Firefly Summer
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Firefly Summer

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  8,538 ratings  ·  250 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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Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourtCircle of Friends by Maeve BinchyIn the Woods by Tana FrenchDaughter of the Forest by Juliet MarillierTara Road by Maeve Binchy
Best Fiction Set in Ireland
20th out of 281 books — 224 voters
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Best Books of the Decade: 1980's
237th out of 968 books — 1,026 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Beth
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
Jen Westpfahl
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...more
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
In Binchy's 1987 novel, an American moves his family to the rural Irish town of Mountfern
Laura
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.
Adam Dunn
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...more
Amanda
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...more
Kaethe
I like this well enough, but it isn't one that stands out in my mind.
Yaya
Oct 28, 2008 Yaya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Christine
4 Extra Debut.

rating 3.5

(view spoiler)...more
C.M. Barrett
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.)
Diane
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!
Hillary Bidwell
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.
Julie McCahill
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
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.
Courtenay
I doubt I will finish this book. I don't need to read Maeve Binchy again.
Hege
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
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...more
Jessica Chambers
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...more
Melissa Klunejko
This is a riveting story about a family who owns a pub on the outskirts of town. Right next door to this pub is a manor home, which has been abandoned for so long, the pub children play in it's remains. However, a descendant of the manor's long-gone owners has arrived in the sleepy town and is declaring he will build a hotel utilizing the manor. Unfortunately, he will take custom away from the next door pub with his flashy touristy bar he is installing.

Tragedy hits when the wife of the pub owner...more
Amanda
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...more
Berthine
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...more
Debby
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...more
Yvonne Mendez
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...more
Louise
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
Jay
Another Binchy book that I listened to on audio because I enjoy the storytelling with an Irish accent. In this one, the narration was OK, but the story felt too long and the pacing was just like a soap opera. I had a bit of a problem keeping some of the characters straight, but this seemed to have fewer characters than most of Binchy's other stories. The last scenes were a bit too overdramatic but the abrupt ending was interesting.
Teesa
As always, Maeve Binchy's writing is impeccable and keeps you hooked. I love the style with which she writes dramatic moments as simply happening - there is no big sweeping score or foreshadowing music in real life, and there is no literary equivalent of it here. In fact, the "big event" in the middle of the book caught me SO off guard that I slammed the book down in a fit of shock and rage, and couldn't come back to it for a few minutes. In contrast, though, I could see the ending coming a mile...more
Erika Kilborn
Oct 18, 2007 Erika Kilborn rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like her books
I always enjoy reading Ms. Binchey's books. It's like sitting down with some new friends I've yet to meet and learning all about their lives. You can almost hear the voices and anticipate how the characters will react to different situations.

I did not enjoy this book as much as say Circle of Friends. The storyline meandered a bit and the ending was very unsatisfactory. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but let's just say that this is a LONG book and I was rather annoyed when I got to the end....more
Jackie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannon
This was a great story. I lived in Ireland for a very short while and this book took me right back to my experience. I listened to, rather than read this book and I’m so glad I did. Written by an Irish author, about an Irish community and read with an Irish accent – a perfect combination for complete immersion into the story.

It’s a small town story centered on the Ryan family, who is very easy to love, and extending out to their whole community. I felt like I got to know everyone in town. There...more
Sue
I love Maeve Binchy novels, but this one was too long, too plodding, and too boring. This was one of her earliest books and it is clear she was still struggling to find her voice. The book lacks the polish and personality of the books that came later.
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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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