Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Firefly Summer” as Want to Read:
Firefly Summer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Firefly Summer

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  12,679 ratings  ·  404 reviews
Every summer the four Ryan children play in the ruins of Fernscourt, the once-grand house on the bank of the river.

But when the estate is bought by Patrick O’Neill, the wealthy Irish American, his grand plans for its development threaten to shatter the peace. A new luxury hotel promises to breathe new life into the village, and yet it could also spell disaster for the Ryan
Paperback, 928 pages
Published August 3rd 2006 by Arrow (first published 1987)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Firefly Summer, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,679 ratings  ·  404 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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
Jul 21, 2009 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.
Jan 20, 2011 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
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ireland, popular
Thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in the lives of the people of a small village-Mountfern- in Ireland. The novel spans about 4 years starting from the time Patrick O'Neill from the U.S. comes to Mountfern in search of a connection with his heritage as he rebuilds a ruined castle/manor as a luxury hotel. The wealthy Patrick & his children impact nearly all the villagers and their livelihoods in
some way. I could so see myself conversing & enjoying friendship with many of the characters espe
Jen Westpfahl
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Adam Dunn
Aug 10, 2012 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
Aug 20, 2007 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
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
In Binchy's 1987 novel, an American moves his family to the rural Irish town of Mountfern
ღ Carol jinx~☆~☔
Maeve Binchy never disappoints. I loved this book.
C.M. Barrett
Feb 19, 2013 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.)
Jul 30, 2012 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!
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A more tightly focused novel from Maeve Binchy, similar to Circle of Friends in that sense. Transporting readers to the mid-century Irish village of Mountfern, Binchy's book spins a web about the uncertainties of living, family, growing up, love, and finding a home. Concentrated with Binchy's trademark combination of humor and sadness, Firefly Summer keeps readers engaged with the quotidian but never dull lives of Irish village life.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Such a great story!
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually choose to read Maeve Binchy's novels as comfort reads. However, I am also well aware there is more to her work than comfort. She has a gentle, but nevertheless, intrinsic feminist streak in all her works which enhances them without detracting from their merit for non-feminist readers. In Firefly Summer, one of the American protagonists states that she has tried to help the women in the small Irish village in which she lives for a short time, combining her profession and romantic intere ...more
Jul 14, 2008 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.
Hillary Bidwell
Nov 21, 2008 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.
Julie McCahill
Jun 22, 2012 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!!
Kathy Ludwig
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. It was hard to put it down because there was so much going on and I found myself caught up in all the characters. For people who like her books I would recommend this one.
Mar 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
I doubt I will finish this book. I don't need to read Maeve Binchy again.
Aug 17, 2012 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.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent read from Maeve Binchy about life and change in a small Irish settlement in the 1960s. ❤ ...more
Linda Wells
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, with 645 pages! Didn't want it to end!
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I like this well enough, but it isn't one that stands out in my mind.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd group Maeve Binchy with writers such as Catherine Cookson in terms of her ability to effortlessly immerse the reader in her little corner of the world. I very much enjoy living in a tiny Irish village in my mind while I read Binchy's books.

The book has plenty of characters, and most are well-developed. I found little Eddie Ryan, who was always in trouble despite his good heart, to be very endearing despite being just a minor character. By contrast, I didn't find Dara or Michael - who are muc
S.J. Tyson
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is my first Maeve Binchy novel. It is not really within my usual genre (mostly more contemporary romance/fiction), but I figured I would try something a little different. The book begins in 1962 and covers four years of the lives of inhabitants of a small village called Mountfern in Ireland, particularly the changes that occur after a millionaire American whose family was originally from Mountfern appears and plans to build a hotel on land where his family previously lived. The story tells, ...more
Helen Mccabe
Firefly Summer is a long book and it is different from some of Maeve Binchy's other books in that is principally centred on a rural village in Ireland. The whole population of the village appears in this book and it describes the thoughts and lives of all the people who live there who are either interested or not in the erection of a huge hotel on a ruined great house's site. The dynamic American businessman who has bought it lived in the village many years ago and has returned with his two chil ...more
Betsy J.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maeve Binchy does it again with this interwoven story that takes us into an Irish village that time had passed by --- where simple pleasures were had at the local pub and playing in the beautiful countryside ---- until one person arrives and disrupts the norms. The characters are very well developed, the images of the place and time are so vividly described that you feel you are part of the story, and you find yourself unable to put down this book.

Kate Ryan and her husband, John, have a rollicki
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chicklit-romance
I've always loved Maeve Binchy's epic tales of Irish friendship, and dip in every so often. I hadn't read this one before, and for some reason had assumed it was one of the later series which has so many recurring characters. Now realising it is one of her earliest, it explains why I didn't love it - I think this was when she was still honing the craft she became beloved for.

The book is too long, with too many characters and sub-plots, too much focus on some elements and not enough on others. An
Feb 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
FINALLY I managed to finish this after reading it off and on for more than a year because I lost interest halfway through or possibly before that. I struggled with remembering all of the characters, there were SO MANY characters in this book, it was hard to keep tab who's who up until the end. The story was all over the place. Everything seem to happen because so many things happen to all 78584937538495798 of the characters which added nothing to the plot.

The plot started painfully slow that wh
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • September
  • Mirror, Mirror
  • A Taste For It
  • Never Too Late
  • Trouble in the Village (Tales from Turnham Malpas #8)
  • Ladies' Night at  Finbar's Hotel
  • The Secrets We Keep
  • Up Island
  • An Irish Country Girl (Irish Country #4)
  • Paradise House
  • Starburst
  • The Death of an Irish Politician (Peter McGarr, #1)
See similar books…
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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“How” 0 likes
“May you always have the best of all possible things and even things that are impossible,” she” 0 likes
More quotes…