as the girls try to exist in both worlds. A wonderful, readable story of successes and disappointments, intrigues and loyalty, families and friendships, this novel demonstrates that testing values, maintaining relationships, and coming of age are universal struggles.-- Katherine Fitch, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA

Best friends since childhood in a small Irish village, first-year college students Benny and Eve are thrilled by the excitement of university life in Dublin. Befriended by Nan, a beautiful classmate with secret ambitions, the three form the nucleus of an ever-widening circle of friends that provides them with a happy sense of belonging and introduces them to a world of carefree activity. However, this light-hearted existence is brought to an abrupt halt when Nan's selfish, callous plans backfire, victimizing Benny and creating within Eve an obsessive desire to avenge Benny. Binchy is a wonderful storyteller, drawing the reader into the hearts of her characters. This engrossing examination of friendship's vicissitudes moves forward effortlessly at a marvelous pace, carrying the reader along on tense, mounting waves of loyalty and deceit. Highly recommended for all popular fiction collections. BOMC alternate.-- Sis ter M. Anna Falbo, Villa Maria Coll. Lib., Buffalo, N.Y.

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