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Circle of Friends

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  53,963 Ratings  ·  1,649 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
...more
Paperback, 722 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Arrow (first published 1990)
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Melindam
description

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.

description

"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
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Holly
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
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Tea Jovanović
May 01, 2013 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
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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
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Hannah
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
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Sondang
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
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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
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Liz
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
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Lisa
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.
Syndi
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.
Erin
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This remains my favorite book by Maeve Binchy!
Obsidian
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
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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
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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.
Quirkyreader
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.
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
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Sara
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
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Jan
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.

Jennifer
Jan 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lainy
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
...more
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
Susan Mackie Powers
Dec 21, 2016 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
KABUDI "Obamaniac" Tumi
I am in love with this book 😍. Probably because I am a sucker for GREAT FRIENDSHIPS👥, DEEP MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS 🗣, GREAT FOOD 🍲 & LOVE💜. Late Maeve Binchy write up in this novel deserves 5 🌟s. It was as if I was walking a memory lane of strangers who met up in university and become friends. Great friends😄. The way their life changed and got intertwined!

This book did not leave out the fights that happen among friends 🗯😠, love triangles, friendships that grew to relationships💑, friends th
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Faith
Jun 05, 2014 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
Francesca
Nov 24, 2013 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 others....................it's a good 'portrait' of life, maybe the book is a bit too long!
Shannon
Oct 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
While reading the book Circle of Friends, I happen to be very bored. The author went into too much depth of unnecessary subjects in the story. If the author hadn’t written as much as she did, then I might have a better appreciation for the book. However, the characters of the story were very depressing. Each and every character had a sad tragic story that followed them. From these tragic events, the people took the wrong path and or made the wrong choices. Which then made the book less interesti ...more
Antof9
Jan 02, 2009 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
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Janet Lynch
Jan 18, 2016 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
L.E. Fidler
May 22, 2009 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
Lisa
Mar 22, 2013 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
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500 Great Books B...: Circle of Friends - Maeve Binchy 1 22 Jul 17, 2014 06:26PM  
Maeve Binchy 9 63 Aug 25, 2012 02:44PM  
Circle of Friends 0 23 Apr 28, 2009 03:20AM  
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3,041 followers
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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“Who knows what light housework means? One nun’s light could be another nun’s penal servitude.” 5 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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