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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming
This book has to be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. The friendship portrayed within its pages is heartwarming and it is so wonderfully evoked. If there is one thing that Maeve Binchy can do, it is to create character and mood like no one else. You really feel lost when you finish the last sentence.
The only bad thing about this book is that when...
Published on 3 Sept. 2004

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a nice ending - bitter after taste
This was a lovely novel, describing the differences between the catholics or Ireland and the CofE English, their customs and ways of life etc from war times. I enjoyed it a lot. But, sadly, like several of this author's novels, it is all going necely until endgame, where she seems to wreak the lives of the characters, giving one the impression that life always ends up...
Published on 14 Jun. 2009 by Angel Silver


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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, 3 Sept. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Light a Penny Candle (Paperback)
This book has to be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. The friendship portrayed within its pages is heartwarming and it is so wonderfully evoked. If there is one thing that Maeve Binchy can do, it is to create character and mood like no one else. You really feel lost when you finish the last sentence.
The only bad thing about this book is that when you've read it, it's over.
One of the few books I would willingly pick up to re - read!!
Read this if you can!!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting Read, a great mix of humour and emotion, 14 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Light a Penny Candle (Paperback)
One not to be missed by any Meave Binchy fan, or anyone else for that matter. You will go from laughing to crying and back to laughing so many times. A really great read not to be missed. One of her best! Once started you can't put it down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Debute novel from Novelist with Worldwide acclaim......., 5 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Light A Penny Candle (Paperback)
When I heard of the recent death of Maeve Binchy (July 2012) I realised that, apart from seeing the film "Circle of Friends" (1990) I had not read any of her books. This is an ommission that I intend to rectify!

Discovering that this was her first novel - rejected several times by publishers, but eventually sold for the highest price ever paid for a debute novel, £52,000, in 1983 - she went on to become Ireland's most prolific writer and playwright, selling more than 40 million worldwide.

The story spans a 20 year period from 1940 to 1960, and cleverly contrasts the lifestyle of a rural Irish Catholic family with a much smaller protestant family in urban London during the war and afterwards. The plot centres on two genuine friends, Elizabeth and Aisling - as different in personality as they are in their upbringing.

Without giving away the twists and turns of the plot, I can say that it is made believable by the strong characters and natural dialogue. Like one of the other reviewers, I was an urban child in England, who spent several holidays with a Catholic family in a small town in Eire during the early 60s. The memories are still vivid, and I could hear in my mind the Irish lilt in the O'Connell's conversation. The two families are dysfunctional - held together by the love they share, and a strict moral code. Sometimes the rigidity of the social "rules" leads to ignorance and suppression of natural behaviour - this is made apparent by Aisling's ill fated marriage to the town's most elligible batchelor, and Elizabeth's parents. It feels quaint to us now, in the "liberated" 21st century, where women have more choices and people openly discuss sexual relationships.

The reason I did not give this 5 stars is because the ending is so condensed, as if she had "run out if steam" or the publishers imposed a fixed length for the novel - it left me feeling unsatisfied, like a delicious meal with no pud!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irish life, 10 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Light a Penny Candle (Paperback)
This book reminds me so well of the many holidays - especially Christmasses - that I have spent in Ireland. The descriptions of rural family life are brilliant, and as a solitary English girl whose best friend is the oldest of 7 Irish children, I found the relationship between Elizabeth and Aisling totally convincing. When I first visited Ireland - many years ago now - I was overwhelmed by the difference of it all, the Catholicism, the huge families, the social networks which (as a child of suburban London) I had never experienced. I still love Ireland, and this novel was full of the reasons why. It does deal with issues - domestic violence, divorce, alcoholism - which dispel the myth of Ireland as a utopian paradise, but it still manages to be a really good story, and one which you don't want to end - is there a sequel? I would love to know what happened to the girls in the end.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rushed ending, 2 May 2013
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Loved this book and the depiction of the contrasting lifestyles in Ireland and England in the forties and fifties. The only real flaw was the ending which seemed rushed. Elizabeth's husband had a very serious reaction to something he found out and it seemed rather out of character. Really spoiled it for me as I found the book very absorbing and couldn't put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner, 20 July 2009
This review is from: Light A Penny Candle (Paperback)
I found this book one of those great holiday reads that you can't put down. I feel like I know the characters personally and have grown up with the two young women who the story centers on. I was left hanging at the end though and felt a bit disappointed that the story just stopped rather than ended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Binchey's Best, 9 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Light A Penny Candle (Paperback)
I was so saddened to hear about the death of the wonderful Maeve Binchy and straight away decided to read yet again one of my favourite books of all time, Light a Penny Candle. Unfortunately I can't find my own copy and am having trouble finding any. I was born in London and at aged 11 went to live in Ireland with my Irish parents. I could identify everything that happened in the book, and my life has been so similar to Aisling's in many ways. Its a true reflection of how Ireland was in those days, everything was so very different to the way it is now, its hard to believe that women had to endure their lives, no matter how much they wanted to get out. It's the most touching, poignant, funny, sad, wonderful story that can be read over and over again. It would be impossible not to be affected by the lives of these two girls and you just want to reach out and hug them for their strength, their honesty and their complete loyalty to each other. Absolutely magnificant and I'm delighted by the reviews by everyone on here, considering many are written by people with no Irish connections, which I always believed you'd need to read the book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All women should read this book, 19 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Light a Penny Candle (Paperback)
Someone once described that reading a Maeve Binchy book is like "talking about all the gossip with your best friend in your favourite tea shop" and they were right. When Elisabeth meets Aisling when she is shipped off to Ireland at the beginning of the Second World War, little does she know that this is the beginning of an inseperable bond that will span 20 years of their lives. The story follows the two friends through good and hard times, as the story jumps back and forth from Ireland to London. Whilst reading this novel, you begin to feel part of the lives of the two friends as they share loves, losses and many good laughs. An essential addition to everyones bookcase! Read it !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book!, 4 Aug. 2011
Don't know if this is the author's first book, but it is certainly one of her best. I have read it three times now and still love it. Strong writing with wonderful characters! A must read!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friends forever, 2 April 2000
By 
Claire Hennessy (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Light a Penny Candle (Paperback)
Elizabeth is quiet and shy; Aisling is loud and boisterous. In 1940, aged ten, Elizabeth is evacuated from London to an old friend of her mother's in Ireland. There she meets Aisling, the same age as her, and they become fast friends. The book deals with the next twenty years of their lives as they fall in love, have to deal with many problems, and turn to each other for support and friendship. It's brilliant.
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Light A Penny Candle
Light A Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy (Paperback - 4 May 2006)
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