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The Glass Lake

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  15,025 ratings  ·  599 reviews
Kit McMahon lives in the small Irish town of Lough Glass, where everyone knows everyone; children who walk to school together grow up and become sweethearts and marry, people gossip and grumble and dream their lives away. For it is a place where change comes slowly. One day, Kit's mother disappears and the town gossips run wild with stories. The consequences for Helen's hu ...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published June 29th 2005 by The Orion Publishing Group Ltd (first published 1994)
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Circle of Friends by Maeve BinchyTara Road by Maeve BinchyScarlet Feather by Maeve BinchyThe Glass Lake by Maeve BinchyQuentins by Maeve Binchy
Best Books By Maeve Binchy
4th out of 23 books — 114 voters
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What To Read Next
436th out of 9,347 books — 18,242 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 08, 2011 Limonessa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women who love too much
Recommended to Limonessa by: Flannery and Maja
Shelves: adult-fiction
2.5/3 stars

Well, this should at least serve as an admonition to all women on how a MAN should never ever be the fulcrum around which a woman's life rotates, making him the centre of her universe.

The story - my first Maeve Binchy book ever - is set in the 50s and revolves around the lives of various families in the small village of Lough Glass, Ireland, during a span of about 10 years. Among this rather extensive set of characters, stars Helen McMahon alias Lena Gray, a desperate woman whose a
Alexandra Ray
Oct 11, 2012 Alexandra Ray rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Alexandra by: Sabby
I... have no clue how to start writing this review. This is the story of lives, lives affected by secrets and lies and choices made by a handful of people. We watch as the consequences of those choices shape the lives of so many people over a span of about ten years. Naturally for a story that has to span that amount of time, it took some time also to get into it. It took at least 100 pages (which isn't much considering how long it is) and a couple hundred more before I absolutely could not put ...more
i have read this book more than once,it is probably my favourite.everytime i read it, i feel like i am living in this village, i'm going to school with the kids, i search for helen in the lake. and then i somehow transfer to the big city, and i live next door to lina and lewis. i go to work with them, i write letters to kit, i organize this dance-event. the characters are very "alive", vivid,very colourful, not plain, not shallow. a bit self-centered or obnoxious, maybe...I feel lina as a differ ...more
Amy Hillis
I love me some Maeve Binchy. When I read her books, I want to be Irish, own a pub, and live in a tiny town. I can hardly read one of her books without developing a fierce hankering for corned beef and cabbage.

In typical Binchy style - we're immediately drawn into the life of a simple family in a largely nondescript - yet still engaging - town. In this book, a mother struggles continuing life in her family and she makes a choice that changes her husband, children, and self forever. A simple choi
I LOVED this book. It was so engrossing and enthralling and all those over adjectives that start with e. The main character was so relatable, and I especially enjoyed her tumultuous friendship with Clio - it was so realistic.
But really, I just love how Binchy writes. The way she skips from scene to scene keeps you interested.
And, SUCH satisfying ending.
All in all, a book I will revisit time and time again, despite its 700+ page count :)
This is one of my all-time favourite books - I think partly because of how it got me through what could have been an awful travel day. I picked it up as bulk paperback at the Ottawa airport just before Christmas in, I think, 1995. I had never heard of Maeve Binchy, but it was a fat novel and I was pretty sure it was going to be a long day, as I was flying back to visit my family in northern BC, and it was one of those awful Canadian winters. My plane ended up having to detour through Toronto, th ...more
I liked this book at the very start. You follow two young girls, Kit (Mary Katherine) and Clio, while learning about their town of Lough Glass. The whole story is more about Kit and her family. Her father, Martin, is the town pharmacist. Her mother, Helen, was in love with another man when she met Martin and married. Her younger brother, Emmett, has a stutter that means he gets teased a lot by the other children.

The pivotal point in the book comes when Kit, and others in town, realize Helen is m
WOW! ok so I really liked the beginning of this book. it was haunting & mysterious. and then i HATED one of the main characters. and i couldn't get over what an idiot she was. but i finished it. and it was only ok. and i don't recommend it to anyone! the only thing i liked about this book is that this horrible woman leaves her husband & family to be with another man... and it all falls apart with man #2. basically she gets what she deserves and regrets being an idiot. that was a TINY bit ...more
A light read that completely entertains.
Kit McMahon is a young girl living in the small village of Lough Glass, where everyone knows each other. She is believed to live a charmed life - has a doting mother and father, a brother she gets on well with, many friends (including the shallow but vivacious Clio Kelly). One night Kit's mother Helen goes out walking and never comes back - after months of searching, a body is found and Kit mourns the mother she has lost. At the same time we start following the story of Lena Gray in London, an u ...more
listened to this one on audio–21 discs! holy longness. read by barbara caruso who is a masterful narrator, i was able to stick with this story until the end, but at about disc 9 i was wondering what the heck else the story was going to be about and… it kept going! by the end, i cared deeply for the main characters and was sad to see the story end. a story of serious miscommunications with dire, life-changing results. i liked it less than scarlet feather, but i think that was because s.f. had foo ...more
This book had some parts that semmed to drag on & was a bit predictable, which is why I only gave it 4 stars. Once I got passed the slow beginning, it pulled me in & I didn't want to put it down. In my own personal prejudices, I never thought I could feel for a mother who abandons her children. But this book allowed me to not only feel for her character but to love her & abandon my judgements against her (& others who I've known to make these kinds of choices). It's a great book ...more

Star Rating Art: 4 Stars
Star Rating Story: 3.5 Stars

Netgalley Review

First Impression: Am liking the art. Intreaguing SP? comes to mind.

Plot/Storyline: Very confusing, not sure if I will want to read other volumes. I cant get a good handle on what the heck is going on. Some background would be nice and a little more explanation could really help .Interesting concept to have Death portrayed in white (though he does ride a black horse). I didnt finish it because honestly, I was just confused most o
Anna recommends highly. Anna was right, I was so drawn into the characters of this small town in Ireland and the main character Kit was someone I would like to know. I like how she wrote of the main story line but kept you following the other character's lives as well. This would have been a good bookclub read. There were so many parallels between people and chiices that were taken that it does make you think of hereditary traits. I don't want to give the story away but it was a great read.
Meredith Morgan
Set in Ireland by a lake, a Maeve Binchy story of gossip and secrets. A sad story of a mother (Helen) married with two children to the local pharmacist. One day the mother disappears, presumed drowned as they find a body in the lake, and a funeral is held. But in fact she has run away with her lover before she got married,they run to London and start a life there. She had left a note explaining, but the daughter saw it and assumed it was a suicide note, so she destroyed the letter without readin ...more
A great story of a family torn apart when the mother disappears and everyone thinks she drowned in Glass Lake. I liked the characters even the mother who gives up her family for the one man she thinks she loves only to find out what a mistake she made and what she really gave up. The story doesn't just focus on the characters but a lot on the difficult choices we have to make in life.
Alison C
(Note: Slight spoiler ahead!) In Maeve Binchy's The Glass Lake, we are introduced to Cleo and Kit, two young girls growing up in the small Irish village of Lough Glass, a place where everybody knows everyone but not necessarily everyone's secrets. When Kit's mother, always a bit of an enigma and an outsider in the small town, disappears, the whole town is convinced that she has committed suicide, and when a body is found by the lake some weeks later, it is presumed to be hers. However, Kit, in a ...more
This book was excellent. Maeve Binchy has the ability to bring the characters to life. The endings are never expected and they are very real. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to just curl up and get comfortable with a great book. My only warning is that you may not be able to put it down!
Jan 19, 2013 Mae rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ireland
I started this book in search of Maeve Binchy, trying to figure out why she is so popular. She might not be a scholar but she certainly is a fantastic storyteller and she tells the stories of Ireland so well. The more I read her the more I like reading her books. A lovely, strange story, much like Ireland.
I've got a soft spot in my heart for English, Scottish and Irish writers, especially when the books are set in earlier decades. This book is very sad at times, but the character development is superb. It reminds me a lot of my favorite Scottish author, Rosamunde Pilcher.
This is some book. The first 400 pgs are so riveting, then it got slow for a while, but the ending got very good, except one hoped it would be Louis who met a tragic end and not Lena, but I suppose Lena’s death was really the only possible ending to the book and having Stevie & Kit scatter her ashes on the lake was very poetic. In the end the fact that Louis would have to face his troubles alone was a just conclusion. If Binchy were more like Hassler and if she chose more unpredictable endin ...more
This was my first Maeve Binchy book and I enjoyed the story a lot. The story is set around a lake in rural Ireland and in a lot of ways was a story about the relationship between a mother and her daughter. The beginning of the book was my favorite as there was so much mystery. However as the book went on, I just kept getting very frustrated with the choices one of the characters made. In an effort to always be "honest"in her first life, she basically rationalized her almost non-involvement in he ...more
Geralyn Laporte
Although I felt I knew parts of the story I was amazed how the story unfolded and I miss the characters, so it must have been a really good book. This story will be with me for a long time.
Lauren Mccusker
It was ok. I do like Maeve Binchy's small-town novels, but to be fair it's been about eight years since I've last read any of her work. I thought the concept was very interesting. Binchy has the ability to place the reader in amongst the action and you feel true empathy for the characters. I also found the book difficult to put down and I even dreamed vividly of the story after falling asleep reading it one night. Having said that, there was something a bit off and it took me a while to figure o ...more
Oreoluwa Sofola
This book was a really lovely book. It was not my usual pick but I got engrossed in it just a few pages in.
All the characters were so developed, you could easily identify with them. I love the way the author pulls you into the village it's daily activities just as if you're one of them!
I like how the book also had me guessing till we got to the climax of it all.
Did I like the ending? I'm not too sure. I guess a part of me wanted the usual fairytale ending where it's predictable but I guess it ha
Sandy Bell
As a reader, I really enjoyed this story. As a writer, I wished it had more of an editors influence. It started out strong and then crawled to a lame end. Binchy took her time, beautifully developing her characters and helping us to fall in love with them. I was disappointed that I never felt transported to Ireland. All the scenes could easily be played out in New York. One other 'bummer' - Sister Madeleine was forgotten. I really wanted to read, in her voice, where she was at the end of the boo ...more
The two stars in not an indication that Ms. Binchy was a bad writer...that just is not the case. Ms. Binchy could develop characters better than any writer of contemporary romance fiction & the way she introduced a ton of characters to the reader, and keep them all straight is pure alchemy. No, I just plain did not care for any of the characters in this entire 700 page novel. I especially detested the weak & pathetic main female protagonist. The story line just seemed to plod along & ...more
Sofia B
i didn't think i would ended up reading it, but i love it so much that i never wanted to finish it.
at the beginning the author lets you figure it out what is gonna happen before it actually does, but when you arrive to the problem you don't imagine that could happen and during the book, you get to see how amazingly well done are the characters that at the final part you know so deeply how each character is that you understand why they did what they did, and that those decisions were the only one
Maeve Binchy never disappoints. Her tales of Ireland in the 1950's always ring true. And for those of us who have been to many of the places that she mentions, it is a lovely return visit. She writes about women who are complicated and clever. She is not afraid to address issues such as abortion and women that run away from unhappy marriages. Her stories are not one evening reads - you must be prepared for a sweeping story. When I need to get out of my head for awhile, Ms. Binchy is the author t ...more
An improbable plot? Possibly. Frustrating characters? Yes! Wonderful characters? Yes! Full of secrets and their consequences? Definitely! I liked the way that Maeve Binchy delves into people's personalities, their lives, and their relationships with others. In this story, set in a small country town in Ireland, as well as London, in the 1950s, there were characters with 'depth', there were characters who were very 'shallow', and there were characters who struggled with their 'conscience'. I felt ...more
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The Glass Lake 1 40 Dec 06, 2008 05:04PM  
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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 travelli
More about Maeve Binchy...
Tara Road Circle of Friends Evening Class A Week in Winter Scarlet Feather

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“It was so silly to try to define things by words. What did one person mean by infatuation or obsession and another mean by love. The whole thing couldn't be tidied away with neat little labels." - Lena Gray” 10 likes
“But an intelligent man like you would know that to live in an unrealistic hope is a very foolish way to spend a life." - Lena Gray” 4 likes
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