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Circle of Friends

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  47,520 Ratings  ·  1,460 Reviews
Big, generous-hearted Benny and the elfin Eve Malone have been best friends growing up in sleepy Knockglen. Their one thought is to get to Dublin, to university and to freedom...

On their first day at University College, Dublin, the inseparable pair are thrown together with fellow students Nan Mahon, beautiful but selfish, and handsome Jack Foley. But trouble is brewing for
Paperback, 722 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Arrow (first published 1990)
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Aug 24, 2007 Holly rated it really liked it
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

This book is the ultimate comfort read for me. A heart-warming, emotionally gratifying & rewarding experience. The one where, after finishing, you just sit & stare out of your head happy & content that again the world has been put to rights.


"Circle of Friends" is to me what "The Baronetage" is to Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion. :)

"...there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were aroused into admiration and respect, ... the
Tea Jovanović
May 01, 2013 Tea Jovanović rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
Pros - The writing style itself with wording isn't bad. It has a smooth and warm tone that fits the genre. Characters are mainly likeable, especially the main Benny and her friend Eve, two girls who bonded despite being in such different circumstances. The ending isn't predictable but it's a peaceful one. There's a surprise that pops up with one of the characters showing their real face, so not everything is sedate

Cons - The lengthy book is a story of unfolding and developing relationships, but
Jul 22, 2007 Sondang rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable story predominantly following two young girls who grow up together in a small town in Ireland. The story mainly focuses on when they go to University together in Dublin and encompasses the story of their friends there and in their home town.
It's a family saga with plenty going on and loveable characters. I listened to this on audio and it was beautifully narrated - a lovely heart warming story.
Trish at Between My Lines
Aug 05, 2013 Trish at Between My Lines rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 11, 2013 Erin rated it it was amazing
This remains my favorite book by Maeve Binchy!
Meg - A Bookish Affair
This has probably been my favorite Maeve Binchy book that I have read so far. One of the things that I like about Binchy is that she is very good at describing the characters and giving the back story of the characters.

Circle of Friends tell the story of Benny and Eve, friends who grow up in a small town in Ireland. They go off to university in Dublin where their circle of friends grows and their lives change greatly. This is a story of friends and the changes we go through as we grow up.
Engy Moussa
Nov 30, 2012 Engy Moussa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 2017 Lili rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, romance
Ahhhh - this book has reduced me to a great puddle of tears of joy. Wonderful!
Jenna St Hilaire
Oct 12, 2011 Jenna St Hilaire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 13, 2008 Sara rated it liked it
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
Mar 02, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it
I debated. four stars? five stars? I really liked this story about two girls who grow up in a small town and go to college in Dublin. Benny and Eve are fierce friends in a circle of friends who contain some who are not so true in the end. Is it a perfect book? Probably not. Did I enjoy it? Yes! The moral lines are subtle, but they are there. All the characters are fully drawn and the plot kept me reading - quite late on the night I finished it.

Jan 31, 2017 Lainy rated it liked it
Time taken to read - on and off for 7 days

Pages - 722

Publisher - Arrow

Blurb from Goodreads

Big, generous-hearted Benny and the elfin Eve Malone have been best friends growing up in sleepy Knockglen. Their one thought is to get to Dublin, to university and to freedom...

On their first day at University College, Dublin, the inseparable pair are thrown together with fellow students Nan Mahon, beautiful but selfish, and handsome Jack Foley. But trouble is brewing for Benny and Eve's new circle of fri
Nov 24, 2013 Francesca rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable story, we read what happens in this group of friends and it's really entertaining. Some characters are really nice's a good 'portrait' of life, maybe the book is a bit too long!
Jan 02, 2009 Antof9 rated it really liked it
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
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
Janet Lynch
Jan 18, 2016 Janet Lynch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This novel is not great literature. I chose it as a cozy book to read at bedtime to fall asleep. It was slow and not very interesting, but doing what I expected of it: putting me to sleep. Then on page 336 (of 599) I sat up and paid attention! Really? He thinks that of her? An undesirable character who hopes to marry a girl to improve his business prospects has such a low opinion of her that he can’t fathom another man having an interest in her! From then on, I read this book whenever I could an ...more
Susan Mackie Powers
Dec 21, 2016 Susan Mackie Powers rated it really liked it
Circle of Friends is the story of Benny and Eve, two best friends who grew up in Knockglen, Ireland together. Benny, the only child of the owner of a men's clothing store and his doting wife, grew up treasured and somewhat sheltered, while Eve, the orphaned daughter of an heiress and her ill suited love, was brought up by the nuns in the local convent. When the girls graduate from high school and move on to college in Dublin, they are introduced to a whole new group of friends and a whole new wo ...more
Lauren Fidler
May 22, 2009 Lauren Fidler rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 22, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Ohhh. Benny. I love love her character and Ms. Binchy (was) such a star in character creation. There were quite a number a people to keep track of--possibly the only downside---but I couldn't stop going once I got into this book. This author has such a way of developing characters and story that you feel as though you have an inside track on a small Irish town, Dublin, college, and group of friends. I can't say that I was left with a "good" feeling at the end. I did hope for more. But I cannot h ...more
Jun 05, 2014 Faith rated it really liked it
Irish comfort food! Re-read this for Book Club after many years. Forgot how much I enjoyed it and how wonderful a writer Binchy was. I love characters that are so real you empathize with them through all their ups and downs. Very different from the movie, but that was also very enjoyable as I recall. A lengthy book, but a fast read and even minor characters are fully developed and memorable. Perfect read on a dreary day ( and we have had far too many of those this winter!) with a nice cup of hot ...more
Apr 13, 2014 Nicole rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub
I really enjoyed this book! I love historical fiction and I think she did well with it. I found the characters very interesting, a little more so than some of her other books. It moved at a nice pace and I responded positively to how each paragraph frequently dealt with another set of characters so that you could envision the events occurring simultaneously. Well done!
May 05, 2016 Quirkyreader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was major comfort food during a very rainy week. There were parts of this story that had me crying and parts that got me upset with some of the characters. I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen.
Apr 10, 2017 Sam rated it it was amazing
My favorite book of all time
Jan 22, 2013 Jennifer rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 03, 2015 Shanu rated it really liked it
Book Riot's 2016 READ HARDER CHALLENGE (10/24) : Read a book over 500 pages long

I watched the 1995 movie adaptation and since i liked the story enough, i thought i should give the book a try as well.

After reading the book, i can only say that the movie adaptation was great, especially because it skipped all the boring parts and the meaningless side-characters.
I've never read any Binchy before, but i heard she has a reputation to pack her books with way too many characters. Circle of friends wa
Jennifer Johnson
Feb 11, 2009 Jennifer Johnson rated it liked it
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
Arlene Hayman
Jul 17, 2011 Arlene Hayman rated it really liked it
‘A Circle of Friends’ is a story that I read after returning from a memorable and enjoyable time walking the streets of Dublin with our daughter, Genevieve, who resides in the city. As such, the story had a new context for me, as I recalled the lovely setting of picturesque places, such as the beach promenade at Dun Laoghaire or the tranquil park of St. Stephens Green. With the setting in mind, I was enthralled with the novel, feeling closer to the characters, as I felt like I was revisiting Dub ...more
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500 Great Books B...: Circle of Friends - Maeve Binchy 1 16 Jul 17, 2014 06:26PM  
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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. 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 about Maeve Binchy...

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“Who knows what light housework means? One nun’s light could be another nun’s penal servitude.” 3 likes
“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.” 2 likes
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