Circle of Friends
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Circle of Friends

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  32,100 ratings  ·  1,092 reviews
It began with Benny Hogan and Eve Malone, growing up, inseparable, in the village of Knockglen. Benny--the only child, yearning to break free from her adoring parents...Eve--the orphaned offspring of a convent handyman and a rebellious blueblood, abandoned by her mother's wealthy family to be raised by nuns. Eve and Benny--they knew the sins and secrets behind every villag...more
Published by Turtleback Books (first published 1990)
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Holly
I confess to loving what we at the bookstore used to consider "old lady novels." You know, written by nice old ladies, and featuring stock characters such as "Comfortable old lady who smells like violets," "Troubled young boy who will probably run away, thus becoming the catalyst to resolve the troubles of his father, who is..." "Bitter middle aged widower who just needs a little lovin'," and "Beautiful woman who provides said lovin'."

Well, I've moved on from Rosamunde Pilcher, though The Shell...more
Tea Jovanović
Nažalost, Mev je prošlog leta preminula i ostali smo bez najtoplije irske autorke... Njene knjige plene toplinom i pričama o običnim ljudima i njihovim sudbinama... Knjige za one od 12-100 godina...

Ovo je priča o dve devojčice iz male varošice u Irskoj i njihovom odrastanju... Veoma uspešno je i ekranizovana... A moram da se pohvalim da sam tokom prevoda pronašla dve materijalne greške u originalu i da sam prva posle 35 izdanja koja je ta knjiga imala na engleskom i posle svih engleskih urednik...more
Sondang
Still one of my favourite books. Best written book ever. Okey, I love Maeve Binchy, but this book is smashing. I love it from the first until the last page.
You'll love all the characters, especially the friendship between Benny and Eve. And eventhough you loathes Nan's behavior, somehow you'll understand her. You'll fall in love very quickly at Jack Folley, and as soon as that you'll find yourself annoyed by his taken-for-granted-act- to our lovable Benny.
As other's Maeve writing, it's all detai...more
Sara
Jul 09, 2008 Sara rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sara by: Jen Pawlowski
The best part about this book was the characters and how well they are portrayed. Everyone had thier own distinct personality and thier personality shown through as if Binchy were writing about people she's known her whole life.

I personally found the storyline a little slow for my liking, and it took me a long time to get through this book. However, it was well written and I enjoyed it. The character of Nan fascinated me the most. I've known girls like her, so poise and perfect in every way... d...more
Antof9
Another book not reviewed right after reading. Here's all I have:

I knew that I wanted to write more on this lovely book, but that it would take some time and thought. Unfortunately, now, I have allowed too much time to pass, and can't remember much of what I wanted to write! *ack*

What I do remember is that I found it fascinating to read this book while picturing the actress Minnie Driver as Benny. I loved having a face for her! And this book was truly enjoyable. In fact, if I had another copy on...more
Jenna St Hilaire
My friend Elizabeth bought this book for me, saying that Binchy’s writing is peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable to read. It is that. But I also had to stay up reading it till three A.M. in desperate suspense.

It wasn’t due to relentless pacing or swift-moving prose. Binchy’s writing career apparently began before the modern outcry against things like the passive verb and the third person omniscient voice. Her brief sentences and snappy dialogue generally kept the scenes from dragging, though, and I...more
Carolyn F.
Audiobook. Wonderful narration Fionnula Flanagan did a fantastic job. I watched the movie and I have to say even though this is an abridged edition, I liked it more. The ending was kind of empowering where it could have been all sad and heartbroken.
Lisa Cunningham
This wasn't quite as good as "Tara Road" but you're sure to enjoy the interesting characters, especially the women, in this book. Benny and Eve are best friends who only become friends after Benny's mother asks her to invite the loner Eve to her 12th birthday party. We quickly move ahead to their first year away from home and the guys who become their boyfriends.

Benny has her first love and has to deal with Jack's casual attitude toward women. Eve meets family that never cared if she existed.

Alt...more
Lissa
I found a hard-cover version of Circle of Friends on my mother's bookcase one summer during high school. I read it through in less than two days, took it with me to college, and re-read it so many times over the net few years that the binding eventually gave out. I didn't replace it, figuring that I had every page memorized.

The characters -- Benny Hogan, Eve Malone, Mother Francis, Peggy Pine, Mr. and Mrs. Hogan, Patsy, Sean Walsh, the Kennedys and Healys and Johnsons, Clodaugh, Mario and Fonsie...more
Engy Moussa
Never before an author managed to keep me awake all night and hours beyond sun rise to finish their novel.
But Binchy did! And she did it twice.. Once about two years ago with The Glass Lake when I stayed with the book in my hand all night until 8 in the morning when I finally finished it AND yesterday as I stayed in bed from 11:30 till almost 7 in the morning with the little lamp guiding my eyes page after page as I impatiently yet gladly follow Binchy's plots..
No praise a humble reading like my...more
Amanda
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 - di...more
Trish at Between My Lines
Do you have a favourite pair of old jeans? Worn to death, washed to that perfect comfortable feel, not the latest edgy trendy cut and colour but still a firm favourite. They are a perfect fit and make you feel good. Ones you pull out and wear time after time? Circle of Friends is the book equivalent of those jeans for me. Around forever, radiating warmth, full of humour and with a gossipy, uplifting plot. Yes, it’s another of my comfort books.

Big hearted, generous Benny is the main character. Fr...more
Jennifer Johnson
If you look at my bookshelf you'll notice that I really like Maeve Binchy, I've read a lot of her books. Her stories aren't wildy romantic, they aren't full of crazy events- in fact you could describe them as rather bland. For whatever reason though, I really enjoy reading them. It's a comforting read and on a cold day they make me feel warm on the inside, a little bit like chicken soup. (And since I really, really loathe the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books, it's good that I have something tha...more
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
More like 2.5. I was feeling in the mood to read something cozy and glurge-y that I didn't need to use much brainpower to read. So something made me think of this. I suspect it was seeing the third of the Dark Knight Batman films, and being reminded of the previous series of Batman films. Yes, there is a connection — Batman Forever featured Chris O'Donnell as Robin, and in the movie version of this book (which came out in the same year) he played the male lead. (For a while he was a major teen h...more
Lily
May 16, 2007 Lily rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Shelves: all-things-irish
I read this book after seeing the movie and as much as I love the movie, I love the book even more. The book has a few more major characters and plot developments that are note even touched in the movie. I have read many books by Maeve Binchy and Circle of Friends seems like her best developed story. The rest start to seem a little too much like romance novels for my taste (not that romance novels aren't good when you want one!) This story follows Benny Hogan and her friend Eve as they head to U...more
Kathleen Thomas
Jan 10, 2013 Kathleen Thomas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who just likes a plain nice story
I love love love Binchy's novels Circle of Friends still being my favorite and I have read it numerous times. This is long 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...more
Lauren Fidler
i probably shouldn't, but i LOVE this book...the story of big girl benny, her friends nan and eve, her rampant catholic guilt, and the dreamy boy who fell for her and then broke her heart. the movie is a decent tribute, and a meaty minnie driver is exactly how i pictured benny, but it changed the ending to one that is WHOLLY disappointing. the actual story should be one of self-discovery and empowerment; however, the ending of the film makes the story into a "forgive and forget" love story betwe...more
Kirsten Stewart
I started reading Circle of Friends because it was lying round the house, and I had nothing else to read. I found it to be a slow starter, but this author knows how to weave her story deep within you, so you grow to know the characters so well that you feel like you know them. You become immersed in her lilting Irish world without noticing and you must know what happens to Benny and her friends.

This is a slow burning gentle story that you get lost in, just don't expect it to be fast paced and tw...more
Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve
2.5 stars. I'm oddly conflicted by this book. I didn't like how long it took to get going, the story took some odd turns, some of the characters could use a good slap and told to pull their head in and stop being so self-involved, and some of the chapters were more of a marathon than a part of a story. There were parts I did like, and parts I loathed. I also didn't like the resolution of the story, I would have preferred to it to finish 'neater', but I suppose it mirrors life.
Jennifer
Loved this book. i saw the movie first and ended up reading the book years later. The book adds so much that the movie left out. I love Maeve Binchy's style of writing. Her characters draw you in and you feel like you are friends with Benny and Eve. Then there's creepy Sean Walsh.
Amy
Soap-opera story. Fascinating look at varied personalities, life perspectives, and choices. Enjoyed the book less as bad language and immorality increased. Pleased with the character who had developed and cultivated refined mannerisms, but disappointed when she made poor choices. Made me grateful for gospel truths to guide my life and give me a standard of values.
Carla
This book was our June book selection at Book Club. I've never read a Maeve Binchy book before, but of course have heard about her huge number of fans. A pleasant easy read, with perhaps too many pages. This story could have been told in far fewer. A circle of friends that grew larger upon entering college, where there are young people from all walks of life. This book centered around the class structure and struggles. A bit cliche in that the women, particularly, could have been better describe...more
Janice
The flap copy from my publisher kept comparing my book to Maeve Binchy, so I've been wanting to read her. Circle of Friends is charming ... and I remember enjoying the movie with Minnie Driver in the lead role. Girl from Irish village goes to college in Dublin, she sees herself as gawky and fat, but people - and this reader! - are drawn to her sense of humor and kindness. A rich story of true friendships and betrayals. As I read, though, I kept thinking of Edna O'Brien's memoir. The young people...more
Francesca Tagliaferri
Very enjoyable story, we read what happens in this group of friends and it's really entertaining. Some characters are really nice others....................it's a good 'portrait' of life, maybe the book is a bit too long!
Kerry
This might have been my first Binchy book and I was hooked. I so enjoy her writing style and the meandering and interwoven people and events that occur. Her descriptions of small town Ireland are vivid and very entertaining,.
Leslie
I think this is one of Maeve Binchy's early books. I know her writing has improved since this was published.
She's formulaic, but you know what to expect sort of. Relaxing reads usually.
Leah
It was OK, not one of Binchy's stronger books, though I really liked the main character, Benny. I just kept picturing Chris O'Donnell and feeling annoyed.
Ramsha Tahir
I don't know why but i am, seriously, in love with this book. It was one of the best ones I've ever read.
Pat
After reaading Cooper Beeches, this book hooked me on reading all of Maeve Binchy's books.
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Maeve Binchy 9 46 Aug 25, 2012 02:44PM  
Circle of Friends 0 23 Apr 28, 2009 03:20AM  
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Maeve Binchy was born on 28 May 1940 in Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland, the eldest child of four. Her parents were very positive and provided her with a happy childhood. Despite the fact she describes herself as an overweight child it was her parents attitude that gave her the confidence to accept herself for who she is today.

She studied at University College Dublin and was a teacher for a while....more
More about Maeve Binchy...
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“Eve showed Aidan how to rake the range. “I think when we’re married we might have something more modern,” he grumbled. “No, surely with the eight children we can have them stoking it, going up the chimney even.” 0 likes
“Who knows what light housework means? One nun’s light could be another nun’s penal servitude.” 0 likes
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