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4.6 out of 5 stars
112
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 21 May 2000
The second Maeve Binchy book I ever read and now I've read them all this is still the best. The characters almost seem real - you feel you know them and the book ends you want to keep reading about them - if only the author would write a follow-up! Great Book - Great Read
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on 21 October 2014
Just started reading it
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on 7 May 2000
This book is brilliant. It was the first Binchy novel that I read and is by far the best. The characters are alive and the story is completely gripping - ranging from painfully sad to hilarity. Buy it, read it!
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on 27 October 2009
This is my favourite book and has been since I first read it at the age of 17, and I get just as much out of it ten years on as I did back then. I read it yearly and often look to the sensible, independent and loyal female characters Binchy writes for advice and guidance.

The book Circle of Friends (NEVER see the film) has got everything a woman could ask for in a story. It'll make you laugh and cry, it'll fill you with anger and pity and you'll lose yourself as the plot unfolds.

More than this, it's the ultimate, triumphant story of two misfit girls who, against the odds of appearance and circumstance, find their place in the adult world. They face trials in the form of beautiful girls, handsome men, upper-class snobbery and controlling nuns, but, by remaining loyal to each other and remaining resolute through hardship, they achieve their independence and succeed.

Read it. It's the first book I'll ever give my daughter when she comes of age.
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on 13 January 2012
I love everything that comes from the pen of Maeve Binchy and this book is no exception. I'd not read the book previously but added the CD version to my collection as soon as it was published, and was not disappointed. I have every book of Maeve's which has been published on CD - and love them all. Circle of Friends is unabridged and runs for about 15 hours - it never lost my interest at any point. The characters are all so believable and interwoven throughout the story. I find the CD versions of Maeve's books come to life when read so beautifully by Kate Binchy and give the characters their own "voices". Having listened to them, I sometimes find films/DVDs of the same stories a bit confusing because I already have a picture in my head of the characters - and they look all wrong on screen! I would highly recommend this story in any version.
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on 15 March 2000
After several years since reading Circle of Friends, I can still remember it. You felt for the main female charector and followed her through the years she developed into a young women. I could not put it down and when I had to could not wait to pick it up again. I felt her charector was that of a flower that was never picked, were infact she was the lovliest flower in the garden. Her charector blossemed. You became part of the book as you read, I was sad when she was sad and of course happy when things went right for her. A brillient read. Infact well worth reading again as it was so enjoyable.
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on 6 July 2008
I loved this book. I have read others by Binchy and did not enjoy them as much as I enjoyed this book. I think all of her books are entertaining and she has a wonderful way with characters, but this is the one I have read over and over again. Whenever I don't have a new book to read I always turn to this one. In fact I probably should get a new copy as the spin on mine is shattered.
It's a must read if you are already a fan and one to read if you just like books.
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on 3 May 2000
I adored this book from end to end. Meave binchy managed to keep me guessing all the way through i was not disappointed with the outcome. Yet another brillient book from a brillient authoress. I recommend it wholeheartedly. It was totally real to me and i could not help but become totally mixed up with the characters and scene. NOT A BOOK TO MISS.
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on 21 August 2011
The joy of a Maeve Binchy novel - and Circle of Friends is no exception (in fact, is probably the best example of this) - is that you are utterly drawn into the lives of the characters. Binchy doesn't concern herself with a clever plot (here, the essence of the plot is that Benny and Eve head off to university in Dublin, and deals with the repercussions of what happens after this); rather, she wants to describe how her characters deal with life. There are never lengthy descriptions of place - dialogue is the manner in which Binchy drives her story.

So, if Binchy had been unable to write dialogue, her novels would fail in a big way. Luckily, Binchy has an absolutely unerring ear for dialogue. Her characters talk so naturally, to the point that reading Circle of Friends feels like evesdropping on a conversation between real people.

I particularly love Circle of Friends because it is a true coming of age story - two girls leaving a sleepy village and dealing with the bright lights of Dublin. Finding themselves; discovering new friends, but learning that their true and strong friendship is the best thing by far to help them survive the trials and tribulations of their new life.

In addition to this, Benny has to try and extract herself from a constricting home life to find the freedom necessary to enjoy her new life. I really appreciated this aspect of the story, since I think many young people are familiar with the idea of parents not wanting to let go and still trying to exert control over their children. Benny's frustrations were written with a ring of truth.

Maeve Binchy's novel are like a literary hug - warm and gentle, with a surprising wit and wisdom, and I think that Circle of Friends is the best of them.
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on 18 August 2000
This book is the grandest book I have ever read. It pulls you into to it, makes you feel as if you are part of the story, as if one of the characters. You can't put it down, and when you do, you find your mind wandering back. If you beleive in true friendships, and that comes with sad parts as well, then read this book, it will make you value and friendship you have, even more. A GOOD BOOK!
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