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Circle of Friends Paperback – May 29, 2007


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Circle of Friends + The Glass Lake + Light A Penny Candle
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (May 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385341733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385341738
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (285 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

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
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Maeve Binchy is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Nights of Rain and Stars, Quentins, Scarlet Feather, Circle of Friends, and Tara Road, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection. She has written for Gourmet; O, The Oprah Magazine; Modern Maturity; and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. She and her husband, Gordon Snell, live in Dalkey, Ireland, and London.

Customer Reviews

She has a talent for developing her characters and stories.
Barbara J Frerichs
Its a wonderful book that captivates the reader and I was sad to have it end ( I wanted to know what happened next!
Taylor Greer
This was the first book I read written by Maeve Binchy and I definitely will read another one of her books.
Mary Jane Cowden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 107 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book because it was a choice on my summer reading list this year. I chose it because I recognized the title from a movie I owned which is actually the film version of this book. When I got the book I groaned because I realized that it was 600 pages. I figured I wasnt going to like the book because it didnt really fit my favorite genres to read, and that the story was going to be rather lumbersome and slow. Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise. Maeve Binchy perfectly captures the reader's attention from page one. Beginning w/ the start of a new friendship and taking you through all the trials and tribulations of life as a young adult. Eve and Benny are perfect for each other because one compliments the other in characteristics and personality. This story was so fabulous that I picked it up on a rainy day and finished it in three days (it was a busy time for me to be reading). I couldnt put it down. I smiled w/ the characters when they were happy, got angry when they were mad, and, yes, cried when they were sad. This story will take you up and not put you down until the very last page.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on August 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me begin by stating that objectively, I do not think this book is a work of "great literature". I find the writing style to be questionable at times, the moralistic attitude smothering, and am frankly rather annoyed by Binchy's one-sided approach to the Catholic-Protestant turmoil that rips at Ireland's seams.
But oh, how I love this book. I find myself picking it up over and over again. It's a beautiful coming-of-age story tracing the friendship of two fascinating girls. It pinpoints the sometimes destructive nature of love with absolute clarity. Furthermore, Binchy has breathed life into an entire town of secondary characters, creating a novel rich in stroy-telling and in life.
A caution - the movie version of the book starring Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver was a despicable act of butchery. The changed, Hollywoodized ending of the movie version was unforgivable. If you love this book, avoid the movie. If you loved the moive, read the book, and you'll see what audience members were missing.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Busy Mom VINE VOICE on April 30, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I remember the first time I picked up this book ~~ it was my grandmother's and I was in high school. I sat down and read it and totally fell in love with Binchy's writing. In fact, I believe this book set me on the path to reading "better" books! Rereading this book again really affirms the feelings I had experienced the first time around. It is just one of my favorite books of all time!
Benny, Eve, Sean, Jack, Nan and other characters are ones that you'll never forget. If you have friends that you ran around with in college and still keep in touch with ~~ I highly recommend this book. It is a book about friendship, love, romance and dreams. Any one of any age can read this book and find the meaning of friendship in it. With Benny's relationship with Jack ~~ there's that first love and intrigue; with Benny's friendship with Eve, there's the silliness that girls share as well as their confidences, hopes and dreams ~~ as well as recovering from broken hearts and disappointment; and there's Sean, the guy everyone loves to hate. Let's not forget Jack ~~ the guy every woman longs to love ~~ only to be pulled up short by his mistakes in love. This book covers the depth of human emotions that beset all of us at one time or another!
I recommend readers picking up this book and spend a few days reading it ~~ I can guarantee that the characters with all their flaws will stay with the reader for a long time. It is a book I would read over and over ~~ it's like coming home and finding your best friend waiting for you.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By trish (tav430@aol.com) on October 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read my first Maeve Binchy book, "Tara Road" recently as my first book by this author and loved it so much, I decided to try this one. This book was absolutely wonderful! The characters are so full of life, and the way she describes everything makes you feel like you are there yourself. I read it every free second I had, and even though I saw the movie first, the book was well worth my reading time. I would highly recommend this book to young women in their 20's, it's a great book about college life in the 60's in Dublin.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kate (kdids520@aol.com) on November 1, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Circle Of Friends" is a masterpiece! I absolutely loved every page of it... EXCELLENT!I could relate to it so well, and i cant wait to start my next Binchy.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kristin S. on January 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you liked the movie of "Circle of Friends," you will love the book. I enjoyed this book the first time I read it. But, to my surprise, I found it doesn't get stale with repeated readings. This is one of my favorite "read-again" books.
The story and the characters are what make both the book and the movie entertaining. But, what makes the book so great is the stuff that was left out of the movie. The histories and families of Benny, Nan and Jack are described in more detail. But, the best is what Maeve Binchy provides in her story for Eve. We see more into her life with the nuns. And, Eve's situation when she goes to college adds to her character, personality and gives Eve a wonderful new relationship. Eve lives and works in the house of a woman who provides room and board for college boys and who just lost her son. Their relationship adds a wonderful sub-plot to this book (which unfortunately was cut from the movie).
"Circle of Friends" differs from the movie in several other respects. Benny and Eve don't meet Nan until college. Characters not in the book compete with Benny for Jack's affection. Eve forms a wonderful relationship with Simon's little sister. And, the end is much different.
Read the book and discover all the wonderful characters and plot the movie didn't share.
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