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Firefly Summer

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,261 Ratings  ·  287 Reviews
Kate and John Ryan have four children, of whom the eldest are Michael and Dara. Their small town is peaceful and friendly, an unchanging background for a golden childhood. In long, hot summers Michael and Dara and their friends fish and swim or play in the ivy-clad ruins of Fernscourt, the great house burned down during the Troubles...
No one in Mountfern has the slightest
...more
Paperback, 928 pages
Published August 3rd 2006 by Arrow (first published 1987)
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Sarah It was an accident. I cigarette left burning in an ashtray that was knocked over
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourtCircle of Friends by Maeve BinchyIn the Woods by Tana FrenchDubliners by James JoyceTara Road by Maeve Binchy
Best Fiction Set in Ireland
25th out of 340 books — 312 voters
Circle of Friends by Maeve BinchyTara Road by Maeve BinchyScarlet Feather by Maeve BinchyThe Glass Lake by Maeve BinchyEvening Class by Maeve Binchy
Best Books By Maeve Binchy
17th out of 24 books — 131 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Obsidian
I seem to be having issues with really getting into Maeve Binchy's earliest works. This one, "Firefly Summer" went on forever. There were way too many characters to keep track of, lack of character development though some characters reach epiphanies, an overall plot, and several side plots, and an abrupt ending to the whole thing.

Starting in 1962, the main focus of "Firefly Summer" is the Ryan family living in the Irish village of Mountfern. Parents John and Kate have five children (Twins Dara
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Laura
Jul 21, 2009 Laura rated it it was ok
This book was excruciatingly slow in the beginning, quite interesting and fun in the middle, and then quite abrupt and melodramatic at the end. It's as if she didn't know how to end the book so she just had a huge catastrophe happen and then bang, it was over. Definitely my least favorite Maeve Binchy so far.
Jen Westpfahl
Apr 25, 2011 Jen Westpfahl rated it it was amazing
I’ve ready about 10 of Binchy’s 15 novels and this is among my favorites (along with “Scarlet Feather,” “Light a Penny Candle” and “Circle of Friends”). Most of her novels, including this one, are set in Ireland in the mid-20th century and have a slew of well developed characters.

“Firefly Summer” spans four years in the 1960s and focuses on what happens to a small town when an American millionaire (with his two teen children and former mistress in tow) comes in to build a huge hotel. It culminat
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Amanda
Jan 20, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it
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
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Beth
Aug 20, 2007 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read a Maeve Binchy book and picked this one off the library shelf because it had the neatest title. : ) I almost quit reading after the first chapter because Binchy's punctuation is random at best, but I kept reading and ended up enjoying the book pretty well. Binchy creates a huge cast of amazingly real and quirky characters who populate a small Irish town and then shows all the effects that ripple through their lives and relationships when a rich American comes to build a hotel th ...more
C.M. Barrett
Feb 19, 2013 C.M. Barrett rated it it was amazing
Although it's a tough choice, I think this is my favorite Binchy book, and I've read most of them. Her unique gift to juggle many points of view in a novel is particularly impressive in this book. Date I finished this book is impossible to say, as I've read it so many times. (I've never read a Binchy book just once.)
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
In Binchy's 1987 novel, an American moves his family to the rural Irish town of Mountfern
Adam Dunn
Aug 24, 2012 Adam Dunn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic Binchy and a great slice of Irish small town life.

Reading a Maeve Binchy book is like sitting down with an old friend over a cup of tea and I was saddened to hear of her recent passing. Although I had read this book previously, it was long enough ago that I forgot most of it.

Like the best of her books, this one is thick and yet goes down as easily as pie, the length is what makes it good, and you never want it to end. The UK version is over 900 pages and I've seen reviews saying it need
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Diane
Jul 30, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
I read this book many years ago and remember loving it and also sobbing in parts! I just read on USA Today's site that Maeve Binchy passed just today from a brief illness. We have lost such a wonderful story teller, but are blessed for having known her books--she will be missed!
Kaethe
Jul 14, 2014 Kaethe rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I like this well enough, but it isn't one that stands out in my mind.
Yaya
Oct 28, 2008 Yaya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Roos
Here's what I thought about the Characters:

Kerry O'Neill
I don't know what is wrong with this kid. He's so unbelievingly spoiled narcissist person. Sometimes I feel like want to slap him.

Patrick O'Neill
Still can't decide whether to hate or like him. He's a hard man to like, yet I can't hate him just like that.

Kate Ryan
I love Kate, she loves her family more than anything. She is even willing to do anything for her fam.
Sheryl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra
May 10, 2016 Sandra rated it it was amazing
My first time reading a Maeve Binchy novel, a story of family, home, and life with all the problems, good and bad times, and much more. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I was so engrossed in the story, that I made myself read it slowly and with an Irish brogue in my head. Ms Binchy is a fine writer and I will definitely read more of her books.

From Amazon and the back cover of her book:
It was a summer of warmth.... Kate Ryan and her husband, John, have a rollicking pub in the Irish village of M
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Christine
4 Extra Debut.

rating 3.5

(view spoiler)
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Hillary Bidwell
Nov 21, 2008 Hillary Bidwell rated it did not like it
I don't know why I keep reading Maeve Binchy books. A ton of nonsense told in a very long and drawn out way, then a dumb ending. I have one more to read and then that is it!! Seriously, 768 pages to get to that ending. You have got to be kidding me.
Rashmi Menon
Sep 25, 2014 Rashmi Menon rated it it was ok
Being an ardent Maeve Binchy fan, I have huge expectations from her books...some of the elements are a given; for instance most her characters we know are based out of Dublin, it takes 100 pages or so to slowly build the characters and he never info-bombs but instead familiarizes the reader to the people through their interactions...each character is viewed from different angles, their lives are somehow inter-connected...i love the pace of the book, the characters are beautifully portrayed, here ...more
Boots S
Kate and John Ryan have four children, of whom the eldest are Michael and Dara. Their small town is peaceful and friendly, an unchanging background for a golden childhood. In long, hot summers Michael and Dara and their friends fish and swim or play in the ivy-clad ruins of Fernscourt, the great house burned down during the Troubles...No one in Mountfern has the slightest inkling of what it will mean when the ruins are bought by Patrick O'Neill, an Irish American with a dream in his heart and a ...more
Julie McCahill
Jun 22, 2012 Julie McCahill rated it really liked it
I read this long book in 2 days...ok, I was flying back from Europe, but I couldn't put it down. Loved everything about it! Has a great heroine and an evil villain for sure!!
Beth
Aug 17, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing
I have read and reread this book and I enjoy it every time I go back to it. There aren't many books that I read more than once.
Kaija
Sep 30, 2014 Kaija rated it really liked it
Even though, this was a long book, I didn't find it long winded. I was wondering if there were parts I would cut out, but in all honesty, I don't think there's much that didn't contribute to the story.
This is the second book I've read from her, and I will continue to make my way through her novels.

She does an amazing job developing her characters. You know them, and you feel their plights.

Even though, I figured out the ending as soon as they mentioned there was going to be a hotel build it was
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Courtenay
Mar 24, 2010 Courtenay rated it did not like it
I doubt I will finish this book. I don't need to read Maeve Binchy again.
Hege
Jul 16, 2009 Hege rated it liked it
I bought this book at an impuls at the grocery store, as I liked what was written in the back cover....

"Kate and John Ryan have four children, of which the eldest are Michael and Dara. Their small town is peaceful and friendly, an unchanging background for a golden childhood. In long, hot summers Dara and Michael and their friends fish and swim or play in the ivy-clad ruins of Fernscourt, the great house burned down during the Troubles...

No one in Mountfern has the slightest inkling of what it w
...more
Laurel-Rain
Nov 20, 2012 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in an Irish village in the 1960s, "Firefly Summer" is a story about people, especially those connected to one another by traditions, love of family, and their hopes and dreams.

So when a very wealthy American comes to town, determined to build a hotel in the place where beautiful ruins now stand, the reactions of the townsfolk are mixed. Some see his plans as a way to bring new life into the village, while others focus on what they might lose. How the character of the village will change, and
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Jess Chambers
Jan 14, 2011 Jess Chambers rated it it was amazing
Perhaps my favourite of Maeve Binchy’s novels. Written with the trademark warmth that has earned her such a special place in the hearts of so many readers, this book takes you on an emotional journey that will have you laughing and crying in turn.

In the sleepy Irish town where this story is set, it is easy to forget the outside world and to imagine life will stay the same forever. Kate and John Ryan will continue to run the local pub, while their children enjoy an idyllic childhood having their
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Amanda
Feb 15, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Maeve Binchy book; lots of characters set is a small Irish town in the 1950s. It takes about 200 pages to finally get into all the major characters, but once I got there I was hooked.

Its the story about how an American (Patrick O'Reilly), his two children, and his Jewish mistress come to a small town and buy an old mansion that has long since burned to the ground and has been a staple for the town. Once there he tears down the ruins and starts building a luxury hotel where American touri
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Berthine
May 08, 2013 Berthine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are 3 passages that have given me insight and mean so much to me, but there are so many turns and understandings and insights in EVERY paragraph! of this book. Maeve Binchy is a very perceptive woman who can look from & feel into a multitude million side of angles! like A DIAMOND
*Chapter 15, p362:
"Dara had become so grown up, (Kate) she was able to talk to her much more freely than before. (...) Before the accident Dara had been a tomboy, dying to get away from the house, to escape an
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Debby
Sep 03, 2012 Debby rated it it was amazing
It saddens me to know that we as readers have lost a truly fantastic storyteller when Maeve Binchy died this year. So many hours of my life have been spent truly swept up into the characters and stories she has written.
Firefly Summer was one of her earlier works that I had nt ben able to locate an audio version until recently. This 788 pg bok is Maeve Binchy at her best with multi-faceted characters and a saga of a story you don't want to end. Reading Firefly Summer was like being so held capti
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JodiP
Jul 08, 2015 JodiP rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Read while on vacation in Puerto Rico, and it was just the thing. A great story of a small village and how the plan to rebuild the Big House by a descendent of evicted tenants goes pretty wrong. I thought the ending a bit too dramatic, and many, many times, I wanted tot take Judy out for coffee and tell her there are men out there who will actually be in a relationship instead of using you. However, there were many very enjoyable characters and it totally engaged me.
Yvonne Mendez
Feb 18, 2013 Yvonne Mendez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Maeve Binchy's third novel and in this one I see what will be the trademark of her future novels. So many characters with so many back-stories, each one of them in each other's lives for good or evil no matter if they live in a small Irish village or in a posh area in Dublin. The relationships between the characters makes her novels such a story telling jewel.

On this novel an Irish-American comes back to the homeland with wealth and big dreams which he tries to make a reality no matter h
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Louise
Apr 04, 2009 Louise rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book but I surprised myself and did enjoy it.


From back cover:

"Kate and John Ryan have four children, of which the eldest are Michael and Dara. Their small town is peaceful and friendly, an unchanging background for a golden childhood. In long, hot summers Dara and Michael and their friends fish and swim or play in the ivy-clad ruins of Fernscourt, the great house burned down during the Troubles...

No one in Mountfern has the slightest inkling of what it wi
...more
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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. Although she described herself as an overweight child, her parents' attitude gave her the confidence to accept herself for who she was.

She studied at University College Dublin and was a teacher for a while. She also loved travelin
...more
More about Maeve Binchy...

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