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4.5 out of 5 stars73
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on 22 December 2010
Firefly Summer tells the story of the sleepy town of Mountfern, as an American, Patrick O'Brian, comes home to find his roots and build a huge hotel on the ruined location of the old house. It explores the changing relationships of the townsfolk as a tragic accident divides Mountfern. There is not masses of plot in the book; rather, it builds a picture of Irish village life in the 1950s as we spend a few years with the family of Ryans who own the public house.

Maeve Binchy's books are incredibly easy reading - a little old-fashioned and incredibly gossipy. We drift into the village of Mountfern, and are gradually introduced to the various people who live in the village. Binchy has such a deft touch in showing each of the characters through random encounters and conversations, so that we are able to discover them without any resort to the dreaded info-dump. It genuinely feels as though a friend is having a coffee with you and telling you about mutual friends' lives.

I like the fact that Binchy doesn't flinch away from presenting the horrors of a mundane life - those issues that anyone could be afflicted by, such as adultery, alcoholism and disability. It gives the novel a sense of realism.

Binchy's true strength is dialogue and human relationships - she has a unique understanding of women and their friendships.

In fact, the only element of the book that I found slightly dissatisfying was the fact that Binchy doesn't show men in the best light. Most of them are having affairs, or beating their wives, or running off to other counties. There are some decent men, but it is extremely noticeable that there are more bad men than good.

Binchy is the forerunner of such authors as Sheila O'Flanagan, Patricia Scanlan and Marian Keyes - showcasing Irish life with gentle humour and understanding. I love her books and they are ideal for those times when you require something easy and undemanding. I would recommend these on a winter's afternoon, when you're tucked next to a roaring fire with a hot chocolate - the feel of the novel is exactly right for those moments. Enjoyable.
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on 17 December 2008
Binchy starts off by giving us a detailed view of Fernscourt and the first few chapters give us a good discription of the characters living in the quite Irish village so that when the drama begins you actually feel like your part of the village yourself.

This book is about the Ryan family who own one of the three pubs in the town. On the arrival of the American family the O'Neils, the towns opinion is divided in two when Patrick ONeil gives his plans to build a hotel in the town, with one half believing the town will profit and the other believing it will put them out of business. The arrival of Patrick O Neil and his children Grace and Kerry cause a lot of changes in the village and there energy certainly brings the village to life.

Theres quite a few suprises in this one and a really unexpected twist at the end.
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on 17 April 2012
This is an old favourite for me - I read it over 15 years ago on a long flight to South Africa - and since then have been looking for this book with this particular cover on it like the one I had back then.
The story is full of characters that take a while to get to know but once you get there and even after you finish this book will find yourself thinking back to the characters and wandering what has happened to them.

Maeve has a gentle and descriptive style - this book - in my opinion is one of her best. It was my first book I read from her work and have loved her other books since.
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on 26 January 2001
Maeve Binchy has her style and she's sticking to it, or was until she retired last year, and why not? After all her winning formula has gained her fame, fortune and fans worldwide. This book sticks to the formula, with the usual array of stock characters, the drunk, the repressed religious nutters, the villain who's name always ends with a Y, and of course the village wise woman who knows all but says nothing. This book centres around the Ryan family who own a pub in the village. Their livelyhood looks like being snatched from them with the arrival of an American business man set to avenge his ancestry and build a hotel. Once his children fly out to join him it becomes apparent the business isn't all he's taking from the Ryans. If you already know and love Maeve Binchy then I'm sure you will relish another dip into her glossy green Irish views, but if you've tried her before and not enjoyed it then I wouldn't bother with this one.
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on 20 February 2014
I have all the Maeve Binchy books you feel like you know all the carecters in all her books just like they are your friends once you pick up a Maeve Binchy book you can't put it down i would recommend these books to anyone
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on 11 February 2014
if you are a Maeve Binchy fan you will love this, a gripping read from start to finish. read and read again
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on 25 March 2014
I have nearly all of Maeve Binchy books as I enjoy her story telling of which she was the master. She manages to hold your attention until the very last page when you wish there was more. I start reading her first publication and work my way through my collection of which I have just a couple more to purchase.
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on 3 December 2015
In this story the author's dramas are played out with great warmth and humour against a backdrop of small Irish towns and villages. A riveting story about a decision to join a new Italian twice weekly evening class in Dublin and how the pupils hopes and dreams are caught up in this class. Brilliant book.
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on 19 February 2015
How does she do it? Ms Binchy holds the reader from start to finish. I felt I was part of the story, albeit a silent onlooker. It evoked within me feelings of sadness and hilarity, the only thing I didn't like, and was surprised by, was the regular blaspheming and bad language which as far as I remember from Ms Binchy's previous books, is unusual. I've only been to Ireland once and I loved it. The people, the scenery, I would love to go again and reading this book enabled me to 'visit'. A big thank you ti the author.
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on 4 May 2014
Very disappointing. Only a small part of book dramatised. Would prefer unabridged audio CD of book . Not truly representative of maeve binchy's talent.
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