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Maeve Binchy: The Biography

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  152 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Maeve Binchy’s novels sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, and when she died on July 30th 2012, she did so as Ireland’s best-loved writer. With bestselling books such as Light a Penny Candle, Circle of Friends, Tara Road, Evening Class, and A Week in Winter, which was published four months after her death, no one else told stories like Maeve Binchy. Humane, down-to- ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 22nd 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published August 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Carole Blake
It's evident the author never met Maeve, and had access to few people in her life. In an attempt to correlate her life with her fiction, he makes clumsy comparisons between her life and plots in her novels, breaking into the narrative of her life with large chunks of novel summaries which distance the reader from Maeve herself. Large parts of the biography read instead like an exam essay. A lively subject, such a shame it turned into a laboured, dull, text.
Carol  MacInnis
Sep 01, 2014 Carol MacInnis rated it really liked it
I won this book from a contest on Goodreads.

From the date of her birth on May 29, 1939 to her sad passing July 30,2012, the literary world was blessed with Author, Maeve Binchy's exceptional stories from her homeland of Ireland.

Maeve's father was a barrister and in 1928 he graduated first Class Honors in English Language and Literature and late he got a Masters in the same. He would read throughout Maeve's childhood to her and her bedroom was stacked with shelves of her private library and by a
Patricia Fawcett
Dec 18, 2013 Patricia Fawcett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Piers Dudgeon applies the same, in-depth research to his account of Maeve's life as he did to that of Catherine Cookson. On that occasion, I came away from reading the book wondering if I liked Catherine any more. However, in Maeve's case, he only serves to endear us to Maeve even more. Maeve had no hidden agenda, save that of being modest almost to a fault. Whilst aspects of her everyday life were freely vaunted in her Irish Times column, and with interviews she gave over the years, Maeve ...more
Sharon Huether
Jul 24, 2014 Sharon Huether rated it really liked it
Maeve Binchy: The Biography. by Piers Dudgeon..Thanks Goodreads for picking my name to win this FREE first- reads book. A great story of her life and the books she wrote. Her mother was a wonderful influence on Maeve, Maeve was the oldest of four children. The family lived without frills so each child could go to college. Instead of a Catholic school, she went to a private school with some of her friends. The teacher there had a moto " If the child isn't happy, they do not learn well". Maeve ...more
Linda Marie Marsh
Aug 18, 2014 Linda Marie Marsh rated it really liked it
An insightful biography of an incredible author. Thousands read her books, i was one years ago...and this book gives insight into the background that created the writer who created marvelous stories!
Witty, thoughtful and well-written this bio kinda makes a fan of her books want to go back and delve into them again!
Maureen Mullis
An interesting woman and terrific writer, but this biography is dry and not very well written. Terribly disappointed.
Beth Mclaughlin
Oct 09, 2015 Beth Mclaughlin rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2014 Valerie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Maeve Binchy fans, lovers of Ireland
Recommended to Valerie by: First read
Examines the life of novelist Maeve Binchy. From her forebears beginnings in Ireland, when she came into the picture, and also a good history of Ireland's problems with England, which I wasn't in the know about. It tells of her schooling, how she was one of the first few young women to go to University in the 1950's, with an eye to a career. How her family was such a wonderful support to her self esteem, which helped her throughout her life. Made enjoyable to read by the author's flair, which I ...more
Sep 17, 2014 Flewts rated it it was amazing
As a history major, I enjoy reading biographies, but I acknowledge they can be dry and not for everyone. So it was with real pleasure that I read this book. I have immensely enjoyed Maeve Binchy's storytelling, and in particular her thorough characterizations, and have read all of her novels. So when this book began comparing her life to things that happened in the various books, it made perfect sense.

The biography has so much about Maeve and her characters and incidents in her life and how she
Savannah Kundo
May 04, 2015 Savannah Kundo rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.

What a fascinating life Maeve Binchy had. Piers Dudgeon tells the story of Binchy's life from her early years to her university days in Ireland to her journalism and novelist careers in London. Dudgeon fills us in on the historical events going on during the time period, as well. I also found it interesting how so much of her life's work correlates to her writing, and Dudgeon does an excellent job at pointing out the parallels. I found
Jan 25, 2015 Colleen rated it really liked it
This is a interesting but at the same time scholarly view of the life and writings of Maeve Binchy. Besides writing what is typically considered a biography, the author digs deep into Ireland's history linking influences on Maeve throughout the years and exploring how those were reflected in her books, plays, short stories and newspaper columns. One of the key influences was her fall from the Catholic Church. She had her own views, but also felt people were entitled to their chosen expression of ...more
Aug 31, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely, timely biography of the sadly-missed Maeve; long-time readers will enjoy the arc of her life and careers in teaching, journalism, and fiction, as well as the exploration of her Irish identity and heritage. Dudgeon pulls from a wellspring of solid, reputable sources for this bio, and rarely does he stray too far into adjacent subjects [ancient Ireland, the Troubles, Catholicism, etc] without thoroughly and skillfully relating them back to the subject at hand. Enjoyable, interesting, and ...more
Eleanor Cowan
Jul 20, 2014 Eleanor Cowan rated it really liked it

This biography is proof that great women decide to be wonderful. Happiness is not a circumstance: it's a choice and Dudgeon's engaging bio communicates that Maeve made many pivotal decisions in her life.

A woman who developed strong personal autonomy, Maeve generously shared her progress and her wisdom world-wide.

Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
Very warm, humanitarian and knowledgeable description of the life of one of my most favorite authors!
It was like opening the hidden door and seeing the life of the author, her character and how it related to the books I've read and the ones I'm still to read.
This book made the author, who I've never met, a real personality and explained what motivated her to write the way she did, what driven her to make some of the decisions in her life.
Jul 07, 2015 Rita rated it it was amazing
I loved this. Dudgeon made Ms. Binchy and her surroundings come alive. I have always loved her books and this just made me admire her more and want to reread the books. I'm just finishing up my second reading of Tara Road, and I know I'm getting a lot more out of it this time! Wish I could own this book in large print. And then all of her books. And then...
Nov 06, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it
I've read all of Maeve's books and was saddened when I heard she was gone. Reading her books was like being part of an Irish village. I've enjoyed getting to learn how the woman these stories came from evolved. I am so pleased that she and Gordon Snell found one another! I also enjoyed the Irish background in this book.
Oct 02, 2014 Sharon rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Binchy grew up in very interesting times in Ireland, but I think we already knew that from reading her books. This author obviously has a lot of respect for her, but I felt he was heavy-handed in bringing historical relevance to her life story.
Dec 30, 2014 Cherop rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, writing
Not quite what I was expecting as far as biographies go but it was still an interesting read. There was a lot of insight into Maeve Binchy's inspirations for several of her novels, a peek into her psyche and work as a journalist as well as her inimitable personality.
Beth Sammons
Nov 19, 2015 Beth Sammons rated it it was ok
To be honest I didn't finish... I got half way through and asked myself "why don't you just re read circle of friends?" It was very dry and while there was so insight to characters of her books it was soooo textbook like.
Oct 18, 2014 Ginnie rated it did not like it
Lots of filler with retelling of her fiction plus psychoanalysis of why she wrote what she did. I only finished it because I wanted to know the facts about her life. I would have been better off reading Wikipedia!
Christine Dirmeir
Mar 19, 2015 Christine Dirmeir rated it it was ok
I love Maeve Binchy books, but did not find her biography as interesting to me as it may be to people more familiar with Ireland. Parts were interesting and educational, but I found the book failed to keep my interest as much as I would have liked.
Judy Adams
Aug 19, 2014 Judy Adams rated it did not like it
Didn't finish it, found it to be boring and text book. Loved the woman and her books, but this just wasn't what I was looking for.
Sheryl Sato
Aug 10, 2014 Sheryl Sato rated it liked it
A thoughtful look at the life and times of Maeve Binchy; interesting to read and lovely to see so many references to characters and scenes from well-loved novels.
Beth Granger
Sep 01, 2014 Beth Granger rated it really liked it
Started rather slowly, but by the end I felt like I knew Maeve and why she wrote such wonderful books.
Feb 03, 2016 Cathy rated it it was ok
Although filled with the proper facts & figures, this book elicits so little of the personality - that voice that has become such a friendly, familiar part of many of our lives.
kindle rated it really liked it
Mar 20, 2016
Terry rated it really liked it
Feb 03, 2014
Sive rated it it was ok
Aug 28, 2013
Becky Smith
Becky Smith rated it really liked it
Aug 05, 2016
Susan rated it liked it
Jul 12, 2014
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