Light a Penny Candle

Light a Penny Candle

3.7 31
by Maeve Binchy
     
 

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As a child, Elizabeth White was sent from her war-torn London home to a safer life in the small Irish town of Kilgarret. It was there, in the crowded, chaotic O'Connor household, that she met Aisling-who would become her very best friend, sharing her pet kitten and secretly teaching her the intricacies of Catholicism. Aisling's boldness brought Elizabeth out of her…  See more details below

Overview

As a child, Elizabeth White was sent from her war-torn London home to a safer life in the small Irish town of Kilgarret. It was there, in the crowded, chaotic O'Connor household, that she met Aisling-who would become her very best friend, sharing her pet kitten and secretly teaching her the intricacies of Catholicism. Aisling's boldness brought Elizabeth out of her proper shell; later, her support carried Elizabeth through the painful end of her parents' chilly marriage. In return, Elizabeth's friendship helped Aisling endure her own unsatisfying marriage to a raging alcoholic. Through the years, they always believed they could overcome any conflict, conquer any hardship. They believed they could survive anything, as long as they had each other. Now they're about to find out if they were right.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101209295
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/01/2001
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
592
Sales rank:
70,449
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

If storytelling is an art, then Maeve Binchy is unquestionably one of today's master artists. After all, Binchy was born, educated, and lives in Ireland, a land well known for its great storytellers. Firmly grounded in the Irish storytelling tradition, Binchy has earned a sizeable following of enthusiastic fans for her 11 novels and 4 collections of short stories.

I had a very happy childhood, which is unsuitable if you're going to be an Irish writer," Maeve jokes. Perhaps that happy childhood is why Binchy did not publish her first novel until she was 43 years old. But there's no doubt that once she did she proved herself to be an immensely talented and successful writer many times over with 11 New York Times bestsellers to her name.



Binchy was introduced into the joys of storytelling at an early age. Her mother, Maureen, and father, William, a prominent Dublin barrister, encouraged Binchy and her three siblings to be avid readers as well as to share stories at dinner and, as her brother William admits, nobody loved telling stories more than Maeve.



Growing up in the quiet seaside town of Dalkey, located about 10 miles south of Dublin, Binchy also found herself dreaming of escape. "I love Dalkey now," she says, "but when I was young, I thought it was somewhat like living in the desert." Her desire to escape led her first to the big city, to the University College in Dublin, where she studied history and French. After graduating in 1960, she taught Latin, French, and history in a Dublin grade school and was able to indulge her love of traveling during summer vacations. She proved so popular a teacher that parents of her students pooled their money to send her on a trip to Israel. Her father was so impressed by the letters she wrote describing Israeli life that he typed them up and sent them to the Irish Independent newspaper. That's how Maeve returned home to find, quite to her surprise, that she was now a published writer.



Using her newfound interest in journalism, she got a job on The Irish Times as the women's editor, an unlikely role for her, she jokingly acknowledges, given her hopeless lack of fashion sense. In the early 70s, she shifted to feature reporting, and moved to London. The move was motivated only in part by her career. Making the kind of bold life-altering decision that many of her characters are prone to, Binchy decided to take a chance and move to London to be with the man she'd fallen in love with during a previous visit—Gordon Snell, a BBC broadcaster, children's book author, and mystery novelist.



The risk, as it often does in her novels, paid off big time. Maeve married Gordon in 1977, and the two remain happily married to this day. In 1980, they bought a one-bedroom cottage back in Binchy's old hometown of Dalkey. Struggling to make mortgage payments on their new home, Binchy, who had published two collections of her newspaper work and one of short stories, decided to try to sell her first novel, which she'd managed to write in between her newspaper assignments. When her publisher told her that Light A Penny Candle would likely be a bestseller, Maeve remembers her sense of shock. "I had to sit down," she recalls. "I had never even had enough money to pay the telephone bill."



Maeve and her husband still live in that same Dalkey cottage, where they share an office, writing side by side. "All I ever wanted to do," she says, "is to write stories that people will enjoy and feel at home with." She has unquestionably succeeded with that goal. Light A Penny Candle was followed by such bestselling works as Circle of Friends, which was turned into a major motion picture starring Minnie Driver, and Tara Road, an Oprah Book Club selection. Binchy has 11 New York Times bestsellers to her name and is consistently named one of the most popular writers in readers' polls in England and Ireland, outselling and rated higher than James Joyce. Of this success, Binchy comments with her typical good humor, "If you're going on a plane journey, you're more likely to take one of my stories than Finnegan's Wake."



In addition to her books, Binchy is also a playwright whose works have been staged at The Peacock Theatre of Dublin, and was the author of a hugely popular monthly column called "Maeve's Week," which appeared in The Irish Times for 32 years. A kind of combined gossip, humor, and advice column, it achieved cult status in Ireland and abroad. .


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Brief Biography

Hometown:
Dublin, Ireland, and London, England
Date of Birth:
May 28, 1940
Place of Birth:
Dalkey, a small village outside Dublin, Ireland
Education:
Holy Child Convent in Killiney; B.A. in history, University College, Dublin, 1960

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Light a Penny Candle 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
NancySBrandt More than 1 year ago
This was my sister's favorite book, so I decided to re-read it since she and Ms. Binchy both died in August. I know I read it a long time ago, but I didn't remember much about it. I did enjoy the friendship and the story kept me interested and was very fast paced. A lovely story about the cards we're dealt, which are not always good ones, and the choices we make as a result of those cards. Through it all, friendship is the one thing that survived all the bumps in the road. Two girls thrown together because of a war end up closer than sisters. We should all have friends like that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just re-read this book recently, and was as enthralled with it as I was the last time I read it (and the time before that....). This is a wonderful book, showing what life used to be like. If you enjoy books about a way of life that existed before you were born, or unlike any you have ever known, you will enjoy this book. The characters are deeply developed and you grow to care so much for them and the lives that Ms. Binchy creates, it's hard not to be a little disappointed when you are finished!
Grammy31 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book of two families and the dynamics of each. I also enjoyed the continuing friendship of the two girls who were thrown together in world War ll.
SquintyDeb More than 1 year ago
This is the third Maeve Binchy book I have read and I simply love her. She has been able to capture my attention with how she humanizes the characters in her books. The friendship between Elizabeth and Aishling was endearing and relative to many women I'm sure. There's always that ONE friend that will go through life with you...both in good and bad. I have started my 4th book and plan to read all of them. Thank you Mrs. Binchy. I hope to one day go to Ireland and possibly see you at an autographing session. Best Regards, SquintyDeb
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This was the first book I read by this author. What a beautifully written story. I proceeded to read just about all of her others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a horribly depressing book. I felt like I needed therapy by the end. Normally I enjoy Maeve Binchy's books, but not this one. Wish I could give it no stars.
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sunshine52LM More than 1 year ago
My sister reommended this book to me. She remembers reading it in high school and really enjoyed it. How childhood friendship grows stronger through the years. I really felt connected to Aisling and elizabeth. I couldn't put it down once I started it. Maeve Binchy makes you feel like you really know the characters. I would highy recommed this book to anyone.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
When my neighbor lent me this book i thought i would fall dead asleep on the first page! But when i got into it i saw that this is a really great book.