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Circle of Friends

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  60,010 ratings  ·  1,888 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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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  60,010 ratings  ·  1,888 reviews

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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, ... there any unwel
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
The charm of a Mave Binchy as a writer is her ability to draw the reader in with familiar characters and stories that are relatable and compelling and Circle of Friends is one of those books that has host of well imagined characters whose stories and dramas make for entertaining and easy reading.

I read this book when it first came out and really enjoyed it and when I happened upon it while doing a "Maria Condo" on my bookshelves I felt a strong pull for a cosy fireside read and this one sure d
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love so much this book!! I wanted something simple, light and immediate. "Circle of friends" really kidnapped my heart, especially in such a strange and difficult period that we are living here in Milano,Italy with this Covid -19.
The plot is the most classic of stories, the friendship between these young girls, then become young women, who moved to Dublin to study at College and then...
The characters are well cared in depth, never presented and then abandoned after few chapters, for each of them
Aug 24, 2007 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
Nov 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
2010 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.

I was not able to finish this... was added to DNF list
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
5 Stars - Superb book!

I loved this book!! It’s so well written and the character development is amazing. I kept taking this one off my to-read this, but boy am I glad I decided to put it back on. The best way I can think of to describe this book is that it’s a cozy read with a bit of a bite near the end. It’s so beautifully brilliant. Just FYI, I’m still flying high on this book so this review may be disjointed and messy.

I liked the way the book moved; it’s rhythm. It wasn’t slow moving but it w
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
Trish at Between My Lines
Aug 05, 2013 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
Jul 22, 2007 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
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a treat! It had been a while since I read a book that made me sad when turning the last page, though I was glad the way it ended.

I liked all the characters. We meet Benny who becomes best friends with Eve when they’re 10. The friendship pretty much solidifies when Benny pushes a classmate that’s bullying Eve. Eve tells her- “someday, when I’m big and strong, I’ll knock someone down for you.”
Their friendship remains strong through out the story despite how opposite they are and the many sit
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Softly en'circled' my heart. ...more
Oct 18, 2014 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.
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This remains my favorite book by Maeve Binchy!
Suanne Laqueur
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(Happy sigh)
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Heart warming story about love and friendship. How fate and personality can clash and destroy innocent dream/ hope. This book is classic. I like it OK. I feel bit dragging on the character development. Nevertheless this is a romantic and sweet book.
Engy Moussa
Nov 30, 2012 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
*The Angry Reader*
There is generally something a bit nerve-racking in the reread. If i loved a book enough to want to read it again considering all of the wonderful books out there, I’m taking quite the risk that I’ll hate it this time. There have been a number of books I read five years ago when my love for romance really sparked that are absolutely dreadful on the reread. Bad enough that I’m embarrassed for past-me and her bad bad taste.
So can you imagine the stress of rereading a book I adored in 1995 - when
This book was over 700 pages! Seriously. At one point I nodded off and I think my finger kept moving or something so I woke up to a totally different place in the book, and did not go back. I just couldn't.

I really do love Maeve Binchy's works and since I saw the movie version of this, I really wanted to read this. If I had known how long it was and how some parts deviated from the book though, I would have passed.

I think the biggest issue is that at first the book focuses on two school children
May 05, 2016 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.
Jenna St Hilaire
Oct 12, 2011 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
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.
Annie ⚜️
I liked the movie so much I had to read the book when I saw it was based on one. Sadly, I didn't care for it as much and I've never read another Maeve Binchy since. ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Binchy books. Strictly comfort reading.
Jan 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2008 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 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.

May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A lovely story with well portrayed characters.
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
4.5 stars

I’d never read Binchy before, but had a great time with this warm and immersive novel, centering on two young women starting college in the big city (Dublin) while remaining connected to their hometown (the fictional Knockglen). Benny and Eve are best friends and both wonderful characters. Benny is a people-pleaser trying to escape her loving but overprotective parents, while stressing about her large body and an unexpected but fraught romance with the campus heartthrob. Eve is an orpha
Iza Brekilien
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for Books and livres

I loved reading this book, that began with how the two main characters, Benny and Eve, met when they were about ten. Loved it but not adored it, it was a bit long, you see, almost 600 pages. The story, heartwarming as it was, could have been a wee little shorter. Or maybe it's just that I want to finish #TheIrishReadathon in time - I don't deal well with pressure even when I chose, that's how weird I am. (Though the last books I wanted to read for it are on my desk a
Jan 31, 2017 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
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500 Great Books B...: Circle of Friends - Maeve Binchy 1 25 Jul 17, 2014 06:26PM  
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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

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