Read Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy René Huigen Frans Thomése Online

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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 forBig, 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 friends, and before long, they find passion, tragedy - and the independence they yearned for....

Title : Circle of Friends
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780099498599
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 722 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Circle of Friends Reviews

  • Melindam
    2018-11-30 16:38

    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 unwelcome sensations ... changed into pity and contempt."This book is about friendship, love, betrayal, growing up, learning to fight for what is important & learning to let go.The story takes us to 1957 when Benny (Mary Bernadette) Hogan & Eve Malone are to leave (or are they?) the safe, but limited boundaries of their small Irish hometown of Knockglen -where everyone knows everyone- for the "big, dangerous" city of Dublin.Benny, an awkward (because she is big and tall), but infinitely kind and funny girl is an only daughter to well-meaning, but elderly parents, who don't seem to realise that she is growing up into a woman. Although they are willing to pay for a university education (strictly Catholic, of course) for Benny, their own plan includes her returning to Knockglen afterwards & marrying her father's assistant (they have a struggling gentlemen's outfit shop), the unappealing, slimy & calculating Sean Walsh.Eve is an orphan, brought up by the nuns of the Knockglen Catholic Convent (lead by the wonderful, practical Mother Francis), after her late mother's upper-class (Anglo-Irish) family rejects her because she married a low-class, Catholic handyman. She has no funds for university, unless she learns to overcome her pride & ask the Westwards to pay her tuition fee.In Dublin they meet handsome, popular Jack Foley, cinnamon roll of the University & beautiful, cool Nan Mahon, who is playing a dangerous & ruthless game to get away from her aggressive, drunken father's house both geographically and socially & to land a rich and upper class husband.The scene is also enriched by a set of very well drawn supporting characters both from the big city & the small town and you cannot help to laugh, cheer, curse or cry as the story unfolds.

  • Holly
    2018-11-17 21:55

    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 Seekers will always hold a place in my heart. But two summers ago when we moved here and stayed with the in-laws for a time, I had a chance to read every single book ever written by Maeve Binchy. My husband mocked, while I only craved bon bons.Sure, she writes old lady novels. But her characters are distinct and fully-formed. There is a lot of conflict because they are almost always Catholic. There is some strong criticism of the Church and the rifts it causes in a woman's life as she tries to reconcile her faith/upbringing with the urges of her body. Some of her plots are simplistic, but the emotions never are.Note: I met her when she spoke at a women's lit class when I was in college. Circle of Friend was just coming out as a movie, and she was very excited. She's a sweet lady and very funny.

  • Tea Jovanović
    2018-12-06 15:51

    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 urednika koji su to čitali i dopravljali, i posle bezbrojnih prevoda na razne jezike, koje je ta knjiga imala... Njena agentkinja je bila bez teksta... :) E pa, i to se dešava, da autori prave materijalne greške, a prevodioci to isprave... Ne često, ali dešava se... :)

  • Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    2018-12-03 17:00

    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 sedateCons - The lengthy book is a story of unfolding and developing relationships, but not the most interesting thing on the shelves. The main issue I had is a personal preference - way too much head hopping into random characters. I can't get as attached to characters and interested in their story if the view keeps hopping around so freely. Overall it's a decent book but the point of view switching so heavily isn't something I enjoy in comparison to limited POV or singular, and the length doesn't quite justify the content.

  • Hannah
    2018-11-28 23:51

    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 wasn’t action packed. I think the best way I can describe it is that it seemed natural. I could believe that all of these things were happening to these characters. Things developed organically and I don’t think that happens enough in books. Similarly, the plot seemed to be so realistic and lifelike that it worked so well. I believe that Benny’s parents were very protective (and supportive). I could believe and understand Eve’s frustration, to say the least, with Simon Westward. I understood Nan’s desire to be someone different. It all made sense because the characters were in very relatable situations or at the least, I could relate to the emotions and feelings, if not the exact situation. I also liked that the author gave us two different views of Ireland: city and countryside, Dublin and Knockglen. I like that the book dispelled some of my cliche thoughts about Ireland. I mean that, this book dealt with subjects that, when associated with Ireland, take on a specific historical/political/social context (religion, sex, family obligation abortion, etc.). I was not expecting some of the takes/views on some of those subjects and it was a nice surprise (also maybe revealed some of my preconceived notions about Ireland). My favorite aspect of this book is the characters and my absolute favorite is Benny Hogan, our main character. I think the main reason she’s my favorite is because her character development is so relatable and honestly inspiring. She goes from a shy, fumbling, almost meek girl to a confident, centered, smart, kind young woman. I can’t do her justice so please read the book and enjoy with me. For those of you who have read it, (view spoiler)[I mean the way she handles her father’s death and how mature she was when Jack and Nan were horrible people - amazing (hide spoiler)].I also liked how Eve was the best friend for Benny. Sure, she made her mistakes. They both did, but in the end they knew each other so well and that is what they both needed. I have a lot of strong and conflicting feelings about Nan. First things first, her home life sucked and her father was an ass - no way around that. However, I felt that she wasn’t justified acting the way she did. (view spoiler)[Obviously, the biggest thing here is her relationship with Jack (for which I 100% blame him as well) and her putting her pregnancy on Jack. When they showed up to the Easter party in Knockglen my jaw dropped. I could not believe they would do that and that she would be so stupid to think that people would be so willing to forgive her. Though, it sort of angered me that people were more willing to accept Jack. Don’t like sexism in any form. Jack was just as guilty as Nan was, at least where the sexual relationship was concerned. The pregnancy lie is all on Nan. I will say that no matter how much I disliked nan, I would have never wished her to miscarry. That was truly awful. (hide spoiler)]One quick side note about the movie. So, I haven’t seen it and didn’t even know there was one until I googled it just before writing this and then subsequently read the Wikipedia page. I will not being seeing it. I get that movies are never exactly like the book. But the movie based on those book leaves out some MAJOR characters/story elements. (view spoiler)[How can you leave out Mother Francis?!!? HOW? Also, I didn’t like that they made Benny, Eve, and Nan friends from the start. No, there is a very specific reasoning to not have them all friends from the beginning. Benny and Eve are the OG - no room for Nan in that duo. (hide spoiler)] And it’s such a same because the movie has a fantastic cast. Alan Cumming as Sean Walsh seems absolutely brilliant. Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! It was just what I needed to read at this moment and I’m so glad I did.

  • Sondang
    2018-12-09 21:49

    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 details that we feel we really in their circle of friends in Ireland.I love the part when Eve said to Benny "Someday I'll push down someone for you," after Benny 'rescued' her from a nasty-mouth girl who made fun of her. That's the real beginning of their beautiful friendship.Everytime I read this book (yes, I read it more than twice), it always remind me of how valuable friendship is, and how blessed are the people who has true friends. (thanks my angels)I also love the last two pages, especially the part when Benny looked up the sky, and all she saw was the smoke in the night sky, and she knew that Jack's face is among the friends, not taking the whole night sky.That sentence really describe a great closure about Benny's feeling for Jack. Benny finally let him go, eventhough Jack still loves her the same (even more, I guess, after all what happened).This book is highly recommended. For who value friendship. For who doesn't believe in friendship. For handsome guy like Jack Folley who finally let go the only girl he really love and care about, just because he took it for granted and couldn't control himself from looking around. For big girls out there with big heart that sometimes doubt about whether being virgin is still up to date.Btw, this book already filmed, Chris O' Donnel as the handsome Jack. I haven't watch the movie (already tried to find the movie, but couldn' t find it! So if you happened to know, let me know where to find it in Jakarta)

  • Trish at Between My Lines
    2018-12-14 16:47

    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. From a child, she has been heavy or as others non too delicately put it – a lump of a child, a heifer, large and square. On her 10th birthday, she is expecting a princess party dress to transform her but instead she gets a ‘sturdy, hard wearing outfit’ that her parents have finished off with matching shoes and handbag. Benny never tells them that this broke her heart instead she smiles through the pain and pretends excitement.This book focuses on Benny and best friend Eve leaving their small, country town to attend college in Dublin. Benny is vibrant, charismatic, funny and tender hearted. In Dublin, Benny and Eve find new battles to be fought, new friends to be made as they struggle to make their way in a rapidly changing Ireland. On their college menu is fun and frolics and a side order of backstabbing . The book is set in the 1950’s but despite the older setting, it’s very much a case that the problems faced by college going folks never changes. I faced the challenges in the 90s that Benny faced in the 50’s. I have no doubt the themes of friendship, loyalty, the difference in values and attitudes between parents and teenagers and issues over image are timeless and will continue to have meaning to new generations of readers.The first line draws me in “The kitchen was full of the smells of baking”This sounds like my home growing up where my mother was forever baking for all of us. It feels nostalgic and familiar. From that first line to the last line, I’m wrapped up in a rosy glow.The setting is so authentic, it catches an Ireland that is long gone but captured forever within the pages of Maeve Binchy’s books. A time when church had as much importance as the government. Communities where everyone knew you and all your business. If you coughed in your bedroom in privacy, the next day half the town would ask you how you chest infection was and remind you that lung problems run in your family and to make sure and look after it! A time when the younger generation were pulling the older generation kicking and screaming into the ‘racier’ 1950’s. Where a new jukebox in town caused uproar and new fashions such as miniskirts scandalised the more conservative.The book has a huge cast of great characters. All of them, full of life and fleshed out with remarkable detail. However, it’s Benny that won my heart. I was overweight when I was younger too and I can identify with the trouble this caused her. I had lost weight by the time I was college age but I know how it can eat away at you and destroy your confidence.“He drew her a little closer which was great except that she feared the place he had his hand on her back was just the part where the heavy-duty bra ended and there was a small roll of flesh. God suppose he held that bit of her – it would be like a lifebelt. How could she get him to move his hand up her back? How? These were things you needed to know in life, rather than what was set out in a syllabus for you.”This book makes me smile and I’m always rooting for Benny with her heart of gold. For a while she lives her fairy tale but unlike a fairy tale this one does not end happily ever after. Something I really appreciated about this book, it was realistic but still ended on an optimistic but not ridiculous note. Until they made a movie and changed the ending. Why? WHY? It made me so mad. Who should read this? Highly recommended to all who like character driven books, books with a strong sense of place with a heart warming and uplifting vibe. There is a reason Maeve Binchy sold more than 40 million copies of her books and if you have never read one, then this would be a good one to try

  • Lisa
    2018-11-25 21:41

    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
    2018-11-16 20:02

    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
    2018-12-09 17:03

    This remains my favorite book by Maeve Binchy!

  • Obsidian
    2018-11-16 15:56

    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 (Benny Hogan and Eve Malone) and we somehow fast forward through their childhood to when they move onto Dublin and meet another student named Nan. And then the book starts working in Nan's third person POV as well so she became a sort of third main character to the book. I rather wish we hadn't delved into Nan so much and just focused on Benny and Eve. And also, the book did not need to be as long as it was for us to get to the main point. The main point being apparently, once a cheater, always a cheater.I think that Binchy over time was able to edit herself more and keep the plot moving much better in her later books. The flow in this book was pretty bad. Things were repeatedly said about the same person over and over again. I started rooting for nuns to die (just for something to happen). I think once the book moved firmly to the Dublin section it just got worse in my eyes. We get even more characters thrown at us and I just wanted to tell everyone to just have sex and be done with it. Reading about the girls that would, the girls that wouldn't, how boys wanted it, and everything in between was boring. I think this was touted as a coming of age story and blah. I prefer the movie version of this.

  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    2018-11-27 18:46

    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.

  • Jenna St Hilaire
    2018-11-14 20:37

    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 appreciated the easygoing nature of the tale.The characters delighted me. Taking the secondary cast for now, I particularly loved Mother Francis, Kit Hegarty, Heather, Aidan, Clodagh and Fonsie. I wound up liking Bill a good bit, too. He could be a touch tactless, but he seemed like a solid, good-natured guy. I rather wish we’d gotten more of him.Benny is an incredibly sympathetic protagonist. Most women know the feeling of having some physical flaw that we fear will turn men away, and when that flaw is noticeable enough to be pointed out again and again and again by everyone, it turns to torment. Benny’s humor and grace throughout make her lovable, someone I couldn't help wanting to be like.Eve is just as likable in her own way, primarily for her intense loyalty and sharp wit. She and Aidan share quite a few hilarious little dialogues; they and Clodagh and Fonsie provide much of the comedy in the story. And I’ve got to admit, I’ve made numerous re-reads of the scene where Eve confronts Nan, just for the satisfaction of her fierce defense of her friend and her home. Even though part of that defense was rather indefensible.The friendship between Eve and Benny carries the tale, beneath the numerous perspectives and the sweet but doomed romance. Yeah, I suppose that’s a little spoilerific. But that “sweet but doomed” bit is exactly why I stayed up till three—it was all so tender, and I really wanted it to work out, but I had myself braced for an explosion.I didn’t brace hard enough.The ending itself was beautiful and admirable and exactly what it should have been, if you’ll grant me the nitpicky writerly whim of disliking the last two lines as used together. I knew just why Binchy ended it the way she did, and the reasonable half of me cheers.Now, spoiler.(view spoiler)[The unreasonable half of me—the half that took three watches each through the movies Sabrina and While You Were Sleeping to accept that the setup romances were not the payoff romances—had a hard time with it. When a heroine falls in love with someone who turns out to be a rake, there’s admittedly no good way to resolve that. Rakes are notoriously difficult to reform; it’s a case of powerful addiction. But like any fool girl, I always hope that just once, the one in this or that story will change.And Jack Foley didn't strike me quite as a classic rake. At least, not at first. Binchy does an exceptional job at making the reader care about nearly every character, even the weak ones, and I really, really wanted to love the young charmer. Jack is handsome, lighthearted, very capable of being sweet, and falls in love with Benny for reals. He’s not messing around. Until, of course, he is. Benny can’t be there whenever he wants her, won’t go all the way in the back of the car, and along comes the temptress, and he’s toast.But Nan played Jack, too. He deserved nearly everything he got, but a part of me still hopes he learned his lesson and proved reformable. (hide spoiler)]This book has been made into a movie—Minnie Driver’s first lead role, I believe, and with improvements enough to Jack’s character to pull off a classic happy ending. Both of which interest me in watching it; I am rather fond of happy endings and Minnie Driver. I like Chris O’Donnell, who plays Jack, too. On the other hand, the trailer makes it sound as if the movie’s theme is more “Catholic girls and sex” than friendship, which is unfortunate. Binchy does give an interesting and nuanced depiction of the former, but it’s a subservient theme and anyway, I’m not sure I trust the film industry to treat it quite so fairly.

  • Engy Moussa
    2018-12-13 18:48

    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 myself would express my adoration for this author, her style, her depth and her realistic plots.I simply adore her novels, connect with them, see reality in them and see them in reality.Binchy takes you where your mind usually restrains itself either busy with life daily struggles or afraid to confront the harsh, complicated and complex reality of life.I highly recommend this book to anyone who like, love or enjoy reading.. It will make you smile, hope and reflect..Done with the novel today Friday 30/11 at 11:47 (the last few pages were only left because by 7 I could really push myself any further after 27 hours of work)This review is written a couple of hours later at 14:39 :)

  • Sara
    2018-11-25 17:41

    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... drives me nuts why can't I be like that? SPOILER: but then when she fakes who the father to her baby is I actually found myself hating a fictional character, I can't say I've ever done that before. Benny way great. I wish I could become a part of her and Eve's friendship, I'd get along with them :)

  • Jan
    2018-11-27 16:53

    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.

  • Lainy
    2018-11-22 16:36

    Time taken to read - on and off for 7 daysPages - 722Publisher - Arrow Blurb from GoodreadsBig, 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 friends, and before long, they find passion, tragedy - and the independence they yearned for.My ReviewA story of friendship, Benny and Eve come from very different backgrounds. Benny is well loved, cared for and the apple of her parents eye. Eve is an orphan, raised by the Sisters and despite having living family members Eve has no one but the Sisters. Benny and Eve spark a friendship from bairns that lasts them unto adulthood. We watch the girls grow, love, hurt and become adults facing the world and its challenges.This is one of those stories that the reader can relate to at least one character if not more throughout the tale. Friendship plays a huge role and it is always heartwarming in any story to see a strong element throughout. But with friendship often comes betrayal, hurt or both and this tale covers all the bases. Eve is a hard to trust wee soul, due to all she has been through you completely appreciate when she is coming from. Benny we see go through a journey of self growth and turn from a bit of a spoiled child into a warm and lovely young lady. Set in Ireland the girls are from a small town and cannot wait to escape, they meet Nan, beautiful, confident and a girl who knows exactly what she wants. The trio are very different and bring depths to the tale that make the vast differences shine. It also emphasizes the things you love about characters and the things you hate. I think this was my first Binchy, it won't be my last 3/5 for me this time. Whilst I really enjoyed the Irish setting and lots of the themes there were aspects that frustrated and irritated me.

  • Francesca
    2018-11-27 15:57

    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!

  • Jennifer
    2018-11-22 17:47

    This book starts off very slowly, with an opening chapter regarding the meeting of Benny and Eve (the main characters of the novel). It's a chapter that does very little than to show that Benny comes from a good family, and Eve is an orphan being raised by nuns. The chapter itself is very long, boring, and honestly doesn't feel like has any purpose for the rest of the story, which then takes place 7 years later. In a way, I am more angry at the fact this chapter happened, since it barely served as a good enough introduction to the created town of Knockglen, and the later development (or lack there of) in the future characters of Benny and Eve.Eventually, Benny grows from being a sheltered 10 year old to being a sheltered 19/20 year old about to attend a Dublin university. Eve herself somehow develops a nasty temper, and is about to start working for a convent also in Dublin. By an unfortunate accident, Benny and Eve meet a group of students who will later be considered their circle of friends (see what I did there?) through the school year. Random events, both good and bad, happen to Benny and Eve, all somehow involving Nan Mahon, Jack Foley, and a bunch of other Knockglen residents and Dublin students whom I didn't pay attention to. Many times the author describes in detail characters who the reader will eventually find have little use to the overall plot of the story (ex: Jack Foley's parents, Patsy and Moosy). In the end, it all reads quite like a soap opera, with a lot of unnecessary antics in between the main story lines of Benny and Eve. Sometimes, I felt the author seemed to tempt me with some kind of worthy 3-dimensional character in Nan or Benny, only to have that snatched away by a scene that portrayed them as inconsistent or backward from how I had pictured them. The plot felt like Binchy tossed together a lot of twists. They would of been exciting, except Binchy's writing could be so banal, so monotone that it was hard to tell if something truly tragic/joyous happened or Binchy was just stating a fact. For example, when Benny and Eve witness a student's tragic car accident, Binchy wrote the scene as if they simply crossed the street and happened to find a parked car rather than a dead body. I know that sounds cruel, but I don't know how else to explain it. More dramatic scenes should of used more dramatic language. Binchy did not have a grasp of that.Another thing that bothered me was how Binchy described moments where I'm sure dialogue would of been much better than prose. What the characters could of said would probably show more about themselves to the reader than having their actions described word for word. This happens to every major conversation in the book, where Binchy describes what is said rather than how it is said. Example:She [Nan] told him that she was going to London. She hoped to do a course in dress-designing. She wanted to be away for a while. She didn't really know exactly what she did want, but she knew what she didn't want.I feel like you could of gotten a bit of insight into how Nan talked or what words she chose to handle the situation. Yet it's as if dialogue was nothing but dribble in literature that should be ignored, rather than a tool for character insight. Ugh.There were few, rare moments where the writing style comes through and the story drew me in for a bit. Benny's and Jack's early romance had a sweetness to it. The simplicity of the writing seemed perfect to write an innocent, naive love. I kept reading mainly because I wanted to know if they would truly fall apart (plus, I never trusted that Jack - god what a terribly written character). And maybe the scene of Eve's party is somewhat described more strongly than the other tense moments in the book. Otherwise, much of the other scenes felt like jumbled events happening in an already boring world.

  • Antof9
    2018-12-01 17:49

    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 hand, it would go on a special pile of "books I'd like to re-read".I loved Mother Francis! I can't remember the last time I liked a character so much. It made me want to be Catholic :) I was so impressed with the things she said and did, and the way she helped mold lives. I think she must have been modelled after someone real the author knows/knew, or she couldn't have been quite so inspiring.The old cliché of "I laughed, I cried, a good time was had by all" was certainly true in this book. I did all of the above, and then some.Thoughts on the movie: very disappointing. 2 significant changes -- the movie starts when the girls go to university (not when they're 6 years old), and Mother Francis doesn't even exist in the movie. Don't waste your time on it. The book is the taste you want to leave in your mouth :)For an entertaining forum thread on British Trifle, spawned by reading this book, click here.

  • Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
    2018-12-10 20:50

    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 heartthrob.)I'm feeling a strong urge to rant about the changes that were made in the movie version but that's not really germane and is definitely spoilerish.This book made me a little bit uncomfortable to read. We're dealing with people growing up in a repressed Irish mostly Catholic environment, in the late 1950s. They are at least somewhat curious about sex, and have various interest levels in it, and the idea that premarital sex is a sin stuck to varying degrees. There were definitely parts when ... I don't know, consent as a concept was not something people philosophized about back then, I suppose. Despite the interesting characters, and despite the fact that there were no scenes where the use of force to compel sex was depicted, I felt like that boundary was being pushed or hinted at sometimes, and it made me uncomfortable.

  • Janet Lynch
    2018-12-14 19:54

    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 and stewed over the characters when I was away from it and after I had finished it. I reread parts, as a writer to see how Binchy works her magic—through dialogue and gesture—and as a reader because I wanted to savor an exchange between characters that I’d come to care about so much. Binchy has a talent for creating checkered characters. The good ones aren’t prefect, and the bad ones have their merits. There’s a love affair that doesn’t work out, and I felt the pain of the flawed character as well as the good one who is smart enough to stay away from him, even though it breaks her heart. It took a while to grab me, but I ended up loving this novel.

  • Susan Mackie Powers
    2018-12-08 18:51

    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 world of adult concerns. When the awkward Benny catches the eye of Jack, the handsome son of a prominent doctor, she is swept away. But life doesn't always follow the path of a fairy tale, and Benny soon learns that others are not as trustworthy as she would like to think. I enjoyed this novel, and I have to admit that I was loudly cheering Benny on when she came to the conclusion that a handsome face and a lot of money do not guarantee happiness. I also loved the healthy dose of KARMA that was heaped upon the less than virtuous characters in the story......once again proving that cheaters never prosper

  • Lauren Fidler
    2018-12-01 17:46

    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 between an ugly duckling who finds a flawed prince charming. unforgivable. read the book first!!!on another note, after reading this book, i promptly went out and bought 4 other maeve binchy books. all of them lacked the magic of this one.

  • Lisa
    2018-12-07 17:39

    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 help but think of this book even after its ending, which says a lot-- at least to me.

  • Faith
    2018-12-09 22:37

    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 tea....Irish Breakfast, of course!

  • Nicole
    2018-11-29 23:01

    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!

  • Quirkyreader
    2018-12-11 20:00

    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.

  • KABUDI
    2018-11-22 19:06

    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 that become enemies and strangers once again, betrayal😔, hurt💔, death of loved ones etc just as it happens in any circle of friends.You can relate to the characters and their lifestyle. I really did and am grateful for the circle(s) of friends I Have 😍😆🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5/5 to Maeve Binchy